DiRT 3, while sadly no longer available for purchase on Steam, is a great game that plays very well with a wheel. Unfortunately, because of its age, it doesn't natively support newer wheels like the Thrustmaster TX or T300. While you can bind the steering, pedals and buttons to actions using the in-game options, you won't be able to control the menus without native support.
Luckily, you can add native support for these wheels by editing a few text files. This lets you control all the menus directly from the wheel and, most importantly, doesn't stop the game from saving progress (as is often the case when you start editing game files). Once you do this and set the proper values for the control settings, you will never know the wheel was unsupported.
In this guide, I will show you how to add native support for these wheels, and then what settings to use to get the best force feedback in game.
Device Action Map Files
Every supported input device has a file (called the action map) that defines it and its button bindings. In order to add support for new wheels, we need to make a new action map file for the device.
Device Action Map
Download the device action map file for your wheel:
Place it into: Steam Library\steamapps\common\DiRT 3 Complete Edition\actionmap
Action Map Paths
Just adding the action map file isn't quite enough. We need to tell the game to use this new file. In the actionmap folder, edit the file actionMapPaths.xml.
Add a new "xmlreader" line near the bottom of the file (above the line
</dataset>) with either tm_tx.xml or tm_t300rs.xml, according to which wheel you have:
<xmlreader processor="ActionMap2" filename="actionmap/tm_tx.xml" map="UPDATE" pool="UPDATE_TEMPORARY" /> <xmlreader processor="ActionMap2" filename="actionmap/tm_t300rs.xml" map="UPDATE" pool="UPDATE_TEMPORARY" /> </dataset>
Now the game will know how to use the buttons on the wheel. We can go one step further and improve the force feedback by editing the file: steamapps\common\DiRT 3 Complete Edition\forcefeedback\devicesetup.xml
Add the line that matches your wheel:
<FFBDevice name="Thrustmaster T300RS Racing Wheel" scaleForce="0.6" scaleFriction="0.35" baseFriction="0.0" maxFriction="35.0" scaleEffects="0.85" delay="0.0"/> <FFBDevice name="Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel" scaleForce="0.6" scaleFriction="0.35" baseFriction="0.0" maxFriction="35.0" scaleEffects="0.85" delay="0.0"/> </FFBDevices>
These match the settings used by the T500, which is the closest match to these wheels that existed at the time. This greatly improves the force feedback on these wheels.
Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings
DiRT 3 doesn't have a Soft Lock feature, so even if you limit the steering rotation in-game, the wheel will still turn past the actual steering lock. The only way to fix this is to set the steering rotation in the Thrustmaster Control Panel.
|Overall Strength of all forces||75%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
Spring and Damper are not used by DiRT 3, so can be set to any value without issue. As a general rule, I leave these at 100% since there are some games that require them.
BOOST should always be turned off. For an in-depth look as to why, see my BOOST Force Feedback Analysis.
DiRT 3 Settings
In Options > Controls:
Choose the preset for either the Thrustmaster TX or T300. Until you do this, the game may not navigate the menus using the wheel.
In Options > Controls > Advanced Wheel Settings:
In Options > Vibration & Feedback:
|Vibration & Feedback||On|
Vibration Strength controls the vibrations you feel when driving on different surfaces.
Wheel Strength controls the actual force feedback forces.
Wheel Weight just makes the wheel heavier and less responsive, so I turn it down completely.
While DiRT 3 certainly isn't a full simulator-style game like Dirt Rally, it is still tremendous fun and feels really nice with a properly set up wheel. I still go back and play this game quite often. It's a great arcade rally game. If you have a VR headset, you may be interested to know that DiRT 3 works surprisingly well in VR using VorpX.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions.