Racing simulators are tenapenny, but the closest an FPS player will get to an immersive experience is buying some branded peripherals. Armed with a pre-release level of Battlefield 3, The Gadget Show enlisted a team of design experts to transform a Birmingham studio into an FPS simulator costing £500,000 ($650,000). A four by nine meter video dome surrounds the player as they stand on an omni-directional treadmill that lets you walk wherever you want to go. Ten infra-red motion tracking cameras and a sensor on your gun enables the picture to follow where you point it and a Kinect hack controls your jumping and crouching. The fun doesn't stop there -- 12 paintball markers mean that every time you get shot in the game, you'll feel it. The show airs in the UK on October 24th at 8:00pm, Channel 5. We've got a behind the scenes gallery below (supplied by those lovely people from the show) as well as PR and a trailer after the break.
The Gadget Show Battlefield 3 Simulator - Behind the Scenes Gallery
Battlefield 3 taken into the next dimension by UK technology programme, "The Gadget Show"
Unique simulator provides the ultimate immersive experience for First Person Shooter (FPS) fans
Birmingham, UK (17th October 2011) – Battlefield 3, one of the most highly anticipated games of 2011 is yet to hit the shelves, but UK technology programme The Gadget Show, gained exclusive access to a pre-release level and hand-built a simulator to play it.
As part of a challenge for the new series of the show, presenters Jason Bradbury and Suzi Perry brought together a team of design experts and an amazing array of technology worth £500,000 ($650,000) to build this one-off creation.
Centred on the world's first, portable omni-directional treadmill (designed by Swedish company MSE Weibull) the simulator lets you control the movements of a Battlefield 3 character with your own body. Other key technology employed includes: 12 paintball markers that allow the player, in real time, to feel the enemy gunfire experienced in the game; a wireless gun system; ambient LED lighting; and an Xbox Kinect camera hack.
The idea for the simulator came in July this year when The Gadget Show realised that graphically-sophisticated games are held back only by the way many of us play them - sat in front of 1 static monitor.
By projecting the game inside a 360-degree, 4 metre high and 9 metre wide video dome (provided by Igloo Vision) the gamers' experience is made as visceral and immersive as possible.
Ten infra-red motion tracking cameras continually monitor the real-time movements of the gamer on the omni-directional treadmill. This data is sent to the PC running Battlefield 3 to control the speed and direction of the in-game character.
The same cameras also track the direction in which the gamer points their wireless gun. Using this information the simulator can rotate the 180-degree projected gaming image around the dome to keep the gamer immersed in the action.
The immersive experience is completed by a pixel-mapped, ambient LED lighting system used to flood the dome with colours direct from the game; and a bespoke Kinect camera hack makes it possible for jumping and crouching in the dome to be replicated in the game.