Brian Koponen

Programming and Tech Tips

DiRT 4 - Best Thrustmaster T248 Wheel Settings

DiRT 4 plays very well with a wheel, but we need to do a little work to get it to work properly with the Thrustmaster T248. These wheels aren't natively supported, since they came out well after the release of the game. Thankfully, we can add support for them by replacing two game files.

The force feedback isn't the greatest either. The default values make the wheel much too heavy, making it difficult to control the car. With the right settings, however, you can drastically improve the force feedback. It's strong enough that you can easily tell what the car is doing, but not so strong that you are fighting for control over the vehicle. Unfortunately, the force feedback always has a fairly vague, sluggish feeling, no matter what you do.

In this guide, I will show you how to add native support for these wheels, and then the settings to use on the wheel and in-game to get the best force feedback.

Device Action Map Files

The T248 isn't natively recognized by DiRT 4. While you can manually bind all the controls, it won't save them, making you have to bind the controls every time you launch the game. We can fix this by adding the necessary files for the game to recognize the T248. Due to the way the T248 works, it will appear to the game as the TS-PC, but it works perfectly. I have edited the files so that the button bindings are correct for the T248 layout.

Download both of these files:

Replace the existing files in these folders:

Thrustmaster Settings

DiRT 4 has a Soft Lock feature, so it will automatically set the proper steering angle for each car in the game. Set the rotation to Auto on the wheel and calibrate the wheel in-game.

On-Wheel Setting Value
ROT Auto
FORCE 4
FFB 1

FORCE at 4 bars with FFB at 1 creates a perfectly linear force feedback response with no clipping, which is the ideal for any racing game.

TM Control Panel Setting Value
Rotation 900°
Overall Strength of all forces 65%
Constant 100%
Periodic 100%
Spring 100%
Damper 100%
BOOST Off
Auto-Center by the game

Rotation and Overall Strength are identical to the ROT and FORCE wheel settings, respectively. Changing it in one place overwrites the other. I recommend changing these on the wheel and ignoring the values in the Thrustmaster Control Panel.

Spring is not used by DiRT 4, so the value actually doesn't matter. Some games require Spring to be on for their force feedback to work, so I keep it at 100% as a general rule.

Damper is used in DiRT 4 for the Wheel Friction and Tire Friction effects.

BOOST should always be turned off. For an in-depth look as to why, see my BOOST Force Feedback Analysis.

DiRT 4 Settings

In Options & Extras > Input:

Make sure to run the Calibration Wizard in game. This is required to have the proper steering angles and for Soft Lock to work. It's possible to cancel out of the Calibration Wizard by hitting the wrong button on the wheel. There are four steps you have to go through for the calibration, if you don't do them all, Soft Lock won't work. If you find you aren't getting through the full process, try pressing a different button on your wheel.


In Options & Extras > Input > Device Management > Thrustmaster TS-PC > Input Presets:

Since the game thinks the T248 is a TS-PC, you need to load the Input Preset for the Thrustmaster TS-PC to get the proper button bindings to load. I found if I didn't manually load the preset, it wouldn't use the correct layout for the T248 that I created.


In Options & Extras > Input > Device Management > Thrustmaster TS-PC > Advanced Input Settings:

Setting Value
Steering Linearity 0
Steering Deadzone 0
Steering Saturation 100
Soft Lock On

With the wheel calibrated, you can let the game choose the proper steering angle for each car by using the Soft Lock, instead of manually changing the Steering Saturation every time you get in a new car.


In Options & Extras > Input > Device Management > Thrustmaster TS-PC > Vibration & Feedback:

Setting Value
Vibration & Feedback On
Self Aligning Torque 55
Wheel Friction 0
Tire Friction 60
Suspension 85
Tire Slip 30
Collision 80
Soft Lock 150
Steering Centre Force 100
Steering Centre Force Enabled On

Self Aligning Torque is the main force you feel while driving. Setting this too high makes the wheel very resistant to turning and quite violent in general.

Wheel Friction is a damper force to add weight to the wheel. The Self Aligning Torque provides plenty of weight, so I turn this off.

Tire Friction is a damper force that adds a little bit of resistance based on the tires. This is mostly felt when the car is stopped.

Suspension vibrates the wheel based on the bumps in the road. This is a pretty light force, so you can keep this pretty high. I have this set about as high as you would want it. Feel free to lower this if you find the shaking too aggressive.

Tire Slip vibrates the wheel when the rear wheels lose traction. I find this can get irritating, so I keep this very low. It's not a very strong force, so you can turn it up quite a bit if you like it.

Collision vibrates the wheel when you hit something.

Soft Lock stops the wheel from turning past the car's steering angle.

Steering Centre Force centers the wheel when you start a stage or recover the car. It has no effect while you are driving.

Conclusion

While DiRT 4 isn't my favorite of the DiRT series, it's still plenty fun. I wish there was more detail in the force feedback, but it's good enough to feel what the car is doing. If you have a VR headset, you may be interested to know that DiRT 4 works surprisingly well in VR using VorpX.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

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