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[DiRT 4] Constructive feedback on the subject of car-feel and physics: The Ultimate Thread

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There are a couple of separate threads floating about and nothing to bring it all together. A lot of replies contain either rage or love and the feedback itself gets buried under the tone of the message. Let us try to keep this one clean, and help Codemasters attack perceived problems with the physics model in DiRT 4.

Please state your platform/controller/settings as well.

PC/X360 Gamepad/Simulation Mode with all assists off
I have almost 600 hours in DiRT Rally and 11 hours in DiRT 4.

My main issue with the car-feel in DiRT 4 is the lack of translation to the gamepad. In DiRT Rally I could always feel the tyres move around, feel the car shifting weight. I cannot say exactly what has changed, but for one there seems to be no indication when you lock a wheel on gravel, understeer does not seem to trigger any vibration either, there is not even a visual indication. I'm also now unable to predict when the back is going to overtake the front or when I held the car instead. I just cannot feel it move around as much as I did in DiRT Rally. Either way, I find the feel of the cars very floaty on gravel, particularly the AWD/FWD cars. In DiRT Rally you could really feel the tyres dig into the gravel and even when you go straight it felt like the rear wheels were nicely dug in, ready to break out if you turn too unexpectedly.

Another issue I found is that wheelspin seems to have disappeared entirely when exiting a corner, it's almost like I am driving with traction control or something like that on. This problem is much less noticeable in the DiRTFish area.

Thirdly, for some reason I cannot 'save' a mistake anymore. When I am at high speed and the car turns slightly the wrong direction and I try to save it by quickly pulling it straight it just goes the other way and I still have no control, I am not sure what causes this to happen. Perhaps it is just the fact that I cannot feel the wheels on the ground and I am pulling too hard because of that.

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ShodanCat said:
Honestly there should be a separate thread between gamepad users and wheel users.
Agreed 100%
EDIT: BTW Rallycross phsics seem to be fine. Lots of inertia, can throw car into the corner high speed and powerslide. Not such thing in rally...

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Do not see why you need a separate thread, you can easily state what you are using and what you are experiencing in this thread. We're not trying to come to a consensus here, just giving Codemasters feedback that they can work with.

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I play on XBox One with an elite controller and I find the steering with the controller way too twitchy.  If I want to make small corrections with a swift tab the game ends up overcompensating which then results in me correcting that in the opposite direction which gets worse again and as such the car ends up "oscillating" and lands in the barrier.  That is even with the most modern rallycars, for example that Hyundai i20 on the Founder's Invitational event.

Is there a way to make it less twitchy?  In the Forza games the "tick tick tack tack" steering with the controller works brilliantly.  I would love to see something similar here in Dirt 4.  Perhaps a "level of input filtering" value from 0 to 5 where people who don't want it leave it at 0 and the game behaves the way it currently does.

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Have you messed with Steering linearity, deadzone and stuff @breyzipp ?
It can really help.
No I haven't touched anything yet, usually setting every deadzone to 0 is better (to get a wider range of input) but they were already at 0.  But that doesn't solve my problem, for "tick tick tack tack" steering there should be some filtering on the input.

But if you have some suggestions of changes to make I'm all ears.

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chukonu said:
There are a couple of separate threads floating about and nothing to bring it all together. A lot of replies contain either rage or love and the feedback itself gets buried under the tone of the message. Let us try to keep this one clean, and help Codemasters attack perceived problems with the physics model in DiRT 4.

Please state your platform/controller/settings as well.

PC/X360 Gamepad/Simulation Mode with all assists off
I have almost 600 hours in DiRT Rally and 11 hours in DiRT 4.

My main issue with the car-feel in DiRT 4 is the lack of translation to the gamepad. In DiRT Rally I could always feel the tyres move around, feel the car shifting weight. I cannot say exactly what has changed, but for one there seems to be no indication when you lock a wheel on gravel, understeer does not seem to trigger any vibration either, there is not even a visual indication. I'm also now unable to predict when the back is going to overtake the front or when I held the car instead. I just cannot feel it move around as much as I did in DiRT Rally. Either way, I find the feel of the cars very floaty on gravel, particularly the AWD/FWD cars. In DiRT Rally you could really feel the tyres dig into the gravel and even when you go straight it felt like the rear wheels were nicely dug in, ready to break out if you turn too unexpectedly.

