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Tags: - Apple - Tech - Games
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Nerding out over here with the new Swift programming language from Apple
Read the ebook, quite impressed with how elegant it is, minimal but powerful pushing the functionality to the frameworks like Cocoa and SpriteKit, GCD for asynchronous code and so on.

Most importantly is, I can already write code in Swift, I cannot even read most code in Objective-C

Super nerd points for writing Swift code in a command line terminal window:



Even bigger nerd points for doing the same with C# and Unity:



I'm already jealous of a few of the language features that C# is missing, like easy to read write Tuples, and the range syntax '0.0....120.0' nice they stole that from Python I think.

The fact that it looks so much like a script language, yet is really compiled down to machine code is a key detail here. The fact it looks like a script but has no garbage collection is also significant. So very very glad I chose to learn C# instead of Objective-C as it has pretty much already taught me to write in Swift, people going from Objective-C to Swift will probably find it harder

:-D



Also very jealous of the ability to write into this realtime 'playground' where it runs your code as you write while showing visual representations of values, code ran over time even fully rendered graphics object on the right side of the screen. The Ability to scrub your playback back in time.... awesome.

The fact it is a closed spec/compiler and will only run on Apple devices, well what do you expect.

And this had to be done with the new playground:



My talents are wasted

But swift is really elegant and minimal, while allegedly very very fast.



versus c#



So very very similar looking to C#.. and semi colons are ugly

Also I just I write a nice script that you can drag/drop a Unity project folder onto and it will inject preset hardlinks ( like symlinks but craftier ), so say you have a Standard Unity Project folder with a bunch of utility scripts, standard images and stuff you like to always have in a project, it can link to that ( can show a lis. t of items to pick from if you only want to include some not all of the items also ), and another script you can drag the folder/folders onto that will remove those links. Tested it all and It's completely safe regarding deletion. Which means I can finally start using separate Projects for things instead of lumping everything into one big monolithic super project that takes over 10 seconds to compile every time I change something in the editor :-S

Producitivty Ho!

Trying to implement something similar to Swifts built in language support for Tuples





Creating a generic list of an anonymous type, simple enough

But how do I return an anon type from a method?

Using anonymous types and casting using an extensions method, is how:



Once you hide all that extensions method stuff away It's not too ugly, you are left with a function that returns an object. And you take the result and just do:

whateverResult.CastTo( new{ name="", age="" )

And then you can access the properties as per usual, but this will get real ugly for lists of anon types, and yes I realise I have age as a string not an int

And yes with dynamic type you can probably do this nicely, but I target iOS with is ahead of time compilation AOT, so cannot do dynamic

Still.. .swift is better

And next C# has Tuples but they are completely useless ( thought I think they are improving this in C# 6 )



You can't name there arguments, and it looks ugly as sin, I hate angle brackets

I also saw someone creating a class that inherits from the Tuple type, allowing you to add names to it... not sure why you would ever do that.. I guess it saves you having to implement IComparable, IStructuralEquatable and friends on your own custom type.



So back to using 'out' parameters, which are kinda nasty... very nasty really, just not as nasty as the above


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Tags: - Rant - Tech - Misc
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Plex is quite brilliant ( and free )



If you have your own collection of movies ( say you got from the equally brilliant Yify website yts.re ) or just home videos or photos or whatever. Plex will run thru them and find the ratings, descriptions, poster art and present them to your Tv either via DLNA or via various native clients it has such as for the Roku ( also brilliant if soon to be obsolete due to the new and upcoming Amazon Fire Tv and Android Tv and Apple Tv etc ) and you can get a native Plex client for iPad iOS and Android. And the source code is available, which leads to things like Rarflix which is an enhanced Roku client. And it has plugin support for adding your own channels to navigate various sites, or adding things like omdb support ( also brilliant , a site that gives you an API to access movie information )

So using all this combined with my new 10 megabytes per second internet wooyay, I wrote a script that takes my IMDB watch list and magically downloads all the movies, boom, 300 movies... which naturally I legally own all of them already.. *cough* ahem, I have said this before, the Movie industry needs to be real careful and stop the infighting, I want to pay monthly for access to all tv and movies and music. I do not want to pay £10 per movie to RENT or buy it. I do not want to have to subscribe to 5 different services all with varying degrees of support for my devices and even differing quality or limited availability. And they could do all of that for a reasonable price... but they do not. So apps like Popcorn Hour ( also brilliant if you don't mind the lower quality ) emerge become open source and suddenly people can freely stream almost any movie instantly for free, and then they get no money. Zip Diddly Squat.

I am a paying user of Netflix ( also brilliant ) but it periodically looses films I wanted to watch due to license issues or whatever. And the selection of films in the UK is a joke compared to the US. But it is still the most convenient way to get at most of the Tv series I watch.. well given the 50/50 chance they are even on Netflix anyway. And the Netflix original creations such as House of Cards are significant draws, good for them, as at any point in an instant the film studio can and have pulled significant numbers of films out of greed.



*sigh* all alone

Also after a decade of using Apple Script I finally started using external functions, so you can have common functionality in separate apple scripts and use them from anywhere else.

It is achieved quite simply with:

set SomeVariable to load script POSIX file "/SomePath/SomeFolder/SomeScript.scpt"
tell SomeVariable to someFunction(someStuff)

Embarrassingly simple, yet I never thought to check it could do that till now. Also you can use a property instead of a variable to store the script in, then it is saved with the file. So if you make changes to the originally loaded script it won't effect other scripts you saved that used an older version ( till you open them up and resave them ) this would prevent say you changing something in the loaded script that inadvertently broke many other scripts. The Cons are obviously any improvements you make won't propagate then either.

Also I have implemented some multi threaded type stuff by using this:
set scptf to "theScriptYourWantToRun.scpt"
set arglist to "arg1 arg2" -- A space separate string of arguments you want to send to the script
do shell script "/usr/bin/osascript "" & scptf & """ & arglist & " >/dev/null 2>&1 &"

Which will run a script and send it some arguments / variables. And it doesn't sit around and wait for it to finish ( so you can't have any callbacks as such ) but is good to spit out 100 of processes that are happy to work independently of each other.

-

And in other news I repaired my TimeBomb / Apple Time Capsule, soldered new capacitors onto it and fixed a resistor onto the fan to keep it permanently running and cut a hole in the bottom for air flow. On performing this however I found someone had already changes the capacitors themselves

:-D

then remembered vaguely that I had in fact bought a refurb/repaired capsule off ebay.

Thankfully the new AC capsules do not have the sudden death problems any more. This has all been a huge pain in the ass simply because I cannot use my 3TB in any external enclosures due to legacy bit issues, ugh. Nothing but a nightmare all round.

It is no wonder I never get any work done... I need to work on my priorities, just after I uhm... write a script to remind me to do things

:-P


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------ My Force Feedback Wheel Review ------

-- Edit --
Ok a lot has changed since I wrote this, a new impressive wheel by Thrustmaster was released which is better than all these wheels (unless you want xbox support)
And then Fanatec has brought out 2 wheels one of which to go toe to toe if not exceed the Thrustmaster, exciting times indeed

:-)


-- Edit --

I have the fortunate problem of having a room crammed full of boxes and parts from a Logitech G27, Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S, 2 x Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3 RS v2, Microsoft Xbox 360 Wheel, 2 Sets of Plastic Fanatec Porsche Standard Pedals and a solid metal set of Fanatec Clubsport Pedals and all the associated gear sticks/shifters.

I own some of the products but most were sent to me by Fanatec for the purpose of comparison, they sent me a competitors product the Logitech G27 confident that side by side their product would stand to be the better choice.... so is it?

The Fanatec 911 GT3 R2 and Turbo S are joint Winners here.
The smoothness and strength of the belt drive in the Fanatec's versus the notchyness and clunkiness of the Logitech is the clincher for me personally. The bonus of the great aesthetic and very handy HUD to tweak controls make it a joy.

The Clubsport Shifter is proposed for release soon but no concrete dates I am aware of. To me it is the last missing puzzle piece in Fanatec's product line aside from perhaps a Clubsport Premium Wheel and the E-Motion Cockpit. It will likely be usable with any wheel on PC.

