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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bob and Ken - You guys seem to know about low cost projectors, perhaps you could give me some advice. I use my projector for big-screen gaming, primarily to race cars using the Grand Prix Legends software sim. It's possible to set things up with the sim, if you have three computers, so that one computer shows the front view, one the left side, and one the right side. Here's an example of what this looks like on one guy's setup:

http://www.frontiernet.net/~sletten/spastart.jpg


What I'd like to do if possible, is to make a similar setup, but with three projectors giving me the big screen images. We gamers love immersion! I'll use my current projector for the main frontal screen, and I don't think I'm going to be very persnickety about getting top notch quality on the side screens. My question is this: What would be the best cheap projector hardware I could buy to do this.


Bob's suggestion of using overhead projectors in the current cheap LCD thread sounds great, if those are going to give enough light for good images. I already have a laptop and an LCD panel monitor that I assume I could use in combination with the overhead projectors. I could race in a pretty dim room, but my main projector, the 600 lumens Compaq MP1600 will be throwing light on the front screen. Is that light going to be enough to completely wash out the side screens that are projected using overhead projectors? And how would I use the LCD panels with the overhead projector, anyway? Do you just place the panel over the top of the projector with the panel facing upward? Doesn't that block all the light coming from inside the overhead projector?


Using the overhead projectors would be the cheapest way of throwing an image, but if they're not good enough what suggestions do you guys have for cheap projectors that are good enough to do the job? VGA would be good enough for the job,and I'd guess 300 or 400 lumens would be plenty. Any ideas?


Thanks for any input. -- Herb



[This message has been edited by hsitz (edited 04-06-2001).]
 

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How cheap is cheap in this case?


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Ken Elliott
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by kelliot:
How cheap is cheap in this case?
Well, the overhead projector route would be ideal because I see them for $50 or $100 bucks apiece. But cheap would be anything under $1k per projector, I guess. The cheaper the better (Bob Wood will love this!) but I do want to have it at least bright enough so that they don't get washed out by the front screen (or each other). As I said, VGA resolution is fine. -- Herb
 

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Herb,


Probably the only way to know for sure if the Compaq's

brightness will overwhelm the overhead's brightness is to

try it with one. The inexpensive nature of them makes it

practical to experiment with em.

There is light leakage out the top of the overhead because

the panel usually does not cover the whole top of it.

But you can mask off the area that's leaking light.



One problem though, is that the overheads need to be

placed pretty much on a level with the center of their

screens.

I'm trying to envision what you have in mind. If you're

using the secondary screens wouldn't the two extra

projectors (or overheads) have to be centrally located

in the room and shooting to the left and right of your

primary screen? Since they shoot at the middle of a screen

won't that put them in your line of sight to that primary

screen?


Bob


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~~The Sultan of Cheap~~


[This message has been edited by RobertWood (edited 04-06-2001).]
 

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Great to see a fellow GPL fan on here....regarding this triple screen affair, I suspect that you'll also have to be prepared to run a server to get the other two views so you might want to factor that into your budget. IIRC the guy whose setup this is generated the peripheral views from a vroc server...I am just green with envy and trying to figure out how to steal the wifes monitor as well as No1 son's as well!
 

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Gawd! Is my wife gonna hate you guys http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif I need a link man! You're telling me that there is software that synchronizes the center, left, and right views?! I was thinking that I should try to write it, but I definitely don't have the time, and if it's already done... Does it work with anything besides Legends? Oh man, I feel a strong wave of immersion coming on...



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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bob - I was actually thinking of perhaps building a small room in my basement for this. The left and right screens would actually be at right angles to the front screen, and all would form the the walls of a small "simulator room". I would sit roughly in the middle of the room in a little car seat set up with steering wheel and pedals, and I envisioned the projectors mounted at the top of the walls and projecting their images over me and downward onto the wall-screens.


It sounds like that would be a problem for the overhead projector. Maybe I need to start thinking about low cost LCD projectors that throw the entire image to one side of the lens.


