Brian Koponen

Programming and Tech Tips

Best Race Driver: GRID Settings for Thrustmaster T248

The original Race Driver: GRID is an arcade game first and foremost, designed primarily to be played with a controller. It does support force feedback wheels, however, and plays very well with them. Due to its age, though, we have to do a little work to make the game support newer wheels like the Thrustmaster T248.

Doing this will let you navigate all the menus (except for the opening title screen for some reason) and play the game using these wheels as if they were natively supported. The game will still show the keyboard labels on screen, but the typical wheel buttons will work for all the features in the game.

In this guide, I will show you how to make GRID support these wheels and what settings to use in the Thrustmaster Control Panel, on the wheel and in-game to provide the best experience. GRID can have some issues running on modern computers, so I have included a troubleshooting section for the issues that I ran into getting it to run properly.

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.

Device Action Map

Download the device action map file for the wheel:

Place it into Steam Library\steamapps\common\Grid\ActionMap, replacing the existing file.


Force Feedback

We can improve the force feedback effects by editing two files in your Steam Library. First, edit the file:

steamapps\common\Grid\forcefeedback\devicesetup.xml

You need to add an "FFBDevice" entry for the wheel at the bottom of the file (above the </FFBDevices> line):

<FFBDevice name="Thrustmaster Advanced Mode Racer" scaleForce="1.0" scaleFriction="0.8" baseFriction="0.0" maxFriction="45.0" scaleEffects="1.0" delay="0.0"/>

</FFBDevices>

These are the settings used for the G25, which is the closest wheel that existed at the time. This change is quite subtle, but there is no reason not to match the settings.


Secondly, edit the file:

steamapps\common\Grid\forcefeedback\effectsetup.xml

Change the FFBCaster line to this:

<FFBCaster scale="0.6" toe="0.75" trail="0.75" camber="0.75" angleThresholdLow="0.01" angleFrictionLow="0.01" angleThresholdHigh="25.0" angleFrictionHigh="6.5" thresholdLow="0.1" frictionLow="0.1" thresholdHigh="6.5" frictionHigh="1.0" cornerPoint="0.075" exponent="1.0"/>

This adds a lot more information to the force feedback. Many thanks to Utzu for discovering this and sending it to me.

Thrustmaster Settings

I use a very small steering angle for this game. This is not a serious simulator by any means. It is designed to be played with this small steering angle and actually works very well. You can raise the steering angle if you like (I would go no higher that 360°), but I think you will find that it just makes the steering feel sluggish, without adding any real benefits.

I use 270° since it is the lowest available on the wheel itself. If you want the wheel to match up perfectly with the on screen wheel, which does feel more natural, you will need to lower the steering angle to 180°, which can only be done in the Thrustmaster Control Panel.

On-Wheel Setting Value
ROT 270°
FORCE 4
FFB 1

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 Value
Rotation 180° / 270°
Overall Strength of all forces 65%
Constant 100%
Periodic 100%
Spring 100%
Damper 100%
BOOST Off
Auto-Center 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. 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 Settings

In Options > Driving Options > Driving Assists:

Setting Value
Traction Control Off
Transmission Manual
Braking Assist Off
Stability Control Off

I turn off all the assists. If you have any experience with racing games, you won't need them and they'll just make the gameplay worse.


In Options > Driving Options > Advanced:

Setting Value
Steering Deadzone 0%
Steering Saturation 100%
Steering Linearity 0
Acceleration Pedal Deadzone 0%
Acceleration Pedal Saturation 100%
Brake Pedal Deadzone 0%
Brake Pedal Saturation 100%

Make sure the Steering Linearity is set to 0 to get a proper linear input with the wheel.

You will want to make sure the Deadzones are all set to 0% and the Saturations are all set to 100%, so you get the full travel of the wheel and pedals.


In Options > Driving Options > Force Feedback / Vibration:

Setting Value
Force / Vibration On
Force Strength 50%
Force Weight 0%
Effects Strength 50%

Force Strength is the main force you feel in the wheel. Setting this too high will make the wheel too heavy in the corners.

Force Weight just makes the wheel heavier. It's not needed on these wheels.

Effects Strength is the vibration effects you feel from bumps in the track and collisions.

Troubleshooting

Wheel Not Recognized

On occasion, GRID has not recognized the wheel for no apparent reason. Restarting the computer has fixed it.

If the wheel still isn't recognized by GRID, open Device Manager and check the name the wheel reports under "Human Interface Devices". GRID recognizes which wheel is attached by the name it reports to Windows.

This name needs to be copied exactly (including spaces and capitalization) into the action map file as the "deviceType" and "deviceName" throughout the file. (Sometimes you need to remove the "(USB)" at the end of the name.) I would just do a find and replace operation to make the existing name match the one that is being reported in Device Manager.


No Force Feedback Bugfix

A common problem with GRID is that the force feedback effects will work for one race, but disappear in the next, or just not work at all. If this happens, make sure VSync is turned On in the Graphics Settings. This fixed the issue for me.


Running a Higher Resolution

GRID is limited to running in a 720p resolution for a lot of people, depending on their graphics card. There is an easy solution to this problem.

In your Steam Library, edit the file:

steamapps\common\Grid\system\hardware_settings_restrictions.xml

Near the bottom of the file you need to change the values in the res line.

For instance, to run at 1920 x 1080, you need to raise the maxWidth to 1920. Set the mem value to your graphics card's memory in megabytes. I have 8GB on mine, so that becomes 8192 (8 x 1024).

<data>
  <res maxWidth="1920" mem="8192"/>
</data>

Conclusion

With these settings applied, the game feels pretty good with a wheel. A lot of the street races are clearly designed with a controller in mind, requiring a lot of tight turns in quick succession. It can feel pretty gimmicky playing with a wheel in those situations. Overall, though, there is a lot of fun arcade action to be had. If you have a VR headset, you may be interested to know that GRID works fairly well in VR using VorpX.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

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