The Clubsport Pedals are mighty also, and you can use those with any Wheel on PC. At first I thought they were an over priced luxury, however after having used them I cannot possibly go back to using the plastic dainty pedals of any of the other wheels. I just can't!!! They really are worth the extra cost and the load cell/pressure driven braking (versus travel driven like the other pedals) should make braking more realistic and consistent.

The Fanatec Wheels Pros outweigh any of the Cons for me, but I can imagine for some people they may not, especially if you are price sensitive.

I shall outline the facts so you may make an evaluation for yourself if it is right for you and your priorities, it is no secret I am a huge fan of the Fanatec products personally and even more so having used the best Logitech has to offer in direct comparison.

I apologise in advanced for the length, I have tried my best to organise my thoughts on it in a simple manner but I always struggle with succinctness

:-)



See the Bottom of this for Photographs and Movies and a break down of prices and what products/bundles are on offer



------------- Quick Overview - What You Need to Know -------------

--- Helical Gears versus Belt Driven Force Feedback ---
One of the biggest mechanical/functional differences between the Logitech and the Fanatec is the Logitech uses helical gears (smoother than the G25 straight cut gears) where as the Fanatec is belt driven (smoothest by far), and what this means in real terms is the Fanatec wheel feels much more like you are driving a real car with smooth quiet changes in direction even when shaking rapidly such as going over uneven ground in a Rally car, but on the Logitech it jars, rattles and tugs like a computer peripheral, it feels and sounds clunkier overall with a notchiness at times. The Fanatec wheel I feel is more immersive, weighty and natural not just aesthetically but functionally too. This becomes even more evident the jerkier the car/game your are playing with, off road games are increasingly clunky feeling on the Logitech. Also the Logitech has a sizeable deadspot/deadzone around centre which the Fanatec's do not have (if the games drivers are set up correctly)

The mechanical gearing however may have one advantage for people interested in faster lap times, they are in a way, sharper, perhaps slightly more responsive at least in 'feel' now this may NOT be more realistic at all, but it may be faster in It's clunkiness, you may however be just as fast in the Fanatec if you tweak the FFB and dampening settings, so It's only slight and depends what you are driving typically. For me personally the immersion and feel is more important than a few ms here and there




--- The Fanatec Wheels ---
Fanatec's Belt Driven 911 Turbo S on left and GT3 RS 2 on the Right

The Fanatec Wheels are impressive. I went straight from using the Microsoft Wheel to the Fanatec and it blew me away (no surprise really). It's not as refined or as precise as a real Porsche's Steering Wheel but that would probably costs a few thousand dollars more, for the price and for a computer peripheral It's pretty gorgeous and easily the best you can get for under $1000. Though the build quality on the Turbo S is not as good as it could or should be, the GT3 RS is much tidier in the detailing if your really nit picking.

The FFB is nice, quiet, strong and smoooooth it just feels so much nicer than the Logitech

One awesome feature of the Fanatec wheel is the built in LED HUD display which you can navigate via a d-pad in the wheel and alter various key settings while in the middle of driving, It allows you to fiddle with settings without having to leave the game or race and I find it invaluable as a time and energy saver and is even more invaluable in consoles games like Forza on the xbox 360 and GT5 on the Playstation when it comes out.

I cannot over state enough how much the HUD and It's tweaks are a KILLER feature, and they keep adding to it with updates, now adding ability to tweak a plethora of features from linearity to dampening mid game, combined with user presets It's a joy and a power users (massive fiddlers) dream.

You can currently adjust
Wheel Lock 90-900 degrees
FFB - Force Feedback from 0-100
SHK - Shock/Effects/Rumble
DR - Drift Mode (A Really really nifty feature that lets you simulate something like power assisted steering I think, it make the wheel bounce around in your hands on high settings useful for drifting where you want to throw the wheel around)
ABS - where you get a vibration feedback based on braking strength, helpful to judge where a fixed percent of braking is occurring.
LIN - Linearity
DEA - Dead Zone
SPR - Spring - (strength wheels tries to return to centre, higher makes it stronger and twitchier)
DPR - Damper - not sure what this does effectively, it affects the dampening

:-)

It feels like it makes it less springy and more sudden movement, I think. Apparently it greatly improves some games like F1 2010 especially on consoles.

Even if you don't drift the drift mode is useful to remove stiffness in the wheel some games have while still keeping the force feedback intact

Also make sure to remove or lower any dampening in the driver settings, removing dampening on the Logitech is a recipe for disaster I feel but the Fanatec handles it fine

The Flappy Paddle Shifters on the wheel are annoyingly lacklustre but not a deal breaker, Check video at bottom to see what I mean

The Fanatec Clubsport Pedals while expensive are worth every penny, they are awesome and you can use them on PC with any wheel

The Fanatec Standard Pedals are not as good as the Logitech's but they are perfectly usable and functional

The Fanatec Turbo S is the only wheel apart from the rather sad Microsoft Wheel, that Supports the Xbox 360 and thus can play Forza Motorsport with proper support for rumble and clutch.
(I now hear Fanatec are making a NEW premium xbox supporting wheel!)

Also the Wheel has a couple of vibration/rumble motors in the wheel rim itself, this depends on driver support generally (aside from the ABS function) It's properly utilised on the xbox for example but not really used on the PC side as far as I can tell. The Logitech has no vibration motors.

Overall the GT3RS seems to have a better build quality/design and the Alcantara leather is really very very nice

Also of note you can get a Fanatec adapter to support other pedals with their wheels. The adapter is included with the 911 Turbo S 'PURE' edition for free as it comes with no Pedals as standard. Using the adapter the Fanatec wheels can be used with G25, G27 pedals or the Xbox 360 Wheel Pedals which is a move to help people transition from another wheel. This is something I took advantage of initially to use my existing Xbox pedals.

--- Fanatec Carrera Wheel ---

I haven't had the opportunity to try this wheel out, this wheel is aimed at the price conscious.
Replacing the Leather with Rubber, and the belt drive of the other Fanatec wheels with Gears (The Logitech is only ever gear driven)
If you just can't justify the price of the Fanatec wheels in any of the other configurations, then give this wheel a serious look over.


--- The Logitech G27 ---

Is deceptively ugly and vanilla, I mean you tell any regular person it costs $300 and show them it and they will laugh at you and your overpriced toy. They may quieten somewhat once they try it though, It's a good functioning bit of kit, It's plastic from top to bottom but It's good plastic in that It's quite solid and you won't be shy of throwing it in a bag and carting it about, but It's still plastic toy looking and feeling. To most racers this will matter little as It's lap times lap times lap times right?

The leather wheel has a nice soft comfortable feel in your hands though it feels small and dainty compared to the Fanatec, or light and nimble if you want to be glass half full kinda guy (the Fanatec has a bigger 30cm diameter). The Pedals and the Shifter that it comes with are functionality excellent however; the Logitech wheel and shifter have plenty of buttons (6 on wheel and 12 on Shifter) though the Fanatec isn't lacking in buttons either with 14 on the Wheel itself. Overall It's a complete package.

It does what you need and it does it well enough with no fanfare or excess and is readily available from hundreds of distributors and shops. I would personally recommend you shell out for the Fanatec GT3RS and some standard pedals or even look into the Fanatec Carrera wheel which is Fanatec's new budget offering with rubber instead of leather trim and gear driven instead of belt bringing the price down a sizeable chunk of change.

Perhaps the biggest down fall of the Logitech is how clanky, jerky and noisy it is when playing off road games, it feels notchy and mechanical, all the jerking and bumpiness of rally really lends itself to the belt driven smoothness of the Fanatec wheels and the increased strength of force it seems to have over the Logitech also. Playing Richard Burns Rally or even Colin McRae Dirt with some modifications really makes the Logitech beyond intolerable in terms of noise and judderyness while the Fanatec handles it beautifully over the uneven terrain.


