rFactor 2 has perhaps the best force feedback system in any simulator I have played. I had heard good things about it, but I was still shocked at how good it really was when using the Thrustmaster TX and T300. There is a tremendous amount of detail in the simulation that you can feel through the wheel.
You can feel the track surface and grip level of the car in a very natural, realistic way. If you flat-spot a tire, you will feel exactly how bad the damage is, to the point of making the car very uncomfortable to drive. This fact alone taught me to respect wheel lock-up in a way that no other simulator has been able to do.
Most games require significant adjustments to the force feedback settings to make the games play well. Amazingly, that is not the case with rFactor 2. Right out of the box, it works without issue. There are some small tweaks we can do to make it even better, but you could actually play just fine without touching a single setting. That is a remarkable achievement and it speaks to the quality of the simulation that this is possible.
One issue with rFactor 2 is that it lacks an on-screen FFB meter to see if the forces are clipping or not. In this guide, I will show you how to fix this as well as discuss what the few force feedback options do in the game.
Thrustmaster Control Panel Settings
rFactor 2 automatically sets the proper steering angle for each car, so it is best to leave the rotation set to the maximum in the Thrustmaster Control Panel.
|Rotation||900° (TX) 1080° (T300)|
|Overall Strength of all forces||75%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
Spring and Damper are not used by rFactor 2. As a general rule, I leave these at 100% since there are some games that require them.
rFactor 2 Settings
In Options > Calibrate > Steering:
|Rotation limit mode||Device Driver|
|Range set by vehicle||Checked|
Rotation limit mode tells the game to use the Device Driver to control the wheel's maximum rotation. Using the Device Driver gives a better Soft Lock than using the Software option.
Range set by vehicle tells the game to automatically set the wheel rotation based on the real world car data. This includes a Soft Lock, so you won't be able to turn past the maximum rotation angle for the car you are driving.
Speed sensitivity will change the wheel's sensitivity based on the speed of the car. I never use things like this. They are really only useful when playing on a gamepad.
Exaggerate yaw is actually an in-game camera setting. It makes the camera rotate based on the direction of the car's movement. This gets set to -80% by default, probably because of a bug, which I find very distracting. I recommend trying this out, it's completely personal preference if you like it or not.
Look ahead turns the camera to look into the corners, which might make it easier to see the apex of the corner, depending on your monitor setup.
In Options > Calibrate > Force Feedback:
|Car specific multiplier||90%|
|Minimum steering torque||2.0%|
|Steering effects strength||Negative|
Smoothing is largely dependent on the track and how you have your wheel mounted. The smaller the value, the more detail you will feel. Setting this too low will make the wheel feel a little "grainy," which doesn't feel great and can be a little distracting. I find 2 to be about as low as I can go. At 4, the wheel loses that grainy feeling entirely.
Car specific multiplier controls the overall strength of the wheel on a per-car basis. I start at 90% for most cars, since I usually need to turn this down to avoid clipping, but it is completely dependent on the car by how much. You can use the FFB Meter described below to determine if the force feedback is clipping or not. This setting is saved for each car individually even though it appears to be a global setting.
Minimum steering torque tells the game to amplify the very weak forces to a point where it can actually be felt in the wheel. You can find the exact value for your wheel by using the WheelCheck program and running the Min Force test.
Steering effects strength needs to be set to Negative for these wheels. Most other simulators call this the "Invert Force Feedback" setting.
FFB Meter On-Screen Display
For some reason, rFactor 2 lacks a way to see if the force feedback is clipping. This can be solved by using a free, third-party application called SimHub. This will create an overlay that can display any information you want, including an FFB meter.
I learned this from a very helpful video by brobot on YouTube: How to create FFB meter for rFactor 2 using SimHub.
That video shows how to create an overlay with meters for the pedal inputs as well as the FFB. Here are the instructions for creating the FFB Meter alone:
- Download and install SimHub from the official website.
- Open SimHub and select Dash Studio from the sidebar.
- Click the "New Dashboard" button and name it "FFB Meter".
- From the right panel, click on "Dashboard."
- Under Dashboard Properties, set the Width to 40 and Height to 140.
- From the left toolbar, from "More Components", select "Vertical Linear Gauge".
- From the right panel, click on "Screen" and select "VerticalLinearGaugeItem0" from the components list.
Set the values as follows:
Setting Value Top 0 Left 0 Width 40 Height 140 Background Color Transparent Gauge Color Red
For the Value, click on the "fx" button, choose "Computed Value" and paste into the NCalc Formula:
- Close the Dash Studio window.
- In the main SimHub window, find the FFB Meter at the bottom of the list. Click on its preview image to start it in Windowed mode. A small black window will appear on your screen that can drag anywhere you like, even while the game is running.
- From the Games section, select rFactor 2. The first time you do this, it will install the necessary files into the rFactor 2 folder automatically.
- Launch rFactor 2. From the rFactor 2 Launcher > Options > Video Settings, set the game to run in Windowed or Borderless mode for the meter to appear.
Now you can easily tell if the force feedback is clipping or not as you drive. Momentary spikes are fine, but you don't want any sustained periods where the meter is full, usually while cornering or under heavy braking. By watching this meter while you drive, you can raise or lower the Car Specific Multiplier setting to the point where you have no sustained clipping.
rFactor 2 is remarkable for how well its force feedback works. It really is the benchmark to which all others should be compared. These tweaks make it just that much better.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions.