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From Pad to Pro - Learning to use a wheel in DiRT Rally 2.0

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Hello everyone, time to go on a journey 🙂 

 

I've been a pad player in racing games ever since I started playing back in the 1990s, and I've gotten quite decent at it; never quite esports ready but good enough to set the occasionally solid Leaderboard time.

In 2019 I decided to move away from a long-serving job in trading card games to pursue a career in motorsport. I'll never be a professional racing driver (I'm far too old to start) but I do want to get better at sim racing and, although I'm strong on a pad, take on a tougher challenge...

 

Sim Rig.jpg

 

...this is that tougher challenge.

 

Outside of a few 10 minute sessions on office rigs I have never used a wheel before.

 

In this thread I'll post updates as I play with the rig throughout 2020.

A busy job plus other personal ambitions means I won't be playing every day, but over time I do plan to improve and get to a point where I am competitive.

 

In the interest of setting some goals for the year, here's where I'd like to end up:

  • Win a DiRT Rally 2.0 Career Rally Championship at Masters Difficulty
  • Win a DiRT Rally 2.0 Career Rallycross Championship at Masters Difficulty
  • Set a DiRT Rally 2.0 Time Trial rally time that I cannot beat on a pad.

 

Let's see how I get on.

 

-----

 

For those curious, this is the rig. It's pricey but I was fortunate enough to get a few discounts shortly after joining Codemasters.

  • Playseat Sensation Pro Black / Cockpit
  • Fanatec CSL Elite / Wheel Base
  • Fanatec ClubSport Formula V2 / Wheel Rim
  • Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals LC / Pedals
  • Sparco Hypergrip / Gloves
  • Logitech G433 / Headset
  • Samsung UE43RU7100K / Monitor

 

I'm playing DiRT Rally 2.0 on Xbox One X though the rig is set up to be compatible on PlayStation 4 and PC as well, and I eventually plan to play various circuit racing games (hence why I opted for the Formula rim). I'm using a 2 pedal setup, having removed the clutch.

 

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Nice setup!  

 

Why did you remove the clutch? In rwd cars in Dr2.0 I need the clutch in hairpins, otherwise the engine stalls.

Enjoy it!

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Great, I will check your progress. Still, I hope you will come back to "real" racing controller 😉 I started to play on a controller with Horizon 4 and it was pretty hard at start too. W'll see, what will happen 😄

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Abandon console and go to PC as soon as possible, that'd be my advice.

Also I remember after I've bought wheel I needed some time with easier stuff than intense rally sim. In my case it was LfS. I believe on tarmack circuit combined with slower car things just go slower and more predictable so it's good way of getting used to the wheel.

And all the best 😉

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1 hour ago, MarcoMaas said:

Why did you remove the clutch?

Need to learn 2 pedals before learning 3 😉 

Also outside of DiRT I'd never use it.

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Happy to see good progress @PJTierney 👍

But the choice of Formula wheel is so strange for me. What is the use of all that investments in racing rig, Fanatec, etc. if you still want just to drive in unrealistic environment for better time? If I were you I would just buy extra normal or D-shape wheel to play DR and set the rotation to 540° like in most WRC cars. This will give you better control on bumpy roads and more realistic feel. Keep you formula wheel for formula games. Fortunately Fanatec allow you to hot swap the wheel.

As for hairpins, I think Tolt Valley Sprint in New England, USA has the most tricky ones. They are very tight and follow very fast split. So you really should not miss them and have to control the speed on entering very precisely. But if you master them (especially the combination of two), no other hairpin will cause you such trouble.

FWD cars, drive very similar to AWD. They are very easy to slide front wheels that will cause deadly understeering. Must likely to pass hairpins you have to use hand break or slow down considerably to make sure you keep front grip on turn. When you pass the apex - just floor it and the car will drag itself out of the turn. You just control it. There is no risk to get oversteered into ditch like with powerful RWD cars. Just, if you have very light FFB, you might need to help you wheel return to neutral.

