I’ve always been a fan of sim games. Years ago, I spent a lot of my time flying around in MS Flight Simulator, and I’ve driven thousands of miles in Nascar Racing Season 2003! While I’ve moved on from NR2003, I still spend some of my game time in MS Flight Simulator 2020.
At the beginning of 2020, my Steam client started showing me sale ads for Euro Truck Simulator 2. At the time I thought driving around in a semi truck hauling loads would be boring, and I passed on the sale. A few days later the ad came up again but this time, I decided to give it a try. I liked the game so much I purchased a new Logitech Force Feedback wheel (Logitech G920) so I could actually steer the truck properly and enjoy the game better. A week later I purchased the US version of the game, American Truck Simulator and started driving in both sims. A few years, some planning, and lots of dollars later, and my sim rig has grown from a simple, entry-level steering wheel to the behemoth it is now!
Currently, my rig is based around the DOF Reality H3 Motion Platform and specifically designed for both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator games by SCS Software. The rig is driven by my custom-built, AMD-based, Windows 10 system. I have a 49″ ultra-wide, curved gaming monitor front and center, flanked by two curved 1080p gaming monitors, and a secondary 1080p monitor up top. The rig also includes stereo speakers with a powered subwoofer, and several “extras”. It took a few years to build the rig, and there were several hiccups and bugs to fix along the way. The posts found under: category: riverty’s setup, allow me to not only share my ideas and solutions, but also to document some of the concerns I still have and the fixes I’ve come up with. Hopefully these pages will help someone else trying to build a motion sim rig of their own.
All PC gaming rigs start with the computer system itself. I go into more detail about the computer system I use to power the motion rig on my riverty’s Sim Rig – Game System page. It was designed to have the power to drive the motion rig and either sim at ultra-graphics settings with liquid smooth video as much as possible. I can say that the system achieves this goal on all but the most demanding multiplayer pileups!
I’ve run triple-monitor setups for years and I love them! They really do help the immersion, as well as assist in gameplay, especially on first-person shooters in my opinion. But, they are also a lot harder for a video card to drive, sometimes requiring special settings from the video driver, and some require specific settings in the game to work properly! Keep this in mind if you are thinking of trying a triple-monitor setup.
This time around I’m running the ASUS ROG STRIX XG49VQ 49″ Super Ultra-Wide Gaming Monitor front and center with two ASUS TUF VG27V 27″ HD Gaming Monitors on the sides. This gives me well over 7 feet of screen real estate to play with!
Below is my “normal” view of American Truck Simulator (ATS) while in the drivers seat.
This picture was taken with a wide angle lens. This makes the view look a little more fish-eyed than it really is. The Peterbilt 389 (in ATS) and the new 2021 DAF XG/XF (in ETS2) with the upgraded video mirrors are the only two trucks that fit enough cabin in my monitor that I don’t need turn my head right to look out the right door mirror.
Tilting your head down a bit, this is my view from the drivers seat.
I’m fully aware that there are more elaborate, realistic trucking cockpits out there. I’ve seen some and they are more impressive for sure. Still, considering this is all mounted on a motion platform with a 300 lb limit, I’m quite happy with it. I cover a little about the keyboard on my riverty’s Sim Rig – The Extras page so I’ll skip it for now.
The steering wheel is the Thrustmaster T300 GT Edition Force-Feedback Wheel base with an Action Raceworks wheel adapter and an aftermarket wheel (rim). I could have purchased a direct drive wheel base, and I have thought about upgrading to a “DD” base many times. However, with the effective but limited force feedback offered in ATS and ETS2, it’s hard to justify the money for a direct drive upgrade. So, I’ll stick with the T300 for now.
On the left side of the T300, I’ve added this Universal Turn Signal V2 turn signal controller. In order to get the turn signal handle in the right position, I added a small piece of sheet metal, bent to give the turn signal handle the right angle from the steering wheel. It’s nice and works well but it is not an “automatic” turn signal, it’s all manual. The website states that this controller “works like a real turn signal out of the box”. This is not 100% correct. A real turn signal will cancel itself after the turn. This does not do that. You have to manually return the switch to the center position after your turn. Not a deal breaker but also not “like a real turn signal” as advertised.
Next is the Classic Button Box by Sim-Panel. A button box is a great addition to any trucking (or racing or flight) sim rig and Sim-Panel is just one of several manufacturers making panel boxes for sim rigs.
While I love having a button box, this Sim-Panel button box has had it’s issues and I’m not sure I would recommend this button box to others. I go into more detail on my riverty’s Sim Rig – Button Box page. Be sure to check this page out before you buy!
Mounting things on a motion platform presents some challenges. The mounts have to attach to the rig and be solid and stable enough to hold up to the motions of the rig. They have to hold the parts you want mounted on them firmly, and they should also look good doing it! I found these Laptop Trays to do the trick quite nicely.
The holes in the base of these laptop trays line up perfectly with the pre-drilled holes in the rig frame, so adding a few nuts and bolts is all that is needed!
At the top, these laptop trays come with a VESA bolt plate, and the “table” piece screws to these VESA plates. I use the “table” to hold my keyboard, and the button box screws directly to the VESA plate without the table piece. These laptop trays have two arm sections with movable joints between them. This made the reach of these mounts too far out from the rig to use. I had to remove one of the arm sections to shorten the length of the arms to work right. Once done, tighten the joints down tight and it all works wonderfully!
Lastly, I use a Thrustmaster TH8A Shifter with one of the many 18-speed, SKRS shift knobs available on top. This allows me to manually shift the 18-speed Eaton-Fuller transmission offered in American Truck Simulator properly and I think is a “must have” for anyone serious about manually shifting the “Big Rigs”.
That’s a decent summary of my sim rig. Feel free to check out the pages below where I go into more detail about:
- riverty’s Sim Rig – The Rig (this page)
- riverty’s Sim Rig – The Game System
- riverty’s Sim Rig – The DOF Reality H3
- riverty’s Sim Rig – The Sim-Panel “Classic” Button Box
- riverty’s Sim Rig – The Extras
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a post!