GRID Autosport feels closer to an entry in the Forza series than it does the previous GRID games, especially when it comes to the feel of driving with a wheel. Whereas the earlier titles treated the wheel as just a joystick, Autosport feels much more like driving an actual car. The return of the cockpit view, even if it still leaves a lot to be desired, is much appreciated.
If you play with the Thrustmaster T248 or any other unsupported wheel, you can barely even navigate the menus because the default bindings are completely wrong for a wheel and pedal set. The menu constantly scrolls unless you hold down the brake, which makes it nearly impossible to bind the pedals to accelerate and brake. You could rightfully assume that the game is just broken when using an unsupported wheel.
Thankfully, with a little text file editing, we can fix all of those problems and you will have a very nice force feedback wheel to play with. With good force feedback and the return of the cockpit view, GRID Autosport ventures closer to the feel of a raw simulator, while maintaining the wild arcade action that defines the series.
Device Action Map Files
Every supported input device has a file (called the device action map) that defines it and its button bindings. In order to add support for new wheels, we need to make a new action map file for the device.
When GRID Autosport doesn't recognize a device, as is the case for the T248, it uses a default control scheme simply called the "Direct Input Device." This could be either a gamepad or a wheel and, unfortunately, it is very much setup for a gamepad, leading to the constant menu scrolling problem.
In order to get the buttons configured on the wheel properly, we need to replace the Direct Input Device settings file.
Device Action Map
Download the device action map file for the wheel:
Place it into Steam Library\steamapps\common\GRID Autosport\input, replacing the existing file.
Now, with the appropriate Direct Input Device settings for the wheel, you will be able to navigate the menus properly, using the correct buttons on the wheel for selecting and canceling actions.
Force Feedback Settings
We can improve the force feedback effects a little bit by editing the following file in your Steam Library:
Edit the default device listing as follows:
<FFBDevice name="default" scaleForce="1.2" scaleFriction="0.3" baseFriction="0.05" maxFriction="100.0" scaleEffects="1.19" delay="0.0"/>
These are the settings defined for the Thrustmaster TX, which is the closest wheel to the T248 that existed at the time. This change is quite subtle, but there is no reason not to match the settings.
Unlike previous entries in the series, this game plays with a far more realistic steering control, allowing us to use a much larger steering angle than I used for those. I found that 540° works well for all the cars except the open wheels, where I prefer 360°.
While it is possible to set the steering angle in-game, GRID Autosport doesn't have a Soft Lock feature, so the wheel will keep turning past the usable angle. You can fix this by setting the steering angle on the wheel itself, which will provide the soft lock.
|540° / 360° (Open Wheel)
FORCE at 4 bars with FFB at 1 creates a perfectly linear force feedback response with no clipping, which is the ideal for any racing game.
|TM Control Panel Setting
|540° / 360° (Open Wheel)
|Overall Strength of all forces
|by the game
Rotation and Overall Strength are identical to the ROT and FORCE wheel settings, respectively. Changing it in one place overwrites the other. I recommend changing these on the wheel and ignoring the values in the Thrustmaster Control Panel.
Spring and Damper are not used by GRID Autosport. I leave these at 100% since there are some games that require them.
BOOST should always be turned off. For an in-depth look as to why, see my BOOST Force Feedback Analysis.
GRID Autosport Settings
In Options & Extras > Options > Controls:
Choose the "Direct Input Device" preset. Now that you can navigate the menus properly using the wheel, feel free to customize the buttons as you see fit.
From now on, whenever you start the game, make sure to press some buttons on the wheel before pressing the enter key on your keyboard. If you don't do this, you may need to go back and select the Direct Input Device preset.
In Options & Extras > Options > Controls > Advanced Options:
Make sure to set the Steering Deadzone to 0%, as the default is 20%, which makes the wheel feel completely broken.
In Options & Extras > Options > Vibration:
Vibration Strength controls the vibrations you feel, mostly based on the texture of the road surface.
Wheel Strength controls the main force feedback you feel. This is how you will feel the amount of grip your tires have.
Wheel Weight is a damper force that adds a constant weight to the wheel. Setting this too high makes the wheel feel very sluggish.
Bonus Tip: Game Progress Not Saving?
While I was figuring out how all of this worked, I thought GRID Autosport had a horrible bug that would prevent the game from saving any data, whether it be control settings or actual game progress. I saw that many other people had this problem, and the one thing they had in common was that they all had modified the game files in some way. This isn't a "bug" at all, but rather an anti-cheat mechanism the game has built in to it. I had added several files, trying out different settings, which had triggered this mechanism.
Thankfully, modifying the two files we need does NOT cause this to happen, just make sure not to add any additional files into those folders, like creating a backup copy of the original files.
GRID Autosport lands in kind of a strange spot. It removes a lot of the style that defined GRID 1 and 2, making them such unique experiences, but it doesn't go far enough to make the game a realistic simulator-style game either. You end up with a game that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. That said, I still enjoy it quite a bit.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions.