Brian Koponen

Programming and Tech Tips

Best NASCAR Heat 4 Wheel Settings for Thrustmaster TX / T300

NASCAR Heat 4 plays very well with a wheel, but it does need some tweaking to get the best experience when using the Thrustmaster TX or T300. The default force feedback is set far too strong, making the cars very hard to turn.

There is no soft lock in this game, meaning that you can continue turning the wheel past the point you can in the real car. Nothing happens in game when you do this, the input is ignored entirely, but it makes it much harder to control a spin, for instance, when you can't tell when you've reached that maximum rotation angle.

In this guide, I will show how to correct both of these issues by setting the proper values in game and in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, if playing on PC.

Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings

The big issue with NASCAR Heat 4 is setting the steering angle correctly. In some games, the lack of a Soft Lock feature isn't that big of a deal because you only very rarely reach that point. In NASCAR, however, the steering angle is very small and you will frequently hit the maximum rotation angle. When the wheel keeps turning past that point, the game just doesn't feel right and the cars are harder to control as a result.

We can correct this by changing the rotation angle in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, which will provide the rotation lock, and modifying the in-game settings to match this. Ordinarily, I don't like having to modify the driver-level rotation angle, as it is annoying to have to change it when you load up a different game. In this case, there simply is no other way to get this to work.

Setting Value
Rotation 240°
Overall Strength of all forces 75%
Constant 100%
Periodic 100%
Spring 100%
Damper 100%
Auto-Center by the game

By setting the rotation angle in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, we make it appear to the game that the wheel is only capable of a 240° rotation. The wheel itself will provide the soft lock when you try to rotate past that angle.

Spring is not used by NASCAR Heat 4, so the value actually doesn't matter. Some games require Spring to be on for their force feedback to work, so I keep it at 100% as a general rule.

Damper is also not used by NASCAR Heat 4, so can be set to any value without issue.

NASCAR Heat 4 Settings

In Options > Player 1 Controls:

Setting Value
Input Device Steering Wheel
Rotation Angle 240°

Despite the game telling you to put in the maximum rotation for your wheel, you need to match the value that from the Thrustmaster Control Panel for this to work correctly.


Force Feedback

The settings in this game don't have any numerical values, just a simple slider. The default value is usually the center, which I will refer to as 0 in the following settings. The sliders can go from -5, if fully to the left, all the way to +5, if all the way to the right.

There is not much to configure when it comes to the force feedback in this game. I lower the force feedback to -1 on tarmac tracks. This keeps the forces strong, but not so much that it overwhelms the wheel. You may even want to lower it to -2 for a lighter feel.

On dirt tracks, you can raise the force feedback strength to +2, since there is so little resistance on those tracks. You can actually go a little higher to +3 or +4 without overwhelming the wheel, but I find the forces at those levels to just get annoying over the course of a race.

Force Feedback Settings for Road and Oval
Force Feedback Settings for Tarmac courses.
Force Feedback Settings for Dirt
Force Feedback Settings for Dirt courses.
Setting Value
Effect Strength -1 (Tarmac) / +2 (Dirt)
Impact Effect On


Deadzones

Make sure the deadzones are all the way down.

Deadzone Settings
Deadzone Settings
Setting Value
Steering -5
Brake -5
Throttle -5
Clutch -5


Sensitivity

Turn the Steering Range all the way up. This tells the game to use the full 240° rotation we had set earlier. It is very important to keep the Steering Sensitivity at zero (centered). Anything else makes the wheel either way too sensitive in the middle or not nearly sensitive enough in the middle.

I also recommend turning the Brake and Throttle sensitivities down as both of these inputs are much more sensitive than other games I've played. You can check that everything is working by pressing the Test Sensitivity button. As you rotate the wheel towards full lock, the slider should reach the end just as you hit it.

Sensitivity Settings
Sensitivity Settings
Setting Value
Steering Range +5
Steering Sensitivity 0
Brake Sensitivity -5
Throttle Sensitivity -5

Conclusion

The only thing that can't be fixed is that the steering wheel animation doesn't match your input exactly when in cockpit view. The animation only goes 90° left or right, and it scales this based on your wheel rotation. You learn to ignore it, but I wish it matched the wheel input properly. If you have a VR headset, you may be interested to know that NASCAR Heat 4 works surprisingly well in VR using VorpX.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

Question or Comment?