Ryuk and Man E -- Regarding getting the three views for the same driver in GPL:


First, yes, it is specific to GPL, but some other racing sims may work similarly. I'm positive it also works in the recent NASCAR Racing 4, which is based on the same physics engine as GPL.


Second, yes, you do have to have a server of some sort somewhere. But that's no problem, since my racing is almost always done online (that's where GPL shines) which already requires a server. It's also no problem just to have one of the three projecting computers act as a server for the other two. All you need is to have them networked and race in "multiplayer" mode. (I've raced and hosted on the same computer many times with fields of close to 20 drivers.)


Or you can just have all three computers log in as separate drivers to whatever internet server you're using (probably something you hook up to using the VROC utility). The two side-view drivers then don't enter the race, they just set their "replay" views to see the front-view computer's car, and then set the view to right or left. I assume it would be best to use a carcamera utility to modify the actual right and left views so there's no overlap with the front and so they look as much like they mesh with natural field-of-view as possible.


Note that if you wanted to go crazy with this there's no reason to stop at just the right and left hand views. You could get a fourth projector to display the rear view on the wall behind you. Then, in addition to using your mirrors, you could just turn around to see what's there! Total immersion! -- Herb



[This message has been edited by hsitz (edited 04-06-2001).]
 

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How do I set up a password so my wife doesn't see this post?!?!?! I feel like I'm watching porn or something?!?! You guys are sick. I thought playing Need For Speed and others on a 10' screen was amazing!!! You guys take this to a whole other level! Four screens?? That's a 40' level!!! Ok, Ok. After all that.......


How do I do it!!!?!?!?!?!? HEHEHE.....


What a fun post!!

Michael


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So if I understand this, the side cameras that we're talking about are the side view of the car that I would be driving and not the perspective of being inside my car and seeing what is to the left or right of me. I'm not knocking it because it still would add a lot to the immersion (especially for those nuts among us contemplating multiple projectors http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif ), but I'm looking to be looking out my left window and seeing So-and-so inches away. Looks like I might need to do some digging and coding. I also will have (whether I buy or build it) some contraption on which the seat will reside that adds motion using the Force Feedback cues. I think I'll call it ButtVision(tm)! Somebody help! I'm hyperventilating...


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Our Silent Angels



[This message has been edited by Man E (edited 04-06-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Man E - No, No, No, it really is as good as you're hoping. The left and right views are NOT views of your car. They're views of what you see when you look left while you're driving, or look right while you're driving. And if you add a fourth projector to do the rear screen that will give you the view of what you'd see when you turn around and look behind to see what's there.


What might have confused you was when I said the side-view drivers wouldn't enter the race and would just set their "replay" screen to see the front-view driver's car. What that means is that their views actually become the views FROM the front-view driver's car. It's like they're hopping in the car with him and going along for the ride. It's a neat thing about GPL, because when I'm online I can actually get in another driver's car (preferably a fast one) and see exactly what he sees (and monitor what he does) while he's going around the circuit.


GPL comes with built-in right and left views that you can assign to buttons on your keyboard or wheel to switch views while you're driving. Those views probably aren't optimal, though, for displaying the right and left view screens in this setup. The cool thing is that there is a car cam utility for GPL that lets you set up literally any view you want. You can put a camera literally anywere you want and specify the angle of view that the camera will capture. So for the left and right views you leave the camera in the driver's cockpit, but specify that it display whatever is viewed to the sides (or rear) of the driver. I believe there's already a rear view defined that will work well. You can cycle through the existing views in the replay area of the game.


Check out this link if you're interested in the car cam editor:

http://www.fortunecity.com/underworld/3d/797/

Quote:
Originally posted by Man E:
So if I understand this, the side cameras that we're talking about are the side view of the car that I would be driving and not the perspective of being inside my car and seeing what is to the left or right of me. I'm not knocking it because it still would add a lot to the immersion (especially for those nuts among us contemplating multiple projectors http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif ), but I'm looking to be looking out my left window and seeing So-and-so inches away. Looks like I might need to do some digging and coding. I also will have (whether I buy or build it) some contraption on which the seat will reside that adds motion using the Force Feedback cues. I think I'll call it ButtVision(tm)! Somebody help! I'm hyperventilating...




