Secrets of GTR2

Welcome to Secrets of GTR2 where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I get into GTR2.

Secrets of GTR2

Welcome to Secrets of GTR2 where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I get into GTR2.

Secrets of X is a series of blog posts I started with Secrets of iRacing and which has grown to include Secrets of GTR2, Secrets of Automobilista, and Secrets of rFactor 2. The “secrets” part is a little dramatic but there are quite a few tips and tricks I think new users will find very valuable and interesting.

Update 2017-11-10: Added Force Feedback > Guidelines for Tuning GTR2 Force Feedback. Updated Force Feedback > Rumble Strips Pushing/Pulling the Wrong Way to clarify wrong interpretation and now using default FFB parameter value.

Update 2017-11-09: Clarified Racing > Custom Daylight Acceleration works for regular race sessions but not 24 Hour races – they automatically time scale to race length setup when first starting the 24 Hour race.

Update 2017-11-08: Added Racing > Custom Daylight Acceleration. Added Resources > GTR Engineers Handbook and GTR2 Car-Owner’s Manual links. The GTR Engineers Handbook is particularly excellent for describe car setups better and more informatively than any in-game descriptions I’ve encountered before and the Q&A with real-life experts is also incredibly helpful.

Update 2017-10-31: Added Racing > How to Set AI Difficulty Level and Tips for Practicing and Qualifying for a Race sections. Also emphasized tip to avoid Time Acceleration as it causes a bug which results in overly quick AI lap times no matter what your AI difficulty level is set to.

Update 2017-10-29: Cleaned up and clarified Getting Started > Field of View. It’s now easy to understand and has an example. Fleshed out Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes with latest tuning adjustments.

Update 2017-10-12: Now using AI to AI Collision Rate=”40″ (max) as there’s no FPS loss for me so why not. Added Tips and Tricks > Avoid Time Acceleration to AVOID AI Bug.

Update 2017-09-22: Now using AI to AI Collision Rate=”32″ as I’m no longer experiencing FPS loss, maybe only stock tracks are affected and not HQ tracks. Try running HQ tracks if you have this problem. Added 5. Adding Friction and Damper under Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes. Added Force Feedback Settings under Getting Started > Modernizing as, while it may seem obvious, I wanted to highlight the need to do more than is available in-game to get closer to modern standards for FFB feeling. Added note about preferring HQ Cars and Tracks due to improved handling and grip adjustments in Getting Started > Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection.

Update 2017-09-21: Added 4. Improving Corner Feeling under Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes.

Update 2017-09-17 – 2: HQ Cars & Tracks is working for me again after a fix. See comments under Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection. Added Troubleshooting > Enable Tracing.

Update 2017-09-17: Added Troubleshooting section. Noted HQ Cars & Tracks was crashing for me. This works now, see comments under Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection.

Update 2017-09-16: Added Tips & Tricks regarding turning up tire scrub and tire skid volumes and regarding refreshing old mod files if you’re experiencing instability.

Update 2017-09-15: Added Modernizing > 4GB Patch notes. Added GTR2 HQ CARS & TRACKS – 10th Anniversary and GTR2 HQ AI under Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection. Added note that I’ve stopped using the Changing Weather Patch due to suspected instability.

Update 2017-09-14: Added Mod Spotlight > DTM Classics Mod with details for getting it running in 2017.

Update 2017-09-11: Detailed my FFB tuning in the section “My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes”. Important! After a few rounds of FFB tuning I finally feel like I have a simple FFB setup that achieves car stability, quick response, and road feel. Added “GTR2 Crashes – It might Be Other Accelerated Graphics Apps” to the Tips and Tricks section.

Update 2017-09-08: Added “Disable Auto-pit and ai control” under the “Tips and Tricks” section. Noted tweaks in the “Make GTR2 Use More Cores For Better Performance” section under Performance. Added “My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes” under the Force Feedback section.

Update 2017-09-06: Noted I’ve started over again from Julien Regnard’s FFB guide tuning FFB from baseline values instead of PLR defaults values under the “Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking” heading. Highly recommended. Don’t skip it like I did.

Update 2017-09-01 – 2: Added main section Performance and sub-section Make GTR2 Use More Cores For Better Performance to describe GTR2’s single-core use and how to get it to use more than a single core for better performance.

Update 2017-09-01: Added a Table of Contents for more convenient organization and to make it easier to find what you want.

Update 2017-08-30: Updated Force Feedback section to include more details on finding my optimal “FFB steer force average weight”, “FFB steer force exponent”, and “FFB rumble strip pull factor”. Also added “Force Feedback Tweaking Guide for Simbin Games by Julien Regnard” in Force Feedback section.

Update 2017-08-25: Added Changing Weather Patch mod under Modernizing section and added to Mod Spotlight. Updated my latest FFB settings in the Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking section.

Update 2017-08-20: Further FFB tweaking of “FFB steer force grip weight” which gives a feel of losing and gaining grip while cornering. Added Tips and Tricks section Use Auto-Clutch With Paddle Shifters. Added main section Mod Spotlight.

Update 2017-08-19 – 2: Added Getting Started sections: Mod: Track update for GTR2 Original Tracks, Mod: New GFX Mod, Field of View, Wheel Rotation and Wheel Lock, iRacing-like Brake Sensitivity for Potentiometer Pedals (eg. G27). Added Adding Game Cars, Tracks, Mods and More main section. Added Force Feedback main section with sub-section Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking.