Another issue I found is that wheelspin seems to have disappeared entirely when exiting a corner, it's almost like I am driving with traction control or something like that on. This problem is much less noticeable in the DiRTFish area.

Thirdly, for some reason I cannot 'save' a mistake anymore. When I am at high speed and the car turns slightly the wrong direction and I try to save it by quickly pulling it straight it just goes the other way and I still have no control, I am not sure what causes this to happen. Perhaps it is just the fact that I cannot feel the wheels on the ground and I am pulling too hard because of that.
The thing about cars being hard to save at speed is one thing I actually like. In DR you could save the car when it really should send you off the road.

What is a bummer is the insta spins while you put on tire on the grass.

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breyzipp said:
I play on XBox One with an elite controller and I find the steering with the controller way too twitchy.  If I want to make small corrections with a swift tab the game ends up overcompensating which then results in me correcting that in the opposite direction which gets worse again and as such the car ends up "oscillating" and lands in the barrier.  That is even with the most modern rallycars, for example that Hyundai i20 on the Founder's Invitational event.

Is there a way to make it less twitchy? 


If is too twitchy, increase Linearity, but don't go overboard. +10 might be too much. Increase by small amounts till you find the sweet spot, for you.

Positive Linearity = Car changes direction / reacts slower, to small inputs / corrections

Negative Linearity = Car changes direction / reacts faster, to small inputs / corrections

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I am using the xbox-one controller with sensitivity at 100 and linearity at 5. I can be very precise in driving WRX supercars on rallycross or Hyundai R5 on the academy playground. But as soon as I am driving the i20 in rally mode on tarmac, it feels just floaty and not planted.

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Hmm I'm not sure what I was smoking but deadzone was standard not at 0 and I now found the settings for sensitivity and linearity as well.  I feel a bit embarrassed, must be the effect of playing until 5 AM on launch night lol.  Thanks for the tips guys!!! :)

I took my Pro-2 trophy truck (where I was struggling with to keep under control) to DirtFish academy to freeroam and mess a bit with the settings.  By the way I use the XBox Elite Controller with all assists off.

SENSITIVITY - You feel the difference between 0 and 100 very much.  Default it's at 50 and I now reduced it to 40.
LINEARITY - Going from 0 to 10 I don't feel the difference as much as with sensitivity to be honest.  Default it was at 4, I put it at 5 for now.
STEERING DEADZONE - Was at 20, I put it at 0.  Might switch it back to 5 or 10 if needed.  I think this is only center deadzone as there seemed to be something different for max input.

Will give this a try and adjust further if needed.  Will give the cross-kart and the stadium buggy a try again as well and see how that goes.

I'm sure this will help me out for a bit and got something to play with, thanks again!

BTW not sure how it works in Forza but over there the sensitivity is not static but dynamic, the higher speed your vehicle has, the less effect your steering input will have.  I really like that as it keeps the cars better planted on the road at high speeds.  Or in other words, you get to use your full input range to make minimal steering adjustments and that is exactly what I was missing here.  But with the new settings it should be better already too.

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I'm using the Thrustmaster T150 on PS4 and the steering generally feels a tad heavy and numb. I've re-calibrated the wheel, but does anyone have any good T150 settings? Also I seem to find it hard to get the car sliding initially but then hard to catch once it does slide.

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I am using the xbox-one controller with sensitivity at 100 and linearity at 5. I can be very precise in driving WRX supercars on rallycross or Hyundai R5 on the academy playground. But as soon as I am driving the i20 in rally mode on tarmac, it feels just floaty and not planted.

