More on Gran Turismo 5’s Head Tracking

December 9th, 2009 by Jordan Greer

sony-playstation-eyeOther than my article on Gran Turismo 5‘s mysterious head-tracking feature, it hasn’t managed to get much press (though, admittedly, it’s only been mentioned once). However, it’s back in the spotlight once again after a Kotaku editor tried a GT5 demo with a Sony representative. Although the demo did not include head-tracking itself, the Sony rep tried to describe how its implemented as best he could:

The other stand-out feature I was told about was head-tracking. The game will support the PlayStation 3 camera, the PlayStation Eye. While one wasn’t hooked up at today’s event, it was explained that the device will track a player’s head movements. The goal is for the depth-of-field focal point far down the track to shift, matching your head movement. What you look at will be appear more clearly, in theory. So as you look a little to the right, the right part of what you see beyond your car may come more sharply into focus. But the car itself won’t turn with your head, of course.

The Sony rep explained that Polyphony’s goal is for players to feel like they are experiencing what real racers see. He noted that the feature was still a work in progress and couldn’t offer more details about how it works. From his gestures, I suspect the head-tracking will be responsive more to leans than to head turns, the latter of which obviously would make it hard to see the TV.

In other words, it would seem to suggest that GT5‘s camera movement will be more subtle and intuitive rather than exaggerated and abrupt, which is a very good thing.

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  1. Dec. 13, 8:07am

    Ah, so you’re beginning to accept that devedander. It’s still not really clear what it is from the poor description in the article but I still suspect it’s the Johnny Lee style headtracking and I can imagine a way that it can tell to some extent where you’re looking just from your head movements although I can’t imagine it working in all cases but maybe they’ve worked something out.

  2. Dec. 11, 5:46pm

    Oh and S3 racer, what they are describing is not at all what TRACKIR does…

  3. Dec. 11, 5:46pm

    OK something doesn’t make sense to me here… head tracking will change your focal point in the game giving DOF blur?

    Won’t that require eyeball direction tracking? Something that can only be currently reliably done with lasers bouncing off the retina or at least a VERY close high res camera?

    I just don’t understand how the game is going to figure out where you are looking from your head moving around… in fact most of the time my head stays still while looking around, only when I lean due to turns (and as someone above said I lean the wrong way) does anything move and then the correlation for where I lean vs look is not something that would make DOF doable…

    I think something is amiss..

  4. Dec. 11, 7:35am

    If they can pull out eyetracking [and change DoF/Focus with each eye movement] ,then this will be greatest game ever.

    But also, simple headtracking will be just fine.

  5. Dec. 10, 2:37pm

    I think that its a great idea,i have this camera and use it to talk to friends on the psn network as well as using the camera with built in microphone to talk while playing games online,its very clear and does a very nice job rather than using a headset,and with gt5 implementing chat while racing along with private rooms,i believe that the camera serves two purposes for a very reasonable price.

  6. Dec. 10, 1:55pm
    Bank Alexander

    Bloody sweet.

  7. Dec. 9, 8:32pm

    @ IronM@sk
    Exactly what I brought up up the forums. Drivers are not turning their heads and keeping thier eyes still foward, it makes no sense unless you have 3 screens.
    Besides, maybe they’ll allow the right analog to become the “look-around” stick, instead of it’s usually useless acceleration and braking (The use of both at the same time is needed for drifting and has been deemed useless and confusing).

  8. Dec. 9, 6:29pm

    Anything that improves the experience is worth getting, specially for a game like GT 5 wich has practically infinite value

  9. Dec. 9, 6:01pm

    in its place

  10. Dec. 9, 5:57pm

    Couldnt have said it better Berlino , they can add more cars

  11. Dec. 9, 5:26pm

    Awesome…I hope this piece isn’t more than $49.99

  12. Dec. 9, 3:32pm

    BTW- why does it need a speaker?

  13. Dec. 9, 3:29pm

    I for one will admit that I tend to “lean” my head into turns even when playing on the PSP. I feel embarassed sometimes because it is involuntary when I really get into it. This feature will make use of my habit.

  14. Dec. 9, 3:25pm

    sounds promising i might get one around the time the game’s out

  15. Dec. 9, 1:53pm

    What about SIXAXIS?

  16. Dec. 9, 1:13pm

    Berlino Bear Says:

    “…You will see me next at the 12 Olympics running into hurdles and falling over on top of Jessica Ennis.”

    Ha! I used to feel the same about Ivet Lalova. Something about those female track & field chickies… Very limber lot they are.

  17. Dec. 9, 1:06pm

    “Wheel Nut Says:

    Now to take that even further is it possible that GT5 could support triple monitors, with 3DTV and headtracking?”

    I’ve wondered about this functionality. I read somewhere (here on these boards perhaps?) that you would need three copies of the game, 3 PS3s in order for it to work properly, which I don’t necessarily believe. I could see the need for multiple vid cards, but since I don’t yet own a PS3 (waiting for the release of GT5) I’m not sure of its technical capabilities.