--- The Microsoft Wheel ---

Isn't remotely in the same league as the other wheels, but It's a good entry level wheel if you only want to play on the xbox and is still a big step up from a controller. The design is quite nice, It's very computer peripheral controller styled, the wheel grip is nice even if it is just rubber it has a nice enough feel. The paddle shifters are well placed albeit my shifter's now makes a crunchy metal clicky noise and don't feel right. And It's actually very playable on your lap, I just attach the table clamp and squeeze that between my legs, it holds it quite firm and the wheel doesn't offer enough resistance to make that a problem, using the Logitech or Porsche wheel on your lap is not really an option at all.


--- Gran Turismo 5 ---

What wheel to pick for GT5? Is sure the question of the moment as the game is imminently being released after years and years and oh so many years of development.
Well I would go with the Fanatec, though I have not been able to test it with GT5 as of writing the game is not out, but I will surely give it a whirl ASAP.
Looking at the firmware updates and feature's in the Fanatec Wheel HUD you can adjust dampening, deadzone, linearity and all that fun stuff on the wheel itself, these things are essential to getting GT5 to operate properly as it as far as I am aware pays no mind to Fanatec and champions Logitech as the wheel of choice no doubt thru some marketing deal (Please Correct me if I am wrong)
Being able to adjust these kind of things is invaluable on consoles given you cannot guarantee being able to adjust such things in the game itself.
I know one example is as all the logitech wheels have a mechanical dead zone the game doesn't handle that area properly on the Fanatec wheel as it has no dead zone limitation; this causes a swaying back and forth when the wheel is centred which is shoddy of Polyphony to be honest; however by adjusting the Fanatec Wheel HUD Deadzone you can simulate the dead zone of the Logitech's; a yucky compromise.

- Edit - Ok the game is out, I'll be giving the Logitech and Fanatec a blast with it asap however I suspect that will be a long wait as I'm super busy

:-(



Simraceway have a small piece on setting up the Fanatec GT3 RS v2 with GT5:

Link: www.youtube.com


Quick Overlook of new upcoming xbox wheel:

Link: www.youtube.com


And a detailed review of the game coming soon also

Now that's probably enough information for most people, but if you want more detail, please keep reading as I disclose some of the few niggles and fault's



------------- In Detail -------------



------ Microsoft Wheel - Included Standard Pedals ------
If you play any driving games even some of the arcade ones will all benefit from having a Wheel. The jump from a controller to a wheel is a big improvement, games will turn off most if not all of the girly aids and assists they need to have to use a controller and instead hand over full control to you and your wheel. the MS Wheel is priced appropriately and is a great introduction wheel, though if you are anything like me you will instantly become hooked on racing games and soon find yourself willing and eager to upgrade to better technology.

I thought Forza Motorsport was a sadistic boring waste of time when I used it with a controller, as soon as I got the MS Wheel it made so much more sense, it came alive suddenly there was all this interaction and feedback as to what the cars weight and grip is doing that is completely absent with a controller.

You can even use the Wheel with a PC however you need a USb wireless adapter, and more frustratingly Microsoft despite claims have never bothered to update the drivers to support force feedback on the PC, so it will act merely as a loose limp rotary dial... unforgivable.

The pedals are decent enough, just 2 pedals no clutch, they stay in place and are practical and light for general use
You can use them with the Fanatec wheel also, however in my case they flickered a fair bit making them unusable.
The biggest problem with them is they offer the same resistance on both accelerator and brake pedal and that resistance is very very low, you won't be using these pedals with shoes on.



------ Logitech G27 Wheel ------
Not much to add over what I have already said, it does It's job, it does it with little flare.
One nice thing is you can swap out the standard wheel rim with one of your own choosing using some mod kits, such as using a full size Momo wheel for example, however the default wheel rim is smaller than the Fanatec's which is a shame.

The Flappy Paddle Shifters are more reliable than the Fanatec's, however they give no feeling when they have clicked even though the click happens fairly short in the overall travel of the paddle, in practice this has not been an issue as you can hear the click in most cases. It feels quite computer peripheral like again, not like a real car, but It's functional and reliable.

It has plenty of buttons on the Wheel though no where near as many as the Fanatec, and the buttons on the Logitech are trickier to hit where as the Fanatec's are big and well placed.

The built in table clamp is decent enough, it looks stupid though and is not as fast or simple to release and attach as the Fanatec



------ Logitech G27 - Included Standard Pedals ------
They are really good, plastic but solid and you can use them or the G25 pedals with the Fanatec wheel too via an adapter.
So if you wish so if you already own a G25 you can upgrade to a Fanatec wheel without needing to buy more pedals.
The Logitech Shifter has no such adapter though sadly.

I feel they are better than the standard Fanatec Porsche pedals but theres not much in it really.

The Fanatec Clubsport pedals though are in another league from these if you can afford them.




------ Fanatec - Porsche Standard Pedals ------
The Porsche Pedals while relatively cheap are fairly flimsy looking but functionally acceptable, nothing special, the Logitech G27 pedals look and feel superior but they cannot be purchased separately.

The Porsche Pedals have an odd pivot point in that when you put your foot down on the brake, if you are not careful the pedals will just tip backwards, they just won't stay put on the ground, they have velcro strips which seem bent on destroying my cheap carpet and in fact one of the rubber feet has been pulled off and one of the velcro strips has peeled off and is left stuck to the carpet. All it needs is a metal plate underneath to make them heavier and to stick a few inches out of the back to give it the proper leverage, and I think they sell such a plate as an extra in the Fanatec store... but it should be standard as It's a design flaw really.



------ Fanatec - Clubsport Pedals ------
The Clubsport Pedals are... magnificent, The first thing you will notice is the sheer weight, they are basically solid metal, nuts and bolts, it is by no means a typical consumer product, it has some exposed circuit boards and wiring and bare nuts and bolts, It's serious looking and stylish and while some of the exposed circuitry and wiring is a bit of a distraction it doesn't detract from the overall quality, these pedals will break you before you break them... I'm serious.

I'd feel safer if they hid some of the exposed circuitry and sensors as I worry they could get knocked about but It's a small niggle in a otherwise flawless product.

You can adjust the pedals throw and position of the pedals to make it easier to 'heel toe' downshift amongst other things, And if that's not enough you can purchase a variety of coloured aluminium pedal replacements to swap out AND an additional tuning kit which contains springs and parts for you to alter the resistance. I've seen people reverse the pedals and mount them upside down so they mimic a real car also, something you can also do with the Logitech's

You can also adjust the brake and how much pressure you need to apply, this is possible as the brake uses load cells which means they report the pressure/resistance not the travel. This makes them behave more like a real cars pedals, I believe it is only the brake pedal that acts this way and means you can more naturally and thus reliably hit the right braking pressure you intended without locking. It has little dial/potentiometer that adjust's the required braking force, this is a bit of a fiddle to adjust as you need to see your computer screen, press the pedal and adjust the little dial all at the same time really. I'd prefer those settings adjustable via the driver and the wheel HUD than on the pedals personally but really I'm thankful you can adjust it at all.

They really are a joy to use, it works perfectly in shoes or socks, something the flimsier pedals cannot handle as they offer too little resistance and are of smaller size to really use with shoes.

It also contains some haptic feedback via small vibrating motor, but I can barely notice it even when playing in socks, and only works if you connect the pedals to the wheel instead of using the direct USB connection (though a couple of games do support it via USB too). Yes the Pedals can be used standalone via USB on the PC, that means they will work with any wheel if the game supports input from separate input devices, it also can mean tidier wiring. It supplies a subtle effect which is all you really want so I think once you are trained to notice it it could be a slight help. It's a shame it can't really tie to the wheel lock up and vibrate based on that; as currently it just vibrates at a set percentage of braking.

The only real negative I can think of aside from the fact they will undoubtably out live me, is the size and weight, which is a negative if you want to transport them to a friends house, or move about a lot, but It's also a massive positive as it keeps them sturdy, secure and strong.

I had a little fiddle with the pedals, adjusting the nuts on the accelerator which I think changes the resistance, however because of how It's setup and perhaps my stupidity It was turning the bolt and the nut at the same time and it undid the whole thing and consequently sprang out! I then spend a good hour dicking about finding some tools to try and screw it back in whilst under a good deal of force from the spring! It was that or disassemble the whole thing which I felt would only dig myself a bigger hole. So as long as your are not a tw@! like me you can adjust them quite easily if you have the tools.



