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2015-05-26

Sim racing and game controllers - part 1 - Arduino leonardo project

So I've always dreamed about getting a steering wheel for my PC and playing LFS. There are three downfalls of this idea:
  • Its large - so hiding it from my better half will be hard.
  • Its noisy - force feedback on logitech g25/g27 and force GT wheels use some sort of gear that emits a noise while turning the wheel. So playing after my kids are asleep is a no-no. And I would wake up my wife.
  • I've got a wife, who would like me not have a steering wheel for my games. There is a term WAF in audio world - the Wife Acceptance Factor.
I even borrowed a Logitech G25 from a friend and didn't like it for one more reason: it lags. You can see, that the wheel in the game does not turn as fast as you do. It lags more than a mouse.

I like playing LFS with my mouse, but there are two issues:
  • You cannot gradually add power or brake, so handling more powerful cars than the GTI is difficult.
  • Hardly any other racing game provides mouse steering, and I hate driving with keyboard.
I've seen the HIMOTO simulator for getting to know how to drive RC cars. (link from rchobbystore.co.uk) But it's not available here in Poland.

I want a device that is small, can be placed on my desk, would have analog inputs for steering, gas and braking, would have some buttons. And I can't find any. Console pads with analog sticks don't cut it. The steering precision is faaaar from what you can get with a mouse or a cheap wheel. I can live without force feedback.

So I've googled for one hour and just ordered an Arduino Leonardo clone, two analogue sticks for accelerating and breaking, some switches and an analogue 10k linear potentiometer for steering.

Of course I could get an axis for hand brake and clutch and a hat switch and a .... but let's keep it simple, down to the absolute minimum that is needed to play LFS. If this runs, I'll develop later on. SCRUM MVP FTW! This is my first project of the kind anyway.

I will keep posting about the journey.

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