DiRT Rally 2.0, the rally car simulator from Codemasters, is best played with a force feedback wheel. The game transmits a lot of information about what the car is doing through the force feedback of the wheel. Given the difficulty of controlling a rally car, you want to get as much information from the wheel as possible without fighting the force feedback.
The default force feedback settings in DiRT Rally 2.0 aren't the greatest for the Thrustmaster T248. The wheel is much too heavy and violent, making the cars harder to control as a result. I find rally games play better with relatively light wheels, since you are constantly turning the wheel quickly. Likewise, it's easy for the vibration effects to become noise and lose their meaning. Thankfully, the game has plenty of settings to control the force feedback that lets us create a great feeling wheel.
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 on the wheel itself. Then we will look at the in-game settings to improve the force feedback.
DiRT Rally 2.0 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.
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 not used by DiRT Rally 2.0, so the value doesn't actually matter. I keep it at 100% since it is required for some games to function properly.
Damper, on the other hand, is used by DiRT Rally 2.0. Since it's commonly recommended turning Damper off, make sure it's on.
BOOST should always be turned off. For an in-depth look as to why, see my BOOST Force Feedback Analysis.
DiRT Rally 2.0 Settings
In Options & Extras > Input > Connected Devices:
It is very important to calibrate your wheel by highlighting the wheel and choosing Device Options. Without calibration, the steering angle won't necessarily be set correctly and your wheel rotation won't match the in-game wheel.
In Options & Extras > Input > Connected Devices > Thrustmaster T248 > Input Bindings:
Since these wheels didn't exist when this game came out, you need to manually bind all the inputs for the buttons and the pedals. You only have to do this once.
In Options & Extras > Input > Connected Devices > Thrustmaster T248 > Advanced Settings:
Likewise, these need to be set manually to work with a wheel. By default, they are set for gamepads with large deadzone values.
In Options & Extras > Input > Connected Devices > Thrustmaster T248 > Vibration & Feedback:
|Vibration & Feedback||On|
|Self Aligning Torque||50-60|
|Steering Centre Force Enabled||On|
|Steering Centre Force||100|
Self Aligning Torque is the main force you feel. Setting this too high makes the wheel much too heavy. You shouldn't be fighting for control of the wheel very much in a rally car. You can adjust this on a per-car basis since some are noticeably lighter than others.
Wheel Friction is a mostly constant damper force that simply makes the wheel heavier. I find a little of this is nice, but too much will make the wheel much too heavy.
Tire Friction is a damper force that is based on the tire data. Functionally, this will make the wheel harder to turn at certain times, more prominently on tarmac.
Suspension controls the vibrations you feel in the wheel from the road surface. Rough gravel surface will vibrate nearly constantly, while smoother pavement won't vibrate at all. This is quite strong on these wheels, so I have lowered it dramatically. It can be raised if you like it stronger.
Collision controls the vibration when you hit a rock or something on the side of the road.
Soft Lock is the force you feel when trying to turn the wheel past the real-world steering angle.
Steering Centre Force is only ever used when you start a race or reset the car to re-center the wheel. It has no effect when you are driving.
DiRT Rally 2.0 remains one of my favorite racing games. Playing it with one of these wheels feels great, especially with the settings dialed in properly. This makes the game so much more enjoyable to play because you can really control the car in difficult situations.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.