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The Flight Sim Deck: Head Tracking With A Webcam And $3 [FYC]

Constantly scanning the sky is an integral part of flying.  It’s for safety but also to take in the sites all around you. With that in mind, I want to show you how you can get awesome head tracking in your flight simulator with just a webcam and $3. You might wonder how this method compares to TrackIR. The short answer is that it’s not as precise as TrackIR, but still an excellent alternative that’s left me with almost no complaints.

For those who don’t know, TrackIR is the leading head tracking device on the market costing $149. TrackIR uses a camera and Infrared to track the movements of your head. It’s accomplished by mounting a camera in front of you and wearing the infrared light on your head. This allows you to look all around the cockpit and lean towards your instruments.

The method we’ll talk about today uses your web cam to track the movement of your face rather than infrared light. This is done with software called FaceTrackNoIR. This software tricks the simulator into thinking TrackIR is being used. The camera I’m using is the HD Pro Webcam C920, but any modern webcam will do. Your monitor should provide enough light, but if not, try to light your face as much as possible. This will increase the accuracy of the head tracking.

Once you open FaceTrackNoIR for the first time, you’ll need to configure your webcam. Click “Options” at the top left of the window and then proceed to “Webcam Utility.” From there, click “Devices” and your webcam should be recognized in the drop down menu.

Now that you’ve set up your webcam, you can go back to the main window. Here you will see various options that you can apply to the tracker. “Profile” allows you to save your settings and load them in at anytime. You might want to do this if you have different configurations for various sims. I use “faceAPI V3.2.6” for tracker source, “Accela Filter Mk2” for filter and “FreeTrack 2.1” for game protocol. I also set my smoothing to 30 samples and I invert the pitch axis. Lastly, you can adjust the curves for each axis.

When everything is set, you can click “Start” under GO!. You should now see a black and white video of your face with a yellow overlay tracking your head movement. This shows how your face is going to be tracked in the simulator. Always remember to click “Start” prior to opening the simulator. Otherwise it might not recolonize that you are using head tracking and you will have to restart the sim.

When it comes to compatibility, I’ve tested FaceTrackNoIR on Prepar3D v4.4, X-Plane 11, Aerofly FS2, DCS World 2.5, and IL-2. Each sim functions slightly different but they’re all very close in functionality. This is where you might want to start saving profiles for each sim. The head tracking works right away upon loading Aerofly FS 2, DCS World, and IL2. With Prepar3D and X-Plane 11, there is just a couple of extra steps to make the head tracking work.

For X-Plane 11, it helps to have the plugin X-Camera, which is free to download. But if you want your settings to save, you do need to purchase a license. Otherwise the free version works great for Track IR, as long as you’re okay with re-positioning the camera each time you open X-Plane. To turn the head tracking on, simply open the X-Camera control panel and check the “Enable Track IR” and “Retain Mouse Look Position” boxes. If the camera is not aligned correctly, you can use the arrow keys and mouse to center your view.

Prepar3D follows nearly the same process. The most efficient way to use head tracking in P3D is with camera software called ChasePlane. The head tracking should work automatically, but if not, click “Preferences” on the left and make sure “Enable Head Tracking (TrackIR)” is checked. Again, if the camera is not aligned correctly you can use the arrow keys and mouse to center the view.

From dog fighting over the Persian Gulf, or turning base onto final; FaceTrackNoIR has made a world of difference in my flight simulation experience. TrackIR can be a costly investment but if you already own a web cam you’re just a few dollars away from turning your head inside the virtual cockpit. Have fun out there everyone, see you in the skies!

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The Flight Sim Deck: Understanding SIDs & STARs [FYC]

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Greetings everyone! I want to talk about a crucial part of IFR flight planning, that being Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) and Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs). SIDs, and STARs, are predetermined routes with speed and altitude restrictions that will guide you to and from the airport. Most airports have multiple published SIDs and STARs. Each one is setup to accommodate the
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FSExpo 2019 Interview With POSCON

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In this interview from FSExpo 2019, we speak with AJ from POSCON (Positive Control Network) to find out all about the network, how people can join the beta and more. We have a wealth of other content from FlightSimExpo 2019, all of which you can find on our archive hub. It has also been confirmed that FlighSimExpo 2020 will take place
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How-To: Using the New Orbx Central App (V4.0)

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We take you through all the new features of the brand new Orbx Central app, along with quick step-by-step on how to install your first product using the new built-in payment system. The above video will go through your initial set-up of the new application along with how you can migrate your products over to the new library system. You
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TOGA Projects Envtex: The FSElite Video Review

Check out Ronnie Wainscott’s take on TOGA Projects’ Envtex w/ Envshade in our new FSElite Video Review on our YouTube channel.

Scoring 9.5/10, it certainly did not fail to impress. The 4 and a half minute video takes you through an in-depth review of Envtex for Prepar3D v4. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments.

If you don’t already own it, you can grab a hold of TOGA Projects’ Envtex over at simMarket for a price of €21.00 (Excl. VAT) for FSX and Prepar3D.

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First Look: FSFX Packages / OldProp 717 Immersion Package Beta

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With the recent announcement of the 717 Immersion pack, we had a chance to check out the beta. Produced By: The Flight Sim Deck https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4zZ67M_zwws0nq6gy9eEw? _______________________________________ Software _______________________________________ Prepar3D V4.3 Orbx Global Orbx Vector PTA (Matt Davies Preset) Active Sky 16 Rex 4 Texture Direct w/ Soft Clouds FSFX Packages Chase Plane ______________________________________ Hardware: ______________________________________ i7 4790k Quadcore oc 4.3ghz
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