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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:

  • COMPLETE - Day 34 - Win a DiRT Rally 2.0 Career Rally Championship at Masters Difficulty
  • NOT COMPLETE - Win a DiRT Rally 2.0 Career Rallycross Championship at Masters Difficulty*
  • COMPLETE - Day 13 - Set a DiRT Rally 2.0 Time Trial rally time that I cannot beat on a pad.

 

* I abandoned this once the Colin McRae: FLAT OUT Pack was released, and instead focused on completing all of the Scenarios on Very Hard difficulty, which I managed to do. 

 

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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Day 1 - Time Played: 1 Hour

Day 1.PNG

 

The first half hour was spent putting in some initial settings (both on the wheel and in the game), mainly to get the brake and throttle sensitivities at a place that sounded right. I don't want to get too bogged down in these yet as I feel I need to know how to drive consistently first before I optimise things further. 

My steering sensitivity is set to 360. Any higher and I'm locking my arms when I turn the wheel, and since it's a Formula rim I can only grab the wheel at a specific spot. I knew this before I bought the rim and thought long and hard about which rim to buy; this is still my preferred choice. From what I've seen online some notably quick drivers use 360 degrees of rotation and some also use Formula rims, so no excuses here.

 

I needed a "control" on which I can measure my progress after each session, so I found a Time Trial Stage I hadn't done before in an R5 car:

  • Australia
  • Rockton Plains / Dry
  • Ford Fiesta R5
  • Stock Tuning Setup

When I'm done with each session I plan on running this Stage once with no restarts.

 

Today's goal was to just get to the end of this "Benchmark Stage". It didn't matter if I got there on 4 wheels or none, just get there and have an initial feeling for the wheel.

My first attempt didn't go well at all; I t-boned the bridge right after the first turn, spent a minute on the wrong side of a fence and got 2 punctures. I soldiered on but a few turns later another tyre blew on the straight and I had Terminal Damage.

 

One thing I noticed right away were that whenever I hit the brake pedal I was slowing down far too much, so I upped the Brake Force setting to 50. I was also not getting as much resistance as I expected when turning, so I changed the Drift Mode setting to -3 (it was -1). I also upped the FFB setting to 100 (it was at 50) but that felt too tough on my arms so I dropped it to 75.

 

Finally, I was ready for a second attempt. It went better than the first but not by much, got a rear puncture early on. Regardless, I continued and dealt with horrendous oversteer thanks to the puncture which often resulted in spins. I got to the end eventually; the Leaderboard position's near the bottom of the global standings but I have to start somewhere.

 

In the next session I plan to start Rally Career at Open (the lowest) difficulty, in an H1 FWD car. Start slow, build up confidence.

 

  • Time Gained - 0.00
  • Places Gained - 0

 

 

Day 2 - Time Played: 1.5 Hours

4c37eb2c-d1d8-4020-bc9a-7575475aa48d_Thu

  • Time Gained - 1.39
  • Places Gained - 5,016

 

I started off by entering My Team Career as previously mentioned, driving the Lancia Fulvia at Open (the lowest) Difficulty. Hardcore Damage is on, all assists are off, bonnet view.

My first Stage at New England had some offs but thanks to the slow AI I was still comfortably ahead. On the second I got Terminal Damage, which eliminated any chances of a good result. 2 more error-prone but high-ranking places wouldn't make up the difference so I finished 30th.

Next up was Finland. I got off to an okay start through the first sector of the opening Stage, but a misjudged jump and a meeting with a telephone pole gave me another Terminal, skipping Stage 2 and returning to Service. I repaired the car and set off once more, and the next run had quite a few crashes too. I Terminaled the final Stage not through a crash but suspension failure.

 

2 events and a lot of pain, but I was able to take some findings from it. The first was that I felt I wasn't turning enough with where I was placing my arms, so I dropped the rotation to 300 degrees (from 360). Most of my troubles came from going wide and hitting trees despite me putting in what I felt was a lot of steering angle.

I also felt that I was coming into corners way too fast. That could have been due to a multitude of things, like braking too late, not putting enough pressure on the brake pedal, or putting too much on the pedal and locking the fronts (which results in understeer in a FWD car). Although my wheel vibrates lightly when I reach higher brake pressures I would like some stronger feeling when the wheels lock up, so that I have a sign to back off the brake pedal. That's one thing the Xbox One controller does well on console, those Impulse Triggers start shaking when you're at the limit.

 

After soundly getting my Lancia beaten up it was time for the Benchmark run. Although I did have a point where I went off and did a 3 point turn, ultimately this was a much stronger showing than yesterday, as I got through the entire Stage without a puncture or a major off.

I gained over a minute on my PB and climbed into the Top 30% on the Leaderboard. Day 1 wasn't really a true test of pace thanks to the puncture but Day 2 seems like a proper benchmark now.

 

 

Day 3 - Time Played: 1.5 Hours

b6e9713d-d746-42fa-87dc-e2a0b537db37_Thu

  • Time Gained - 11 seconds
  • Places Gained - 1,085

 

This evening went reasonably well. I started off with the Fulvia, this time at Greece. Despite the occasional dip off the side of the narrow road and the car's tendancy to flip once you go on two wheels, I was still near the top of the standings and felt in control most of the time. The thing I struggled with most was getting a slow FWD around tight corners, though that's less to do with wheel performance and just my general lack of experience with FWD rally cars.

Following the Career Rally I did my first Rallycross Event, also Open difficulty. This was in the Super 1600s at Lydden Hill. Given how slow the AI is here it didn't put up much of a challenge, and I immediately felt comfortable on a relatively wide circuit. I breezed through the Qualifiers, Semis and Finals, with the only notable difficulty again being hairpins in FWD cars. Haven't figured out the technique for that one yet.

Next up it was time for the Benchmark run and it went really smoothly with no crashes. There were a few moments where the car started to get too agile, but I managed to hold it and beat my previous PB by 11 seconds. One thing I noticed was that when I was on the tarmac sections I couldn't put in as much steering lock as it would immediately kick the car into oversteer. It'll get harder to beat the Benchmark now that I've put in a crash-free run though.

 

 

Day 4 - Time Played: 1 Hour

80267185-2ba7-414b-87ea-9309dabe6c85_Thu

 

  • Time Gained - 3 seconds
  • Places Gained - 112

 

I made one minor change today before setting off, upping the Suspension setting in-game to 150 and in the Stages that followed it seemed like I could feel the front end of the car more and predict when the front tyres would catch grip after a countersteer.

The Career Events went by very smoothly today. Rallycross is posing no challenge at the moment as the AI is so slow and in Rally I had barely any trouble round Argentina.

When it came to the Benchmark run I was feeling more confident in attacking the opening sectors, and by having greater feel of the front end I could chuck the Fiesta into corners and apply the right amount of lock before the front wheels grip and propel me where I want to go. I initially improved by about a second but knew I made some mistakes early on, so I had another go and ended up gaining more than 3 seconds on my previous PB.

I might up the rotation to 360 again but right now things are feeling fine and I just need more wheel time to progress further.

 

One thing I am curious about though is that the rev lights aren't lighting up on my wheel rim or the base. If anybody could point me in the right direction (remember, I'm playing on Xbox) that'd be handy.

 

 

Day 5 - Time Played: 3 Hours

b914d423-0495-41a7-ae31-2e2387ef56f7_Thu

  • Time Gained: 3 seconds
  • Places Gained: 142

 

I was able to get in more wheel time today than previously, as I was working from home and didn't have to commute. Just under an hour for lunch plus a few more in the evening gave me a solid session.

During lunch I didn't have time for a full Career Event so I did the Petter Solberg Challenge and a few Dailies. Wasn't aiming for anything here, just wanted more seat time.