You know what, I think I have more or less the same issue.  Even before I adjusted any settings I was doing really well with rallycross cars (Super1600, RX2, group B RX, WRX supercars) but apart from the Fiesta R2 in Michigan I seem to be having trouble doing normal rally stages. I did that Hyundai i20 Founder's Invitational and the car was quite floaty at high speeds in Spain.  Yesterday trying the EVO VI in Australia was a disaster too.  But it might be due to me not getting used to the vehicles though since I'm swapping around between rally cars, rallycross cars, group B, trophy trucks, cross karts and what not way too fast.  Everything is new in the game so I wanna try it all at once, lol. :)

100 sensitivity for sure is not my thing. :)

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OK, what can we do to provide constructive feedback? We have no insight into how physics in D4 work, we don't know if the problem is new aero model (maybe it is too strong and works even on slow speed), surface grip, or tyre model problem- Dirt Academy map works fine with  Subaru NR4, so why as soon as I try Wales (even wet surface) I suddenly cannot enjoy the handling? What's changed? If aero is constant between locations, then is it about tyres? Is it about the surface? How can I adress specific area with constructive feedback if I know that little? How comes RX is really nice, and rally is off? I understand Codies had acces to RX drivers for evaluation, but even if they got more time with Kris Meeke obvoulsy homework needs to be done before you present a driver with a set of physics to evaluate. You get better result from such evaluation the closest to perfection you are to begin with. Please watch this onboard:
https://youtu.be/1sAbQ5wRr0o
Here, you have done enough to notice how off the physics are ATM. Now how comes no one from Codemasters noticed the problem? I just don't understand, the only explanation is that they are not really trying to make a proper sim, and use a Simulation option to lure sim fans. Seriously I don't get it, I wish I was wrong, but it makes no sence...

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@KickUp
Hi! I just watched the stream you were asking for construtcive feedback, and I have an idea. Here is a link you can contact a guy who did NGP plugin for RBR- I understand he himself doesn't hold any authority, but he has a lot of connections with RL rally drivers that were reviewing his work (some of them are active on German rally forum he is active on). I am sure he could help with getting RL drivers onboard for testing and reviewing.
http://www.racedepartment.com/members/workerbee.48709/

If there is anything else we can do to help the situation, please let me know! Thanks!

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Just went back to my miserable race, from career mode the Pro-2 race in Baja (1st one from Pro-2 trucks).  I don't think the problem has much to do with steering settings, for some reason this car on this track in these weather conditions is just absolute garbage.  You can be as careful as you can with steering inputs and gas inputs, that thing doesn't have the fysics of a heavy truck on 4 wheels, it has the fysics engine of a friggin' boat sliding through water.  The other 3 races from the same career no problem to win there, the wet races are actually a lot easier for some reason.  But that 1st Baja race is garbage.

I've seen other reports of people saying cars behave different at the DirtFish academy compared to rally stages, I guess it's the same here.

Seems inconsistency is the key word for Dirt 4, inconsistent handling, inconsistent pace notes, inconsistent AI difficulty.  Codemasters sure has some things to fix next week.

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breyzipp said:

100 sensitivity for sure is not my thing. :)
Usually not my thing either.
But I tested a lot over the weekend, and so far it is the only way to be able to make quick corrections, at least with the AWD and RWD cars. For FWD cars it is too twitchy for me too.

Getting the right combination of sensitivity and linearity is cruical for car control with a controller.
But I am still not sure to keep that setting. What are you using?

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breyzipp said:

100 sensitivity for sure is not my thing. :)
Usually not my thing either.
But I tested a lot over the weekend, and so far it is the only way to be able to make quick corrections, at least with the AWD and RWD cars. For FWD cars it is too twitchy for me too.

Getting the right combination of sensitivity and linearity is cruical for car control with a controller.
But I am still not sure to keep that setting. What are you using?
I went back from 40 sensitivity, 5 linearity and 0 deadzone to purely default settings.  It seems to work better for the modern RX cars.  I think I do need fast steeing input there.  But its far from optimal,  On one side I need fast impulses and response but on the other side the cars seem to respond to much to my steering input.  Something for sure is really awkward with this entire handling model.  When a car is at low speed you can almost steer around your center point.  It feels very unrealistic, as being able to almost do donuts but purely from steering, not with any gas input.

