I have often thought that combination would make for the ultimate rig. I asked Berney the following question on iRacing and this was his reply. I am glad they are playing with the concept so you never know what might eventuate.
Through your experimenting did you ever try combining a seat mover with a platform mover? I have not seen anyone try this but I have often considered what would happen if I sat my SimXperience Rig onto a D-Box system. I don't even know if SimCommander and the D-Box software could work in unison and although expensive, would that not give you the best of both worlds?
This is indeed something that we have and continue to put a fair bit of energy into. I don't think it would be fair of me to draw a final conclusion at this point, however, I can share a few of the concerns and a tidbit of background on each:
Is a D-Box Representative of 4-Corner Independent Suspension or Pitch/Roll/Heave
If you think of your rig as a solid axle and your D-Box actuator as a shock/tire that interfaces between the solid axle and ground, it quickly becomes apparent that you can't control the actuators independently so as to represent a 4-corner independent suspension or you would either try to tear the rig apart of lift actuators off the ground.
To solve this, the control software calculations basically wind up giving you pitch/roll/heave or something very close to it with maybe a VERY small tactile/vibratory representation of the independent suspension movements blended in. Any remaining tactile effects wouldn't be able to be independent either in theory.
In short, I question what a D-Box can do that any other Roll/Pitch/Heave solutions couldn't do with fewer actuators and lower cost.
If for the purpose of this conversation, we say that the D-Box really only provides Roll/Pitch/Vertical Heave, this presents an interesting challenge: the combination of Seat Mover Style G-Force simulation with Roll/Pitch simulation.
G-Force vs Pitch and Roll
If you're not familiar with the concept/principles of our Stage Series motion, I'll spare you the pitch here and suggest that you wrap your head around it by visiting our website and reviewing the 'Motion Principles' tab on any of the Stage Series product pages.
In short, we choose to focus on the most extreme component of what a driver feels and have concluded that to be G-Forces and related muscle tension/pressures followed by traditional motion simulation which aims to manipulate your inner ear/balance, etc... To simulate the impact of G-Forces on the human body in a convincing manner, you need to be able to make darn quick movements relative to simulating the impact of pitch/roll on the mass of an entire vehicle convincingly.
That said, we've always prioritized flexibility/tunability so as to facilitate widely varying customer preferences so a Stage Series sim can do either G-Force simulation or Roll/Pitch simulation and even some interesting combinations of the two depending on how you setup your profile.
The problem becomes that since the D-Box motions are very much like pitch/roll style motions, depending on how you setup your Stage Series (G-Force simulation or Roll/Pitch simulation) the D-Box movements simply become additive or canceling but with a bit of added weirdness since due to the amount of mass involved with moving an entire Stage Series, the D-Box movements are relatively delayed and probably would be perceived as such even with a lighter rig due to actuator performance differences.
Not all motion simulation software is created equal, in fact, the majority on the market induce an amount of lag that is just plain sloppy workmanship/unacceptable in my humble opinion.
I find it just as important, if not more important than the motion style, that all motion devices on a simulator be in sync to an error of within a few milliseconds or less. Software lag aside, systems that move a large mass freqently have mechanical lag to go with it, or they have steep gearing that limits their top speed which makes them feel awkward when combined with a device that doesn't have these speed limitations. As an example, most (if not all) D-Box actuators as said above to have a 100mm/sec max speed, but the Stage Series actuators have a max speed of 400mm/sec.
Bottom line, I beleive we can provide tuning options to to address most of these concerns and in fact we already do for several of them. The jury is still out on value proposition and whether or not there is method of achieveing the D-Box Pitch/Roll/Heave at a lower cost and with less compromnise when combined with other devices. The jury is also still out on whether or not a D-Box configured to do only heave so as to add what it can without adding anyting negative to the Stage Seres equation is cost justified. Those aren't the sort of things we make a final ruling on. I see this question as a customer preference type of thing. Our focus is on giving you options regardless of our opinion on what is or is not cost justified.
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I had a random idea last night and figured to ask if anyone had experience or an opinion one way or another.
I know people tend to fall into camps: seat mover fans and DBOX fans. I have a seat mover (stage 4+ SimXperience) but I always keep an open mind to what is out there. I'll admit to being intrigued by how quiet and compact a DBOX setup can be, but I'm very happy with the way my rig forces me to tighten my core (i.e. basic seat mover principles).
My question is this, could we not combine the two? Why not have a DBOX rig, but have the wheel deck supported stationary above the moving rig, essentially creating the same type of setup as a seat mover, but using the DBOX actuators in place of the SCN5 arrangement?
Good idea? Terrible idea? Doesn't work because ____? Any thoughts?