For the evening session I upped the rotation to 360 as watching the replay of the previous Time Trial I saw I was too aggressive on turn-in thanks to the lower setting of 300. 360 is the highest I plan on going.

I started off with Rallycross this time as I was one Event away from promotion to Clubman. I knew going into this that the AI would pose no challenge and that the car wasn't going to threaten me, so I used it as an opportunity to try out some settings. After @fifomaniak's comment yesterday about the Suspension setting I tried some races with it at 0, 150 and 75. I didn't like the lack of road feel at 0, and at 75 it felt too weak also so I've settled on 110 for now. I don't get any on the tarmac sections but I imagine I don't need it there anyway.

I won the Rallycross Event with ease and it was time for Germany in Rally. I'm getting the hang of the Fulvia now and its low speed so it wasn't particularly challenging in and of itself. What was tricky however was the fact that I used Wet Tyres for all 4 Stages (based on the game's recommendations since there was rain in a few). I overshot quite a few braking points, especially the blind or downhill ones, but by the end I was feeling fine there too and given that I had no major offs the AI posed no challenge.  

This brought me on to the Benchmark run, which ended up taking about 20 attempts before I got a clean run. The reason for this was that I was no longer "figuring out" the car and Stage, I was actively pushing myself to go faster and take more risks. Some sectors where I braked in the past I would now try to lift, and some I'd try to take flat-out or shave a little bit more off the apex. I had one run where I was set to be at least 4 seconds faster but a puncture in the final sector burned that away.

In the end I got a time 3 seconds faster than my PB, despite a scary two-wheels moment near the end. There's more time in that but 284th on the board (33rd on Xbox) seems pretty good with a stock Tuning Setup. I reckon there's another 4 or 5 seconds in that before I need to tune the car.

 

 

 

Day 6 - Time Played: 1.5 Hours

948ef05c-f320-4084-84eb-239766334ffe_Thu

 

  • Time Gained: 3 seconds
  • Places Gained: 107

 

No settings changes today, just wheel time.

First up was Career Rally, last Event in the Lancia Fulvia before I move on to a faster car. Monte Carlo was largely pleasant although the ice caught me out on Stage 3 with an early puncture. A sudden blowout later on meant I had no spare tyre going into Stage 4, and after struggling to get to the end I eventually slid off the road for Terminal Damage. Had enough points to guarantee promotion to Clubman though, where I'll likely drive the RS1800 in Rally and the Crosskart in Rallycross.

I followed up by doing the Daily Challenges as they seemed like a good opportunity to try a few different cars. The Mitsubishi NR4 was a dream to drive, the Audi Sport quattro tried to kill me and the VW Golf Kitcar was good when I wasn't driving too quickly. The RX2 was surprisingly tough, as the wheel seemed real heavy whenever I countersteered; it made for a tough driving experience even with no other cars on the track.

Benchmark run was up next and just like before I was looking to find places where I could go faster or cleaner than my PB. My first sector is real good now, almost optimal and I managed to find some time towards the end too to beat my PB by another 3 seconds. I'm now in the Top 200 globally and in the Top 20 on Xbox.

 

 

Day 7 - Time Played: 1.5 Hours

d185c40d-0e4b-453b-987d-4830f2aa7871_Thu

 

  • Time Gained: 1 second
  • Places Gained: 22

 

I started off today by doing a full Event in the Ford Escort MKII, first time using RWD on this setup.

The first 2 Stages of Greece were tricky as I was getting to grips with the car, resulting in quite a few spins and drops off the edge of the road. One thing I've come to expect on a pad is a sense of vibration when I've put too much throttle down, but I don't get that on the wheel and it took 2 Stages to adjust to that behaviour.

Once I got it settled down and stopped overdriving the car the rest of the Event went rather smoothly. I didn't quite win as I lost too much time in the opening Stages but I put in some clean runs as I got the hang of the car.