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Posted this in another thread, but if this is the "Ultimate Thread" for the discussion I'm going to put it here:
Right, so getting back on the topic of "is gravel too grippy?"

After about 10 hours now with the game, the answer is still yes - unequivocally, the gravel is far, FAR too grippy. Let me explain.

Let's take one of the historic RWD rally cars for a spin - let's say the Kadett. It has 240hp and weighs something like 2300lbs. That's more than enough power to weight to kick the rear end out at will, without any "gymnastics" to do so. So in Dirt Rally, you could take the Opel Kadett on a Wales stage and experience the natural and predictable tail-happiness by just entering into a long corner (let's say a left/right 4 long) in a steady, light throttle entry, then go wide open throttle (WOT) and immediately the tail kicks out and you respond with opposite lock. You can then easily hold the opposite lock and maintain a nice long slide/fishtail/powerslide/drift/whateveryouwannacallit. This behavior is very realistic to the real thing - these classic RWD rally-prepped street cars with lightweight chassis and skinny little tires should be tail happy yet controllable.

Now take the very same Kadett in Dirt 4 on a Wales stage for similar surface/environment. What you'll find is the car literally will not oversteer *AT ALL* in the same situation I described above. You can enter a long turn with a steady steering input, go WOT and the rear wheels just hold traction like glue, while the front end then 'pushes' to the outside of the turn. This happens every.. single... corner. You literally cannot get it to powerslide from a steady state turn. Even in *rain* this is the case. Now what you CAN do is try to wrestle the car aggressively to force it into oversteer by "flicking" it (transfer weight with a hard turn and then another hard turn in the opposite direction) then kicking the clutch while holding WOT. This can induce a power-on oversteer, BUT unlike in Dirt Rally, it's a snappy, high-grip style oversteer which is extremely difficult to "catch" without sending the car into a crazy 1080* spin or something.

Now that's just how the Kadett behaves (which by comparison to other historical cars in the game is very, very tame.) You can now go ahead and try something like a Group B RWD, let's say the Manta. The very same behavior can be seen. These cars just don't kick the tail out like they should. And I want to be very clear on this: this is not something that can be argued with or denied. This is exactly what the cars are doing in Dirt 4 right now. There is no room for "interpretation."

On to the 4WD cars (lower HP levels, like R5 and Group A:) They suffer from the very same physics flaws, except because they're 4WD, the snappy and difficult to control oversteer situation I described above can be recovered easily because of the 4WD. So what you get instead is you can pull the handbrake and the car will snap into this oversteer and pull itself right out of it with the front wheels. This presents like a strange flip-floppy motion from the car, where it'll kick the rear end out and then immediately push to the outside while you have to keep the wheel cranked into the turn if you want to keep the power on (and the turbo spooled, if applicable.)

Another symptom of the hyper-grippy gravel is that some of the 4WD cars, when you pull a strong, almost sideways handbrake turn for something like an acute hairpin, the outside wheels (on the side of the car's direction of travel) "dig in" so hard to the gravel that the inside wheels lift up slightly off the ground and the diffs un-lock, suddenly sending all the power to inside wheels (the ones either in the air or with very little weight on them) thus shutting down any hope of actually sliding through the corner. If you don't believe me, you can try this yourself. Taking the Group A Subaru and throw the car into an acute hairpin (one of the ones with the cars parked on the outside) and listen to the engine as it bounces off the rev limiter as soon as the diffs un-lock.

