Assetto Corsa is a great game to play with a force feedback wheel. When you are trying to drive at the limit of grip, every little bit of information transmitted through the wheel is important. But for the Thrustmaster TMX and T150, the experience can be improved quite a bit by calibrating the wheel's force feedback response.
In this guide, I will show you how easy it is to calibrate your wheel and improve the driving feel on these cheaper wheels.
In order to do this calibration, you will need to download two programs. First, download the WheelCheck app. This actually tests your wheel response.
Next, download LUT Generator for AC. You will need to sign up for a free account on Race Department to download this. This converts the data from WheelCheck into a file that Assetto Corsa can use.
Finally, download and install the in-game app FFBClip using the instructions on that page.
Wheel Check is actually a tool from iRacing to calibrate your individual wheel. It's a very simple process:
- Run WheelCheck.
- Set the MaxCount to 100.
- In Spring Force, Select Step Log 2 (linear force test). This starts the calibration process.
Your wheel will start moving in increasingly larger motions. Don't touch the wheel during this process! This compares the amount of force the computer sends to the wheel to how much the wheel actually moves.
Once it finishes, it creates a file called something like "log2 2019-04-25 10-00-02.csv" in your Documents folder. We will give this file to LUTGenerator in the next step.
Run LUTGenerator and open the csv file that was just created by WheelCheck. This will create a Look Up Table (lut) file that Assetto Corsa can use to control the force feedback.
Save this file in Documents\Assetto Corsa\cfg as myLUT.lut. When it finishes, it displays a graph that shows the raw data in red and the new curve in green. You can clearly see what a huge difference this will make. In my case, it is going to increase the forces at the low end and lower them in the middle to create an even force feedback response across the whole spectrum.
Now to tell Assetto Corsa to use this file, open the Documents\Assetto Corsa\cfg\ff_post_process.ini file in Notepad.
Set the values to:
If you are using Content Manager instead of the default Assetto Corsa launcher, you no longer have to modify the ff_post_process.ini file at all. In Content Manager, go to Settings > Assetto Corsa > Controls > Force Feedback. Make sure “Enable FFB post-processing” is checked, then set the Mode to LUT and choose the myLUT.lut file.
I recommend saving these settings as a preset, as I have had Assetto Corsa forget all the wheel bindings for no apparent reason in the past.
Now that the force feedback response has been calibrated, let's look at the available force feedback settings.
In the Thrustmaster Control Panel:
Set the rotation to its maximum.
Under Gain Settings:
|Overall Strength of all forces||100%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
The Damper applies a constant dampening effect (on top of any in-game settings), making the wheel feel heavy. On lower-end wheels, there is plenty of natural dampening in the wheel mechanism itself. (Dampening is used on higher-end wheels to solve oscillation problems.)
The Spring force constantly pulls the wheel back to the center, but, unlike the Damper, it is completely controlled by the game, just like the Constant and Periodic forces. Most games don't use the Spring force at all (their native physics simulations do this already), so it actually doesn't matter what the value is set to in the Control Panel.
I leave the Spring force on in the Control Panel, making the in-game settings the only factor controlling the force feedback. This makes the settings consistent across all games and prevents confusion in the few games that use it about why a FFB setting seems to have no effect.
In Assetto Corsa:
Force Feedback Settings
|Enhanced Understeer Effect||Disabled|
|Half FFB Update Rate||Disabled|
The Kerb, Road, Slip, ABS and Understeer effects are personal preference. They are designed to give you feedback about the car, but they are not things you would actually feel through a steering wheel. Try turning them all off and then just add a little to each one to find what you like. I personally like the Kerb and ABS effects because it gives me a little extra feedback.
If you haven't already, download and install the in-game app FFBClip using the instructions on that page.
To get the most information from the wheel as possible, you want to make sure the game never sends more power than the wheel is capable of handling. This is called clipping. In the previous step, we set the Force Feedback Gain to 100%. Left at this, the forces would clip constantly, making the wheel feel terrible.
The FFBClip app automatically adjusts the force feedback gain level as you are driving to maximize the forces without clipping. Turn down the FFBClip strength setting to 90 and then adjust it to your preference for a lighter or heavier feel.
During your first lap or two, you will notice the force feedback change as it sees the power clipping, but it will even out as it dials in on the best setting.
There is a Dynamic Mode in the app that tries to maximize the forces at all times. On a straight, it will raise the force feedback levels and then drop them in a corner where the forces are very high. I find this more distracting than helpful, so you should try turning it on or off to see which you prefer.
What is all of this doing?
Force feedback is actually handled very much like an audio system. The louder the signal, the harder the wheel will turn. The game calculates the forces assuming that the wheel can “play back” the exact signal it gets, very much like a speaker. Very expensive direct drive wheels can do exactly that, letting you feel all the tiny little details that get lost on lesser equipment. Cheaper wheels have a very poor ability to accurately reproduce the signal, much like a speaker with very poor bass response.
When you calibrate the wheel and create the LUT file, you have a measurement of how the wheel actually responds to the signals it gets. In this way, the LUT acts like an equalizer on a stereo to make up for its weaknesses. Using the LUT, Assetto Corsa can adjust the signal levels sent to the wheel to make it move the intended amount. It’s a pretty clever solution to improve the feedback on cheaper wheels.
Continuing with the audio analogy, the FFBClip app with Dynamic Mode on is acting as a dynamic range compressor. It raises the quiet parts and lowers the louder parts to overcome the inherent limitations of these weaker wheels. With Dynamic Mode turned off, it is simply lowering the overall "volume" until the forces never clip, even when they are at their "loudest."
FFBClip isn't directly related to the LUT; you can use either one without the other, as they operate at different points in the calculation of the final force that is sent to the wheel. When used together, they provide a lot more useful information that you can actually feel through the wheel.
The first time I set this up, I couldn't believe how much better the wheel felt. You'll get a better feel for what the car is doing and, as such, may find it easier to catch slides and improve your lap times.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.