Update 2017-08-19: Welcome to the initial posting of Secrets of GTR2! Check back from time to time as I add things and note the updates in this update box.

Contents

What is GTR2?

From the Wikipedia entry,

GTR 2 – FIA GT Racing Game is a sports car racing simulator developed by Blimey! Games and SimBin Studios (later Sector3 Studios) for the x86 PC and is a sequel to GTR. Since its release in September 2006, it has received widespread acclaim. The game simulates the 2003 and 2004 FIA GT Championship racing series.

And here’s the official game trailer,

Why a game from 2006?

GTR2 was/is one of those rare occasions when a game developer is given the opportunity to produce a game as it was meant to be. All the features you see in one game or another but never all in one game these days was actually included in one game: GTR2. And it’s still being updated by modders 11 years on!

Here’s some links that may give you a better understanding of why a game from 2006 still holds its own in this day and age:

Getting Started

Getting the Game

Steam is probably your best bet. Head over to the GTR2 store page and pick up the game. It’s pretty inexpensive but still offers good bang for the buck.

Initial Game Setup

Go ahead, setup your graphics, controls, and force feedback as you like. I don’t have any particular recommendations for the obvious in-game settings just yet. I will assume you’re like me and will play with all this stuff. This post will concern itself with stuff that isn’t immediately obvious.

Skip Intro Videos

These are always annoying, here’s how to stop them (from PC Gaming Wiki.com GTR2 article):

  1. Open Windows Explorer and find your Steam Library folder for the game: steamapps\common\GTR 2 – FIA GT Racing Game\MovieFiles
  2. Rename (or delete) these files: Intro.bik, GameIntro.bik, SimBin.bik

Fixing Missing Original Content

Certain original content has been removed since the game was released, so head over here for a fix.

Hint: Install US/EU (as applicable) patch and then install No CD patch from files over at NoGripRacing.com. There’s a Digital Distribution patch but that didn’t work for my Steam installation. Just try the US/EU patch first.

Modernizing

GTR2 holds up remarkably well in the features department but shows its age in the level of quality we now expect of those features. Some things can be improved like textures, visual effects, sounds, even AI and new and improved cars and tracks, themselves.

4GB Patch

You can allow GTR2 to use up to 4GB of memory (it was developed with a 2GB limit). You may find this necessary as you add more and more mods with new assets that take up more and more memory. So you might as well just do it now.

Simply download the 4GB Patch tool, run it, find your GTR2.exe file, and press OK. You’re done!

The 4GB patch appears to have successfully applied on the GTR2 NO CD patch GTR2.exe file I discussed above under the “Fixing Missing Original Content” heading.

Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection

Get this collection over here at NoGripRacing.com and, among 28 mods included, you can pick and choose which you want.

Don’t worry, it looks intimidating at first but it really boils down to copy&pasting GameData/UserData folders to your GTR2 installation folder and overwriting files when requested. Each mod is separately packaged and only contains a few files that it will override so it’s easier than it first appears.

I found these appealing to start:

  • HDR Skies
  • HQ AI
  • HQ Cars and Tracks
  • HQ Car Sounds
  • HQ Lens Flare
  • HQ Marbles
  • HQ Rain
  • HQ Screen Dirt
  • HQ Ambient Shadow
  • HQ Backfire
  • HQ FOV DEFVIEWS
  • HQ Moon
  • HQ Smokes
  • HQ Sparks
  • GTR2 HQ CARS & TRACKS – 10th Anniversary
    • Had to uninstall due to crashes in HQ04 championships. Original cars/tracks don’t crash so I just kind of gave up.
    • Turns out there was a bad skin (in version 7.0) and I had to remove a whole skin folder: GAMEDATA\TEAMS\GT\FERRARI 550 TEAMS\WIETH
    • Good! HQ Cars & Tracks seem to be improved in handling and grip levels and not simply for adjusted visuals. This is important as some stock cars, tracks, and weather conditions handle very loosely and are difficult to manage (eg. Saleen S7-R at Zuhai in the rain) but with HQ versions of the same car and track it is much easier to handle. Realistic or not I think it’s a change for the better otherwise you could get very, very frustrated with the game.
  • GTR2 HQ AI
    • Good! I had been testing FFB for a long time with stock AI and they were apt to crash into the back of you in corners. I need to do more testing but this HQ AI looks like it improves on that and it seems to be much less of a problem.
    • Warning! This can cause low FPS due to, I believe, the “AI to AI Collision Rate” parameter in the UserData PLR file they tell you to change to “32”. That caused low FPS for me (on an i7 2600k @4.8Ghz!) so I had to change it back to 20. I no longer experience this issue, maybe it’s only on stock tracks and not HQ tracks.
      • Tip: Turn this up to 40 if your frame rate is okay. The more AI-to-AI collisions calculations per second the better the AI racing will be.

And I’ll probably put in most of the others because…why not?

Mod: Track update for GTR2 Original Tracks

Check out the Track update for GTR2 Original Tracks for track scenery updates that really add to the immersion in game-play. The author has added in things like real-life signs that span over tracks and grandstands with people in them.

Note: This only updates the original tracks. If you’re using the HQ Mods Collection HQ Tracks it won’t help.

Mod: New GFX Mod

The New GFX Mod does seem to provide nicer graphics than stock but I’ve had issues with blurry textures but if it works for you why not?

Mod: Changing Weather Patch

GTR2 lost (or never had) changing weather during race sessions. Apparently it works in other session types but not race sessions. The Changing Weather Patch, by “jtsn” (thank you, jtsn!), re-enables changing weather during race sessions. This brings back an amazing immersion factor only now in 2017 being re-implemented in racing games like Project Cars 2 and F1 2016/2017.

