F1 2018 is really best played with a force feedback wheel, though you wouldn't know it by the default wheel settings. When you are trying to drive at the limit of grip, every little bit of information transmitted through the wheel is important. Lower end wheels like the Thrustmaster TMX and T150, don't have the strongest motors to relay that information and can't turn as fast, making them often feel heavier than they should.
These natural limitations are compounded by incorrect wheel settings in the game. F1 2018 has terrible default wheel settings that make the game nearly unplayable. In this guide, I will show you much better settings to use that make the game much more fun and easier to play.
Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings
The first thing that needs to be fixed is the steering angle. By default, F1 2018 uses the full rotation of your wheel, which is far too much for an F1 car. In a F1 car, the steering angle should be about 360°, meaning you can turn it 180° to the left and 180° to the right.
You could set this value in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, but then you would need to change it whenever you played another game. If F1 cars are the only type you drive, this would work fine.
If you are like me and switch between different games and types of cars frequently, it is far easier to have each game calibrate the proper steering angle individually, so you don't have to keep going back to the control panel all the time.
|Rotation||900° (TMX) 1080° (T150)|
|Overall Strength of all forces||100%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
The 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 solve oscillation problems.)
The Spring force constantly pulls the wheel back to the center, but, unlike the 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 about why a FFB setting seems to have no effect.
F1 2018 Settings
In Game Options > Settings > Controls, Vibration & Force Feedback > Control & Calibration Schemes > Thrustmaster TMX / T150 > Calibration:
Most importantly, you need to set the Steering Saturation value correctly. While the name is vague, what this actually controls is the maximum steering angle. To set this for your wheel, turn the wheel 180° to the left and raise the Steering Saturation until the Steering value at the bottom of the screen is 100.
The Steering Linearity and Saturation are tied together. When you raise the Linearity, you also have to raise the Saturation to maintain a 360° steering angle. I raise the Linearity, as I find the steering too sensitive on the straights. But this is truly personal preference. Just remember to adjust both values to maintain the proper steering angle.
In Game Options > Settings > Controls, Vibration & Force Feedback > Control & Calibration Schemes > Thrustmaster TMX / T150 > Vibration & Force Feedback:
|Vibration & Force Feedback||On|
|Vibration & Force Feedback Strength||45|
|On Track Effects||25|
|Off Track Effects||45|
Vibration & Force Feedback Strength is the overall strength of the force feedback. Raising it too much starts to overwhelm the wheel, making the wheel feel heavy and lifeless. I find the range of 45-50 works best.
On Track Effects is the vibrations felt based on the track surface.
Rumblestrip Effects is the vibration felt when running over a kerb.
Off Track Effects is the vibration felt when you leave the track.
Wheel Damper makes the wheel feel heavier. Unnecessary on these wheels.
Understeer Enhance drastically lightens the wheel when you start to understeer. I find this more distracting than anything. The wheel lightens so much when you start to understeer that it feels more like the wheel is broken rather than something that is happening to the car.
Properly configured, F1 2018 plays great with a wheel. It's just a shame they made it so obtuse to set the steering angle correctly without modifying the Thrustmaster Control Panel all the time. If you have a VR headset, you may be interested to know that F1 2018 works surprisingly well in VR using VorpX.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.