  18. Dec. 9, 12:42pm

    Kotaku is lame for not sending someone with the proper experience to see and play the GT5 demo.

    The technology sounds amazing. If it is done right, I will purchase a PS Eye just for this game.

  19. Dec. 9, 12:28pm


    Guys, this thing tracks your head, NOT your eyes. Even if your face is facing away from the T.V, you’ll still be able to look at the TV. It’s not like your eyes are fixed to look straight on. Combine that with the sensitivity being greater in the game than in real life, it would even be more possible to implement such thing.

  20. Dec. 9, 12:21pm
    aleksandar SRB

    This is not for me a”m hard core player, I don”t like to experiment.

  21. Dec. 9, 11:24am
    Berlino Bear

    @Jeremy. Yeah I hear you buddy! Cut out all the crap and leave the bits that only everyone can enjoy. In fact that should be the rule for all of life. Well apart from sex. Just cos you don’t get any, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep gettin’ it. arf arf!! ;-)

    Take a chill pill dude. I think its a naff feature, so I would rather they didn’t spend any time on it. Its only the internet. No one cares what ANYONE on the internet says… EVER. So don’t worry, I’m sure it will be there for you to have lots of fun with.

    Anyway, back to work. You will see me next at the 12 Olympics running into hurdles and falling over on top of Jessica Ennis.

  22. Dec. 9, 11:05am
    S3 Racer

    @jeremy : Top comment, first i thought, again one… excellent,

    i don’t own a Eyecam yet, but their are 2 leds or senors on the pic, maybe to limit the cam,… I really don’t know either. But Pd as always will blow us away.

    So just finished working… so bye lol

  23. Dec. 9, 10:40am

    Next question: what if you play GT, intense race, rain, night, head tracking, realism ultra level, second place, racing behind the first one for hours, finally you think you are able to overtake him, you take an aggresive line, then someone comes into your room, wouldn`t that confuse the EyeCam ?
    I can see how it works with TrackIR and those IR LEDs, but the EyeCam is tracking your head without additional hardware, or is this just my misinformation ?

    btw. i`m also at work right now, always reading the comments here :)

  24. Dec. 9, 10:28am
    Wheel Nut

    @ Jeremy

    Excellent, man I near choked on my coffee!

  25. Dec. 9, 10:19am


    I totally agree with PD cutting this feature because you don’t have a Pseye. I don’t have a DFPGT steering wheel so they should cut wheel support out of the game too. Also, my friend doesn’t have an internet connection so they should just scrap the whole online portion of the game as well. I’m not planning on using the photo mode and I dont care about damage so lets cut all that out of the game too.

  26. Dec. 9, 10:14am
    Wheel Nut

    @S3 Racer Says:

    As already been covered in the forums a long time ago.
    Multimonitors for GT has been supported in the past (sometimes however only in time trial)
    GT Concept 2002 / GT3 / GT4

    Id love Jordan to get confirmation if this is going to be supported in GT5.
    Many of us already enjoy FM3 in multiscreens and personally I will be gutted if GT5 wont support it.

  27. Dec. 9, 9:42am
    S3 Racer

    lol would be funny to know how many people pass their work time on gtplanet?!

  28. Dec. 9, 9:37am
    Berlino Bear

    @ Obli .. Im also 29 years old with no Kids. But I most defiantly don’t have a PSeye. I don’t know anything about “chatting” on t’internet. gtplanet just keeps me entertained while Im at work, but does this count as Chat?

  29. Dec. 9, 9:01am
    S3 Racer

    @berlino bear : U can jump in circles head down, that will not get you the game earlier, even if they don’t implement this feature. The fiscal year of Sony ends in May and given the release date it will probably only be available between these dates.

    Pd (kaz) is perfectionist so this feature will not be something half-hearted!

    @ Luke : same here. Good reason to buy me a cam.

    @Wheelnut: Read in an article that a representive of sony confirmed 3d implementation in general (didn’t talk about GT) but we can figure out what that could mean.
    3 screens , would be pretty sweet but than you need also 3 ps3’s? and I have no Idea how they could be grouped (lan) and possibly (3* GT5? the less expensive in the hole project)…

    For me it would be sweet if they would give out the telemetric data so we could finally use motion simulators with Gt (even if there are only few out there who will buy it (€€€!). A proper data strem into the pc where the drivers for the motion sim are… something like that would me make jump in circles. I would fly to japan to shake kaz hand if that would happen. But there is no hope.

    D-Day -8

    Jordan : Install a countdown timer on the site :P ‘???

  30. Dec. 9, 8:59am

    I am 29 years old and have no kids. I bought a PSEye for chat (with headphones, it’s brilliant) and because it can be used as a PC webcam (the drivers are out there).

    Can’t wait to try it in GT5. If implemented well, it should be worth investing in one. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I for one am happy that PD choose to explore new features.