Right, so one thing the die-hard defenders say in defense of the physics in Dirt 4 is "have you ever driven a rally car professionally? If not, then you have nothing to say about it." Which is frankly kind of ridiculous to say; yes, obviously real rally experience is unbeatable, but for someone who's been living and breathing cars since being a kid, and owning sports and muscle cars since I've had my license (including my current car, a 430whp RWD Thunderbird) as well as having a keen interest in physics modeling for a long time, all I can ask is at least listen to what I'm saying instead of putting your hands on your ears and saying "nah nah nah, I can't hear you, the physics are fine." We need to be able to have feedback on this and the devs listening to it or it's never going to be fixed. Thankfully, I'm pretty hopeful Codies can do it because the way they built and improved Dirt Rally during its Early Access stage was stupendous and an amazing example of the implement -> test -> feedback -> implement loop.

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ShodanCat said:
Posted this in another thread, but if this is the "Ultimate Thread" for the discussion I'm going to put it here:
Right, so getting back on the topic of "is gravel too grippy?"
(...)
That's what I call a constructive feedback. I love your post. 

Could you only answer my one simple question - did you tried to change the default car setup? It's setup so newbie-friendly it's completely off for someone like you. :) 

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Thank you! Yeah, I've tried tuning in all the various ways that typically create a looser, more tail-happy car. In some cars they do make a slight difference, but it's nowhere near enough. You can somewhat improve some of the 4WD cars that have adjustable torque bias by putting it to the rear as much as possible, but again, it's not enough to really change the situation. The RWD cars are just hopeless, though. Even the Stratos exhibits the same strange behavior as the Kadett.

One thing I forgot to add was that the Group B 4WD cars like the Delta S4 can actually be kind of fun to drive, because they actually have enough horsepower to blast through the hyper-grip of the gravel at times.. but they still also exhibit the "inside wheels lift, diffs open, slide ends" behavior I described above, just less often because like I said, they can sometimes send all 4 wheels into orbit at max effort.

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breyzipp said:
Just went back to my miserable race, from career mode the Pro-2 race in Baja (1st one from Pro-2 trucks).  I don't think the problem has much to do with steering settings, for some reason this car on this track in these weather conditions is just absolute garbage.  You can be as careful as you can with steering inputs and gas inputs, that thing doesn't have the fysics of a heavy truck on 4 wheels, it has the fysics engine of a friggin' boat sliding through water.  The other 3 races from the same career no problem to win there, the wet races are actually a lot easier for some reason.  But that 1st Baja race is garbage.

I've seen other reports of people saying cars behave different at the DirtFish academy compared to rally stages, I guess it's the same here.

Seems inconsistency is the key word for Dirt 4, inconsistent handling, inconsistent pace notes, inconsistent AI difficulty.  Codemasters sure has some things to fix next week.
I took a spin in the 4wd Baja at Dirtfish and was surprised at how heavy and slow it felt. Didn't turn worth a damn. I didn't mess with the tuning, but it's turning radius... I've seen cruise liners turn faster.
Apparently Dirtfish is setup with tarmac tires, so hence the discrepancies.
Not sure how that works with the Baja/Buggies though since they SHOULD only be dirt...

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ShodanCat said:
Thank you! Yeah, I've tried tuning in all the various ways that typically create a looser, more tail-happy car. In some cars they do make a slight difference, but it's nowhere near enough. You can somewhat improve some of the 4WD cars that have adjustable torque bias by putting it to the rear as much as possible, but again, it's not enough to really change the situation. The RWD cars are just hopeless, though. Even the Stratos exhibits the same strange behavior as the Kadett.

One thing I forgot to add was that the Group B 4WD cars like the Delta S4 can actually be kind of fun to drive, because they actually have enough horsepower to blast through the hyper-grip of the gravel at times.. but they still also exhibit the "inside wheels lift, diffs open, slide ends" behavior I described above, just less often because like I said, they can sometimes send all 4 wheels into orbit at max effort.
More people like you, more Please.



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For other gamepad users, I just found my favourite settings:
Steering sentivity: 100
Steering linearity: 5 (I first discarded linearity entirely but it's actually a pretty useful settings)
Steering deadzone: 5
Steering/throttle/brake/clutch saturation: 100
Throttle/brake/clutch deadzone: 0

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