Brian Koponen

Programming and Tech Tips

Best F1 2020 Wheel Settings for Thrustmaster TMX / T150

I also have wheel settings available for F1 2021.

F1 2020 plays really well with a wheel, once it is configured properly. Unfortunately, much like F1 2018 and F1 2019, the default settings for the Thrustmaster TMX and T150 don't do the game justice. The steering angle, in particular, needs to be set properly for the game to be even playable. The force feedback is overly strong and feels fairly dead, but can be improved a lot with the right settings, giving a much better driving experience.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that maximizing the force feedback settings means the force feedback is more "realistic." This is not true on any wheel, but especially weaker, lower end wheels. The purpose of the force feedback is to give you information about the track surface and how much grip the tires have. Much of this information would be felt through g-forces and the shaking of the car itself in real life. In a simulated game, however, all we have is the wheel itself, so we have to make concessions to realism to get more information to the player. Lowering the strength of the big forces allows the wheel to still give important information about the track when you are in a high speed corner, for instance.

These settings are basically the same as the ones I used for F1 2019. It doesn't feel like much has changed in the force feedback system, which is fine, since it works very well. It seems the series is sticking with what works. It's not the greatest force feedback I've ever felt, but it works well enough.

Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings

The default steering angle in this game uses the full rotation of your wheel which is way too much for an F1 car. They typically have a maximum 360° rotation, meaning you can turn the wheel 180° to the left and 180° to the right. You could set this in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, but if you play a variety of games, it gets annoying having to change it every time you want to play a different game. I much prefer to set the steering angle in the game whenever possible, which is exactly what we will do for F1 2020.

Setting Value
Rotation 900° (TMX) 1080° (T150)
Overall Strength of all forces 100%
Constant 100%
Periodic 100%
Spring 100%
Damper 0%
Auto-Center by the game

The Damper applies a constant dampening effect (on top of any in-game settings), 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 2020 Settings

In Game Options > Settings > Controls, Vibration & Force Feedback > Thrustmaster TMX / T150 > Calibration:

Setting Value
Steering Deadzone 0
Steering Linearity 10
Steering Saturation 84 (TMX) 100 (T150)

The steering angle is controlled by the Steering Saturation and Steering Linearity settings. To get a 360° rotation angle, turn the wheel 180° to the left and raise the Steering Saturation until the turn angle at the bottom of the screen is 100.

I raise the Steering Linearity to make the wheel less sensitive when the wheel is centered. When you raise the linearity, you also need to raise the saturation to maintain the 360° rotation angle. The linearity is really a matter of personal preference, so you may need to adjust this. Just remember to adjust the Steering Saturation if you do.


In Game Options > Settings > Controls, Vibration & Force Feedback > Thrustmaster TMX / T150 > Vibration & Force Feedback:

Setting Value
Vibration & Force Feedback On
Vibration & Force Feedback Strength 50
On Track Effects 35
Rumblestrip Effects 60
Off Track Effects 40
Wheel Damper 0
Understeer Enhance Off

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 and is 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.

I raise the Rumblestrip and Off Track effects quite a bit, but that is more personal preference than anything. You can certainly turn those down if you don't like them.

Conclusion

With the steering angle set correctly and the force feedback set properly, the game feels really good on these lower end wheels. I still think it's ridiculous how difficult it is to set the proper steering angle. At least it's consistent across the series, I suppose. If you have a VR headset, you may be interested to know that F1 2020 works surprisingly well in VR using VorpX.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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