So I’ve been truly enjoying my time in DCS 2.5 after years away from a PC. Even just the free SU-25T has been enough to keep me busy for the last 2 months. Reading the forums, made me itch to increase the realism factor. So I started drawing up a list,…upgrading to a better HOTAS, getting rudder pedals, getting a VR headset and the list goes one. But all that costs money and I’m trying to be really prudent with my cash given the uncertainty in the economy. Then I came across headtracking, but dang, TrackIR costs a lot. Did more research, TrackHat with shipping, is almost the same price as TrackIR. Wait…I remembered some one mentioning using webcam for head tracking. Hmm, low cost solution!!! Tried to pay for TrackNoIR but PayPal says they can’t complete the transaction in order to comply with international regulations. I’m like Whuuttt??? Okay, more research. Saw a video about using OpenTrack with AITrack on the same day my new webcam arrived. Downloaded it for free. Watched the video twice to make sure I don’t screw up the set-up.

Okay, it seems like everything is working in OpenTrack. Let’s try to fire up DCS…Dang it!! My DCS hangs and I have to restart my PC! Been having this problem with the non-Steam version. Its okay. Patience.

Alright, I’m back in. Let’s just do a Cold Start in the SU-25T from the ramp. Can’t be flying around with a new tech that I haven’t tested.

Hmm, so let’s start moving my head. …
Looks left, looks right, looks up, looks down, bends forward, leans back.


LOL, I know, I know, its nothing new…but oh man!!! This brings a whole new level of experience to flight sim!! I started up the jet, looked to each side before making the turns down to Runway 30. Lined up on the centreline. Brakes in, Throttles full, release brakes… Rolling, …rotate…gears up,…I’m Flying!!! Bank right and …ooooh…can you check out that view right below you…

I must have been grinning like an idiot that entire flight! I don’t think I can ever go back to flying and looking around using the hotas hats!!!

I spent a good 3 hours last night practicing flying and dropping ordnance using the head tracking!! I crashed a few times because I got so engrossed looking at the scenery and losing my situational awareness!! Funniest shite was me barreling in straight to the ground kamikaze like on a BTR because I had my head down in the Shkval. ahhahahha

This post is pointless beyond the point of me gushing about my new found experience with head tracking!!! hahahahahah

Gosh I’m so excited that I can’t wait to get off work and head home again!!


I know it’s more cost but if you can ever swing $300-ish get an Odyssey Plus VR. Then you may be amazed X2 (1:1 head tracking + depth of field = the “I” and “P”-word(s)).

After decades, flight sim’s were nearly dead to me. Til I saved up and bought one of those. And yeah it’s not the best one (not as sharp visually; uncomfortable without a few ‘field mods’, etc), but it’s the most affordable (though I’ve not looked in about 2 years). Color is actually pretty good I hear.

Enjoy it either way my friend.


I remember using the first TrackIR, as a mouse-look device. When they got 6 DoF and virtual cockpits to match, I was in heaven! When I picked up VR some years ago, I was in the seventh heaven… :vr:

I saw a post on a forum of some guy using his iphone as a headtracker. Modern mobile phone cameras can handle face recognition, so I bet they can be used for head tracking as well.


Head tracking is awesome. I cannot fly without it anymore.

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It makes me so glad to read about your elation!
Congratulations for stepping in a bigger world.


Headtracking is like VR 0.5 or something.


Stop poisoning me!! Haha I know I’m going to cave in soon enough and get a VR headset. But I think priority wise, I’d upgrade my HOTAS first. My current China brand joystick is decent, but lacks the buttons needed to allow proper VR flights.


Tbh I’d rate a VR headset above the barest minimum of HOTAS. I’d rather fly with a thrustmaster HOTAS X cheapass set than go back to 2D.


@schurem but how to you fly if your hotas buttons are limited? Mine currently has 20 buttons in total and the mode switching function can’t be configured.

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That’s my main problem with VR as well. How do I do all the stuff? I cannot use my notepad or my checklists, and even a HOTAS with lots of buttons doesn’t have quite enough so I still need a keyboard.
That and the lack of visual quality keep me from doing VR more often.
For just flying around doing sightseeing VR is nice, but for fighting I take 2D+TrackIR any day.

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But the realism… Anyway, a good TIR setup as mentioned is way more important than HOTAS right now. Dont rush. Buy good quality and take your time.


PDNAK. Peek Down Nose At Keyboard. Even that is preferable to being stuck with mouselook.

You need slightly less HOTAS commands if you combine VR with a vr pointer like www.pointctrl.com. That allows thos neat DCS clickable pits to shine.

How many buttons do you need? Fire, change weapon, countermeasure release. The rest are fluff :stuck_out_tongue:

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Yeah, so I realized for fully clickable cockpits, you can bind one hotas key to a mouse press and use that look function. The last time I tried VR was back in 2017 for an FPS game. Made me a little cross eyed after a while. But I believe the tech would have improved by now. Gotta plan my spending out properly.