Beware! This may have been causing instability for me. Need to confirm…

Hint: Just extract the archive into your GTR2 folder. It won’t overwrite anything. You will need to launch GTR2 by hand by running gtr2wx.exe directly to get changing weather (ie. can’t launch through Steam). Otherwise, for the original, run gtr2.exe or launch via Steam.

Accuforce owners: You will need to modify the GTR2 “Game Plugin” and “Game Exe” under the Control Center > Settings > Games > GTR2 (add it if it’s not there). You need to set “Game Plugin” to “Unsupported Game” and “Game Exe” to the path and filename of the gtr2wx.exe file. Don’t worry about the “Unsupported Game” – force feedback seems to operate fine.

Field of View

GTR2’s default FOV (field of view) shows you a large amount of your cockpit but it’s not realistic and can be a disadvantage in terms of judging speed, distance, and general timing. You will almost certainly be faster with correct FOV because you’ll be better able to judge speed, distance and timing.

Use the HQ FOV DEFVIEWS mod, mentioned in the HQ Mods Collection above, and tweak the field of view somewhat lower than the mod’s default so that you can see your driver-side mirror and about half of your dash.

The Project Immersion.com FOV calculator is a handy site to calculate your correct FOV from the size of your monitors and how far away you sit. The “vFOV” value it calculates a factor which should applied against the default vFOV value in the UserData\defviews.cam file:

For example, ProjectImmersion.com says my vFOV factor is 0.5x so that means I should change 62.0 to 31.0. This results in what is likely a realistic field of view but it felt a little too tight so I went with 45. I’ll probably adjust a little more as I get used to it. You’ll probably want to adjust your value, too.

Wheel Rotation and Wheel Lock

You’re probably on 900degree+ wheel, like a G27, T300, ClubSport, or modern Direct Drive wheel, so when you get into the GTR2 GT-style cars it will feel like you’re driving a bus: You’ll feel like you need to turn the wheel more than should be needed to get the car to turn the right amount – This is a wheel rotation and wheel lock setting issue.

It’s probably best to set a 540degree wheel rotation in your wheel profiles for GTR2. Then, in-game, the default 15degree wheel lock will feel better, but if it doesn’t try 18-21degree wheel lock. Somewhere between 13-21 will be a 540degree sweet spot.

Force Feedback Settings

This is a little bit obvious, we all go pretty quickly for setting up force feedback, but I felt the need to emphasize this because the default force feedback options are, I feel, not enough to bring GTR2’s force feedback closer to modern standards.

You will most likely have to edit your UserData PLR file to get the right feel of your force feedback.

You may be interested in the GTR2 FFB Menu Mod which gives you access to more FFB tuning parameters in GTR2, itself. I haven’t tried this, myself, as it doesn’t expose the two key FFB parameters, Grip Weight and Grip Factor. The only other method is, unfortunately, to edit the PLR file, start up GTR2 to test, exit GTR2, and edit the PLR file again, and repeat.

To get started, see my FFB tuning notes below in the section Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes.

Adding Game Cars, Tracks, Mods and More

Check out NoGripRacing.com, they have a lot of GTR2 downloads, and I think it’s well worth paying to upgrade to premium to get unlimited downloads.

Generally, the process involves simply downloading an archive, extracting it, and copying over a few folders into your GTR2 folders. It’s pretty straight-forward typically.

Mod Spotlight

I wanted to dedicate an area to all the fantastic and fantastically dedicated modders out there who keep updating a game from 2006. We appreciate you!

DTM Classics Mod

This mod adds championships that simulate the DTM 1990-91-92 seasons and it includes three cars – the Mercedes Benz 190E Evolution II, BMW E30 M3 Sportevolution, and Audi V8 DTM. There is some steps to do by hand before you can use it, though, so here’s the steps I took:

  1. Get the mod at nogripracing.com
  2. Extract the archive
    1. I recommend the free and open-source 7zip if you don’t already have an archive tool
  3. You need to download some tracks per the DTM Classic Tracks.doc file inside the archive. Extract the archives and find the folder with the .gdb files and copy this folder into your GTR2 GameData\Locations folder.
    1. Zolder 2005
    2. Nurburgring 2001
    3. Avus 1993
      1. The DOC’s link for this track was broken when I tried it so the closest I could find was Avus 1993 on nogripracing.com
    4. GPCHockenheim79
      1. Again, the link was broken so I substituted this one.
      2. Note: This is the 1979 version of the track.
      3. Alternative: Hockenheim 99
    5. Nordschleife
    6. Norisring 2005 
      1. Yes, 2005, unfortunately but maybe it hasn’t changed much.
      2. Alternative: Norisring but not sure this is any more period correct, either
    7. Nurburgring 2001
      1. The DOC is repeating itself here.
    8. GPCHockenheim79
      1. Here the DOC’s link is working so we’re repeating the same track.
    9. Sachsenring
      1. This is not mentioned in the DOC but it is in the DTM92 championship file so I had to google to find it. If this link goes down add a comment I’ll see about uploading to nogripracing.com or hosting it myself.
  4. The DTM Classic Championchip use.txt file indicates you need to edit some track .gdb files and set Max Vehicles = 42. I haven’t done that as you can just run with fewer than 40 cars and the tracks should work fine I’ve done this now – will see how it goes. But here are the files to edit if you do:
    1. Old: Zolder_05.gdb, New: 2005ZOLDER.GDB
    2. Good: GPCHockenheim.gdb
    3. Good: SHHockenheim.gdb
    4. Old: Avus.gdb, New: 93Avus.gdb
    5. Good: 5Norisring.gdb
    6. Good: ASNational.gdb
    7. Old: A1Nurburg.gdb, New: 01Nurburg.gdb
    8. Old: SPNurburgring.gdb, New: 01Nurburg.gdb
    9. Good: Sachsenring.gdb
  5. Next, find and edit the GameData\Championships\DTM92.gdb file, or whichever DTM*.gdb championship file you would like to use, and substitute in the new track names we use. Just look for things like TrackName { … } – it’s the TrackName you’ll want to change. For example, the first track in my DTM92.gdb file is Zolder_05 and I had to change that to 2005ZOLDER.
    1. From Zolder_05 to 2005ZOLDER
    2. From A1Nurburgring to 01Nurburg
    3. From Avus to 93Avus
    4. From SPNurburgring to 01Nurburg
    5. From SPNurburgring to 01Nurburg
  6. That’s it! You’re ready to race.
    1. Remember! Use maximum 40 cars, otherwise it will crash, or you can adjust the Max Vehicles in the track files as noted above.
  7. Enjoy!

