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. The “secrets” part is a little dramatic but there are quite a few tid bits I think new users will find very interesting and valuable.

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.

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 15 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
  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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

Check this GTR2 field of view (FOV) post for on the adjustment. Beware the FOV calculator linked in that post is for Project Cars and doesn’t produce numbers that help in GTR2. Instead, google for “fov calculator” or use this FOV calculator from Project Immersion.com.

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.

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.

I’ll be adding to this section as I dig deeper into other cars, tracks and mods.

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!

  • GTR2 HQ Mods Collection
  • …and many more! Thank you!

Graphics

At the time I was testing these settings, I was runnin 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

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

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.

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

  • FFB steer force grip weight=”0.90000″ // 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 0.4640625 for this while I do a bisection search
      • My bisection search: 0.9, 0.45, 0.675, 0.5625, 0.61875, 0.646875 (okay), 0.6328125 // 0.61875, 0.5625, 0.45, 0.50625, 0.478125, 0.4640625 (okay), 0.45703125
  • FFB steer force grip factor=”0.60000″ // 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
    • You’ll have to tune yourself
  • FFB steer update thresh=”0.0001500000″ // 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=”0.90000″ // 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
  • 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:

  • FFB rumble strip pull factor=”1.50000″ // 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
    • 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.

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.

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

ICAR Luxury Supercars Experience

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to drive a Ferrari 458 Italia with some friends on one of those exotic, dream car experiences you can find every now and then. It’s difficult to describe just how good of a time I actually had. As a simulation racing enthusiast it’s always been a dream to do what I do in the virtual world out in the real world. It really was incredible. I’ll cover the day from arrival to registration, instruction to the pits, the course tour to actually driving the course, and finally the photos and videos they take in the car while you’re on the track.

IMG_0375 Check the end of this post for a video as I walk out to the car, run my laps, and come back with a big smile. :)

 

Continue reading “ICAR Luxury Supercars Experience”

Sim Racer Copa Petrobras de Marcas by Reiza on Steam

I just came across Reiza’s Copa Petrobas de Marcas on Steam today. It’s a full-fledged, free, Game Stock Car Extreme-based/rFactor-engine-based sim racing game simulating a championship experience, something like Sector 3 Studio’s RaceRoom’s DTM Experience. Here’s a taste from Empty Box:

 

SimXperience AccuForce Pro Steering System

Update 2016-11-15: My latest R3E settings, including the November 2016 update, are over at my RaceRoom Racing Experience Force Feedback Settings post.

Update 2016-06-10: Updated Assetto Corsa FFB settings a little.

Update 2016-03-31: After the R3E update, I was getting a constant vibration in the wheel that tracked the cars speed (not engine rpm). People said to zero Slip Effect in-game but that wasn’t working for me. I eventually created a brand new R3E controller profile in-game and then compared to my previous profile. I noticed some differences like “FFB steer vibe freq mult=0” (and related values). Once I synchronized those I changed Slip Effect to zero in-game and that solved it.

Update 2016-03-08: Clarified certain language after time and reflection per the Closing Thoughts section. Filled in some sections that were still left undone.

Update 2016-02-19: Updated R3E section to sync with update notes. Added Assetto Corsa and rFactor place-holder sections for now. I plan to add more as I setup those games to work nicely with the AccuForce.

Update 2016-01-12: Added Suggestions for Improvements section.

Update 2016-01-01 – 3: Continuing my RaceRoom Racing Experimence experimentation (see updates below) I have been trying different cars with the settings I came up with earlier. I’ve run the Cadillac CTS V.R, BMW M4 DTM 2014, and the Aquila CR1, all at Brands Hatch Indy. They all felt really great except the Aquila which had very heavy steering (I’m not sure if S3 has updated the car in a long time) and its shift effect is ridiculous, I’ll have to turn that down even though it’ll also effect the other cars. I’ll be trying more cars and more tracks as my next step… Tested the McLaren MP4-12C, Ford Mustang GT3, Audi V8 DTM 1992, and 134 Judd V8. They all feel way better than my previous settings. The only quibble I have is cars with heavy steering could feel better. Remember some cars do not have updated physics/ffb (like the BMW E30 Gr. A I just tried) and they feel particularly “numb” or “dull”.