The Benchmark run was interesting today. I'm now learning the Stage more than I'm learning the Fiesta R5, and finding places to optimise my lines. I gained a second on my PB today but looking at the splits I could have been up by more; I was up by a second on Sector 2 and again on Sector 4, but a slower 1 and 3 cancelled out the big gains.

I feel I've almost taken a stock setup as far as I can now, though with a perfect run I could potentially get into Top 100 Global. I'm already on the top page of the Xbox standings, 12th overall on the platform.

 

Day 8 - Time Played: 1.5 Hours

d77cd944-6549-4062-ab42-e6cf28e0c822_Thu

 

  • Time Gained: 1 second
  • Places Gained: 28

 

More progress today, particularly in the Escort where my next Event was at Australia. Things just seemed to click for more of the rally, as I was well in control of the car for the majority of Stages and amassed a 2 minute lead going into the final Stage. Admittedly I used Restart a few times on the final run as I was nursing a misaligned front wheel but I eventually got a clean one together and won the Event.

The Benchmark run went even smoother than previous days as I immediately beat my PB on my first attempt. Again I was slower in Sector 1 but found massive amounts of time in Sectors 2 and 3. I'm now 9th on Xbox and closing in on the Top 100 overall, still with a stock Fiesta R5. There's at least another 2 seconds in that car before I hit uncomfortably fast territory. 

 

Day 9 - Time Played: 2 Hours

1255951c-3d23-4e88-9926-2abd2f4e49b9_Thu

 

  • Time Gained: 3 seconds
  • Places Gained: 42

 

I arrived home late from work today (preparing a big DiRT announcement with a lot to get done) but was still determined to get some seat time in and managed a full, intense session.

First up was Sweden in the Escort MKII, which was relatively trouble free. It took me a Stage to figure out how the car felt on the snow but once I got the hang of it the AI posted no challenge and I beat them by 2 minutes. Promotion to the next difficulty seems inevitable now.

Next was the Benchmark run and I beat it on my first attempt. Not satisfied with my run I went again, and beat it once more. Still not satisfied, I pushed harder and it took me an hour to beat my (new) PB, but I eventually put together a super-brave run and am now under the 3:20 barrier. Based on the splits I should be able to pick up another 7 tenths with a perfect run.

I'm in 6th on Xbox and in the Top 100 across all platforms. I'm fairly sure I won't be able to beat this on a controller.

 

Day 10 - Time Played: 2 Hours

d34f616e-9b12-4f62-8f22-5295b3b71fca_Thu

 

  • Time Gained: 1 second
  • Places Gained: 17

 

I started out with a quick Benchmark run today (mainly so I could show off on Twitter) and happened to beat my PB by 3 tenths.

After that it was off to Monte Carlo in the Escort. The sensation through the wheel was interesting to say the least. On the snow and Ice I wasn't feeling anything, which was to be expected but as soon as I hit dry tarmac the wheel got very heavy. I had a few slip-ups thanks to the varying conditions (and RWD on ice) but still ended up taking the Event win. Wales and Finland left before I potentially get promoted.

With that done it was back to the Benchmark for a proper run. I knew there was time to be gained as my PB had some scruffy sectors, but it also had a monstrously quick Sector 2 so it was touch and go. Still though, I threw caution to the wind and after a few attempts came out almost 2 seconds up.

I was still down by a second in Sector 2 though so a low 3:17 is possible with the stock Fiesta R5. I think I want to hit that before I consider tuning the car. I'm now in the Top 70 overall and 5th on Xbox (where I'm only 2 seconds off World Record pace).

Oh, and I recognise some names on the board now so I must be getting quick. Hello @Snaky115 and @SereneLogic 🙂 

 

Day 11 - Time Played: 2 Hours

a74c20ed-633f-4737-a0fe-dbad924f17c2_Thu

 

  • Time Gained: 0.4 seconds
  • Places Gained: 2

 

Started off this session in the Escort again, this time round Wales. I haven't driven Wales since before it was released so I was a little rusty, and dropped a minute on the leader in the opening 2 Stages.