Graphics

At the time I was testing these settings, I was running an i7 2600K @ 4.8Ghz and an NVIDIA GTX 980 TI.

Enhancing Anti-Aliasing Using NVIDIA Inspector

My settings so far:

  • Antialiasing – Mode: Enhance the application setting
  • Antialiasing – Setting: 16xS [Combined: 2×2 SS + 4x MS]
    • I tried higher settings but they were visually blurry and I tend to prefer sharper images.
  • Toggle FXAA on or off: On

Force Feedback

Important! At the time I initially tested these settings, I was running a SimXperience Accuforce Pro direct-drive steering wheel.

Guidelines for Tuning GTR2 Force Feedback

  • Use bi-section searching to tune FFB parameters
  • Tune one FFB parameter at a time
  • Change as little as possible to avoid variables throwing off your tuning
    • Save a race session and keep using it every time you exit and enter GTR2 after changing FFB parameters
    • Use the same track
    • Use the same car
    • Use the same setup – including things like tire types, pressures, etc.
  • Original cars and tracks may not be the best to tune against
    • I wasted a lot of time trying to tune original cars to original tracks in wet weather and it was impossible to tune in a non-suicidal ride.
    • I found out the HQ Mods cars are much friendlier in the rain so now I just use them.
  • Certain effects play off each other:
    • Grip Weight vs Grip Factor
      • Reducing/Increase Grip Weight can Reduce/Increase the Grip Factor effect so you may need to make an opposite adjustment to Grip Factor

My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes

Note: Here’s my UserData PLR file and here’s my FFB tuning notes.

Here’s how my tuning experiments have gone so far:

  1. I originally started bi-section search tweaking of default ffb parameters in the UserData PLR file.
  2. After unsatisfactory results, I started from baseline ffb parameters as suggested by Julien Regnard in his helpful FFB tweaking guide. It was much better but…
  3. I was still unsatisfied so, using my intuition gained from the previous tuning and a hunch, I started again from baseline but with what I call 50/50 values for certain parameters.
  4. I tuned for more cornering feel (ie. grip loss)
  5. I tuned in some friction and damper
  6. 50/50 Baseline Ordered Bi-section Search
    1. The idea here was to try tuning in a specific order to avoid false positive tuning by doing some parameters first and some later. Here’s the order: Friction Coefficient, Damper Cooeficient, Grip Factor, Grip Weight, Force Exponent
  7. iRacing-like Friction/Damper: So far I had very little friction and damper when compared to iRacing, Automobilista, rFactor, etc. so this was adding in more to make it feel like those games.
  8. Force Exponent Experimenting: This parameter had an interesting description and I wanted to find out how it felt. I ended up with a very small positive adjustment.
  9. Reduce ‘too much wheel weight loss’ on cornering
  10. Try Grip Factor=1.0 to eliminate backend grip affecting wheel weight
  11. Gain back reduced Grip Weight caused by ‘too much wheel weight loss’ step adjustments
  12. Add in some friction/damper, feels too loose on understeer/oversteer snap-back
    1. Also adjusted Grip Factor and Grip Weight here to compensate for different feel.

As you can see it’s a lot of steps. I won’t bore you with more details. You can get my PLR and FFB tuning notes linked above.

But if you still want to know the details…

Here are the details of my tuning experiments so far listed in most recent order…

Testing Notes:

  • Difficulty:
    • Novice in order to disable damage (can’t trust AI)
    • All aids turned off except auto-clutch for smoother paddle shifting
  • Cars and Tracks:
    • Steps 1-3 were tested on stock (not HQ) Zuhai in damp conditions, with a stock (not HQ) Saleen S7-R, and on HQ Zuhai in dry/wet conditions with HQ Saleen S7-R.
      • Stock Zuhai + stock Saleen was incredibly slippery but 50/50 did help.
      • Interestingly, the HQ Zuhai and HQ Saleen were not nearly as slippery and provided a much more enjoyable experience all the way through 100% rain.
    • In step 4 I started testing only on HQ Zuhai and ZQ Saleen S7-R.
  • Wheel:
    • SimXperience Accuforce
    • Stock GTR Setup in SimCommander (later I made a copy and set 100% strength but that’s about it)
5. Adding Friction and Damper

