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  1. #1
    75+ Posting Member Aaron's Avatar
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    Post Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Hello Friends!

    After too much research, too much test and mistake, and a dozens of hours of work, we have started our last visual system. This system is still in progress, and is similar to some of our builders friends from this and other forums out there (fds, nthusim, widescreengaming, etc.) Ivar Hestnes, Nat Crea, etc. Many thanks to all of them, without their information and test, we were unable to start this project.

    We start with this configuration a year ago: A high spec PC (i7-930, 6Gb, ATI5870, 3x47" LCD running in eyefinity mode). This setup give us this:


    The setup was just fine. The ATI just did the job and this is our favourite multimonitor setup this days. Better and cheaper than TripleHead2Go, and a lot cheaper than nvidia surround (SLI required). The only issue, its that the ATI card its not happy handling bad weather and the drop of FPS and smothness is huge.

    But we want one step more, and the choice was: curved screen and triple projector setup. The first problem is the space.

    This is our room previously afte the re-building from another location


    Very large room, but not too wide. We want to make a LAAARGE screen, because if you want to spend your time and money in things like this, you want to do the best as you can!.

    After a quick tutorial (thank you, dad) in CAD, this is our first tests


    The right image show the concept with a screen with a radius of 2m. The left shows a 2.2m radius. The more radius, the best for visuals (larger image, less shadows from cockpit, best perspective, etc.) but not for our space. With a radius of 2.2 we need to cut our cockpit plataform (green square in the image) above the inner green line at the bottom of the cockpit. The projetions were made taking consideration of the measurements given by projectorcentral

    After the cut and recalculations, here are our measurements:

    2.2m Radius, 8.4m perimeter (approx), 220

    The green circle, is the center point of view, wich is located more or less at the cutoff levers. But we have to move our cockpit slightly (0.2m above the center of the screen) ahead to make space to enter the cockpit. We want to have a third seat in our cockpit behind the first office for an observer, but due to this configuration we suspend the idea

    Starting building.
    We draw the center and the arc in the floor and the ceiling, and start to work on the screen (previously, we have removed the cockpit)


    First steps:












    Details in the roof and floor




    While my mate Orlando works hard in the screen I play a little with this:


    A little zoom on my three daughters:


    Three projectors can be conected to one computer, with eyefinity, nvidia surround, or a triple head to go. The problem is the perspective. Just a wider front view is not enough for a such large screen, and we need to undock three or more views to get a more real perspective. Now the problem is the frame rate.

    One powerfull PC can handle the high resolution of a typical th2go setup with just one wider view, but manage three diferents perspectives are major words for just one PC. If you want a 8meter screen, you also want to fly smooth, and you want to fly smooth in every condition. Our solution, three PCs, one projector each and wideview, using our *old* I7930@4.2 with 5870 as wideview server.

    Those PCs are:
    Motherboard: Asrock P67 Pro (no need to SLI or Crossfire, so P67 Pro give us the best perfomance for our bucks)
    Processor Intel I7 2600k @ 4.2
    Memory 8Gb (2x4Gb)
    HD sATA Seagate 1Tb (The motherboards comes with sata3, but no disk already, so I prefer to wait for a combination of sata3 + SSD)
    Thermaltake 650W (more than enough for just 1 VGA and a very moderate overcloocking)

    The idea is maximize the perfomance on this three PCs. The dont handle sound, no USB axis, no internet conection, etc. just Visual Clients for wideview, while our *old* PC manage the position and joysticks inputs and some sounds (other in the networked pcs with pmsounds, etc.) with the graphics sliders set to a minimum (there is no need to see this PC anywhere) to improve the perfomance.

    I keep this post update as soon as we make improvements in our work!
    Greetings!
    Aaron Sanchez - http://mi737.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


    Matt Olieman's Avatar
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Excellent project!!! and wonderful supply of information.

    I look forward toward your continued information regarding your project as you continue to build.

    Matt Olieman

  3. #3
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    I've heard less than stellar reviews about using wideview for visuals... Specifically in clouds, where each PC will render the clouds just a little bit differently. Thus, when a cloud slides from one screen to the next (1 PC to another PC), or spans multiple screens, it wont maintain the same size/shape/dimensions. The same with other effects, but I don't remember the specifics.