I felt that that would rule me out of a win but some good runs thereafter helped me catch up. I was still about 20 seconds off the leader going into the final Stage but fortunately they had an Unexpected Moment and fell off the timesheets, giving me the win.

The Benchmark run (which was over an hour) was frustrating as I couldn't seem to beat my Personal Best despite driving well. In the end I applied @2Technical's setup and found 4 tenths after a few runs. There's more in the car I'm sure, once I get used to the slightly longer gearing.

Just for curiosity I tried the Mitsubishi Space Star and found that I could gain half a second in Sector 1 and a whole second in Sector 2. I drop off towards the end but I have a feeling I'll switch cars if I can't go much further with the Fiesta.

 

Day 12 - Time Played: 2 Hours

d31300c7-ca92-4e2b-96ca-6a3dc7af59f3_Thu

 

  • Time Gained: 0.9 seconds
  • Places Gained: 4

 

Started off in Career in the Escort again, this time at Finland. I was feeling reasonably happy with my run through the first stage until I misjudged a jump and wrapped it round a tree. I retired from the Event on the spot but since I already had a big points lead I won the Championship and got promoted to Pro.

That gave me some time to take on Rallycross and I've chosen the RWD Speedcar Xtreme for the Clumban Tier. It was quite a handful but once I started to drive more smoothly I did a lot better, and comfortably won the Event.

In the Time Trial I feel I'm approaching my limits now, as every run is either blindingly fast or ends with me rolling the car over a fence. I tried for almost an hour to beat my PB in the Ford Fiesta but failed to do so. Switching to the Mitsubishi Space Star gave me a few tenths and switching to the Volkswagen Golf gave me some more. I would like to set an Xbox World Record (which is a 3:35.5, or thereabouts), but even at my current pace level I feel I've already hit one of my goals for the year, as I highly doubt I can go this quick on a pad.

Over the last few days I was hearing some rattle from the pedals, and at the end of the session I figured out why; the mounting screws had begun to come loose from the Playseat. I tightened them up so they should be good to go again for a while.

 

Day 13: Time Played - 2 Hours

 

No Time Trial improvement today, but I did manage to confirm one thing: I'm faster round that Stage than I am on a controller, so this marks one of my 2020 goals as complete.

I tried beating my Personal Best in the same car (Volkawagen Polo GTI R5) with the same tuning setup, and despite multiple attempts the best I could manage was a 3:18. That's still a very good time considering I was on a controller, but almost 2 seconds slower than my best time on the wheel.

Comparing it to the wheel runs I noticed that some sections felt much easier to handle on a pad, whereas others felt much stronger on a wheel. With the wheel you pretty much have to drive smoothly to be quick, whereas you can be a little more aggressive on the pad in some areas, at the cost of greater punishment when you go too far.

I did also have a go on the wheel and while I can make minor gains on individual sectors, stringing them all together for a perfect run takes a long time and can be rather frustrating, especially when you see no progress after an hour.

I think this is a natural stopping point, at least for that Time Trial run. I've hit my goal with it, showed that I can get good pace and learned a lot along the way. As I continue my move towards Masters Tier in My Team I'll be posting fewer updates here, since "I beat the AI again" isn't really an interesting thing to say every day. I'll probably pop back in with an update every so often though if anything significant happens.


 

  • Days 14-18 
    Rally: Drove the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI in Pro, and won most of the Events with ease to get promoted to Elite.
     
  • Days 14-16
    Rallycross: Drove the Ford RS200 Evolution in Pro. Currently only done one Event as I'm focusing on Rally.
     
  • Days 19-23:
    Rally: Drove the Mistubishi Lancer Evo X in Elite. Had a few close calls but won enough Events to get promoted to Masters.
     
