DIRT 5 is an arcade racer first and foremost, even lacking wheel support at release. When support was added, the force feedback was lackluster at best. As time went on, though, the force feedback improved greatly. It now feels very good on the Thrustmaster TX and T300. You can really feel what the car is doing and there is plenty of track detail. Some other effects are still quite light, but they aren't nearly as important.
A big part of having good car control in this kind of game is setting the steering angle correctly. DIRT 5 doesn't have a good way to do this in-game, so we have to change this in the Thrustmaster Control Panel. This is a little annoying, as I often forget to reset it when I go to play another game.
In this guide, we will first look at the settings you need to set in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, if playing on a PC. Then we will look at the in-game settings to get the most out of the force feedback.
Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings
Unfortunately, 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 in the Thrustmaster Control Panel.
On console, you can change the steering angle on the wheel directly by holding the Mode button and pressing left or right on the d-pad. When you release the Mode button, the light will flash 1-5 times, indicating 270°, 360°, 540°, 900° or 1080° was selected.
|Overall Strength of all forces||75%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
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, on the other hand, is not used in DIRT 5, so can be set to any value without issue.
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. The bars are broken into 20 segments, so each step is 5%.
In Settings > Input Settings > Thrustmaster TX / T300 > 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 TX / T300 > Vibration & Feedback:
|Self Aligned Torque||100%|
Force Feedback simply controls the overall strength of all the other forces.
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. 20-30% is a more reasonable level, but this is mostly personal preference.
Tyre Slip vibrates the wheel when your tires lose traction. This feels like a light buzz on these wheels which gets annoying over time. I prefer to disable this completely, but that is a personal preference. The effect isn't very strong, so you can turn this up quite high if you like the effect.
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.
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.