Update 2016-01-01 – 2: Following on my RaceRoom Racing Experience experimentation earlier today (see first 2016-01-01 update below), I then started experimenting with Wheel Modes and Dynamic Force Boost (expand Sim Commander Effects > Game Force Feedback to see the checkbox). I felt like I had more grip or could better tell how much grip I had under the Responsive (Peaks Allowed) mode as opposed to Default Wheel Mode I was using. This wheel mode allowed in some more what I call “boat sway” in the steering (ex. high speed straight wheel oscillates back and forth on its own) but it’s not so bad. I then enabled Dynamic Force Boost and the feeling of grip improved a little more. As a bonus, force feedback effects come in clearer due to the added force strength added by the wheel mode and force boost. I then had to experiment again with SC Dampening and Friction and I ended up on 1.57% for both. By the way, I have so far kept both Dampening and Friction to the same value as it feels correct in the steering and also seems to make sense in that they are sort of opposites and complement each other in a way. Dampening feels like added “weight” during force feedback effects, such as when the wheel swings back the opposite way when the backend goes out and you need to push through the effect to correct the steering, whereas friction adds weight when there are no force feedback effects. It’s still not perfect, I need to test with other settings like SC Inertia, as I said, and also try other cars (so far testing on BMW M3 GT2 at Brands Hatch Indy). Here are my latest Sim Commander and in-game settings for R3E:

r3e-sc-settings-20160101br3e-settings-20160101br3e-settings-2-20160101b

Update 2016-01-01: In RaceRoom Racing Experience, I experimented with moving Smoothing, Spring, Damper, and Friction to Sim Commander settings, so these are disabled (0%) in-game. I figure all the AccuForce does is FFB so it might be better or at least more efficient than the in-game settings. It also consolidates as much as possible to the wheel to avoid duplicating settings. I noticed both SC and R3E had smoothing applied so I first disabled it in-game, which felt better, and then disabled it in SC, which felt even better: I realized I was now feeling effects quicker than I was before. It seems Smoothing was delaying effects or making it feel delayed. I then did the usual binary search on SC Smoothing and Dampening and landed on 8.24% for each. It doesn’t feel perfect but it’s the best I could do in the binary search so far. I might have to experiment with some other SC setting like Inertia. Oh, before I started I did Reset to Defaults on the wheel, ensured Wheel Mode was Default (because High/Responsive modes have had too much oscillation in R3E), disabled Engine RPM (also SC), and then started experimenting in-game. Here’s my latest Sim Commander and in-game settings for R3E:

r3e-sc-settings-20160101r3e-settings-20160101r3e-settings-2-20160101

Update 2015-12-24: Added a Closing Thoughts section which wraps up my thoughts and feelings after having driven with the AccuForce now for more than 6 months. What do I really think of the AccuForce? Would I buy it again? Read on to find out… Oh, and here’s an article over at MockRacer.com about the Leo Bodnar SimSteering2 wheel where he compares it the AccuForce he tried earlier in the year. The direct drive wheel market keeps getting more and more interesting.

Update 2015-11-26: I picked up Stock Car Extreme on the Steam Fall Sale ongoing right now. Not a bad pikcup for CAD $20. Sim Commander supports it right out of the box with pretty good settings. I made a new SC profile from scratch and reset it to defaults. When you launch SCE for the first time remember to set Windowed mode or you won’t see Sim Commander’s overlay in the game. In game, you’ll need to setup your controls as per usual for any sim. It doesn’t feel like SCE knows about the AccuForce so I had to set the Wheel Range (in the Controls screen just after you launch a track but before you get on) to 900. It still feels off, you might need to set the Wheel Lock in the Garage screens to 30 to get a 15:1 steering ratio (ie. something like GT-style steering ratio). Let me know if there are any more settings we AF owners should be setting for a more solid ride. Enjoy.

