A brief overview of how I arrived at this point:
My previous attempts involved one 28" LCD screen; Great resolution but no immersion in the game
Three 28" LCD screens, again great resolution but it just did not give any feeling of immersion.
A Beamer, I tried 3 different style curved screens, each offered a Fair to good resolution with a huge life size image but still a detached feeling in the game. The screen had to be a good distance from your face (Screen Door Effect) so the gap caused you to lose the immersion factor.
After trying the above options to get that "in the game" feeling I think that this is the best option, while not the cheapest (due only to the purchase of an ultra short throw beamer), it offers expandability and a good sense of being in the car. I have not tried a flight sim or any other type of game but I think it will work well in any given genre of amming
The Dome is a skylight that I cut in half then sprayed with Goo Paint and is very cost effective, as 1 skylight + 1 bottle of Goo paint = 2 dome screens, so make one to sell one or get a mate to chip in.
Some issues were:
1) The cost of getting the screen from the manufacture to me (shipping was nearly as much as it was to buy the screen) If you live close to Maine it will cost a lot less but I am in Florida.
2) Cutting the skylight in half, as it is acrylic and large, I had to cut it using a Dremel cut off tool and cut it free hand.
3) Mounting the dome to the sim, as the flange on the skylight is brittle; I managed to crack one mounting point when I drilled one of the 3 mounting bolt holes.
4) Positioning the beamer as the "Optoma Game Time" PJ does not have a zoom lens so trying to get the correct distance for the image to cover the dome was a challenge. And using an ultra short throw PJ is the only way to affectively project an acceptable image (Short throw = short distance from the screen = bright image)
5) Getting the best angle to project the image across the surface of the dome, due to the curvature of the surface the image fades towards the sides.
6) Getting the correction software to compensate for the shape of the dome (This is still a work in progress, this is the first time I had tried to use the dome did not really spend time trying to warp the image before I shot the video).
7) Dealing with the wife complaining that this was a waste of time and money
8) Lastly just a word to Optoma;
Which clever designer decided to use M3 bolts to attach the PJ to a ceiling mount? (An M3 is about the size that is used to mount a drive in a computer). They are ridiculously small, hard to source and completely the wrong size bolt for the purpose, Would an M8 or even an M6 threaded mounting hole of cost that much more?
So what is next?
I am going to install an actuator and hinge the dome so it will lift up so it is easier to get in and out of the sim.
Add a canopy extending about 3' over the drivers head spayed with Goo Paint and two more beamers each side but this will be in the distant future due to the cost and the wife asking too many questions.
3D, still an option but with limited games that support motion and a good 3D image I am in two minds over whether to splash out $150 for a pair of glasses that may or may not work with the games
Cost: Not including the PJ about $275 but as I said I got two screens out of this investment.
Please feel free to offer sugestions on how to improve this setup