What is Rexy?
Rexy is short for Remote X/Y, because you control the X/Y axis of a computer by remote control. Rexy Wheels are a Human Interface Device (HID) made for controlling a computer with hand wheels in the same way an operator controls a camera. Rexy Gaming is any kind of gaming that is done in this way.
What are hand wheels?
Cameras have been operated in the same way using geared heads since the introduction of the Worrall Head in 1952. This was the first fully-balanced geared head that could be easily controlled using 2 separate hand wheels, one for pan and one for tilt. Every geared head since then was based upon the same design, and every operator had to learn to use wheels in the same way. The introduction of motorised remote heads in the 70's saw the same control method being adopted, since most operators were familiar with this technique. The weighted, balanced wheels gave the operator complete control of the shot, whether it be a perfectly smooth and consistent pan, or an elaborate co-ordinated crane move. Shots that are created using hand wheels have a degree of fluidity that is impossible to achieve using other means. It is no exaggeration to say that operating with hand wheels is one of the key ingredients to creating that classic cinematic look.
Will Rexy Wheels improve my gaming?
Absolutely not. Rexy Wheels are not meant to be a substitute for a gamepad or mouse and keyboard. Gaming with wheels is a serious challenge, and pretty much harder than any other form of control.
So why bother?
If you're learning to be a camera operator, there is not better way of improving you skills that constant gameplay against an unpredictable target. You simply won't get this kind of experience by borrowing a geared head and following people around a room. You need to spend hours playing against a virtual enemy, or trying to beat your own high scores, in order to be the best. There is no better way to do this than in the comfort of your own home.
What if you don't want to be a camera operator?
Rexy Gaming is all about the challenge, and once you get the hang of it you will see for yourself how addictive it can be. It is more physically engaging than using a mouse or gamepad. You have to literally wrestle with the controls to get a good score, and you need to be perfectly in the zone. You have to be positioned just right so your hands can move freely. Spinning hand wheels is often likened to whisking an egg, which will give you an idea of the kind of motion that is needed.
Can you swap the pan and tilt?
Nope. Sorry. You can't change the wheels around on a mechanical head, and so in this sense there is very much a right and a wrong way to operate. Left wheel clockwise is pan left, right wheel clockwise is tilt up, and vice versa. When a lot of people trying using hand wheels for the first time, it seems the pan axis should be on the right hand, and driven like a car steering wheel. But if you understand the mechanics of a geared head it will make sense to you. The pan wheel rotates the head around a large gear, so imagine you are pushing and pulling the camera right and left respectively. The tilt wheel drives a large worm gear, so imagine you are winding a car jack to move the camera up and down. If you struggle with this orientation at first, spend half an hour gaming with Rexy Wheels and your brain will begin to rewire itself. Before long, you won't even think about what your hands are doing. Trust me, I've seen dozens of people learn to use handwheels in this way, and it doesn't take long for it to become second nature.
What about buttons?
Most games require more than just a directional input, you need to be able to press buttons too. This is a problem when you have both hands on separate wheels. That's why we invented our patent-pending 2-Button Handles. As the name suggests, you have 2 buttons on each handle, that can be pressed with the ease of a mouse button. Each handle has a primary and a secondary button, and are designed to be pressed by index finger and thumb. However, you may prefer to hold the handle differently, so it may be easier to use your thumb to press both buttons. On most games, you tend to use the primary button a lot more than the secondary, so it is easy enough to switch between them. The buttons are assigned as the 3 usual mouse buttons (left, middle and right) plus an additional Turbo mode button. You also have a 2 extra switch inputs that can be operated with foot pedals if you so desire.
What's Turbo mode?
If you hold the Turbo mode button, the speed jumps the the one assigned by the Turbo dial. There are 3 dials on the top of the Rexy Wheels housing. In default mode, the Dial A sets the speed of both the Pan and Tilt axis. On certain games it's really important that these are set to the same speed, so that you can develop your muscle memory and get the best scores. However, you may wish to jump to a higher speed momentarily, especially on shooting games when the enemy is coming from all around you. In this scenario, Dial B sets the pan speed in Turbo mode, so if you hold the turbo button you can do a whip pan. Dial C sets the tilt speed in Turbo mode, so you can maintain control of your tilt axis even when whip panning. It takes a bit of getting used to but it can be a real game changer. Turbo mode is actually a real feature that can be implemented on the Libra head, and allows the operator to change speeds mid-shot without taking their hands off the wheels.
What platforms does it work with?
Rexy Wheels works best with a regular computer such as a PC or Mac. However, we have found ways to make it work with Playstation, Xbox, Android tablet and iPad. These platforms require a little extra work, which we will be explaining in upcoming tutorials.
What games does it work with?
The best kind of game are the ones that require single direction input plus a few extra buttons. You will not be able to play First-Person Shooters with Rexy Wheels alone, as you have no way of controlling movement. The shooting games that work really well are called On-Rails Shooters, where you only need to control the aim. The other type of games that work really well are top-down maze games, where the character is moved left/right and up/down from above. These games seem counterintuitive at first, as you are not really operating a camera, but you get used to it pretty quickly. The most important thing is that it applies the same technique, and so your brain will quickly adapt to the challenge. There are literally thousands of games available that could work with Rexy Wheels, and we have only just started to scratch the surface. If you discover a new game that works well, we will advertise it on our social media and you get the bragging rights. For the up-to-date list of compatible games, head to our tutorial page.
I ordered some Rexy Wheels, why are they taking so long to arrive?
Rexy is a small family-run business, and all the parts are hand-assembled here in the UK. We order all our parts in batches from countries around the world, so we are at the mercy of shipping and customs. If your wheels are available in stock, we will try to get them to you as soon as possible. If they are only available on back order, we will keep you notified as to when yours are likely to be shipped. The one thing we guarantee - it's first come, first serve. So the sooner you order yours, the sooner they will arrive.
Why do they cost so much?
Our profit margins are actually pretty small, and we need to order all the parts in significant quantities or the cost to you would be even higher. We refuse to compromise on quality, and the price reflects this fact. There is simply no other way to produce all these precision machined parts for any less. Please be assured that you a buying a product that will provide you with a fantastic user experience for many years to come. We will be making all future releases backwards-compatible, so if you buy a set of first edition Rexy Wheels, your investment will be safe, and you can upgrade just the relevant parts. The expensive parts of Rexy Wheels, such as the hand wheels, the bearing modules and the encoders, will always stay the same.
What are those slots on the housing?
The Rexy Wheels housing features dual T-slots on the front and back. These are designed to be compatible with a range of accessories that will be released in time, such as a tablet and gamepad holder. Watch this space for exciting new products added to our range!