DiRT Rally is a great game to play with a force feedback wheel. Unfortunately, the default force feedback settings don't work very well for the Thrustmaster T248. The wheel feels too heavy, making you wrestle the wheel around corners and there are excessive vibrations that make it hard to tell what the car is doing. Rally cars actually have rather light steering, so you shouldn't be fighting for control of the car this much.
Thankfully, DiRT Rally allows you to change the force feedback settings on a very granular basis. Dialing in the right settings makes the game much more enjoyable. Now you can clearly feel the weight transfer of the car, making it much easier to control.
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 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, 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. Since it's commonly recommended to turn 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 Settings
In Options & Extras > Controls:
The T248 isn't natively supported by the game, since it came out long after the game was made. Thankfully, the wheel works perfectly if you manually bind the controls. I recommend choosing the "Direct Input Device" preset and binding the buttons on top of that. This way you won't overwrite the keyboard controls.
Do not bind the Pause function, however. Leave it as the Escape key. If you bind it to a button on the wheel, the game won't save the button bindings and you will have to redo the bindings every time you run the game.
In Options & Extras > Controls > Advanced Wheel Settings:
It is important to calibrate your wheel. Without calibration, the steering angle won't necessarily be set correctly and your wheel rotation won't match the in-game wheel.
Similarly, make sure to set the Deadzones to 0% for the Steering, Throttle and Brake. The default is 20%, which won't feel right at all.
|Steering Linearity||-4 - 0|
Steering Linearity can be set to a negative value to make 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 to 0, or the wheel will be overly sensitive when centered and harder to control.
In Options & Extras > Controls > Vibration & Feedback:
|Vibration & Feedback||On|
|Self Aligning Torque||58%|
|Steering Center Force||100%|
Self Aligning Torque is the main force controlling the force feedback. 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. It's a fine line between being too strong and not strong enough. Feel free to adjust this to your liking.
Wheel Friction is a mostly constant damper force that simply makes the wheel heavier, not adding any useful information. I turn this off completely; it doesn't feel good on these wheels.
Tire Friction is a damper force that is based on the tire data. Functionally, this will make the wheel harder to turn when the car is slow, more prominently on tarmac.
Suspension controls the vibration felt from the road surface. Rough gravel surface will vibrate nearly constantly, where smoother pavement won't vibrate at all. This can be very strong, so I turn this down a lot.
Tire Slip is a canned effect that vibrates the wheel whenever the rear wheels lose traction. If this is set too high, it can get very annoying when you slide the car around a corner. I keep this low enough so you can feel the tires spin when you start at the gate, but won't notice it much at all during the stage.
Collision controls the vibration when you hit a rock or something on the side of the road. I keep this fairly high, so you may want to lower this if you find it too strong.
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.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.