Update 2015-09-25 – 6: My latest Sim Commander settings for R3E:

sc-r3e-2sc-r3e

And for R3E in-game:

RRRE 2015-09-25 23-49-00-52RRRE 2015-09-25 22-57-04-73RRRE 2015-09-25 22-57-08-21

Update 2015-09-25 – 6: A note on dialing in range settings. I’ve mentioned it before but I think I’ll mention it again. When I come up with settings within a range (ex. Smoothing 5% where the range is 0% to 100%) I do a binary search by hand. Put simply, a binary search is starting at one extreme, adding or subtracting half the range, and then adding or subtracting half again, based on preference, and repeating this process until you find an optimal value. For example, with Damping I went from 0% to 100% to try the extremes, then 50% because it was too high, then 25%, then 12%, then 6%, all based on preference. So, put in the setting, run a lap and, if it feels too much lower the value or if it doesn’t feel enough raise the value.

Update 2015-09-25 – 5: I’ve been playing around with Smoothing (5%), Damper (6%) and Friction (6%). Smoothing was at 25% before and it was taking a little bit of definition out of the ffb so I put in just 5%. Damper was at 0% before and it tends to simply dampen all forces (sort of make them slower) and I found more dampening helped me catch sliding backends. Friction was at 0% before and it applies a resistance to the strength you put into turning the wheel. I found in slides or losing grip that something felt off, it was too easy to swing the wheel back and that caused me to misjudge how I correct a slide. Turning up friction to 6% (after trying a binary search) helped me just a little better about how to correct my steering in those scenarios.

Update 2015-09-25 – 4: Even though R3E doesn’t officially support the wheel yet I find I’m finally getting to like the AccuForce FFB results after a lot tweaking (see the updates below from the last few days). The only thing really bugging me right now is the boat-like swaying motion on straights (“floaty” steering feel near center) and also the awkward steering feel when your backend flies out and you need to counter-steer. Something’s still not right there. But, hey, things are feeling pretty enjoyable.

Update 2015-09-25 – 3: I experimented in R3E with Steering Rack FFB. I was used to 0% (ie. all forces from tires as opposed to steering rack) so I flipped it 100% (ie. all forces from steering rack as opposed to tires) and I noticed a more “gradual” or “analog” rise and fall as I mounted and dismounted kerbs. I quite like the extra information so I’ve currently settled on Steering Rack 50% (ie. half of all forces from tires and half of all forces from steering rack).

Update 2015-09-25: Tweaked R3E Steering Force Intensity and Understeer as I put in more seat time and learn what I like.

Update 2015-09-17: Added force feedback settings for RaceRoom Racing Experience. Basically I reset the Sim Commander Profile and then set Steering Force Intensity 70% 50% and Understeer 25% 20%. That’s all I’ve done so far.

Update 2015-09-15: Having problems with Sim Commander crashing after launching games or the in-game overlay not showing in some games like RaceRoom Racing Experience? Power cycle your AccuForce and it should come back. I knew this trick since I ran into a bug when I first got the wheel where the computer wouldn’t even boot with the AccuForce on. Since then I must have gotten into the habit of turning the AccuForce on shortly after booting and that was causing problems. If I only power on the AccuForce after logging in then RaceRoom appears to work flawlessly and I don’t need to power cycle.

Update 2015-07-30: Check this very helpful and informative post on tuning the Accuforce Pro: AccuForce Settings For Dummies.

Update 2015-06-03: Added RaceRoom Racing Experience after 2015-06-02 Update section.

Update 2015-06-01: Added Auto-Tuning with Sim Commander Software section. Recommended read for AccuForce owners: AccuForce Tuning Feedback Test. This is a thread Berney of SimXperience created after the Sim Racing Garage head-to-head video, mentioned below, attempting to provide collect some user experiences and determine what kind of changes could be made to the wheel to improve feel for sim racers (who may have different force feedback tastes than real-life race drivers).