For beginner cars, I also prefer more modern cars. Yes, if you go into career, free Fulvia or dirt cheap H2 FWD are OK for maximum profit. But R2, or even AWD Group A or NR4 are much better to control. They have better grip because of modern tires and suspension and just enough power when you need it. H1 and H2 cars are very underpowered and have long gears, so you have to take care not to loose much speed and RPM on turns, that make them harder to control for beginner. And when you change control method, you are thrown back to beginner, unless you get used to new instruments.

P.S. I know that PJ Tierney is much more experience player then me and surely he knows much more about cars. But this thread is for everybody, and some new players may find my advice useful. I also started steering wheel recently (in September 2019). My experience and excitement are still fresh. 😺

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9 hours ago, Tigron said:

But the choice of Formula wheel is so strange for me.

I plan on playing several racing games (like F1, GT, Assetto etc.) and chose a wheel I felt most comfortable with. 🙂 

Maybe in the future I’ll get a second wheel rim (Fanatec has the quick-release system like you said) but not right now.

 

Good tips in general though 🙂 

 

 

 

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On 1/19/2020 at 11:29 AM, PJTierney said:

Maybe in the future I’ll get a second wheel rim (Fanatec has the quick-release system like you said) but not right now.

I would suggest doing this as soon as you can. In my experiance of playing racing games on a wheel, not just with Dirt Rally. The more you reduce the rotation, the less control you actually have; making it far easier to steer more than necessary while on a track/stage. So you could be doing yourself a big disservice running at 300° with a formula rim. Its one of the reasons I use the maximun 1080° of rotation my T300 has, and rely on the games in built soft locking to sort everything else out. You would be surprised by how little you actually have to turn the wheel to get the job done with settings like that.

Not saying you cant get good with a reduced rotation and a formula rim though, just passing on my perspective from learning to play racing games on a wheel.

Ive sent you a DM with a video linked as an example. Dont want to post it in here and hijack your thread.

Edit: Only games I manually set my wheels rotation, are the Codemaster F1 games; and Forza. In Forza, its always car dependant for me.

Edited by Ialyrn
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Ditch the F1 rim ASAP.  
 

If the goal is to be the fastest no matter the cost then fine; but for anyone that’s never experienced turning the wheel hand over hand and the feel of the wheel spinning through your grip back to center is missing out on what rally is all about. 
 

Get a round rim.  Not one of those D-shaped ones either.
 

 

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I still use the G25. I love its round shape and I let the game set the degree of rotation for me. To me this feels the most realistic. Exception: Codemaster F1 games. There I set it to 360.

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9 hours ago, cjr3559 said:

Ditch the F1 rim ASAP.  
 

If the goal is to be the fastest no matter the cost then fine; but for anyone that’s never experienced turning the wheel hand over hand and the feel of the wheel spinning through your grip back to center is missing out on what rally is all about. 
 

Get a round rim.  Not one of those D-shaped ones either.
 

 

this is a really good tip. when i seen the f1 rim i was like damn...not gunna be helping you much. some people like big rims i prefer for dirt a small one tbh.

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If I get a second wheel rim it'll be a while aways yet, but I'll make this work in the meantime 😉 

Maybe for "Phase 2" I get a handbrake as well 😄 

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42 minutes ago, PJTierney said:

If I get a second wheel rim it'll be a while aways yet, but I'll make this work in the meantime 😉 

Maybe for "Phase 2" I get a handbrake as well 😄 

Ah yes, having a seperate handbrake works well. I use 2 TH8A shifters on my setup, one set for H-pattern and the other set in sequential mode for the hand brake. The TH8A does have an analog handbrake mode built into it, but not all games accept an analog handbrake. I wouldnt recommened to TH8A shifters for anyone wanting to play Forza though, as Forza will only recognize a single TH8A at a time.

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Next on the list should be a VR headset so you can see why those that have it, like it so much.

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I would recommend dropping that F1 rim, too. Get something round. Then you could up the wheel rotation to 540*, it's optimal. Yeah, ultimately you can be faster with less rotation, but as you're learning, you need more control and smoothness and 360* and less is starting to be very sharp and unforgiving, you have to be super precise.

