We answer some of them here. If you've got a question that isn't listed, get in touch and we'll answer that one too!
Why does the simulator tilt so much? Cars don't have that much body roll.
Motion simulators don't only recreate the position of the car in space — they recreate what you feel when you're in the car. Since we sense motion with our inner ears, we can't tell the difference between tilting and accelerating without a visual cue.
When you're in the simulator and you turn to the right, we tilt the machine to the left; because the image on the screen tells you that you're not tilted, your brain interprets the tilt as acceleration.
What does it feel like?
The 301 can generate about three quarters of a G of sustained acceleration, and double or triple that for short periods like bumps and impacts. For reference, the feel is about five or six times as strong as spirited street driving.
Unlike many motion systems, the 301 and 401 respond very, very fast; if the software model is accurate enough, you can feel each bump in ripple strips, and the texture of pavement and gravel.
Can you change the 'volume' for kids or people who are uncomfortable with lots of motion?
Our systems come with easy-to-use Windows-based control software that lets you scale motion output with a slider. You can save setups for different games, and Force provides suggested settings with the software.
Our on-site training package includes detailed information on setting up your simulator to get the most out of it, as well as tips on driving and getting the most out of features like on-line racing and Internet leagues.
What about safety?
For the driver, there are lexan panels preventing your arms from getting pinched, and safety interlocks on the door and seat belt.
If you open the door or take off the belt, the machine will stop. In fact, when the door is open or the belt is off, brakes lock the motor shafts and power is cut to the motors, so the machine physically can't move. In the event of a power failure, the same motor brakes prevent the simulator from "crashing", and an external emergency stop socket is available to freeze the machine in the event of a fire or other alarm.
For spectators, Force Dynamics offers a full range of external safety systems as options, including physical barriers, light curtains and weight sensitive mats. Please contact us to arrange a safety system that meets your needs.
How hard is it to move? Can it be operated from a trailer?
It's easiest to move the 301 or 401 with a fork lift, but a kit is available which allows the machine to roll on two wheels, and be moved by hand.
The 301 is 55 inches wide; if you have doors wide enough to accommodate that, you can bring it in in one piece. Otherwise it can come in disassembled. It can usually be operated with no problems from any trailer with enough clearance to provide entrance / egress and allow for machine motion.
The 401cr is available on an integrated platform with fold-up sides; the entire unit can be lifted as one, with the sides folded, and fit in a trailer for transport.
Does it need to be bolted down? What about surface preparation?
The 301 weighs about 700 lbs, and on most surfaces it won't slide around. If it does, it'll be a little bit at a time. Due to the loading and the weight on each foot, you should be careful on loose surfaces or construction that's iffy. If you're worried, it's best to have a building inspector check it out. If you need to run a 301 outdoors, a metal decking surface or platform would be perfect to make sure you don't end up with a sunken simulator!
The 401 is a bit heavier but has its own floor included; the 401cr weighs closer to 1400 lbs, about 600 of which is its floor.
How much ceiling clearance does it need? What about side-to-side?
Eight feet of ceiling clearance; you'll want at least a foot of clearance on each side, plus room for any other equipment like computers or extra displays.
What's the warranty?
One year on parts; most parts are user-installable. If you'd like us to do it, installation is available from us or one of our partners in your area.
What kind of power does it need?
The 301 and 401 run on regular 110v power, but it needs a special plug and its own line, which an electrician can install. If you have an extra circuit in your rec room or basement it can be converted easily. We can also supply machines which run on 220v.
What kind of cars / tracks / other games does it support?
One of the biggest strengths of our simulators are their flexibility. Force Dynamics keeps close tabs on the "mod" community for racing simulations, which is constantly producing new cars and tracks for existing software. For instance, several hundred user-created tracks are available for just one of our supported simulations, rFactor, and iRacing is adding new tracks and vehicles constantly.
You can think of our machines as a peripherals for a PC. Unlike other motion systems, it's not locked into specific software. Right now we support simulations that include rally, rallycross, sports car and GT racing, NASCAR, and Formula One. We also support Microsoft Flight Simulator, with appropriate hardware.
Of course, we'll be adding support for more and more games as time goes on, so the machine won't be out of date in two years, and all software updates, unless you specifically request them, are free of charge (you just buy the games).
Because our systems aren't attached to one computer system or console game system, you don't have to worry about your investment getting out of date. Computers and hardware from ten years ago are antiquated; our hardware platform, however, won't be — and it's built for the long haul.
Can I get a (bigger sound system / different display / different racing seat) as an option?
Absolutely. Force Dynamics can custom configure your system for you—from different colors to totally custom systems, just let us know! We've even designed and manufactured completely custom control and display sets in less than 8 weeks.
Can you build custom content?
Sure! We work directly with developers and content creators, and can help define and produce content that will match your needs or audience, whether it's a replica of your vintage sports car for personal use or a dirt track and cars for a promotional tour.