I felt like the wheel was snapping back and forth too much on understeer and oversteer so I figured it was about time to add in some damper and friction:

  • FFB Effects Level=”1″
  • FFB Gain=”1.00000″
  • FFB steer force average weight=”0.60000″
  • FFB steer force exponent=”1.00000″
  • FFB steer force grip weight=”0.78000″
  • FFB steer force grip factor=”0.500000″
  • FFB steer friction coefficient=”0.065625″
  • FFB steer friction saturation=”1.00000″
  • FFB steer damper coefficient=”0.065625″
  • FFB steer damper saturation=”1.00000″

Important! The other non-bolded parameters above are baseline values, not default values in your PLR, as recommended by Julien Regnard’s FFB guide (see below) so you need to change the default values to these baseline values to use the configuration above.

4. Improving Corner Feeling

Baseline + 50/50 in Step 3 felt fine for stability but after using it for quite a while I started to wish for more feeling in corners. I soon discovered the only real change I could make was to gain some grip loss feeling, where the wheel goes light, at the expense of cornering forces on the wheel.

I initially tried tuning Grip Factor towards the front but found that wasn’t doing what I really wanted. I ended up setting that back to baseline and then tuning Grip Weight which does control grip loss feeling.

Here’s the important FFB settings, you may need to tweak further for your specific wheel and personal tastes in force feedback:

  • FFB Effects Level=”1″
  • FFB Gain=”1.00000″
  • FFB steer force average weight=”0.60000″
  • FFB steer force exponent=”1.00000″
  • FFB steer force grip weight=”0.78000″
  • FFB steer force grip factor=”0.500000″
  • FFB steer friction coefficient=”0.00000″
  • FFB steer friction saturation=”1.00000″
  • FFB steer damper coefficient=”0.00000″
  • FFB steer damper saturation=”1.00000″

Important! The other non-bolded parameters above are baseline values, not default values in your PLR, as recommended by Julien Regnard’s FFB guide (see below) so you need to change the default values to these baseline values to use the configuration above.

My key take-away from force feedback tuning in GTR2 is that you need to know what the front and back of your car are doing evenly hence the 50/50 Grip Factor (front vs back). That really helps in dry vs wet conditions.

3. Tuning From 50/50 Values

Download: My PLR File for FFB parameters.

After a lot of time spent tuning baseline values I had a hunch that something was missing from the grip feel, something about the front vs rear, and something about the contributing weight for steering column vs tire grip. It occurred to me that I should at least try 50/50 (front vs rear and steering column vs tire grip) on the parameters for these two things. Lo and behold, I achieved greater control and greater road feel at the same time versus my previous baseline.

Surprisingly, after many hours of ffb tuning, I had nothing left to tune. I tried tuning friction and damper but nothing felt as quick and informative as zero values for these so…the only modification ended up being two values. I tried these on other car, track, and weather combinations and they’re stable, controllable, and informative of the road feel – at least better than any tuning I had tried up to this point.

So, anti-climactically, two parameter changes solved it for me, bolded below:

  1. FFB Effects Level=”1″
  2. FFB Gain=”1.00000″
  3. FFB steer force average weight=”0.60000″
  4. FFB steer force exponent=”1.00000″
  5. FFB steer force grip weight=”0.50000″
  6. FFB steer force grip factor=”0.500000″
  7. FFB steer friction coefficient=”0.00000″
  8. FFB steer friction saturation=”1.00000″
  9. FFB steer damper coefficient=”0.00000″
  10. FFB steer damper saturation=”1.00000″

Important! The other non-bolded parameters above are baseline values, not default values in your PLR, as recommended by Julien Regnard’s FFB guide (see below) so you need to change the default values to these baseline values to use the configuration above.

2. Tuning From Baseline Values

Here’s my steps, bi-section searches, and what my current values:

  1. Start at baseline:
    1. FFB Effects Level=”1″
    2. FFB Gain=”1.00000″
    3. FFB steer force average weight=”0.60000″
    4. FFB steer force exponent=”1.00000″
    5. FFB steer force grip weight=”0.00000″
    6. FFB steer force grip factor=”1.00000″
    7. FFB steer friction coefficient=”0.00000″
    8. FFB steer friction saturation=”1.00000″
    9. FFB steer damper coefficient=”0.00000″
    10. FFB steer damper saturation=”1.00000″
  2. Tune: FFB steer force grip weight=”0.00000″
    1. My bi-section search: 0.5, 0.25, 0.375 (OK), 0.4375, 0.40625, 0.39063, 0.39844, 0.394535, 0.3925825, 0.39160625 (final value)
  3. Tune: FFB steer force grip factor=”1.00000″
    1. 0.0, 0.5, (XP: 0.25*, 0.75), 0.375, 0.3125, 0.28125, 0.265625, 0.2578125, 0.26171875, 0.259765625, 0.2587890625, (XP: 0.2) (final value)
    2. Note: “XP” denotes an “Experiment” that deviated from the regular bi-section search rules.
  4. Tune: FFB steer force average weight=”0.60000″
    1. Left at default: 0.6
  5. Tune: FFB steer force output max=”1.80000″
    1. Left at default: 1.80000
  6. Tune: FFB steer damper coefficient=”0.00000″
    1. My bi-section search: 1.0, 0.5, 0.25, 0.17500 (default value)
  7. Tune: FFB steer friction coefficient=”0.00000″
    1. My bi-section search: 1.0, 0.5, 0.25, 0.17500 (default value)
  8. Tune:  FFB steer force exponent=”1.00000″
    1. Left at baseline: 1.00000

At this point, I went back and looked for values that could give me more road-feel. Once you’ve tuned these settings individually, trying min/max, and doing bi-section searches, you’ll begin to understand their effect on ffb.