Ps. Yawning while using facetrack throws it into chaos. You snooze, you lose… Literally crashed cos of that… And I was so close to completing the mission. Haha

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Using Vr i sold the tir…
now i need it again to ply in Tobruk…

i tried kinotracker an iphone app…
well it doesn’t work!
more it’s software messed up with steamVr…

stay away from it!

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A couple more points re VR:

It requires a decently beefy rig to use it; my 1070 equipped PC get’s along just barely in BoX and IL2. TIR doesn’t really add any meaningful performance overhead.

Also, the VR market and landscape is still in a state of rapid evolution. A headset bought this year will likely be overshadowed a year later. TIR on the other hand hasn’t changed in years. The software is kept updated, but the hardware hasn’t really needed to evolve. It just works. Same for Displays mostly; you can get a 32" 4k TV for relatively cheap these days, and the evolution there is pretty slow compared to VR. It’ll last you for years before you’re ‘green with envy.’

If I were starting ‘fresh’ in the world of simming, knowing what I know now, my hardware acquisition would be:
/-Decent, mid level gaming rig. Focus on CPU and RAM, with a mid-to-entry level GPU. Sims go ‘against the grain’ in modern PC gaming and suck down a lot of CPU first, but scalable visuals usually mean they can be run on lower end GPUs, if you squint a little :slight_smile: (GPUs are also super easy to upgrade, opposed to CPU)

/-Skip the cheap, $30 joystick. These days you can DIY something much better.

/-Get (as it sounds like you have) a decent low end Hotas; think something with separate throttle and stick.

/-TrackIR, or an open source alternative like you have, if you’re happy with it.

/-A nice, big fat 32" or so 4K TV, to be used as a monitor. Going back to anything else (save for VR) is like ‘flying’ through a porthole.

/- Curveball: get a decent 3D printer or make friends with someone who has one (A creality CR10 could fit the bill nicely, based on reviews, but I’m a Prusa MK3S man myself). There are a ton of awesome DIY projects out there now, especially if you have a 3D printer. Here’s a list of stuff I’ve curated (not things I’ve made or designed, but a ‘wish list’ of items to get around to making one day and/or draw inspiration from):

/-Using said 3D Printer, work up a pair of nice rudder pedals (several options are in my collection above). Add in button boxes, additional throttles, etc. to suit your simming tastes.

/-From there, look into expanding into VR, and the PC hardware required to use it.

/-Circle back around to any hardware you want to upgrade where the 3DP isn’t cutting it. Eg. a Virpl base and Warthog grip.


Hey I hope I don’t bother.
I happen to have a second hand Track IR*, if you’re not in the USA (I’m in Italy) I could send it to you…

*it’s an older model, I think version 3 but it still works wonderfully.

FWIW, I also purchased a separate ‘button box’ (among others) for those knobs/switches that fall somewhere between needing it all the time (HOTAS) to only for certain phases (wheels, flaps, computer input). It’s my “Braille Pit”:

BBox sits slightly above and immediately in front of my Throttle; has ~12 buttons/dials/switches. Keyboard tween my knees in front of throttle (except in the Viper). It’s generic yes but doesn’t take that long for muscle memory to kick in. Some thins I do fumble for a second or two but they aren’t things that are immediate in nature.

PS: I finally got my VPC Throttle and that helps a bit too, though it almost has too many buttons. Almost :wink: Things appears to be built for the long haul, which I love.

I’m a VR convert and love it but my recent forced use of TrackIR in FS2020 has given me a renewed appreciation for all the gorgeous graphics and details. Not so long ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of booting up DCS without VR… but now I am just loving the brilliant details and colors of DCS in all its glory. I might stick at this for a while.


Like @komemiute, I am so happy to read about your joy - brought a smile to my face! :slight_smile:

That’s what the sim hobby is all about, after all… about the fun and the immersive experience that today’s technology can give us. We can imagine being fearless lightning-riding heroes in the comfort of our homes, it’s amazing!

It’s easy to feel a sense of urgency about the “arms race”, though. I’d echo others in suggesting that there’s no rush - I know that every time you upgrade your equipment (be it head tracking, GPU, HOTAS etc.) you wish you’d done it earlier, but the reality is, upgrading is a never-ending journey, so you might as well take your time and enjoy every step.

I re-started my sim hobby about 5, 6 years ago and my first step was the X-55 HOTAS combo, no head tracking and using the twisty joystick for rudder. TrackIR was the next step, then an upgrade to TMWH HOTAS and MFG Crosswinds. GPU upgrade followed. Now I’m seriously starting to look at a rig upgrade and VR, but in the meantime I am very happy with my sim experience as it is.

Apart from the VR upgrade, I probably have a 3-5 year shopping list, including building a better sim pit, upgrading to a higher-end joystick base etc…but that’s part of the fun.

Just my 2 cents. Great post, keep having fun! :slight_smile:


Head tracking was certainly an OMG moment for me. It was very immersive, even if it was scaling the movement, and much more intuitive than using a POV hat on my old CH Products Fighter Stick or Saitek.

VR was that moment for me, again. But at least with TrackIR, I could make use of multiple monotirs and a bunch of fancy additional devices like the Thrustmaster MFDs or the CH Products MFP. That and you retain the ability to take notes :slight_smile: