Forza Motorsport 7 is an arcade racer first and foremost, designed primarily to be played with a controller, but it actually plays well with a wheel. In fact, the default force feedback settings for the Thrustmaster TMX and T150 are actually quite good, which is almost never the case.
Usually default settings are set way too high, making the wheel feel excessively heavy and hard to turn. That is not the case here. My only complaint was that the force feedback felt a little muted, like it was too disconnected from the road. With some tweaking, I was able to find some settings that help make the force feedback feel sharper.
With there being so many cars of wildly different types in this game, it is difficult to find the best settings that work for every situation. I focused on the sports cars, but they seem to work well across all the different types. Remember that you can adjust the force feedback strength individually for every car in the game.
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, 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 Motorsport 7 Settings
In Options > Controller > Advanced:
|Force Feedback Scale||100|
|Aligning Torque Scale||100|
|Mechanical Trail Scale||90|
|Pneumatic Trail Scale||110|
|Road Feel Scale||105|
|Wheel Damper Scale||0|
|Center Spring Scale||0|
|Dynamic Damper Behavior||100|
|Invert Force Feedback||Off|
|Use Gamepad Steering Filters||Off|
Vibration Scale vibrates the wheel when you lose traction. I like less vibrations overall, but you can raise this if you want more. Most of the vibrations happen when you lose traction and start sliding the car.
Force Feedback Scale is the overall strength of forces. You can change this on a per-car setting using the Steering Wheel Tuning option in the car Setup.
Aligning Torque Scale is the main force feedback you feel.
Mechanical Trail Scale is lowered to make the force feedback a little sharper and more responsive.
Pneumatic Trail Scale is raised to add some weight to the wheel.
Road Feel Scale controls the vibrations you feel from bumps in the road surface.
Load Sensitivity gives more information about the car's tires. It makes the force feedback feel more responsive.
Wheel Damper Scale makes the wheel feel heavier without adding any information. There isn't much reason to use this with these wheels.
Center Spring Scale pulls the wheel back to the center position. Like the Wheel Damper, there isn't much use for this on these wheels. This seems to only take effect when you are sliding. If you are doing a lot of drifting, you may want to try raising this. For normal racing, it's just unnecessary.
These are fairly small changes, as you can drive just fine with the default settings. These just make the force feedback a little bit sharper, which just feels a bit more natural to me. I actually didn't notice much difference in my driving; the game wasn't any more or less difficult to drive.
In Setup > Tuning & Upgrades > Steering Wheel Tuning:
It's important to set a proper steering angle for the car you are driving. By default, Forza will use the full 900° rotation of your wheel for every car you drive, which is way too high for most of them.
Thankfully, you can set the wheel rotation angle for each car individually. I typically use 720° for road cars, 540° for rally-style cars and 360° for F1-style cars, but if there are some cars you really like, you can always find the real-world steering angle and set it perfectly.
There is quite a lot of confusion about whether to set the Steering Assist to Normal or Simulation. When you are using a gamepad, the Normal Assist does some magic to adjust the input as well as the physics to make steering easier. When you are using a wheel, only the physics changes apply, nothing happens to your actual inputs. In Simulation mode, both the input and the physics changes are removed entirely for both gamepad and wheel.
Some people say that when you are using a wheel, the Simulation setting improperly affects something about the physics. The posts I found discussing this were several years old and written before a major patch that completely revamped the force feedback system, so it's entirely possible the information is outdated. I have been using the Simulation setting without issue, so I'm assuming this was fixed.
Being used to the physics in Assetto Corsa, I actually found Forza 7 fairly difficult to play. The physics are different enough to make you have to relearn how to drive. I was hoping that some of that could be fixed by changing the force feedback settings, but, in the end, it's just an inherent part of the game. Once I got used to it, though, I starting having a lot more fun. There are a lot of great tracks and huge number of cars to drive, leading to some very interesting race moments.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.