Note: Testing was done at Zhuhai on a damp track, with the Saleen S7-R, and this resulted in FFB that was, I feel, properly responsive on a wet track but, unfortunately, it meant it wasn’t as responsive as I’d like on dry tracks. Still, it works quite well on dry tracks all the the same, it’s just not as fun as the bumps and rolls in the track are somewhat dampened. The good news is the FFB on other cars feels decent so one set of FFB parameters can at least work for more than one car and one track.

My SimXperience Accuforce setup tweaked only slightly from the default GTR2 setup. Here’s the settings, and, personally, in SimCommander I always reset my AccuForce to defaults, set Wheel Mode High, enable Force Boost, and disable Engine RPMs:

1. Tuning From Default Values

See my tuning notes from the “Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking” section below.

Force Feedback Tweaking Guide for Simbin Games  by Julien Regnard

A helpful guide (plain text backup link) with a little bit better descriptions of FFB parameters in your PLR file.

Of special note in this file is the section at the end titled “3. Tweaking FFB parameters”. His baseline FFB PLR values are really educational and informative to experience and especially to use as a baseline to experiment with values one by one.

Please note, while I find the guide incredibly helpful, I find some of Julien’s advice counter-intuitive, at the least:

  • Friction vs Damper:
    • Julien recommends a negative Friction “to be sure that the wheel moves fast when required by the car movements” but the point of friction to simulate some of the drag on the steering column. Negative friction defeats that purpose, so I’m left confused. Maybe this makes sense on older/lesser wheels but I just can’t see how this makes sense on modern wheels. I ended up at zero or small positive values for friction.

Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking

Check out this guide, Force Feedback Tweaking Guide for Simbin Games, for helpful descriptions and tips for advanced force feedback tweaking using the UserData PLR files.

Pro Tip: What do the FFB Effects Levels mean?
Low: Steering+Grip
Medium: Adds Friction+Damper+Rumble strips
High: Adds Brake vibration
Full: Adds Throttle vibration+Steering vibration

Here’s my thoughts after trying some tweaking from the guide:

Note: Since writing the notes below, I’ve started over again with Julien Regnard’s Force Feedback Tweaking Guide, particularly following the suggestion at the bottom of the guide under the section heading “3. Tweaking FFB parameters” (ie. starting from baseline values instead of PLR default values).

It has been very helpful in understanding what I was looking for in the FFB. It might seem crazy, but even from the first baseline steps you find out you get a great feel for the car without much more tweaking needed. Of course, adding in details adds more information so definitely do that but starting from his baseline was really informative and educational.

Please see the section “My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes” for my up-to-date force feedback notes.

  • FFB steer force exponent=”0.8″ // Steering force output “sensitivity”. Range 0.0 to infinity. 0.0 to 1.0 = higher sensitivity, greater than 1.0 = lower sensitivity.
    • I experimented with this but ended up at the default again due to lower values introducing micro-oscillation around center. I was trying to combat macro-oscillation (‘boat sway’ on straights) but couldn’t really fix it.
    • My bi-section search: 0.8, 0.4. 0.6, 0.7, 0.65; 0.8
  • FFB steer force grip weight=”0.3921844482421875″ // Range 0.0 to 1.0, recommended: 0.4 to 0.9. How much weight is given to tire grip when calculating steering force.
    • This is an important setting. It gives you a feel of losing and gaining grip while cornering.
    • Try less than the default to reduce the amount of force removed from the wheel when there’s grip loss on track. The default value gives an exaggerated feeling and can throw you off.
    • I’m currently setting 0.3921844482421875 for this while I do a bisection search
      • My bisection search: 0.9, 0.45, 0.675, 0.5625, 0.61875, 0.646875, 0.6328125 // 0.61875, 0.5625, 0.45, 0.50625, 0.478125, 0.4640625, 0.45703125, 0.460546875, 0.2302734375, 0.34541015625, 0.402978515625, 0.3741943359375 (doable), 0.38858642578125, 0.395782470703125, 0.3921844482421875
  • FFB steer force grip factor=”1.0″ // Range 0.0 to 1.0, recommended: 0.2 to 0.6. How much of a factor the front wheel grip is on the steering weight.
    • My bisection search: 0.6, 1.0, 0.1, 0.55 (good), 0.775, 0.8875 (good too), 1.0 (good; recommended)
    • You’ll have to tune yourself
  • FFB steer update thresh=”0.0″ // Amount of change required to update steer force/vibe (0.0 – 1.0). Lower values = steering force updated more frequently = lower frame rate.
    • Set this to zero if you have no frame-rate issues
  • FFB steer force average weight=”0.65625″ // How much weight is given to new steering force calculations each frame (0.01 – 1.0). Lower values will smooth out the steering force, but will also add latency.
    • Author’s recommendation: Use 0.28 if you’re playing at 60FPS
      • I discovered recently that 0.28 results ‘less direct’ or ‘less immediate’ force feedback for me (on an Accuforce). I tried a few values and, as I increased to 1.0, it felt better in terms of more immediate feedback but also introduced harsh jolts. So I did a bi-section search to find the best compromise (below).
    • Beware this affects the feeling of “FFB steer force grip weight”. Not much but you may have to revisit one after adjusting the other.
    • My bi-section search: 0.60; 0.28; 0.60, 1.0, 0.5, 0.75, 0.625, 0.6875, 0.65625
  • FFB steer friction coefficient=”0.10000″ // Coefficient to use for steering friction. Range: -1.0 to 1.0
    • Tried author’s recommended values (negative friction values) but got oscillation and it didn’t feel realistic.
  • FFB steer damper coefficient=”0.10000″ // Coefficient to use for steering damper. Range: -1.0 to 1.0
    • Haven’t played around yet

