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.
Unfortunately, the default force feedback settings in Dirt Rally 2.0 don't work very well for the Thrustmaster TMX and T150 (they are essentially the same wheel). The force feedback is set too strong and it just feels like you are fighting to turn the wheel on every single corner, when it should be relatively easy. These are great entry-level wheels for their price, but they don't have the responsiveness of more expensive, higher end wheels, leading to these kind of problems.
With that in mind, it is important to tune the force feedback settings in the game to your particular wheel. After doing a lot of research and my own testing, I found the best settings for the Thrustmaster TMX and T150. These really made a big impact on my enjoyment of the game.
In the Thrustmaster Control Panel:
Set the rotation to its maximum.
Under Gain Settings:
|Overall Strength of all forces||100%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
Damper applies a constant dampening effect, making the wheel feel heavy. On lower-end wheels, there is plenty of natural dampening in the wheel mechanism itself. (Dampening is used on higher-end wheels to add weight and solve oscillation problems.) I turn this off in the driver because many games don't have a way to control it in-game.
Spring constantly pulls the wheel back to the center, but, unlike Damper, it is completely controlled by the game, just like the Constant and Periodic forces. Most games don't use the Spring force at all (their native physics simulations do this already), so it actually doesn't matter what the value is set to in the Control Panel.
I leave the Spring force on in the Control Panel, making the in-game settings the only factor controlling the force feedback. This makes the settings consistent across all games and prevents confusion in the few games that use it when a FFB setting seems to have no effect.
In DiRT Rally 2.0:
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 be set correctly and the wheel will feel very strange.
In Options & Extras -> Input -> Connected Devices -> Thrustmaster TMX / T150 -> Advanced Settings:
|Steering Linearity||-4 - 0|
Setting Steering Linearity to a negative value makes the steering more sensitive when the wheel is centered. This can be useful for older cars that have a larger degree of rotation, if it feels like you are unable to turn the wheel fast enough around corners. For modern style cars, Steering Linearity should be set at 0, or the wheel will be over sensitive when centered and harder to control.
In Options & Extras -> Input -> Connected Devices -> Thrustmaster TMX / T150 -> Vibration & Feedback:
|Vibration & Feedback||On|
|Self Aligning Torque||45|
|Steering Centre Force Enabled||On|
|Steering Centre Force||100|
Self Aligning Torque is the overall strength of the force feedback.
Wheel Friction and Tire Friction are both Damper forces. In different ways, they both add resistance to the wheel only if you have the Damper force enabled in the Thrustmaster Control Panel. Wheel Friction is a mostly constant force that simply makes the wheel heavier. Tire Friction is mostly felt based on the speed of the car. When the car is still, you will feel the heaviness of the car when you try to turn the wheel. I don't like Damper forces on these lower end wheels, so I turn these off.
Suspension controls the vibrations you feel in the wheel from the road surface.
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.
Before making these changes, I found the game fun, but often annoyingly hard to control. After applying these settings, I was no longer fighting with the force feedback and I finally had complete control over the car. This makes the game so much more enjoyable to play because you can actually control the car in difficult situations. I highly recommend you try these settings.