And - my personal opionion - I don't like suspension FFB setting, I have it either down to about 40 or 50 or completely off, I don't remember at the moment and I can't check. It might seem good, cause you feel the bumps, but it is distracting you from the feeling of grip of the tires and in real car you feel that through your body, not really the steering wheel.

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Keep it up PJT!  Just found this thread and read with great interest and will continue to follow your progress.  I too have a Fanatec setup which I struggled with setting up correctly recently so will be interested to see the tweaks a CM insider and more experienced sim racer continues to make to his setup.  I'm trying to work out how to catch the guys in the forum club and have no idea how they've gotten so fast so might have a dabble at your control stage and see what time I can get.  Good luck!

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On 1/16/2020 at 4:53 AM, Pioy said:

Abandon console and go to PC as soon as possible, that'd be my advice.

Why?  I race on both PC and console using an RSeat rig and Fanatec DD1 with several different Fanatec rims and I have more fun with my PS4 racing games than I do with any PC game.  The easy plug-and-play nature of the console experience is just invaluable.  PC, as fun as it can be, is often a pain in the neck (companion programs, devices stop working, driver issues, etc).  I do still enjoy PC as well, but personally I’ll take the convenience of my console 9 out of 10 times.

Btw, my advice is to add a round wheel to your set up. The quick release system on Fanatec is fantastic and you can easily swap the rims out in seconds.  You don’t need the locking screw if you are using the quick release so you can just pop the rims off and on as needed.  I’ve found having a round rim for rally use to be a huge asset.  Using a round rim, I’ve found it helpful to be able to let the wheel quickly spin back through your hand on hairpins, etc.  Something I couldn’t do when using my F1 or McLaren rims.

I’m interested to see how your times go as you get used to the wheel.  I was a pad only racer for years before switching a couple years ago.  For rally specifically, i haven’t found much of an improvement in times but using the wheel is a lot more fun. It’s more about the immersion factor.  I did find improved times on GT Sport and other track games, but not a dramatic difference.  It’s just easier to be more consistent with a wheel....and it’s a lot more immersive!

Edited by BadFlounder

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12 hours ago, BadFlounder said:

Why?  I race on both PC and console using an RSeat rig and Fanatec DD1 with several different Fanatec rims and I have more fun with my PS4 racing games than I do with any PC game.  The easy plug-and-play nature of the console experience is just invaluable.  PC, as fun as it can be, is often a pain in the neck (companion programs, devices stop working, driver issues, etc).  I do still enjoy PC as well, but personally I’ll take the convenience of my console 9 out of 10 times. 

Btw, my advice is to add a round wheel to your set up. The quick release system on Fanatec is fantastic and you can easily swap the rims out in seconds.  You don’t need the locking screw if you are using the quick release so you can just pop the rims off and on as needed.  I’ve found having a round rim for rally use to be a huge asset.  Using a round rim, I’ve found it helpful to be able to let the wheel quickly spin back through your hand on hairpins, etc.  Something I couldn’t do when using my F1 or McLaren rims.

I’m interested to see how your times go as you get used to the wheel.  I was a pad only racer for years before switching a couple years ago.  For rally specifically, i haven’t found much of an improvement in times but using the wheel is a lot more fun. It’s more about the immersion factor.  I did find improved times on GT Sport and other track games, but not a dramatic difference.  It’s just easier to be more consistent with a wheel....and it’s a lot more immersive!

Mostly becouse high framerate/refresh if we talk about Dirt. Oh, and VR later on. Not to mention plenty of games which are able to be modded on PC, and/or are PC exclusives, and still to have high framerate/refresh. Everyone is talking about PC "issuses", except people who actually plays on PC almost don't have them.

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The REV Lights aren't supported by Xbox's peripheral protocol. In general the Xbox protocol is limited compared to PS4, and ofc even more compared to PC.

 

But tbh, I myself have migrated from Xbox to PC, and I'd rather turn off the REV lights, theyre not rly that helpful. I prefer the game's OSD rev and speedometer which also highlights gear shifting timing.

 

And yea, get a round wheel!!

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