Rumble Strips Pushing/Pulling the Wrong Way

I noticed rumble strips were pulling me off track instead of tending to push me back on track. Luckily, I noticed an FFB setting:

[Update 2017-11-10: I believe I was wrong about the feel of this. I now feel there’s some legitimate drag to larger, more raised kerbs (eg. at Spa) and some kerbs lift your rear tire enough to lose grip on the backend thus acting like sliding on the backend and feeling like being “pulled” off the track. Consider reducing Spring and/or Fast Bump/Rebound to deal with this. My Pull Factor FFB setting is now the default 1.5.]

  • FFB rumble strip pull factor=”-0.890625″ // How strongly wheel pulls right/left when running over a rumble strip. Suggested range: -1.5 to 1.5.
    • Looks like this should be negative: -1.50000
      • My bisection search: -1.5, -0.75, -1.125, -0.9375, -0.84375, -0.890625
    • Positive vs negative could be wheel dependent. So you’ll have to test to make sure.
    • You may want to tweak this value. It’s a little strong feeling for me.

Performance

Make GTR2 Use More Cores For Better Performance

Use Process Lasso to make GTR2 use more than a single core to help increase your frame rate. There are other applications that do the same thing. Try a google for “window cpu affinity tool” if you’re looking for a different one.

Pro Tip: Use VirusTotal.com when downloading files from the Internet to quickly and automatically scan a file with all (0r at least most) of the anti-virus and anti-malware solutions out there.

How to use Process Lasso with GTR2:

  1. Start Process Lasso
  2. Click Options menu > “Configure default CPU affinities …”
    1. Process name: GTR2.exe
    2. CPUs: All
    3. Click “Add to list” button
    4. Click OK
  3. Click Options menu > “Configure default CPU priorities”
    1. Name match: GTR2.exe
    2. Select “High” from the priority drop-down
    3. Click “Add to list” button
    4. Click OK
  4. Start GTR2 and enjoy better performance!

Remember! Process Lasso must be running before you launch GTR2!

Note: Some have said more than two cores assigned to GTR2.exe doesn’t seem to make a difference. I’ve seen GTR2 use 4 cores, myself, but it certainly gets the biggest boost from 2, then less of an improvement as you add cores. I just enable them all for convenience.

Update 2017-09-08: Due to some instability investigation, I ended up setting GTR2 to use 2 cores and I stopped doing the High CPU priority thing.

Tips and Tricks

This section will contain miscellaneous tips and tricks that don’t neatly fit into other sections.

iRacing-like Brake Sensitivity for Potentiometer Pedals (eg. G27)

If you’re used to iRacing and have potentiometer based pedals, like G27 pedals, you’re probably used to an iRacing default Brake Force Factor of 1.80x. In GTR2, and many other sims, brake sensitivity is linear and won’t feel like iRacing braking. You can achieve iRacing-like braking sensitivity by adjusting Brake Sensitivity in the in-game control options and lowering the value. Personally, based on my measurements, somewhere between 0-25% brake sensitivity is similar to iRacing braking progression judging by the in-game brake meter. Give it a try and use what you like best.

Note: I’m still testing, myself. It’s somewhere less than 50%, though, as 50% is linear in SimBin games.

If you don’t have potentiometer pedals, you may or may not want to adjust the brake sensitivity. I’ll assume you’re an advanced user, if you have these higher-end pedals, and you know what you want from them.

Use Auto-Clutch With Paddle Shifters

Use auto-clutch, available in the Realism settings, when making use of paddle shifters, otherwise shifts will be abrupt and cause wheel spin on up-shifting or lock-up on down-shifting.

Disable Auto-pit and ai control

By default, your car will enter “auto pit” mode when you enter and exit the pits meaning AI controls your car until you exit the pits. Being used to driving the cars in pits, myself, I disable this:

  1. Edit your UserData PLR file
  2. Under “[ DRIVING AIDS ]” set:
    1. Autopit=”0″
    2. No AI Control=”1″ // AI never has control over car (except autopit)

GTR2 Crashes – It might Be Other Accelerated Graphics Apps

Try closing as many other applications as possible when running GTR2.

I was experiencing frequent crashes until one time I noticed Firefox was suspiciously graphically crashing at the same time – Firefox was still running but the Window Minimize/Maximize/Close buttons were all messed up – like Aero had crashed. My hunch is that, as Firefox uses accelerated graphics, there might be a conflict with a game that is also running it. I’ve so far found much greater stability running GTR2 with Firefox closed.

Refresh old mod files again for stability

I found I was getting crashes from HQ Cars and HQ Tracks combinations. I determined it was the HQ Cars that were causing the problems. I didn’t know if it was a permanent problem or not. I had been installing a lot of mods since installing HQ Cars and Tracks so I decided to install those again and, guess what, I can use HQ Cars and HQ Tracks together again. So maybe something I installed messed with those files and they just needed to be reset.

