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SimXperience Developers Blog

Racing Simulator Developers Blog

28 Jul 2014

Getting the Most Out of a Force Feedback Wheel

Getting the Most Out of a Force Feedback Wheel

Author: Berney Villers  /  Categories: AccuForce Wheel, Sim Commander 4, Other Motion & Racing Simulation  /  Rate this article:
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WARNING: Geek speak to follow

One important aspect of force feedback optimization is ensuring that you set the correct in-game settings. Without the correct in-game settings, you cannot get the most out of your wheel's available torque. Many users do not properly setup their in game wheel settings because it's quite difficult and needs to be done on  a per car/track basis. Let's start by identifying the problems that we need to overcome in order to improve the users experience in this regard.

Problem #1

Many games do not fully understand how much steering torque a particular vehicle can generate on a particular track! That means, right off the bat, the games don't know how to help you get the most from your wheel's available torque because they don't really know what 100% is. Further, this varies by driving style, driving line and car setup to some extent.

Problem #2

Game developers have no reasonable way of knowing how much torque a connected wheel can generate so even if a game did know how much steering force a particular car can generate on a particular track, they are unable to put that in the context of your wheel! This makes it impossible for a game to reduce output in the event the wheel is more powerful than the steering torque of the vehicle being simulated.

Problem #3

Tuning force feedback has traditionally been a lot of guesswork or just a lot of work.

Many users simply blindly set a slider for force feedback intensity and go drive around a bit to see what it feels like while watching a force feedback meter with one eye. This is rather inefficient, inconvenient and error prone.

Users with a lot more time than I have resort to a very lengthy process of collecting telemetry data (per car/track) in 3rd party tools and jumping through quite a few hoops to come up with an approximate value that represents the maximum steering torque a car can achieve. If you're an iRacing member, you can read about one such process here: http://members.iracing.com/jforum/posts/list/2023748.page

Our Solution

We automatically log telemetry in the Sim Commander 4. If you haven't already, please check out our article about automated telemetry logging and visual lap analysis in the upcoming Sim Commander:

Lap Telemetry Logging & Analysis

Part of what we log is peak steering force in Nm on a per car/track basis. Further we perform the essential optimization of the values before reporting them to you.

Some games (like iRacing) provide the ability for you to set your force feedback setting in Nm, so you need only set the value given by the Sim Commander in iRacing to get a perfect result. This gives anyone the same level of force feedback optimization that die-hard sim racers can obtain and it takes only seconds!

The following screenshot demonstrates the Sim Commander's overlay capability, displaying the correct peak steering value for the current car / track for easy use in game settings.

This is just one small example of how the Sim Commander 4 and AccuForce combine to provide you with a complete force feedback toolset. As we get closer to the AccuForce release I'll blog a bit further about additional features that makes this combination so potent.

GAME DEVELOPERS: WE WANT TO WORK WITH YOU TO ENHANCE FORCE FEEDBACK FOR EVERYONE. PLEASE CONTACT US.

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Berney Villers Berney Villers

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