Watch three-person tank crew battle in World of Tanks — driver, spotter, and gunner all use custom physical controls

The custom control setup a team created for World of Tanks
(Image credit: jeremy bin (@Shaihuluddedune) on X (formerly Twitter))

There’s no doubt that gamers will go to extreme lengths to achieve realism in their favorite racing game, flight sim, or shooter. However, one group of World of Tanks players has taken the immersion to the next level with a custom controller setup requiring a three-person tank team including a loader for a reloadable cannon.

A brief video appeared on the internet recently, showing the setup in action. One person acts as the tank driver, steering the war machine using a Volkswagen steering wheel. A spotter uses an Oculus Go VR headset to check the sightline and aim the cannon, using a series of cranks that mimic the real controls. Rounding out the team is the loader, who loads empty soda bottles into a working CO2 cannon for each shot. 

Since World of Tanks doesn’t support controllers, the gamers must have wired the various inputs through a keyboard and mouse emulator. Gaming, esports, and entertainment media group Dexerto analyzed the video and offered speculation as to how the team achieved their full immersion into tank warfare.

Dexerto suggests that the gamers used an input translation tool like JoyToKey, which converts the joystick and other PC game controllers to emulate keyboard and mouse input. Using such a tool, the inputs from the cannon, cranks, and steering wheel would be translated into the appropriate keyboard and mouse signals.

The DIY CO2 cannon build could employ internal sensors to trigger the blast of CO2 to expel the “empty” round after firing. Possibly using API hooks to the game itself, other sensors are triggered when a new round is loaded, signaling the game that the cannon is ready to be fired again.

The VR headset is most likely showing the spotter the “camera from gunner sight” in the game’s menu. A toggle on the right of the headset allows the spotter to zoom in and out to acquire the target solution.

It’s really a sophisticated, complex setup for the game, even if it may not be practical for most gamers. After all, it requires at least a three-person team to operate, along with a large gaming space to set everything up and operate it. Then there’s the cost involved in building it.

Then again, racing and flight sim enthusiasts aren’t exactly strangers to doing whatever they can to immerse themselves in the simulation. From custom-built cockpits to motorized rigs that tip and tilt you in sync with your driving and flying, there’s plenty of money spent making those games more lifelike, too.

Freelance News Writer
  • helper800
    Admin said:
    Possibly using API hooks to the game itself, other sensors are triggered when a new round is loaded, signaling the game that the cannon is ready to be fired again.
    World of tanks does not make this possible. The physical act of the loader person has no bearing on the tank in the game's reload. The only characteristics in game that can manipulate loading are contained within the game itself. Imagine in a "competitive" if you could just tell the game the tank is loaded whenever you wanted to with "API hooks?"
    Reply