  • Days 24-28:
    Rally: Been trying out a few different cars and classes, but am consistently 10 seconds off the pace.

 

I'm at a point now where I'm comfortable on the wheel and generally confident in my driving ability.

The challenge is the sheer pace of the AI at Masters, which is starting to become frustrating. While in the lower Tiers I could pick any car and have a shot at victory, that is less so here and even in cars where I'm pushing hard and driving well I'm off the pace. That pace may come eventually, but I don't want it to be at a cost of enjoying the game so I'm currently exploring a few different Classes in Custom vs 100% AI (Masters is around 95-100 difficulty).

I've also adjusted my goals slightly and want to win both Masters Championships before the release of the FLAT OUT Pack on March 24. Once that's out I intend to do as many of the Scenarios as possible on Very Hard difficulty, and once that's done I'll retire DiRT Rally 2.0 as my "main game" and play some non-racing titles.

 

  • Day 29:
    Explored multiple classes in Custom at 100% Difficulty, found H1 FWD to be my most competitive. Started Masters Career at Spain in the MINI Cooper S. Won Event, Poland next.
     
  • Day 30:
    Won in Poland by a handy margin. The MINI felt real good there, perhaps Spain wasn't a fluke.
     
  • Day 31:
    Won at USA, another relatively easy win.
     
  • Day 32:
    Won at Australia.
     
  • Day 33:
    Won at Wales, was second for most of the rally but AI issues allowed me to take the lead. 27 points ahead going into final Event.
     
  • Day 34:
    2nd at Monte Carlo, Championship win.

 

The thing I noticed in going back to H1 FWD was how much more confidence I had compared to when I first started. I was going "full send" through some of the faster sections (Poland especially) and making fewer mistakes. Some of the Career Leaderboard times were solid too; I recall finishing 15th on the global board in one of the Welsh ones.

 

That's the second of my 3 major goals now complete, Win a Career Rally Championship at Masters Difficulty.

Rallycross next.

 

 

March 2021 Update: 1 Year later...

It's been a long time since I posted here but this thread is still useful for newer players so here's some highlights of the past 12 months:

 

  • I started streaming every Friday after work, mostly DiRT Rally 2.0.
  • I finished in the Top 500 of the Solberg World Cup, an esports Championship that was held in 2020 with over 17,000 entrants.
  • I finished in the Top 50 of the Official DiRT Club Championship, a slightly less competitive place but with around 20,000 entrants.
  • I finished 2nd in the 2020 Realish Racing Rally Championship, with 6 podiums from 7 events.
  • I won the Realish Racing Snowman Cup, a casual off-season event in early 2021.
  • I set an Xbox World Record on Scotland's Newhouse Bridge Stage (which was promptly beaten by @UnderclassGDfan a few days later 😄).
  • I regularly compete in Daily Challenges, often finishing in the Top 50.
  • I also started a YouTube channel which has (at the time of writing), around 12,000 subscribers. I focus on tutorials for this game and F1 2020.

 

Here are some tutorials that i made to help people get better at this game, you can also see my wheel action in there too.

 

 

 

PS: I'm still fast on a controller 😉 

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  • PJTierney changed the title to From Pad to Pro - Learning to use a wheel in DiRT Rally 2.0

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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Day 2 - Time Played: 1.5 Hours

4c37eb2c-d1d8-4020-bc9a-7575475aa48d_Thu

  • Time Gained - 1.39
  • Places Gained - 5,016

 

I started off by entering My Team Career as previously mentioned, driving the Lancia Fulvia at Open (the lowest) Difficulty. Hardcore Damage is on, all assists are off, bonnet view.

My first Stage at New England had some offs but thanks to the slow AI I was still comfortably ahead. On the second I got Terminal Damage, which eliminated any chances of a good result. 2 more error-prone but high-ranking places wouldn't make up the difference so I finished 30th.

