Brian Koponen

Programming and Tech Tips

Best DiRT Rally Wheel Settings for Thrustmaster TMX / T150

DiRT Rally is a great game to play with a force feedback wheel. The game transmits a lot of information about what the car is doing through the wheel. Given the difficulty of controlling a rally car, you want the best control possible through the wheel.

Unfortunately, the default force feedback settings in Dirt Rally don't work very well for the Thrustmaster TMX and T150 (they are essentially the same wheel). Different wheels have very different characteristics for the force feedback abilities as they use completely different mechanisms.

Using the default force feedback settings, the Thrustmaster TMX and T150 will feel too heavy and hard to turn quickly, when it should be relatively easy. Thankfully, DiRT Rally allows you to change the force feedback settings on a very granular basis.

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.

Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings

Set the rotation to its maximum.

Under Gain Settings:

Setting Value
Overall Strength of all forces 100%
Constant 100%
Periodic 100%
Spring 100%
Damper 0%
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.

DiRT Rally Settings

In Options & Extras > Controls > Advanced Wheel Settings:

Setting Value
Steering Deadzone 0%
Steering Saturation 100%
Steering Linearity -4 - 0
Throttle Deadzone 0%
Throttle Saturation 100%
Brake Deadzone 0%
Brake Saturation 100%
Soft Lock On
Center Steering On

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 > Controls > Vibration & Feedback:

Setting Value
Vibration & Feedback On
Self Aligning Torque 45%
Wheel Friction 0%
Tire Friction 0%
Suspension 60%
Tire Slip 45%
Collision 100%
Soft Lock 150%
Steering Center Force 100%

Self Aligning Torque is the main strength of the force feedback.

Wheel Friction and Tire Friction are 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 vibration felt from the road surface.

Tire Slip is a canned effect that vibrates the wheel whenever the rear wheels lose traction. I have this set quite low, but you may want to turn it off completely as it is not a realistic effect most of the time, but does give you a little more information about what the car is doing.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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