------ Logitech G27 - Standard Shifter Set ------
Lots of buttons, work well, Feels more mechanical than the Fanatec's and this is down to personal preference which you like more, Initially I greatly preferred the Logitech's shifter over the Fanatec's, however over time I'm appreciating the firmer feel of the Fanatec one even though It's very clicky. The Logitech's feels wobbly and loose in comparison. I'm holding out for the proposed Fanatec Clubsport Shifter in the hopes it trumps both by miles as the Clubsport Pedals do.



------ Fanatec - Standard Shifter Set ------
Fanatec's budget Shifter Set, contains a H Pattern Shifter 6 Gears and Reverse and a Sequential Stick which is really just an up and down lever/button.
These are disappointing but they are cheap, very toy like, clicky and clunky to use. The Sequential Shifter just twitches up and down like a button and yet somehow is still incredibly noisy.
Initially using the Fanatec Shifter after using the Logitech's I was horrified, however, after working them in they loosened significantly and became much more manageable. But they took a LOT of working in to soften up. Now after longer use I'm appreciating the haptic feel of the Fanatec ones, even though they are clunkier and almost unforgivably noisy; it feels better, the Logitech ones now feel a bit loose and wiggly. So for the price the Fanatec shifter actually, is not so bad at all really.

The Metal Rods for the Shifters to Sit on that thread thru the Wheel base are insane, I had to summon the strength of a thousand men to get them in the holes, and 1000 more to get them out again. They Hilariously have screws you can tighten to grip the rods firmly which are not even close to being needed as the holes themselves are too tight for the rods, yes I made sure the screws were not tightened. I have actually torn something trying to force them in and out, you should not here crunchy noises in your shoulder from simply fitting a Shifter. I actually am quite worried I will never get them out again now. --- Ok I managed to get the rod out and in the process damaged my table, however It's loosening up now and goes in much easier but it is a bit of a design flaw.

In closing, the Fanatec Shifter set is the only choice right now if you want a Fanatec Wheel, and they are affordable albeit not spectacular, all discerning eyes should be on the proposed Clubsport Shifters



------ Fanatec - Clubsport Shifter ------
It's been announced and a spec drafted, and should be coming 'soon'

Material: Full aluminium with some steel parts
Mounting options: There will be screw inserts on the bottom. They will make an adapter for the Clubsport table clamp and the RennSport Wheel Stand.
Gears: 7+1
Sequential option: Will implement it but only if this is not a compromise. Hopefully a solution which could work very well in both modes
Haptic feeling: Very similar like in a real car, perhaps making the resistance adjustable.
Acoustic: A solid 'clonk' instead of a 'clack' but very silent.
Colour/design: Silver as CSP. The shifter will be gated like in a Ferrari or Lamborghini
Style of gear knob: It will be exchangeable so upgrades are possible (leather, carbon, etc). The standard version will be an polished aluminium ball.
Size: They will try to keep the size of the PW shifter but it will probably become a bit higher
Compatibility: It will be backwards compatible to the Porsche wheel shifter and therefore compatible to all platforms.
A USB adapter will be available to make it a stand alone shifter on the PC



------ Fanatec - Porsche Turbo S and GT3 RS v2 ------

Both Turbo S and GT3 RS wheels seem mechanically identical, here is how they differ:
GT3 Is bright frickin Orange, almost as gaudy as the real GT3 Porsche, but some people like that. In all honesty it doesn't look that bad, if you like Orange, which I do, and It's growing on me. The TurboS is Silver which is also nice if not as striking, and It's genuine Metallic Silver Paint, not some scratch off crap, It's real car paint on these things and it looks the business.

GT3 is Alcantara 'leather' just like the real Porsche, no really, It's kissable soft.
TurboS is real leather 'automative grade' and you'll need to clean it as such to keep it looking matte and soft instead of greasy and plasticy after long use.
Alcantara is a synthetic suede like fabric but It's more expensive than leather and very durable (I think) , It's very nice and soft and almost fuzzy feeling, It definitely makes it feel more posh, though It's really down to personal taste if you like a fury steering wheel versus a cold leather one, I can't decide between them I love them both, I think the Alcantara is starting to grow on me, not literally because that would be a serious side effect but it just feels like a really high end wheel, something special, I like stroking it... even the Orange is growing on me too.

The black leather is starting to look old hat next to the Alcantara, if it wasn't for the hard abrasive stitching I Could probably enjoy stroking the GT3 RS all day. Actually... *Cleans Leather Wheel* that's better!!, of course grease builds up on leather and make it shiny, shiny leather = nasty cheap fake looking, Matte leather = nice quality. Ok that's evened things up a bit again! I can't help but wonder how the Alcantara leather/fabric holds up with wear and grease, so far it looks good, however it has malted a fair bit, bits constantly come off the wheel and It's gradually getting less fuzzy which is a good thing really, as long as it doesn't go bald or anything which I\'m sure it won't.

GT3 has a big bright yellow metal strip to denote where the wheel is pointing and 2 large bumps at the top of the wheel for grip, the yellow strip has a screw round the back which you can feel as your thread it thru your hands, not great, but not a huge bother either as It's fairy recessed.

Turbo S has neither of those, It's down to personal taste over this, I like both!

GT3 has better aesthetic manufacturing quality/precision it seems. Buttons fit closer plastic edges have rounded bevels, generally looks neater.
TurboS is gappy, my one is anyway, 2mm gaps in the top right buttons where they meet the wheel rim, I can see all the way thru and out the other side, D-pad button seems even more wonky and ill fitting than the GT3. Gaps along Top of buttons ad the plastic along the top is sharp edged. Odd gaps in the lower inner corner of the top buttons and so on, also the black metal grill with holes in it for ventilation on mine is upside down, the one is and the other one isn't, It's subtle difference but just slightly lacks in the quality control and seems slightly rushed compared to the GT3 (edit I got a second GT3 and It's metal grill is upside down too! hah not big deal).

The 'xbox' 360 button is pretty naff too in press photos it was composed to look like the actual xbox sphere used by Microsoft, sadly they probably cannot acquire those and used a little flat disc, which wouldn't have been so bad if my one hadnt also had a dent in it, no worry though as the button comes off with some careful prying, and leaves a subtle black plastic circle behind instead of a tacky xbox logo.

GT3 is USB only and only Support PC and PS3 (at least I can't figure out how to get it working with the wireless dongle)
TurboS is USB but also supports the wireless dongle, I hope a firmware update will come for the GT3 to allow it to support it too presuming it even has the wireless functionality, it oddly does have the wireless sync button on the dash, but it does absolutely nothing, for future use I suspect.
Also the main reason for the TurboS is the support for the Xbox 360

GT3's Fan seems to be on all the time albeit at a slow rate till it gets hot, this is actually down to a firmware update.
TurboS Fan is off until it gets hot, which admittedly happens almost immediately even in sunny England.

The Clamp built into both wheels works quite well in that It's easy to quickly detach it and fasten it to a desk. It took me a while to figure out at first but once you get how it works in combination with the levered toes underneath It's very secure and fast to remove and attach. You basically tighten the clamp with a giant dial once that is tight you can flip up 2 feet underneath that lever and apply additional grip, then to remove you flip the feet down and simply slide it out, no need to keep adjusting the dial. The Logitech's by comparison have no unlocking mechanics and require you to rotate 2 dials every time.

The Fanatec clamp like the Logitech doesn't quite lever/pivot far enough back so when under even a weak vertical force the wheel pivots forward off the desk. This will be a BIG problem for users new to computer wheels as they probably out of habit lean quite heavily on the wheel, over time you learn to turn the wheel instead of tug on it and it no longer bothers me at all. Actually I think this is a necessary feature to avoid strain on the wheel arm as I heard of people who fastened the wheel tight and secure and it dislodging the belt inside, in any case you can purchase a table clamp that fastens it securely or even a stand if you want to use it on your Sofa or hell a whole Rig and Seat if your fancy swanky like that.