[This message has been edited by hsitz (edited 04-06-2001).]
 

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You guys forgot the 5th projector to project the pine scented air freshiner hanging from the rear-view mirror.....



Michael


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Herb, my wife just grew a few new gray hairs.

Thanks!



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Michael,


I'm thinking more along the lines of a race car with screens mounted all around. The wheels are replaced by computer controlled shocks, there is computer controlled environmental effects (wind, etc.), rumble from the engine (Buttkicker?). The rear view mirrors will be real and will show the image from the rear projector. I can hang dice from it if I want. I'm about to pass out again...



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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by kelliot:
It might not be too tough for one of the HTPC software gurus to see if this can be done with dTV.
Ken - I use a GeForce DDR card for gaming and for HTPC. It works fine. I'd probably use GeForce2MX's if I made cheap side and/or rear computers. There's no point in using anything better with GPL since it limits frames per second to a max of 36 fps.


There's no need for dTV at all, since GPL can be easily configured to give us the precise screen images we need. If GPL didn't do that, I still wouldn't see any use for dTV, since the real work required would be to patch/interface with the game and get the images, but they'd already be in digital form and there wouldn't be any need to deinterlace or even, probably, to scale.


But attempts to do bona fide hacks of the GPL code have failed miserably by lots of talented people who've tried, so if it didn't give us the images already, we'd probably have to just give up. There's only one true "hack" to the code of the game, and that's a fairly simple one that just lets you switch engines between different cars. -- Herb



[This message has been edited by hsitz (edited 04-06-2001).]
 

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It might not be too tough for one of the HTPC software gurus to see if this can be done with dTV.


Herb, also, what display card(s) are you using?


The best buy for the money are used CRTs. Its just that you might need to but another support up in the basement to keep them from collapsing your house. Also you might need some strong friends to help you mount them.


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Ken Elliott



[This message has been edited by kelliot (edited 04-06-2001).]


[This message has been edited by kelliot (edited 04-06-2001).]
 

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If the basement's big enough to accomodate it you could do rear screen projection.

You can pick up the rear screens cheap from older junked out RPTV's.


Bob



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I was definitely thinking rear projection. That's an excellent idea for a source Bob. Thanks!


Ken, I don't know if that question was for me. I just in the drooling stages right now, so I can adapt to whatever equipment is available when the divorce is final, er, I mean when I talk my wife into it...



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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by rickforrest:
Just wondering whatever came of this project.
Well, the project has stalled a little bit, due to me being busy with some other things and a lack of money. I do have two Compaq MP1600's at the moment, but only one computer capable of running Grand Prix Legends. I've been meaning to have a friend bring a computer over to do a two-screen test, which I will hopefull do sometime in the next week or two. It will be just with a front view and a side view, but both will be 8 feet wide so it should be pretty good.


I do have 3 lcd panels for overhead projectors, and I have two overhead projectors that I'm trying to retrofit with metal halide bulbs, but it requires a bit of tinkering and self-fashioned hardware to position the bulb correctly and I haven't gotten that done yet.


I will take some pictures of the two screen setup when I get it going if anybody's interested.


I don't think this sort of setup will work for very many games. It will work only if you can run over a network and can set the "left" and "right" (and "rear" if you choose to have one) computers to give you the left and right views of the player on the main (front screen) computer. Grand Prix Legends and Nascar Racing 4 are the only racing sims I'm aware of that will let you do this. I don't know anything about first person shooter or other types of games. -- Herb
 

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Wow, I missed this thread the first time around. Man I would love to see this kind of setup. Sounds absolutely great. Could be used for flight sims too. Heck you could even run some 1st person shooters this way I bet - now THAT would be awesome.




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Lex MC1/Sunfire CG/Hales Rev3's x3/M&K SS150 tripoles/Quadscan/Plus UP1100/Homemade screen
 
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