Update 2017-09-22: I did find out later that one file in the HQ Mods Collection v7.0 was causing a lot of my crashes. Once I got that solved it was smooth sailing.

Improve your driving by Turning up Tire Scrub and Tire Skid volume

Go ahead, turn up tire scrub and tire skin in the audio options and I think you’ll find it’s one more piece of information you can use to aid your driving around the track. I always find it helpful to match up the audio of slips and slides with the visuals and the force feedback.

Don’t use Time Acceleration (It Causes An AI Bug)

Don’t use time acceleration, especially during qualifying sessions, to avoid a bug which causes unrealistically quick lap times by AI opponents.

Skipping to the next session doesn’t appear to cause the same unrealistic timings as time acceleration so it appears you can still use that.

Racing

How to Set AI Difficulty Level

Pro Tip: Don’t use Time Acceleration: It causes an AI bug which results in overly quick AI lap times.

Finding an AI difficulty level appropriate for you can be a tedious task in GTR2 as it is with most sims, to be honest.

You will need to create a series of race sessions, setting a given AI level each time, setup your car baseline, soft slicks, and enough fuel for 3 laps, and skip to the qualifying sessions: Put in your best times, and then wait for the AI to set their times, the fastest times should only take a few minutes:

  • If you’re in 1st and the next fastest AI is more than 3 tenths of a second behind you, you may want to increase the AI level to get a competitive race.
  • If you’re in 1st and the next fastest AI is within 3 tenths of a second behind you, then consider leaving the AI level as-is, you may just get good, competitive racing.
  • If you’re near the top and within 2-3 tenths of a second, you may want to leave the AI level where it is. You may find some good tight racing here, sometimes winning, sometimes just finishing near the top.
  • If you’re anything more than 3 tenths of a second behind the leader, and you’re racing to win races, you probably want to lower the AI level.
  • If you’re more than a second behind the leader, even if you don’t race to win races, you probably want to lower the AI level to achieve good, clean, fun racing.

Personally, I started off at 89, bumped up to 90 and 91, and now I’m at 92 which currently puts me to my limits to achieve poll position in qualifying. For me, that’s where I want to be for good, hard races, at least for now. I’m sure I’ll maybe want to bump it up a notch if it becomes too easy to win races.

Tips for Practicing and Qualifying for a Race

For practice, I usually start out with a pretty baseline setup–medium slicks, if good weather, and full fuel–and run some laps until I’m confident enough to reach a position somewhere in half-up in my class. I don’t worry about being 1st at this point as that will only come with soft slicks (ie. qualifying tires) and as little fuel as possible: Save this for qualifying.

In qualifying, I again start out with the same near baseline setup as practice and I run some good laps and then check where the AI are placed. Then, I put on soft slicks and run more laps and see how many positions I gain. Finally, I put in enough fuel for about 3 laps, run more laps, and see where I end up in the positions.

If I’ve previously determined a decent AI difficulty level (one at which I have a possibility of winning) then I can usually end up very near the top of the positions, if not 1st if I try hard enough. So far, this gives very satisfactory race results for. I can usually win or at least be near the top.

Custom Daylight Acceleration

Edit your UserData PLR file and change the Time Scale Factor parameter to any value between 1 and 600 where 1 is real-time and >1 accelerates time.

For example, I chose Time Scale Factor=”24″ to experience a full day-night cycle in a 1 hour race.

Note! 24 Hour races do not use Time Scale Factor. You can set a race length when setting up a 24 Hour race and GTR2 will automatically set the time scale. For example, you can setup a 24 Hour race with a 1 hour race length and you will still experience a 24 hour day-night cycle.

Hint: Find your GTR2 folder and you’ll see your UserData\Player\Player.PLR file. Edit this file. Mine is “G:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\GTR 2 – FIA GT Racing Game\UserData\Shovas\Shovas.PLR” but your location and PLR folder and file name will be different.

Resources

  • GTR Engineers Handbook – The official GTR Setup Guide (Backup; HTML)
    • “The official GTR Engineer’s Handbook, which is hard to find on the internet (and not included with the game). It was made for the first GTR game title by Simbin in 2004, but it also applies to the sequel.”
    • “Combined with the GTR2 Car-Owner’s Manual, it’s a must have for those who use GTR2’s original cars. A great source of knowledge for GTR2 users, as it provides important information as a setup guide.”
  • GTR2 Car-Owner’s Manual – Extensive details on the car specs, tyre character, power graphs, etc (Backup);
    • “Along with the GTR Engineers Handbook, this manual is a must have for those who use GTR2’s original cars. It has all extensive data on every single car specs, such as tyre characteristics, ideal temps and pressures, power graphs, transmission, aerodynamics, weight balance, etc, etc.”

Troubleshooting

Enable Tracing

  1. Launch GTR2 with -trace=1000
    1. For Steam, right-click your game in your Library
    2. Click Set Launch Options button
    3. Added -trace=1000 in the text box
  2. If a crash happens then check UserData\Log\trace.txt
    1. Errors are likely near the end of the file. Google for the error message and you’ll likely find some tips to help fix it.

Crashes Loading Tracks

Try uninstalling previously installed mods and see if the problem happens.

To make this a little easier, make a backup of your GTR2 folder before you install new mods so you can rollback easier just by renaming folders.

About This Post

I’ll be updating this post with more and more details as I play around with GTR2. Check back and look for the updates box at the top of the post I’ll add update notes there as I add things.

Credits

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