Forza Horizon 4 has a bad reputation when it comes to force feedback wheel support, and most people recommend just playing it with a controller. While there is no doubt that the game is primarily intended to be played with a controller, it actually works very well with the Thrustmaster TMX and T150. Like most games, the default settings make the wheel feel too heavy and hard to turn, but this is easily corrected with the proper in-game settings.
The game is obviously not a simulation like Assetto Corsa, so you have to manage your expectations accordingly. It feels different to play an arcade racer with a wheel than it does a simulator, and I have a feeling this is where much of the criticism comes from. If you primarily play simulation-style games, you will have get used to the physics, but once you do, there is a ton of fun to be had.
There are, of course, many different cars and types of races in the game, making it difficult to find the single best settings for every situation. The settings I found lighten the wheel considerably, making it much easier to navigate the twisty-turny courses, while having a fairly strong force feedback response for the track surface and tire grip level.
Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings
Set the rotation to its maximum.
Under Gain Settings:
|Overall Strength of all forces||100%|
|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.
Forza Horizon 4 Settings
In Settings > Control Settings > Wheel > Advanced:
|Steering Axis Deadzone Inside||0|
|Steering Axis Deadzone Outside||100|
|Force Feedback Scale||60|
|Center Spring Scale||0|
|Wheel Damper Scale||0|
|Force Feedback Understeer||25|
|Force Feedback Minimum Force||25|
Vibration Scale controls the vibration you feel when you lose traction. It is used more as an immersive element in this game rather than giving information about what the car is doing.
Force Feedback Scale is actually the Aligning Torque setting, the predominant force you feel in the wheel, not the overall strength of the force feedback. Setting this too high will make the wheel quite jerky, especially on dirt roads.
Center Spring Scale is the force pulling the wheel back to the center.
Wheel Damper Scale adds weight to the wheel.
Force Feedback Understeer controls how light the wheel gets when you enter understeer. It's recommended by the developers to not change this value.
Force Feedback Minimum Force is actually the Pneumatic Trail Align Torque setting. I lower this to further lighten the wheel.
In Settings > Difficulty Settings:
Coming from more simulator-style games, I found it really helped to turn off Traction and Stability control to get the cars to feel more responsive. Be aware, however, that it may not be right for all cars and all types of races.
It is important to note that the in-game steering wheel animation only turns 90° left or right, despite the actual steering rotation value. For this reason I highly recommend playing from the Drivers camera, which hides the wheel and only shows the car's dashboard. This is actually a much more natural camera view for playing with a wheel and one that I hope more games will adopt.
I heard such bad things about this game's wheel support that I largely overlooked it. Once I actually sat down and tried it for myself, however, I found that those issues either have been fixed or only affect certain types of wheels and not the TMX / T150. Whatever the case, the game is a lot of fun and I highly recommend taking it for a spin.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.