---- Pros ----
They are highly sexual, no really, the Logitech wheel while being fairly high priced still looks like a plastic toy decorated with the gaudy Logitech logo.
Many in the market for such a wheel will care less about the looks than the features, but the Porsche wheel trumps the Logitech on all the important features too.

The most important feature of a wheel is surely the quality of the feedback, the Porsche wheels hands down feel more natural as they are belt driven not gear driven like all other wheels I know of. This produces smooth changes in direction, no clunking of jarring of gears, the Judder matters less in pure track racing games, but in rally games the clunking can be beyond distraction in the G27, and I hear the G25 is far far noisier bless it. It just feels more natural and smooth on the Fanatec wheels, and more like your interfacing with a computer peripheral on the Logitech. I have no doubt you can achieve the same if not better lap times on the Logitech as It's perhaps more pin sharp due to the gears, but It's unnatural and at the expense of immersion, and that's why I drive personally.

It's getting better, Fanatec keep releasing firmware and software updates that add new features. The LED HUD on the wheel is beyond a gimmicky read out, It's genuinely useful, and will become more useful as games make use of the HUD to display information such as RPM numerically. You can alter Force Feedback Strength on the fly without jumping out of a game, alter the Rotation Amount, all things I find myself messing with constantly as I move from car to car and game to game, It's a killer feature to have. The lights on the Logitech are cute, the HUD on the Fanatec is BRILLIANT.

The Porsche Logo Gets me Laid... ok not really, but some people appreciate branding, I don't care personally, as long as it doesn't look dopey like the Logitech logo.

The Wheel is actually fairly light, the G27 seems quite a bit heavier.

Table Clamp detaches and attaches with ease, it has 2 little flappy wedges you can flip up and down underneath to quickly fasten and unfasten it, no turn of a knob needed once It's calibrated, took me a while to figure it out though

:-P




---- Cons ----
It's highly sexual, no really this is a con, It makes me clean it unnecessarily and take loving care of it. The unbearable thought anything should come along and scratch It's paint work or nick the leather. This is actually a serious Con if you intend to carry the thing about and generally enjoy throwing your belongings about with reckless abandon. No the Logitech beats the wheel hands down here, I couldn't care if that thing had tipex/whiteout splashed all over it and it set on fire, it would probably be an aesthetic improvement. But I am superficial like that.

--- Stitching ---
The stitching on the Porsche wheels for is really stiff and thus rough to touch, the Logitech is miles nicer whether It's from different string or just the method of how It's woven so the leather protrudes above the stitching. Now most people don't seem remotely bothered by this, perhaps I use the wheel differently, or my soft girlish hands are more demanding

:-P

But it is the first thing I noticed when using the wheel and it upset me quite a bit as everything else was so polished and then the wheel itself felt rough as I like to grip inside the wheel with my thumbs always rubbing against the stitching. It's also down to me being used to holding the wheel with my thumbs wrapped around the inner corners where the stitching is especially rough.

--- Flappy D-Pad ---
The D-Pad button on my (and seemingly many others Porsche Turbo wheels) seems floppy and just mushy and out of place, There are small gaps where there shouldn't be and it just seems a bit flimsy, not a huge deal breaker or anything, but it nags. On the GT3 the flappyness is a real problem and I am often hitting the wrong button when trying to use the HUD which is infuriating.

--- Shifter Set ---
The standard Fanatec Shifter Set are disappointing but they are cheap, and after long use they are not as bad as I first thought so they are growing on me, but hopefully this will be overshadowed by the upcoming Clubsport Shifters.

--- Clamping ---
Standard table clamping method struggles when you lean on the wheel. But so does the Logitech Wheel suffer here, and the Logitech's clamp screws are goofy as hell. I think it may be on purpose to reduce strain on the wheel arm actually.

--- Shifter Paddles/Buttons ---
The Paddle gear shift buttons on the the back of the wheel are disappointing, they work, they feel nice enough, but they are very small and essentially just a clicky button with little travel, this is fine for casual driving but when racing you need to change gear while turning which is made troublesome by how small they are, you are provided with a metal plate to attach to them which makes them a bit bigger, but the small metal plates are even more disappointing as they are sharp and still not big enough to solve the problem. But now you can get the 'Clubsport' named paddle shifters... read below and check video at bottom of page to see what I mean.

the Clubsport Shifter Paddles don't quite deserve the Clubsport moniker in my opinion, It's just a piece of flat metal with holes in it, the Carbon Fibre version which costs a deal more and is a piece of plastic with some carbon fibre 'style' criss cross weave on it; it looks a little more interesting than the flat black aluminium ones though, at first the carbon ones feels cheaper and rough to touch on the edges unlike the metal/aluminium ones. Wait a second, I just got some fine sand paper and ran it over the edges a few times and now they are quite a bit better; removing some of the excess plastic that was giving them a greyish dry appearance, they are still a bit rough feeling but nothing a real Mans hands would object too, I unfortunately do not have such hands. All this should really have always been standard not extra cost and should have came at the launch of the wheel really, but lets be thankfully they came along eventually, at least the black aluminium version IS now included free with the GT3 wh
Aside from minor cosmetic niggles, what makes the Clubsport Shifter Paddles actually disappointing is how wobbly they are, as they have so much lateral wiggle/give due to the increased leverage; the paddles just feel mushy and feel like It's going to twist and break the button off (And this is on the GT3 wheel v2 which supposedly has more rigid buttons than the other wheels, but I don't see it) ... wait a second, I just tried the same shifter paddles on the Turbo S and they work much better, the buttons wiggle less and are more evenly levered so it takes the same pressure and travel at the top of the paddle as it does the bottom (on the GT3 the clicking at the top of the paddle needed noticeably more travel and force).

The paddle buttons underneath are longer too so the metal blocks don't come close to scratching and digging into the wheel base like they do on the GT3... and these paddles CAME with the GT3!.. so maybe it differs from wheel to wheel, on the Turbo S it actually seems to be much better and actually an improvement over using just the small button or the small metal plate they usually come with, but on the GT3 it seems mushy and It's digging in a few mm into the wheel base plastic, not cool. on the GT3 the lil paddle buttons are separate buttons that have a fair click to them, on the TurboS they are moulded from the same plastic and attached to the wheel base and just flex; they don't travel as far and have hardly any click to them, but that seems to make them work better wiht the Clubsport Shifter Paddles. As the increased travel on the GT3 give it a big lateral wiggle room making them mushy when used with the longer paddles.

They have a deeper thud noise on the Turbo S, a light click on the GT3 and on the Logitech G27 they have a rather lame button click noise that sounds like a mouse button. So +1 to the Turbo S. Also I looked closely on the GT3 and the reason the Clubsport Paddle pulled completely out of the mount is because the metal screw thread in the button it attaches to is actually a few mm deeper in one hole than the other; just on the right side, and it means It's hard for the screw to get all the way in to the metal thread, so It's just holding onto the plastic thread above it which isn't strong enough to hold it under lateral movement and it pulls right out. I have now managed to get it to screw in a bit better than before and it is holding.

The Logitech G27's built in Shifter Paddles are more basic in implementation, they lack haptic feedback so yo can't feel when you have shifted, but it makes them seemingly more reliable and consistent. I know Shift paddles are often referred to as flappy paddles as in some cars they are possibly equally useless. This matters less to not at all if you intend on using a separate Gear Shifter but more on that later. Arguably the Shifters should even be on the Column and not the wheel, but that's personal preference and probably isn't even possible to do in such a small footprint, Maybe they will save something like that for a Clubsport Premium Wheel!

Fanatec have sent me another GT3 Wheel to test the paddles on and while it is improved on this new wheel It is still not perfect. Call me niggly but I am missing some shifts when the paddle makes the sound and feel as if it is shifting but it does not. Now I can adjust my driving style and how I hold the wheel, but I should'nt have to do that. They have told me the design will definitely be improved in future versions, I suspect It's a simple case of they were never designed to have these big paddle extensions on them, and the trade off over a button versus a paddle that missing clicks at the extreme ends of the paddle; is a good trade off. But a bit of an oversight on an otherwise well designed product.