    I'd love to know if this is true or not, and if you have any luck with this arrangement.

  4. #4
    75+ Posting Member Aaron's Avatar
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Hi Jrowland!

    The sync of weather its perfect, much better than I spect. I've tried the demo version of wideview and vrsync (not buying yet, as we are still in construction). The clouds are perfect aligned, even the rain, flashing thunderstorms, etc. Also de AI aircraft its syncronized (this is with wideview-widetraffic, I think its not supported in vrsync). I have not tested this config with IVAO/VATSIM, but if AI aircraft works, network AI should work also.

    I've tested this with FSX of course, no FS9 here. Maybe the sync in FS9 was worse or simply not available.
    Greetings!
    Aaron Sanchez - http://mi737.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Thanks for a great post and plenty of pictures. The visual system looks particularly interesting and i thank you for sharing with us.

    best regards
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  6. #6
    75+ Posting Member Aaron's Avatar
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Quote Originally Posted by jrowland View Post
    I've heard less than stellar reviews about using wideview for visuals... Specifically in clouds, where each PC will render the clouds just a little bit differently. Thus, when a cloud slides from one screen to the next (1 PC to another PC), or spans multiple screens, it wont maintain the same size/shape/dimensions. The same with other effects, but I don't remember the specifics.

    I'd love to know if this is true or not, and if you have any luck with this arrangement.
    In addition to my tests (not still with our curved screen, but with monitors) here is one quote directly from wideview manual:

    -Begin paste-
    IMPORTANT (APPLIES TO FSX SP2)
    With FSX SP2, the clouds seems to be actually capable to synchronize through the monitors, so you
    can see the same cloud, with its specific shape and texture, passing from one monitor to another.
    Anyway, this feature still require that the clients are powered up all together (with a maximum
    tolerance of a few minutes between them) and also FSX launched at the same time (again, a few
    minute of difference can be tolerated).
    - End Paste -

    This should be the reason why it works perfect for us and maybe not for everybody (anyone using FSX prior to SP2).
    Greetings!
    Aaron Sanchez - http://mi737.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Awesome news, Aaron. I had discarded the possibility of wideview after watching videos of clouds and autogen and AI not be faithfully sync'd across PCs. Another window of opportunity has presented itself. :^)

  8. #8
    75+ Posting Member Aaron's Avatar
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Hello friends!

    Some news in our project:

    After a month or so of wait, finally we have our projectors at home:



    Optoma EW610ST, the best we found for the money we have, here are the specs:
    1280x800, DLP
    Short throw (at 2m from screen 3.85m wide)
    3100 Ansi
    3000:1 Contrast.

    We have almost finished the building of the screen. A bit hard to take photos...


    Installing black carpet before putting the cockpit in.

    We build half screen first, then move the pit, and the finish the screen. There is no way to move out the cockpit with the screen finished!. You could notice the circle of the screen in both ceiling and floor, and a thread on each for measurements and calculations (shadows, angles, etc.)



    A pic from the outside, with the screen already painted.



    Finally a panorama just before paint (8 blended photos) from the end of the screen. The cockpit here is not in the exact place, just pushed back to let space for paint, etc. The panorama doesnt show the exact perspective, but its 8.5m wide x 2.5m high, and covers around 220. Calculations are done to fullfilled the whole screen with 25-30cm of overlap between projectors.

    I hope I can make photos of the "thing" running this weekend!
    Greetings!
    Aaron Sanchez - http://mi737.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    75+ Posting Member Aaron's Avatar
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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Weekend update:

    Positioning projectors is a little tricky, but finally we found the best solution for us. We make big mistake centering projectors instead of centering the proyectors LENS...


    My friend Orlando moving the projector to center on the lens and not the whole projector.

    Two panoramas where you can observe the screen with low light showing the default solid color before power on the PCs

    From the right side:


    and the left:


    We have two laser levels to warp the screen, but the beam was too short for us. We are looking for a circular one to the perfect alignment!.
    Greetings!
    Aaron Sanchez - http://mi737.blogspot.com

  10. #10
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


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    Re: Improving Visuals (4 computers, 3 projectors, curved screen)

    Excellent presentation Aaron, thanks for sharing with us your project. I'm amazed at what you're able to do in such a confined space. Congratulations!!!!

    Matt Olieman

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