DIRT 5 is an arcade racer first and foremost. It didn't even have wheel support at release. While support did come in a later update, the experience is disappointing with the Thrustmaster T248.
The default force feedback makes the wheel very heavy and sluggish, which doesn't work well in a game like this. A heavy wheel makes dealing with all the tight corners more difficult than it should be. Thankfully, this is easily fixed by lowering some settings and getting the steering angle set correctly.
In this guide, we will first look at the settings you need to set in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, if playing on a PC, and what you need to set on the wheel itself. Then we will look at the in-game settings to improve the force feedback.
DIRT 5 doesn't have a good way to set the steering angle in-game. (Technically it's possible, but it is imprecise and there is no Soft Lock to stop your wheel rotating past the maximum angle.) The best option is to change the value on the wheel itself.
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|
|Overall Strength of all forces||65%|
|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 used in DIRT 5 as the primary force feedback, so it is very important to have it turned on. Since it is commonly recommended to set Spring and Damper to 0, make sure that you have it turned on.
Damper is not used in DIRT 5, so can be set to any value without issue. I keep it at 100% since it is required for some games to function properly.
BOOST should always be turned off. For an in-depth look as to why, see my BOOST Force Feedback Analysis.
DIRT 5 Settings
Annoyingly, the user interface in DIRT 5 doesn't provide numerical values, just a visual bar, so I can't provide exact values. These are my best-guess numerical approximations, but I have also provided a screenshot of the settings that is probably more helpful.
In Settings > Input Settings > Thrustmaster T248:
You have to select the T248 Preset from Device Options. If you don't, the buttons will be mapped incorrectly and display the wrong labels in the UI. The Y button (as shown on screen) is the X button on the T248. You will have to use the enter key on the keyboard to select the T248, since there is no button bound for A with the default preset.
In Settings > Input Settings > Thrustmaster T248 > Advanced Settings:
You can change the steering angle in-game by lowering the Steering Saturation. Unfortunately, it is imprecise, since there is no numerical display and there is no Soft Lock, so the wheel will keep turning past the maximum angle.
In Settings > Input Settings > Thrustmaster T248 > Vibration & Feedback:
|Self Aligned Torque||100%|
Force Feedback simply controls the overall strength of all the other forces and the overall weight of the wheel.
ABS Feedback shakes the wheel when the ABS assist kicks in. I can only feel this when the ABS assist is set to High.
Self Aligned Torque is the main force feedback you feel. You can leave this at 100% without a problem. You can always turn this down a little to make the forces weaker.
Collision shakes the wheel when you hit other cars or something on the side of the track. It seems to be mostly limited to head-on collisions, so many times you will hit something and not feel a thing.
Landing Feedback seems to have no effect. Presumably it's supposed to shake the wheel when you land from a jump, but I can't feel any effect.
Surface Feedback provides all of the road detail. This is very strong, so it needs to be brought down a lot.
Tyre Slip vibrates the wheel when your tires lose traction. This can be annoying when set too high.
There are times when it feels a little silly to use a wheel in this game, as it was obviously designed with controllers in mind. However, it is entirely playable with a wheel. Part of this is simply using the cockpit view camera. Some of the vehicles have very limited visibility, making it much more difficult than a third person camera.
DIRT 5 is a fun, exciting game, but it could be so much better if it had decent force feedback. I really hope this isn't the future of the Dirt franchise, now that a new development team is in charge.
If you have a VR headset, you may be interested to know that DIRT 5 works surprisingly well in VR using VorpX.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.