Next up was Finland. I got off to an okay start through the first sector of the opening Stage, but a misjudged jump and a meeting with a telephone pole gave me another Terminal, skipping Stage 2 and returning to Service. I repaired the car and set off once more, and the next run had quite a few crashes too. I Terminaled the final Stage not through a crash but suspension failure.

 

2 events and a lot of pain, but I was able to take some findings from it. The first was that I felt I wasn't turning enough with where I was placing my arms, so I dropped the rotation to 300 degrees (from 360). Most of my troubles came from going wide and hitting trees despite me putting in what I felt was a lot of steering angle.

I also felt that I was coming into corners way too fast. That could have been due to a multitude of things, like braking too late, not putting enough pressure on the brake pedal, or putting too much on the pedal and locking the fronts (which results in understeer in a FWD car). Although my wheel vibrates lightly when I reach higher brake pressures I would like some stronger feeling when the wheels lock up, so that I have a sign to back off the brake pedal. That's one thing the Xbox One controller does well on console, those Impulse Triggers start shaking when you're at the limit.

 

After soundly getting my Lancia beaten up it was time for the Benchmark run. Although I did have a point where I went off and did a 3 point turn, ultimately this was a much stronger showing than yesterday, as I got through the entire Stage without a puncture or a major off.

I gained over a minute on my PB and climbed into the Top 30% on the Leaderboard. Day 1 wasn't really a true test of pace thanks to the puncture but Day 2 seems like a proper benchmark now.

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Day 3 - Time Played: 1.5 Hours

b6e9713d-d746-42fa-87dc-e2a0b537db37_Thu

  • Time Gained - 11 seconds
  • Places Gained - 1,085

 

This evening went reasonably well. I started off with the Fulvia, this time at Greece. Despite the occasional dip off the side of the narrow road and the car's tendancy to flip once you go on two wheels, I was still near the top of the standings and felt in control most of the time. The thing I struggled with most was getting a slow FWD around tight corners, though that's less to do with wheel performance and just my general lack of experience with FWD rally cars.

Following the Career Rally I did my first Rallycross Event, also Open difficulty. This was in the Super 1600s at Lydden Hill. Given how slow the AI is here it didn't put up much of a challenge, and I immediately felt comfortable on a relatively wide circuit. I breezed through the Qualifiers, Semis and Finals, with the only notable difficulty again being hairpins in FWD cars. Haven't figured out the technique for that one yet.

Next up it was time for the Benchmark run and it went really smoothly with no crashes. There were a few moments where the car started to get too agile, but I managed to hold it and beat my previous PB by 11 seconds. One thing I noticed was that when I was on the tarmac sections I couldn't put in as much steering lock as it would immediately kick the car into oversteer. It'll get harder to beat the Benchmark now that I've put in a crash-free run though.

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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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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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Day 4 - Time Played: 1 Hour

80267185-2ba7-414b-87ea-9309dabe6c85_Thu

 

  • Time Gained - 3 seconds
  • Places Gained - 112

 

I made one minor change today before setting off, upping the Suspension setting in-game to 150 and in the Stages that followed it seemed like I could feel the front end of the car more and predict when the front tyres would catch grip after a countersteer.

The Career Events went by very smoothly today. Rallycross is posing no challenge at the moment as the AI is so slow and in Rally I had barely any trouble round Argentina.

When it came to the Benchmark run I was feeling more confident in attacking the opening sectors, and by having greater feel of the front end I could chuck the Fiesta into corners and apply the right amount of lock before the front wheels grip and propel me where I want to go. I initially improved by about a second but knew I made some mistakes early on, so I had another go and ended up gaining more than 3 seconds on my previous PB.

I might up the rotation to 360 again but right now things are feeling fine and I just need more wheel time to progress further.

 

One thing I am curious about though is that the rev lights aren't lighting up on my wheel rim or the base. If anybody could point me in the right direction (remember, I'm playing on Xbox) that'd be handy.

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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!

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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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