  31. Dec. 9, 8:36am
    Berlino Bear

    @ iCyCo.. No.. I would be pleased with anything right now. So dont bother with this shite (as only people with small kids will have the PSeye thing anyway) and just give us the game already. Much pleasedness all round I think you will find.

  32. Dec. 9, 8:15am

    This will be great! Cheers.

  33. Dec. 9, 7:58am

    Head Tracking, yes please…

    I think this feature could bump up the immersiveness of GT5 for those who already set themselves up with cockpits, butt-kickers, steering wheels etc.

    As for lying on the lounge sideways, I would think it can be turned off, don’t you?

  34. Dec. 9, 7:30am
    Wheel Nut

    This is a feature Im looking forward to very much.

    What has not been said is that it is obvious and likely to work best in cockpit view.
    The PS3 Eye will not just track head tilting and moderate left-right motion but also leaning forward or backwards. Already shown on demos.

    If this was combined with the upcoming 3DTV features/hardware I would very much imagine this to create a new level of experience not only on a console but even possibly compared to PCs.

    Having motion tracking with depth of field and combined with depth of vision, yes please where do I sign?

    Now to take that even further is it possible that GT5 could support triple monitors, with 3DTV and headtracking?

  35. Dec. 9, 6:26am


    “what if iam lying on the lounge sideways playing gt5 how will that work :S”

    That’s a fair point,but i’m guessing it’s aimed at wheel users,unless they are using eye tracking.

    Around a minute in you see the Ps Eye locked onto the ladies eyes,and below eye tracking in use

  36. Dec. 9, 6:15am

    what if iam lying on the lounge sideways playing gt5 how will that work :S

  37. Dec. 9, 6:11am

    Very interesting. I actualy loved eye toy on ps2, exspecialy Antigrav, and I hope for even more functinality for it in GT5. I was suprised with how much value PS Eye ads to Burnout.

  38. Dec. 9, 5:48am


    “And the award for most useless feature in a game goes to… “Head Tracking”. Seriously, if you look left or right, well then you’re not looking at the fucking screen are you.”

    You do know you can look at something,turn your head and still keep focus on what your looking at.It’s the opposite to just moving your eyes :)

    When you really drive you don’t move your head that much anyway,here’s a vid showing how headtracking works

    And another showing how it looks on-screen

  39. Dec. 9, 5:25am

    @berlino bear & tameem
    why not have them take out some of the tracks and cars and many improvements so we could have it last year…. selfish & stupid of all of you to want them remove features so you can have a game early..then when a game dont ship with enough you complain…aint no pleasing peopl

  40. Dec. 9, 5:23am

    Still some people here who have no idea how head tracking really works …. guys, come one, think logically, would a developer be that stupid to track your head 1:1 ?
    Personally that really is a reason for me to buy the EyeCam, altough a good possibility to test this feature would be nice, i never used head tracking before, and sounds like GT`s head tracking will be different.

  41. Dec. 9, 5:22am

    I think if it will be implemented as said in the article, then it will be a good feature. I was afraid of the TrackIR implementation in the GTR games. That I did not like at all.

  42. Dec. 9, 5:22am

    @ S3 Racer… people like that will always exists.. I nod my head at those comments while reading them and didn’t miss a word… I can’t speak for them but I hope they are not assuming you have to turn your head full left or right for this to work.

  43. Dec. 9, 5:21am

    If its anything like TrackIR it should be an awesome implementation.

  44. Dec. 9, 5:18am

    @ IronMask

    You obviously haven’t read the article properly have you??

    “From his gestures, I suspect the head-tracking will be responsive more to leans than to head turns, the latter of which obviously would make it hard to see the TV.”

  45. Dec. 9, 5:17am

    @ berlino bear

    10000000000% agreed

  46. Dec. 9, 5:01am
    Berlino Bear

    Cut this out of the game and get it out a couple of weeks sooner. Then we will all be happy.

  47. Dec. 9, 3:21am
    S3 Racer

    Guys if you don’t know how it works don’t become insultive.
    Google or youtube Track IR 5 . This is used for years in the computer business. I played it with gtr2 and it is amazing. You take like 10 min to get your head turning right and after that it’s a joy to play. I am sure this featurette will be best for drifting. You just look out the side window to see the track. i also hope this will be a success because it is also a genius feature for shooter. you just tilt your head in game, so less movement, look around corners,,….

    Recomment after you looked at a video of track Ir5!

  48. Dec. 9, 2:56am

    Sounds Cool, in theory.

  49. Dec. 9, 2:52am

    And the award for most useless feature in a game goes to… “Head Tracking”. Seriously, if you look left or right, well then you’re not looking at the fucking screen are you.

  50. Dec. 9, 2:39am

    Sounds interesting but I think it’s one of those things you need to try for yourself. I always find myself leaning left and right when I play GT but I lean the wrong way compared to being in a real car ie when going round a left hand bend I lean left but real life g forces would make me lean right so I’m not sure if it would look quite right for me personally but I would give it a go.

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