WRC 9 continues to improve the series over the already excellent WRC 8. It has some of the best courses available in a rally game and it feels very nice to drive, once you get used to the physics. It plays great with a wheel, but for the Thrustmaster TMX and T150, the default force feedback settings don't give the best first impression. There are far too many forces and vibrations making it difficult to tell what is happening with the car.
Thankfully, the game provides a great deal of customization when it comes to the force feedback settings. I tested every setting until I got the wheel light enough to handle the frequent hairpin corners, yet still with strong forces to provide plenty of information about the car and road surface.
In the Thrustmaster Control Panel:
Set the rotation to its maximum.
Under Gain Settings:
|Overall Strength of all forces||100%|
|Auto-Center||by the game|
The Damper applies a constant dampening effect (on top of any in-game settings), making the wheel feel heavy. On lower-end wheels, there is plenty of natural dampening in the wheel mechanism itself. (Dampening is used on higher-end wheels to solve oscillation problems.)
The Spring force constantly pulls the wheel back to the center, but, unlike the Damper, it is completely controlled by the game, just like the Constant and Periodic forces. Most games don't use the Spring force at all (their native physics simulations do this already), so it actually doesn't matter what the value is set to in the Control Panel.
I leave the Spring force on in the Control Panel, making the in-game settings the only factor controlling the force feedback. This makes the settings consistent across all games and prevents confusion in the few games that use it about why a FFB setting seems to have no effect.
In WRC 9:
In Options > Controls > Key Bindings:
|Steer Left Sensitivity||0|
|Steer Left Deadzone||0|
|Steer Left Saturation||100|
|Steer Left Rescale||Off|
|Steer Left Invert||On|
|Steer Right Sensitivity||0|
|Steer Right Deadzone||0|
|Steer Right Saturation||100|
|Steer Right Rescale||Off|
|Steer Right Invert||Off|
These are just the default values. No changes were necessary. You could raise the sensitivity a little bit if you would like the car to turn a little faster when the wheel is centered.
In Options > Controls > Settings:
|Max wheel angle||540|
|Self aligning torque||90|
The vibrations needed to be lowered quite a bit, but the main forces can remain quite high. I like how the WRC series games separate the force feedback from vibrations and has separate overall levels for each type. It makes it easy to keep the same proportions of forces, while raising or lowering them all equally.
The Self Aligning Torque is the main force that tells you what the car is doing. You can turn everything else off and have a very good experience from this force alone.
Tyre Load is a damper effect that makes the wheel heavier or lighter based on the road surface. On these wheels, the effect is quite subtle, as there is already more than enough inherent dampening in the wheel. I turn it off completely as it really doesn't add any useful information except to make the wheel slightly harder to turn.
Self Centre is the spring force, which artificially pulls the wheel back to the center. If you use this at all, keep it very low, just enough to provide a slight assistance to keep the wheel straight. If you turn this up too high, it will make the wheel feel very heavy, constantly resisting any turn you put in the wheel.
The Recentre Force is only used when you reset the car after going off the track. It just puts the wheel back to the center. It has no impact while you are driving.
The vibration forces tell more about the surface of the track, but they need to be turned quite low, or else your wheel will be vibrating constantly.
The Tyre Slip vibrates the wheel whenever the car loses traction. If this is too high, it can be very jarring every time you slide the car around a corner.
The Engine setting vibrates the wheel whenever the engine hits the red line. I don't particularly like this, so I have turned it down to the point where you practically can't feel it at all. You could turn this higher if you like the effect.
The Suspension, Ground Surface and Collision all work together to give the rumble effects as you drive over bumps, go off the track or hit things on the side of the road.
I had a hard time controlling the car when I first started playing this game. The physics are just different enough from other games to require some time to get used to them. Part of that learning curve was dialing in the right FFB settings so I could properly feel what the car was doing. Once you get these settings applied and have some time to get used to the physics, you can have a great time with this game.
Let me know if you have any comments or questions.