Head Tracking on Shadow (on the cheap)

  • 20 July 2020
  • 4 replies

Userlevel 1

After some trial and error, I have come up with a head tracking solution that works with Shadow, so I wanted to pass along my results to the community.

First, if you've done any research in to head tracking for PC at all, the first thing you'll probably run across is TrackIR, and if you look in to whether or not it works on Shadow, the answer is yes, but you have to set up a VPN between your local PC and your Shadow, then use VirtualHere to forward the USB tracking hardware. If you already have a TrackIR, that's a good solution, and if that's what you're looking for when you ran across this post, I can help you track down the resources online with instructions on how to do all that.

However, I didn't have that hardware, so I was looking for another solution. Free or cheap would be good, but I was willing to buy something if I knew it would work. I'll spare you the story of the journey I went through and just get to the setup that I finally got working, which is using opentrack software and an Aruco printed target.

Details about how to get that set up on your local PC are available here, and that would be the first step. As long as you have a webcam, you should be able to get this to work. I'm just using the webcam that's built in to my desktop all-in-one, so it's not like you need anything high-end. I'm not going to go in to details about this part of the setup, but if anyone needs help I'd be happy to see what I can do. I mostly want to concentrate on the Shadow part of this.

So once it's working on your local PC , the next step is sending the output from opentrack to your Shadow, and here's how I was able to get that to work:

  1. Set up a VPN between your local PC and your Shadow. I used Hamachi because it's free and because I already had an account from years ago.
  2. Once the VPN is established and working, set the Output of your opentrack configuration to "UDP over network". Click the tool icon next to that and in the UDP protocol settings, enter your Shadow's VPN IP address.
  3. Now run opentrack on your Shadow and set the Input to "UDP over network".
  4. Once you start tracking on both your local PC and your Shadow, everything should work!

I've been messing around in FSX and Elite Dangerous today and it's really pretty slick. I'm still figuring out settings and trying to determine what the most efficient way to set up the mappings and such is. Right now I'm doing all the mapping and filtering on my local PC while the Shadow is just using the signal without altering it, but I may try doing it the other way around to see if the result is any different.

Anyways, I know that was kind of a long post without a lot of details, but I mostly just wanted to lay down some bread crumbs for people who have been wanting to figure this out. I can go in to more details if anyone needs me to.

Also, the beauty of this setup is that there are a lot of different options out there that work with opentrack, so if you don't want to wear a cardboard target on your forehead, you can look in to a lot of other solutions (like DIY IR sensors) that use opentrack for configuration, and you'll be able to make it work for Shadow.

tl;dr: Set up two instances of opentrack in a client-server configuration over VPN using whatever opentrack-compatible tracking solution you want.

4 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +5

Lots of effort, well done!

Hello, how can I make the track ir work in shadow? I read that you use it for FSX, do you by any means know if the saitek logitech panels would work across shadow?

Hey ! Is there a way i could contact you to talk about it, I didn’t understand what to do on your local PC and Shadow… 



I did the same with Hamachi and SmoothTrack app on iOS.

  1. Connect Shadow to Hamachi private network
  2. Connect iOS device to the same Hamachi private network
  3. Launch SmoothTrack app on iOS device
  4. In SmoothTrack settings, set Shadow's Hamachi IP address displayed on Shadow's Hamachi app
  5. Click Start on OpenTrack in Shadow
  6. Click Start on SmoothTrack in iOS