Brian Koponen

Programming and Tech Tips

Best Race Driver: GRID Wheel Settings for Thrustmaster TX / T300

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 TX and T300.

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 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 your wheel:

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


Force Feedback

We can improve the force feedback effects a little bit by editing the following file in your Steam Library:

steamapps\common\Grid\forcefeedback\devicesetup.xml

Add the line matching your wheel:

<FFBDevice name="Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel" scaleForce="1.0" scaleFriction="0.8" baseFriction="0.0" maxFriction="45.0" scaleEffects="1.0" delay="0.0"/>

<FFBDevice name="Thrustmaster T300RS Racing Wheel" 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.

Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings

While it is possible to set the steering angle in-game, GRID doesn't have a Soft Lock feature, so the wheel will keep turning past the usable angle. Since the steering angle is so small, you frequently hit the max lock, and turning past it does not feel good. You can fix this by setting the steering angle in the Thrustmaster Control, which will provide the soft lock.

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.

Setting Value
Rotation 180°
Overall Strength of all forces 100%
Constant 100%
Periodic 100%
Spring 100%
Damper 100%
Auto-Center by the game

Spring is not used by GRID, 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 GRID, so can be set to any value without issue.

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 60%
Force Weight 0%
Effects Strength 100%

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. These are quite light, so you can turn them up all the way without a problem.

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. 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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