I will attach a video so you can see it for yourself at the bottom of this page

--- Support and Returns ---
If anything goes wrong it has to go all the way back to Germany, with the Logitech you can probably just hand it back no questions asked to your local shop.


------ Fanatec Problems ------

--- Customer Support - Superb!! when you get it ---
The support from Fanatec while sometimes taking a long time to get a response, when you do get one for me It's always been very helpful and accommodating. I understand they don't have teams of people on the phones or to answer e-mails the responses. The email support I have had has literally come from either the head of the company Thomas or It's head engineer Armin. And they have both shown great patience and support with customers including myself. They listen to customers and involved in the community and I would like to personally thank them for their patience and openness, It's really refreshing.

--- Manufacturing Defects and Delays - Troubling ---
They have had some problems in manufacturing over the years, they have had set backs with schedules and while I'm sure the overall reliability and quality is absolutely superb for most customers there have been a few cases where things haven't gone so well, but that's to be expected. What matters then is how a company handles such issues, and I can say first hand Fanatec have handled the problems amicably and I respect them all the more for it.

For instanced when I pre-ordered the Turbo S, and waited many impatient months for the release date, it kept shifting due to manufacturing issues, people who pre-ordered really early were offered a reward of Forza Motorsport for free, however as the issues pushed the release even past the release date of Forza it ended up becoming a similar value coupon to use on any product in the Fanatec shop, which I think was fair and a nice gesture and apology.

The whole time they interacted with customers thru their website
letting people know what was going on and responding to comments.

--- My Story of Woe ---
When my wheel finally arrived, a glorious day, I found I was missing the pedal adapter, a rather crucial element so I could use my xbox pedals with it. They promptly sent me an adapter in the post. But if I remember correctly it was the wrong one

:-D

it was an adapter for logitech pedals, so they sent me another adapter and this time it was a Fanatec branded combo adapter for Xbox pedals and Logitech in one, my guess is they had difficulties getting those made in time for the Wheels initial release and it got a bit messed up... never mind, then I find my xbox Pedals flickered quite wildly when braking mostly!!! So I feared the adapter may have been defective, so they send me another one!!! that one gave me the same flickering problem so safe to assume it was not the adapter at fault. So maybe the Wheel? I talked with Armin and figured it might be the cheapness of the xbox pedals not being tolerated by the Porsche Wheel and suggested them send me some free Porsche Pedals which would work out cheaper than me
To summarise I had a missing adapter, It won't tolerate defects in my cheap xbox pedals, the replacement pedals they sent me also happened to be defective!

Now I'm a glass half empty kind of guy most of the time, the little mistakes and niggles with Fanatec should never have happened, some of it was perhaps rushed; the launch didn't go to schedule from the manufacturing issues to being held up at customs they were surely in a rush. It's not Fanatec themselves making these Wheels but some factory in China, I don't envy how difficult it must be to organise and manage that at all for example using the wrong plastics, wrong lubrication on and on. But at the end of the day they make products no one else wants to make as It's such a niche of a niche So I can appreciate why some of the problems have happened and I definitely whole heartedly appreciate how they have handled them. So on the whole I think they are doing a good job and not only do they have room to improve but I get the distinct impression that they are improving and learning and LISTENING to customers. I respect that kind of thing a great deal.


------ Driver / Game Support ------
A common issue with all of these wheels is driver/game support. Most games support the lowest common denominator when it coms to force feedback, they pick a middle line a so so configuration, and even when some games have Fanatec specific setup they seem to be a tad on the weak side. this is nothing against Fanatec, but I often find myself going into game ini's and hacking the force feedback values and rumble settings and so on, as what data and feel is transmitted thru the wheel is unto personal preference, some what it to ONLY be the forces the steering wheel would really have, some choose to have some feedback from the rear tyres and chassis as you are sensory deprived while driving sat in your office chair at your PC and that somewhat makes up for it in theory.

The worst though is when it comes to consoles as you can't even hack them then, thankfully the Fanatec wheel has a myriad of options you can adjust from the wheel but it can only go so far, It's down to the developers to bother to solve this problem and allow people to adjust it to personal preference and based on setup.

For example Richard Burns Rally is pretty good on the wheels by default, however if you open the Physics/Physics.lsp file and Edit the MaxFFTorque to be something like 90, it changes the feel dramatically for the better imo. but theres a whole host of places you can screw up settings and linearity and dampening across all games, it really is a nightmare (for me anyway)




------ Conclusion ------
So to conclude, you can't just pop into PC World and pick up a Fanatec wheel; even sadder if something goes wrong you can't just pop back in and have it swapped or fixed; but at the same time If you have a problem or a suggestion you won't get handed off to a call centre with someone reading from a list of how many ways they can' help you. You will have to wait a while to get a response but when you do it will be from someone who can actually help and actually knows a great deal about what they are talking about as it will most likely either be the head of the company Thomas, or Armin. I have seen some people get extremely annoyed at the length they have had to wait for a response, people are used to instant response ticketing systems and I agree Fanatec does need some work on the response time when handling problems, repairs, replacements, but as I said when they do get in touch they are genuinely able to help and do not just pass you around in a circle. If you are impatient above all other things then you
I love the Porsche Wheel hands down. As The most important part of the Wheel... the Wheel itself, is hands down has the best feel, best feedback and the best quality you can buy without going over a $1000, and even the vastly more expensive specialist products can't match the driver support and niceties like the built in HUD and xbox/PS3 support. The Clubsport pedals again are the best I have ever seen in that price range and definitely the best I have ever used. And they are talking about making a Clubsport Shifter, which surely will be what I am waiting for, then I will not care about the lack of large Paddle Shifter buttons, or the junky Plastic Shifter they currently offer. Then it will be almost perfect.

Even after all my technical trouble, the niggles and some of the quite surprisingly basic errors in design and manufacturing I still hold Fanatec in the highest regard. Not just because they loaned me over a $1000 of equipment to play with and test. Not because Armin and Thomas have both personally been involved in helping customers including myself. Not even because the competition is bland. But because they are the ONLY company making this calibre of product at an affordable price, they absolutely listen and respond to feedback, they are for fanatics as they are fanatics themselves I'm sure









------ Summary of Wheels and Prices ------

I have attached Prices which were correct as of writing but may have changed and don't really consider second hand prices on ebay or anything.

$180 Fanatec 911 GT3 R1 and R2
Comes with nothing but the Wheel
This is Fanatec's Premium Wheel, and is for PC and PS3 only.
The R1 has been replaced by the R2 and you can buy an upgrade to either install yourself or ship the wheel to Fanatec to upgrade it for you
Oddly it cannot use the Fanatec Wireless Dongle It's wired only afaik
With the adapter you can use the Xbox 360 Pedals and Logitech G25 or G27 Pedals
Sadly I see no Way of using the Logitech Shifter
No Shifter buy separately or just use built in paddles shifter on wheel.

$320 - Fanatec 911 GT3 R1 and R2 Clubsport Edition
Same as above but comes with Clubsport Pedals, no shifter buy separately.

$200 - Fanatec Turbo
Comes with decent Wireless Porsche Pedals and Standard H Shifter and Sequential Shifter and a Wireless Dongle to use it wirelessly with PS3 or PC
PC and PS3 only, Pedals comes with Steel plate I think

$350 - Fanatec Turbo S (Was limited Edition now sold out, Fanatec have announced a new replacement but no details yet)
Comes with decent Wired Porsche Pedals and Standard H Shifter and Sequential Shifter and a Wireless Dongle to use it wirelessly with PS3 or PC
This is Fanatec's Wheel for the Xbox and can be used wirelessly as standard, and it supports the PC and the PS3 too.

$250 - Fanatec Turbo S Pure (Was limited Edition now sold out, Fanatec have announced a new replacement but no details yet)
Comes with nothing but the wheel, connection to Xbox is wireless, PC and PS3 needs Wire or you can buy dongle
The Turbo S comes with an adapter to use other pedals from the Logitech G25, G27 and the Microsoft Pedals, or even the premium Fanatec Clubsport Pedals, and naturally you can buy the Porsche Pedals separately for it too.

