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Force feedback experiments with T300 RS

Discussion in 'Ideas and Suggestions' started by Flex, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Flex

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    Aug 6, 2012

    Last update brought a new circuit (in West Coast USA), and it is really great, so I wanted to tweak my FFB settings to be able to go fast around it with various cars.

    I have a Thrustmaster t300rs which I use in Assetto Corsa, Project Cars 2, and other sim racing games. My goal was to try and reproduce the great feel of those games in BeamNG, because I know the tyre physics are quite well made. (basically reproduce Assetto Corsa's stock FFB settings, which are great)

    What you need in the force feedback to feel the car and to be able to drive it quickly is 3 mains things :

    - Feel of the lateral grip : you feel the load on all tires when you turn, especially in fast corners. Gives you precision, helps you find the best racing line/speed in the middle of the corner.

    - Feel of the front tire grip/understeer : helps you brake later, and not lock up. Also useful for FWD cars.

    - Feel of the car's weight/oversteer : help you exit turns faster, and to not lose the rear. Extremely important in RWD cars.

    I tested various settings around the USA circuit and Hirochi raceway, with (mainly) 3 cars similar to the cars you find in racing sims :
    - Ibushu 200 bx Race version : High power RWD
    - Old ETK I series Race : Lower power RWD
    - Old Pessima Race version : FWD

    First of all, here are the settings that stayed more or less the same :

    - t300 driver settings : Overall strength 75%, Constant 100, Periodic 100, Spring 0, Damping 0. This is what I use for all my racing sims.

    - 540 degrees rotation
    - Max strength : 10 (don't need to lower it, it is never too much with this wheel)
    - Strength and Strength (lower speed) : both around 300 to 400
    (I don't like to have lower strength at low speed, it doesn't feel realistic on race cars.)
    - Response curve automatically generated by the game.
    - FFB updates : full (gives me less vibrations)

    So, the tweaking lies for the most part in slow smoothing and fast smoothing.

    I don't like the default settings, they feel very vague, and the slider's ranges don't really make sense to me.

    Here is what I found by experimenting :

    - Slow smoothing :

    It mainly changes the feel of the lateral grip and of the oversteer effects. You feel oversteer pretty well throughout the whole smoothing range, bit it isn't really strong.

    Lateral grip, though, is very vague, and with anything above 10, it feels "delayed" or too soft, and driving is not precise enough, even with very sharp race cars. Below 10, you encounter vibrations, but on the t300rs they are not too bad.

    - Fast smoothing :

    This changes the feel of braking/understeer, as well as the bumps/kerbs/elevation changes.
    Understeer is quite accurate at all settings, but very harsh, and bumps are quite sudden/brutal with stock settings.

    Example settings :

    -- Default came something like that :
    Slow 150
    Fast 100

    This feels extremely vague. Grip feel doesn't exist until you use a lot of steering. Oversteer feel is not strong enough. Bumps are too strong and push your arms.

    -- Smoothest setting/most like a sim ;
    Slow 0
    Fast 250 (Max)

    This is very smooth, no sudden forces. There is quite lot of small vibrations, but as a trade-off, lateral grip feel is very good and you drive very precisely. Oversteer feels very nice, and you can catch some nice drifts.
    However, understeer feels "delayed" and you miss apexes quite easily.

    Works well with muscle cars, but not at all with the old Pessima Race car, wich is FWD.
    Good setting for road use, because the bumps feel very smooth.

    I get auto-oscillation with some cars, but nothing very big,

    -- Detailed but hard setting :
    Slow 10
    Fast 100

    Best setting to feel understeer. You also feel grip/oversteer effects, but they are much weaker. Quite a lot of vibrations, on the bumps and when braking. You have to lower the overall strenght, but not too much, because then you lose grip feel, or the wheel doesn't react as fast.

    Works well on circuits, and with FWD cars. Awful on roads.

    -- Best setting I found :
    Slow 1 (you have to actually type it)
    Fast 180/190

    This is the best balance between grip/vibrations, and between understeer/oversteer. Steering is very direct on race cars, which is realistic. You feel more or less the same strenghts for lateral grip, understeer and oversteer. You can go fast with all sorts of cars, on circuits and roads.

    Still, not perfect. Understeer feels a bit inconsistent with so much smoothing, but you have to smooth it, otherwise it is too strong.
    Also, I feel like the best setting for Slow smoothing must be around 1.5, but it is not really possible.

    In conclusion, I think the tyre simulation is quite good, and the FFB, if you configure it well, is also quite nice. The problem, IMO, is the way it is implemented in the ingame controls option.

    So, I would like to suggest :

    1) A change to the range of the sliders :
    Slow smoothing range seems stupidly big to me. Anything above 10 is bad for my wheel, everything is numb in the middle. Even for wheels that need a weak point in the middle to avoid vibrations/oscillations, you would need only about 50. At least, make more divisions near 0, so I can tweak between 0 and 2.

    2) Intensity sliders for understeer and oversteer effects, as well as smoothing :
    Understeer and oversteer effects both feel good on their own, but understeer feels massively stronger. I would like to have the option of lowering the intensity of these effects instead of having to abuse Fast smoothing.
    I don't know if this is possible, because the two effects might not be separate in the simulation.

    3) More understandable names for the settings :
    Fast and Slow smoothing describes what it does to the FFB signal, but doesn't really describe anything you really feel in the game. I feel like that something like "oversteer smoothing and understeer smoothing" (+intensity if that's possible) would be more understandable for a car guy.

    4) Better default setting :
    The default setting is awful IMO, and you have to experiment for hours to actually find something nice. I tried to find good settings on the forum, they didn't work for me either. Something like

    Strength 300
    Strength (low speed) 200
    Max strength 7
    Slow smoothing 50
    Fast smoothing 200

    should be enjoyable and usable on all kinds of wheels, for road and circuits.
    I admit I might be wrong here. Perhaps the BeamNG crew tested all kinds of wheels and had to choose the awful default settings to make them all work.

    On the other hand, I also would like to say that in the end, when you find the right settings, the game feels very nice, and actually very close to a racing sim. Also, the race cars are very well designed, they feel precise and balanced, and street cars are very fun to drive.

    It would really be nice if every player who has a wheel could configure it properly and feel how great the tyre physics actually are. Also, BeamNG would probably be seen more as a car/racing simulator than only a crash simulator.

    Also, thank you for reading all this, I can really write a lot when I am nerding out.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. estama

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    BeamNG Team

    Aug 7, 2012
    Thank you for your thoughtful presentation.

    Concerning your 2) point, we don't use any "effects" in the simulation. The forces that we send to the real wheel, we get them from the simulated steering rack (adding some signal smoothing/filters to avoid instabilities). We want to expose the raw simulation to the user as much as possible, so we are obsessive about not using effects (or other workarounds) if we can avoid them.
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