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 TX and T300. These wheels have plenty of power to create a fun, immersive experience for this type of game. Unfortunately, most of the forces are so weak that you can barely feel them.
You can control the car just fine, but you don't feel much of the road surface. Even landing from big jumps hardly moves the wheel. The game is still fun, but I do wish the wheel would convey more of the excitement in these races.
The default force feedback settings makes the wheel too stiff, which is easily fixed by lowering some settings. In a game like this, you need the wheel to be easy to turn quickly without feeling too light. A big part of that is getting the steering angle set 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. I hope they fix this in an update, because I always forget to reset that 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 improve 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.
|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.
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 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 controls the weight of the wheel and accounts for most of what you will feel in the force feedback. Setting this too low takes all the resistance out of the wheel. Depending on which car you are driving, you may want to lower this a bit. It's a fine line between too strong and not strong enough.
ABS Feedback shakes the wheel when the ABS assist kicks in. I can only feel it when the ABS assist is set to High.
Self Aligned Torque is felt in instances where the wheel should jerk out of your hands, like when driving in a puddle. Combined with Force Feedback, this accounts for most of what you feel in the wheel.
Engine is nearly undetectable. I think it is supposed to vibrate the wheel when you redline the car, but I can't feel anything when that happens.
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 some shaking and vibration when you drive over certain types of surfaces.
Tyre Slip provides force feedback and vibration 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.
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.