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Wouldn’t it be great if you could get the same functionality as a $159 TrackIR setup but all you need is the mobile device you already have in your pocket and $10? Well, let me introduce you to a little app called SmoothTrack. Below are links to your app store of preference.
Get the App
What is head tracking?
If you are unfamiliar with TrackIR or head tracking in here is a short video demoing exactly what SmoothTrack does in a game called “War Thunder”.
Here is what you need to get started with SmoothTrack:
On your PC:
- On your computer, install and run the free program OpenTrack.
- Press the Windows key -> type “Firewall” -> “Firewall & Network Protection” -> “Advanced Settings” -> Inbound Rules -> New Rule… -> Program -> Program Path to opentrack.exe (probably “c:\program files (x86)\opentrack\opentrack.exe”)
- Right click on your network symbol at the bottom right of Windows, choose “Open Network & Internet Settings” -> Change Connection Properties -> Choose “Private” instead of “Public” (this will make your PC discoverable to your mobile device)
- Press the Windows key -> “Command Prompt” -> type “ipconfig”. Find your local IPv4 address (normally starts with 192.168… but maybe 10.0… or theoretically something else)
- Now restart OpenTrack.
- In Input, choose UDP and open up the settings and note the port (probably 4242).
- As Output, choose “Freetrack 2.0 Enhanced” and “Both” in its settings.
- In Options, bind a hotkey of your choice to “Center” (say, F10)
- Press Start in OpenTrack.
When you have OpenTrack all setup and installed you should be presented with a screen that looks like this.
Here is what it shows when you would be looking behind yourself.
On your Mobile Device:
- (If you have more than one Wi-Fi around you to connect to, then in your phone, set any other Wi-Fi’s “Auto-Join” to “off”)
- Now restart SmoothTrack.
- As “IP address” in SmoothTrack, enter the local IPv4 address from above.
- As “Port”, enter the port from above.
- Press Play.
If the octopus is moving, you are good to go!! Launch your game that supports TrackIR and it should work. Email support is provided if there are any issues.
If you have connection issues or encounter lag here is an alternate method to connect over USB which is supposed to be more stable and eliminate those types of issues.
Instructions For Android:
- Enable adb-debugging on your device, instructions here
- Download the open source gnirehtet server (1 MB) and extract it.
- Download Android platform tools (8 MB), and extract the following files to the gnirehtet folder:
- Plug in your Android device via USB – Double-click on “gnirehtet-run.cmd” in your gnirehtet folder.
- Your device will ask you whether you want to connect to the VPN connection Gnirehtet is creating for you.
- Say OK.
- Press Windows key -> “Command Prompt” -> type “ipconfig” -> find your IPv4 address
- Now start up OpenTrack, set UDP as input (check its port), start up SmoothTrack, enter your IPv4 address + port and hit Start!
Instructions for IOS:
- Download the SmoothTrack USB tunnel tool.
- Have either iTunes or both “Apple Mobile Device Support” and “Apple Application Support” installed.
- Plug your phone into your PC’s USB connection. If you haven’t yet, launch iTunes once to make sure it asks for permissions to your phone.
- Launch OpenTrack
- Set its input mode to “UDP” and make sure its port is set to 4242, press “Start”.
- If you have not done so, open UDP port 4242 in your firewall (and restart OpenTrack if you made any changes).
- In SmoothTrack on your iOS device, pause the tracking if need be, then in settings tap “Activate USB Connection”
- ONLY NOW run startSTUSB.bat. This should cause you to connect to OpenTrack via USB!
Soon I will link to a writeup about OpenTrack and all of the things it enables. I’ll also be testing a couple free and open-source alternative front-end apps to see what the experience is like using a paid app version or the FOSS alternative. If history is any guide the paid app will work a lot more smoothly and come with help on demand while the FOSS version will work eventually but you’ll have to fight it the whole way.
But maybe I’m wrong this time? We’ll just have to give it a whirl and find out!
If head tracking isn’t your thing maybe you are like me and would prefer running a triple monitor setup?