When you first get into a racing car you find yourself overwhelmed by the vibration, noise, acceleration, and intensity of sensations like bumps and cornering G-forces. For as long as I’ve been interested in sim racing “immersion” has been the buzzword used to describe the ultimate sensation of sitting in the car.
Addons like haptic transducers can hugely improve the sensation of vibrations from track detail, the engine,for example, a Buttkicker has always been a good budget friendly option to get some of the way towards this goal.
But until very recently, it feels like sim technology was stagnating. A new direct drive wheel here, and new wheel there – but always based on much the same features of a previous version. Not until now that is, with Simucube’s announcement of their new Active Pedal.
What is the Active Pedal?
Essentially, the Active Pedal works not unlike a direct drive wheelbase, in that the motor inside canprovide kinetic energy (rotation) and act as a position sensor. Simucube has designed a system where the rotational movement from the motor is transformed into a linear one. They’ve done this with an industrial quality lead screw mechanism and their own machined aluminium parts.
Combine this dynamic capability with a more tried and tested piece of electronics – a Load Cell. The load cell in the Active Pedal senses how much force is being exerted on the pedal and sends that signal to your PC like any other pedal would.
The clever bit about ActivePedal is that while the motor can provide an adjustable level of resistance and rebound on the compression, it can also communicate feedback such as vibrations from the track, tyres and so on
As I read that back to myself, I realise what a clever evolutionary step this is. As I’ve said before, as a driver, new sources of information about the way the car is handling are always welcome. This solution takes the idea of a rumble kit but delivers an exquisitely higher level of detail. This is a directdrive pedal!
Instead of elastomers or mechanical oil / hydraulic dampers, the motor provides the resistance to the input (which can be configured in True Drive), while True Drive allow sall of the usual output curve based calibrations, you’d expect from a standard pedal set. Information comes directly from the simulator to True Drive and the Active Pedal’s on board DSP to interpret, resulting in feedback.
So, Simucube’s ActivePedal is the first electrically controlled force feedback pedal for sim racers. They feel that this extra layer of feedback will really appeal to pro sim racers and track drivers alike.
- “Pedals always stay consistent”. The only time the pedal’s feeling changes is the time youdecide to change it.
- “Unreal dynamics”. The system should mimic the real world so well that you don’t even realise that the spring is software made.
- “Every design decision should come from a need where form follows function”
What cools is the timesaving aspect of adjustments and maintenance. While you adjust the feel of the pedal through the software you can feel the changes the pedal happen in real time. After the setup, the pedal always stays consistent and does not degrade over time.
The use of game telemetry, allows a simulation of different effects that are also felt on a real car. You can feel how the engine vibrates below your feet and react when you feel the ABS activating.
The future possibilities for the effects are only limited by imagination. The strength and feel of the effects can be adjusted from the minimal to even overwhelming and all the effects can be toggle on and off depending on each driver’s preferences.
“We believe that in a long run active pedals will have even greater impact in sim racing than direct-drive wheels had.”- Simucube
ActivePedal operates through True Drive. In the screenshot below you can see some interesting settings that are available while tuning the pedals:
- Vibration relative frequency
- Vibration intensity at low engine RPM
- Vibration intensity at high engine RPM
Of course, the only way to get a taste for the Active Pedal is to actually try one. Miroslav, Founder of G-Performance, had this to say about the pedal:
“The general feeling of the pedals was good, as expected, they felt different to other pedals, but really good, the driving was a joy. I felt the abs on the brake and on the throttle pedal the vibrations of the engine. I feel there is a lot of potential with future software updates, for example the brake feeling could change depending on the temperature of the brakes etc..”
Miroslav – G-Performance
With the planned release date scheduled for some time around now, watch our pedals category for the Active Pedals arrive at G-Performance.