$400 - $450 - Fanatec Turbo S Ultimate Ed (Was limited Edition now sold out, Fanatec have announced a new replacement but no details yet)
Comes with Clubsport Pedals and nothing else, Essentially Turbo S Pure packaged with Clubsport Pedals

$160 - Fanatec Carrera - Comes with budget standard Porsche pedals
Fanatec's Budget Wheel which with cheaper aesthetics, rubber instead of leather for example and gear driven instead of belt driven like the GT3RS and TurboS
That's cheaper than even a second hand Logitech G27 by the looks of it, I wish I could try it and compare for you but I have not got one!

$200 - Fanatec Clubsport Pedals
These Are the premium pedals, best I have ever seen or used, they weigh a ton as they are solid metal.
They can be used standalone via USB for PC or connected directly to Fanatec wheels.
You can get additional tuning kits and a variety of colours.

$50 - Fanatec Porsche Pedals
These are Fanatics budget standard pedals, they are decent but not as good as the Logitech's, and if you don't have the metal plate they tend to move about and pivot.

$50 - Fanatec Shifters Set - H Shifter and Sequential Shifter
Fanatec's budget standard Shifter set, you get 2 separate units for H Shifting and Sequential, but they are quite clunky.
Fanatec promise they are working on a Clubsport Shifter Set so I'd wait for that, but they are cheap enough to buy on a whim and they will do the job once they are worn in a bit.

$?? - Fanatec New Xbox Wheel Announced (no details yet, will replace the sold out Turbo S)

$99? - Fanatec Clubsport 8 Gates Metal Shifter - Announced but no real details yet
If these share more than just a name with the Clubsport Pedals then they should be amazing. I have high hopes for them!

$70? - Fanatec Clubsport Handbrake (CSHB) - Announced but no real details yet

$?? - Fanatec E-Motion Rennsport Cockpit - Announced but no real details yet
Motion Platform for Shaking your bones loose while driving baby, no release data yet afaik

$200 - $300 - Logitech G25
I have not used it personally, It's now replaced by the G27, main difference being that it went from straight cut clunky gears to smoother helical gears so I suspect the G25 is unfathomably noisy.

$222 - $300 - Logitech G27
Comes with nice Pedals and nice Shifter.
The G27 is pretty much the same as the G25 but it has better mechanics resulting in less noise and smoother FFB, yet It's still very very clanky.
Toy like compared to the Fanatec GT3 or Turbo S.

$70 - $150 - Microsoft Wheel - Comes with weak MS Pedals, Connection to xbox is wireless
The Official Wheel by Microsoft only for Microsoft Xbox 360, It's what I started with and it was good for me at the time, but compared to the other wheels here It's a cheap toy.
But it is cheap so you get what you pay for, and it is pretty well made and designed actually, but It's quite weak and rattly but a good step up from a analog stick controller!
Porsche Standard Pedals:





------ Videos ------

Click the Links to watch the videos, The Images are not clickable.

Dirt 2 + Fanatec Turbo S



Fanatec GT3 RS + Richard Burns Rally



Fanatec GT3 RS + Dirt 2



Need for Speed Shift + Turbo S


Video Showing Fanatec GT3 Paddle Shifter Problem/Defect:
It fails to register clicks on one end of the paddle along with some crunchiness.
Nit picking for sure but It has caused me to miss shifts and given the care everything else has been given seems like a surprising oversight or compromise.



Fanatec Clubsport Pedals In Use:



Fanatec Turbo S + Forza 2 Xbox 360



In Game - Need for Speed Shift - Was Using Fanatec Wheel
With a painful ending reminding me of why I do this with a PC and not in real life :-S

In Game - Need for Speed Shift using Turbo S
Totally edited out my bad driving set to music (Celldweller)







------ Photographs ------

Clubsport Paddle Shifter Set - Carbon Fibre look:


And this wasn't all of them

:-P




Fanatec Clubsport Pedals:


Logitech G27:


Fanatec GT3 RS v2:


Stereo Wheels:


Fanatec Turbo S:


Close up the the Fanatec Turbo S Wheel Stitching:


Fanatec Press Photographs:

Standard Pedals:


Clubsport Pedals:


Oooh Would I like a Setup like That

:-)


RennSport Cockpit with Fanatec Wheel


Turbo S and Table Clamp Accessory, and Shifter


Close Up Turbo S:


Turbo S:



Fanatec Standard Sequential Shifter:


Fanatec Standard H Pattern Shifter:


Logitech G27



Microsoft Wheel:



Fanatec Carrera Wheel ( I Have not tested)



The Rather Awesome Rennsport Wheel Stand with a Fanatec Wheel attached:


Show comments for 'FFB Wheel Review'
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Yes I have finally received my Fanatec Porsche Force Feedback Wheel woo yay woo

I have watched the thing travel the world by boat, travel Germany by road and now It's here after countless delays and setback the wheel I ordered in June -_-

I was expecting it in September.. no such luck it seems, some folk have had this pre-ordered over a year ago... anyway... what is this thing, this shiny technological masterpiece...

It arrived with good timing in one way as Dirt 2 just came out so I can play it first with my new wheel!! all the newness and awesomeness!



Here it is, taken at night so photos a bit grainy/blurry and washed out etc, but it still looks cool!






And here are some videos below in the links of me messing about with it in Dirt and Shift, I need to make a video of Richard Burns Rally which is by far the most fun despite It's age.



Naturally videos and pictures do little to convey the forces that are being applied to your hands as you drive, so use your imagination

;-)




Sure it was expensive, but it is the only wheel on the planet that supports everything, xbox, PS3, PC and looks good while doing it as a bonus.

It has immense force feedback, Rally Driving will jolt your arms all over if you are not careful, racing games will give you the subtle feedback as tyres are about to loose grip and when you need to counter steer a slide thus preventing a crash (they will at least if they properly simulate tyre deformation and contact patch which few do). Overall it provides a big deal of immersion into a game which may normally be a rather passive experience, suddenly you are drawn in and engaged and given extra sensory perceptions that not only make it more entertaining but easier to drive well.

It isn't as well made as a real porsche wheel, it has some defects, stitching is rough to touch, buttons have a bit of a gap and one button is really wonky to touch, the wheel is quite hard; theres no padding under the leather so it feels a bit hollow and hard, but compared to other gaming wheels.. it licks them all and it is a bit cheaper than a real Porsche wheel

:-)



This is It's closest competition:

hahahahah.. look at it... hah... get out of here, It's not any cheaper either really. Pedal Shifter on it are better though by the looks of it, which isn't difficult as the Fanatec's are so useless and rough I had to unscrew them and just use the buttons underneath, which work fine and I quite like them but it makes shifting while steering very difficult.

Biggest pest with this wheel is no game works with it properly by default, not the wheels fault as games are A. designed for retards who cannot drive, and B. are designed for weak ass regular geared wheels.

But you can always tweak and hack and disable all the dampening and aids to unleash It's power if you want.

Richard Burns rally needed a Max Torque tweak hidden away in some physics file which made the game... scary, I recommend using Drift Mode and a lower FFB if you do this though to simulate some kind of power assisted steering.

--

Below I shall detail how I went from a casual arcade gamer to full blown racing nerd with a wheel to proove it.

--

First racing game for me was really Need for Speed Underground, I don't count any games before that especially not the very first which would have been Burning Rubber on the Amstrad CPC+ shown below for amusement


It was a shit game then and it sure as hell is shit now

Anyway NFSU was a great introductory game, it was fast, easy enough to control with a keyboard, exciting stuff...


Then came NFS Most Wanted, which I felt was a great game too, nice graphics for It's time and this time I played on xbox with a analog controller giving much greater control over steering and acceleration.


Then came Forza 2, I tried the demo, thought it was an amusing insight into how real cars might handle, amusing in that they must all handle like ass thanks to It's overly difficult handling down to bad tyre physics.. ok the ewer not bad but they were on the sadistic side when it came to locking up.


I thought the game was bland and boring, and it is... really... but I changed my mind later...

I next got myself into Colin Mcrae Dirt, wow what a blast, it was fun but way more challenging than previous arcadey games I had played, still in the arcade realm though it is no sim.


The graphics also blew Forza out the water and still do, it looked the part and was a blast, so I splashed out on a Microsoft Force Feedback Wheel. Relatively cheap lil thing especially as I got %% off due to damaged packaging.

And it was an epic experience playing it with the wheel, took ages to get used to it, but once I had there was no going back. The level of immersion shot thru the roof, the fun, the swet on my brow... It's the best fun id had gaming in a long long time.

I then tried Forza Demo again and it came alive.. .suddenly it made sense with a wheel, what is the point of a car simulator if you then drive with a thumb stick... it makes no sense. With the wheel the feedback made the cars fun and drivable, it gave you a sense you would eventually just know and feel/untuit when a car was about to screw up and you would have already automatically counter acted it via the wheel.

The graphics were still horrendous and the gameplay was still dreadful, but the driving was fun with all the nuances you would expect.

I quickly realised the wheel I had while good for It's price, was no match for the high end wheels that only worked on PC and PS3.

I looked at PC Car Sims and thought of buying a wheel, but all the PC sims looked dull... lifeless even more so than Forza.

Then I heard Need for Speed were doing a 'sim' racer, and Forza 3 was coming.. and Dirt 2... and I danced, oh how I danced

Dirt 2 above... in game.. no really in game, graphics so good It's actually sexier than real life, I could lick it


How crap does Forza look now.. this is Shift looking very nice indeed

NFS Carbon had came and gone and had been shit, NFS Pro Street had came out, was a piece of shit, NFS Undercover had came out and was a piece of shit... pattern forming stuff... fortunately NFS Shift was by someone else entirely, and they have done a brilliant job, it feels like pretty damn good sim under the hood especially after some hacks. And the graphics and immersion are way above what anyone else other than Codemasters has been able to deliver.

Anyway, I heard of this Fanatec wheel when Forza announced they were supporting it shown below with a motion rig.. and i'm like finally!

Forza 3 looked really good too (from a distance), the wheel looked like a must have... then I saw the price... thought harder about it... and decided what the hell, I earn money to spend it and have fun, and this definitely looked like a top top quality product not only in aesthetic thanks to the Porsche styling genuine leather and paint and genuine badge... but more importantly it was quality gear inside that only the likes of the Logitech G27 can come close to... and man that wheel looks like a toy POS to me.

Anyway Forza 3 then came out, I bought it, turned out to be ok, but still ugly and dull as sin compared to what NFS and Codemaster were putting out, but it was all forgivable-ish as the handling was huge leaps better and it was class leading before. They have now full tyre modelling for deformation which is a big deal in how it affects the car handling and tyre slip/grip.

Forza is a driving game, Shift is a racing game.. big difference. Driving around on your own in a nice car in Forza is actually a pleasure on the few scenic road tracks it has.

Forza still has a plasticy look to it down to the bad car shaders which they could get away with better if they did any post/color correction or even get basic exposure right. They should really use normal maps on the cars instead of high poly as you can see dings and dents in them which could be easily avoided and make it fast enough to have more cars on track., another huge huge let down as It's limited to 8 cars a race.. ugh what a waste of time driving round a 10km track with 8 cars thinly spread over it.

Looks pretty good above sure, but in game and on older tracks especially it looks pretty sad at HD res.

Sorry for the rant/history lesson, but I want to show how I went from casual arcade racer to full blown top of the line limited edition force feedback wheel. I'm even looking at some of the hardcore PC car sims that I previously wrote off as ugly and dull. Got into outdoor 60mph karting And thinking how I can realistically buy a Lotus Elise to do the real thing-ish...

And theres also GT5 to look forward to on the PS3, which looks better than Forza, but it still looks like it might be quite sterile and dull in gameplay... though who knows, I shall wait to try it before judging, I commend them on the amount of content the game will have and if they add weather and day/night I will have to have some pretty bad gameplay to not still be a great game.

-Edit

Ok another GT5 preview article just came out and the thing looks outstanding on paper, they are adding weather and night racing... yay oh yay! finally! ooh and damage-to what exact extent i'm not sure but they even say they have interior damage for 100 or so cars'
How such a major part of racing has been left out of most.. nay all games, I don't know. All you ever hear about during F1 races or Rally or GT or anything is how the weather effects the tyres. My only hope now is for some real endurance race type stuff, but to have the computer pick the tyres for yo.

Which reminds me of another point I love that in Forza you can go in a tweak the car's setup and parts, it has It's own fun to it, but I'd also like to be able to forget about that entirely and just be a race driver sometimes too and have an expert team behind me setting all the stuff up and leave me to racing and trust my car is ALWAYS competitive, in Forza I feel like half the time I loose is cuss my car is junk... yah It's alll the cars fault

;-)






And that above is all I've got to go on right now regarding the night racing

:-P



You'd have thought being given a world exclusive they would have put bigger images in -_-



--

So is this wheel worth the money... yes, and if you want a longer answer to that... yeeeeeeesssss

it was worth my money, whether it is worth yours depends on how much you value your money and how much you would enjoy racing games really.

Now who wants to buy me the full setup for Christmas? I want to nerd out!!!!! they have a motion rig coming soon too... I need more money for this hobby

:-D



And before you say that the 3 screens is overkill, It's actually quite a big deal with car games, as without periphery vision you can't make tight turns as accurately as you can't see the apexes or see cars to your left and right that you may drive into. Aaand you judge speed from your peripheral vision, stuff whizzing by on your far left and right really makes you feel and see the speed you are doing which is why sims feel like you are driving slow and to the 200mph you are doing in game, try driving with a box on your head and a slot for your eyes... tunnel vision is not cool to be race driving with.











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Trying to understand the world of hosting, dns, name servers, registrars, cnames, domains etc etc...

Bizareo world it really is, lots of shady reselling going on, companies that tend to vanish over night unintentionally and ones that vanish quite intentionally with your money ; round every corner it seems.

I've been getting a bit pissed off, I just registered a free domain at co.cc to only have co.cc vanish today, no doubt they will be back in a day or so, but to have a name server go down is unacceptable even for a second.

And my web host has given up the ghost too, almost in tandem. All my searches through free hosting has resulted in wasted energy, seems like almost every other host you goto is really owned by one you just visited already, I thought id found a gold mine with 07x.net but didn't take long to find it randomly decides not to serve up images now and then, but I found a few more hosts that offered similar if not as great services... but nay they looked suspiciously identical to 07x.net and I\'m fairly sure they were either the same company or reselling services of the same company, in any case, they both suffered the same fault.

Even looking at paid hosting resulted in frustration, I can put up with limitations and file size limits on free hosting, but even stricter file format and size limitation on PAID hosting is out the question, I got fed up in the end after host after host told me they didn't support anything other than images and html, NO videos, no zip... or their idea of unacceptable use constituted of users downloading more than 1mb per visit.... *cries*

So basically I have to pay £10 a Month minimum to get even basic hosting it seems..... screw that. This site is a hobby/form of expression more than anything else... call me tight. Makes more sense for me to just continue hosting it myself, move it onto my always running Mac Mini.

All made extra difficult by my somewhat specialized needs. I need Large file hosting (20mb) (or at least I will do eventually) a gig of storage at least, PHP support (with support for absolute paths with PHP include) and FTP that supports my methods of synchronization.

But hurrah a light at the end of the tunnel, I've found a home with a good friend who has a dedicated machine somewhere in far reaches of the web. For now It's just hosting the images for me, I'll hopefully get the PHP moved over in a few days and get a domain sorted out... It's perfect as I can have a shell account meaning I can use rsync over ssh to synchronize any changes to my whole website in a few seconds.

I'm also thinking of buying AlexLovett.co.uk

Fairly, boring, unmemorable... but hey.. It's my name! therefore I cannot get bored of it and feel urged to change it every year... *thinks about changing my own name* ..... ..... no!

But even buying a name is more complicated than id first thought, lots of resellers, some will drop you and dissolve your account just from a single complaint email or based on text content filtering.... yuck!

These guys caught my attention in my searches regarding hosting and domains, check them out if your interested in this jazz at all:

Link: www.gandi.net


Link: www.zoneedit.com


http;//www.easyspace.com/


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