Update 2015-06-01: Barry, from Sim Racing Garage, has release a head-to-head comparison of the Accuforce Pro, Bodnar, and OSW wheels. It has highlighted some nagging concerns I’ve had ever since I’ve been playing with the wheel. Before we go any further, don’t think for a moment I’m saying the Accuforce is not a good wheel. It’s a professional, supported, warrantied, complete package, direct-drive, very strong wheel, with good force feedback and excellent tuning options. It’s a great wheel and at a competitive price. What I will say though is that the forces are not coming through as much as I’d like. For example, one reviewer in the video mentioned how it was difficult to tell the different between a slide through grass and the moment it hit the pavement during the slide. The AF wasn’t communicating that well. Other examples include strong cornering forces washing out road feel, or banking or kerb forces not feeling as defined as the other wheels. On the SimXperience forums, Berney (of SimX), has said he’ll be thinking about pushing out wheel updates to work on the comments the reviewers had in the videos. I look forward to trying those updates.

Update 2015-05-21: Added iRacing Settings, RaceRoom Racing Experience Settings

Update 2015-05-19: Added Setup, First Impressions, First Driving Experience, G27 Thoughts, Resources

SimXperience AccuForce Pro Steering System

accuforce2I’ve recently received my SimXperience AccuForce Pro and have been enjoying it for the past week. I’ve only owned one other force feedback wheel, a Logitech G27, and this is, of course, leaps and bounds beyond a G27. There is ample power and tuning options to provide the flexibility sim racers really want to ensure the best and most realistic experience while driving.

I’ll be posting my initial thoughts, my driving and tuning experiences, and providing tips and tricks for various facets of the wheel, it’s tuning software, and for the various sim titles I play.

I’ll be writing this post in parts and updating new sections as I have time and learn new things about the wheel!

Enjoy!

Continue reading “SimXperience AccuForce Pro Steering System”

iRacing Force Feedback Settings

Update 2017-01-02: I’m now updating FFB information over on my Secrets of iRacing post.

Update 2015-02-26: I’ve been changing up my FFB settings in iRacing lately after realizing that linear ffb resulted in such low force strengths (to avoid clipping) that I wasn’t really feeling the road anymore. The ffb changes were just too subtle. So, because I have a low-end wheel, a G27, I’m now using non-linear ffb and doing the usual binary-search to find the optimal force strength to avoid clipping. I’m doing this only because of my relatively low-end, entry-level G27. I expect the recommended usage for higher strength wheels (T500s/T300s, Fanatec ClubSports, Accuforce Pro, etc.) should still use linear ffb.

Update 2015-02-26 – 2: For the record, a binary search is one where you take your current value, determine whether it’s too little or too much, and then double it (when too little) or halve it (when too much), and repeat that process at each new level to dial in on your optimal value. For example, for iRacing force strengths I might start out at 32, decide that’s too much and go to 16 (half of 32), decide that’s too little and go to 24 (16 + 8 which is half of 16), decide that’s too much and go to 20 (24 – 4 which is half of 8), decide that’s too little and go to 22 (20 + 2 which is half of 4), decide that’s too little and go to 23 (22 + 1 which is half of 2), decide that’s too much and go to 22.5 (22 – 0.5 which is half of 1). This is a real example I just did in iRacing a few minutes ago on the Mazda MX-5.

Update 2015-02-26 – 3: Nvidia users should check out these threads: iRacing graphic optimizations for NVIDIA users, Guide: nVidia iRacing Antialiasing (AA) Settings, NVIDIA SLI Compatibility results. The second guide about AA gives some good settings for Nvidia Inspector (I use in-game 4x AA with Nvidia Inspector AA – Mode “Enhance” and AA – Setting “8xS [Combined: 1×2 SS + 4 MS]”. Read the thread for what they mean). The third thread is about SLI and getting rid of microstuttering (I use Nvidia Inspector “SLI Compatibility Bits” = “0x00402015” per the thread). It’s not perfect but it’s better than in-game AA and should give higher performance.

iRacing Force Feedback Settings

I’m a big fan of iRacing sim racing and I frequent their forums quite a bit. I’ve seen a number of posts, over time, on the iRacing forums about people asking for the right force feedback settings for their wheels. As it turns out, this info in its complete form is harder to come by then you might think so I’ve decided to post everything I know and have implemented for my Logitech G27 for force feedback in iRacing…

Continue reading “iRacing Force Feedback Settings”

Secrets of iRacing

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

Secrets of iRacing

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

Secrets of X is a series of blog posts I started with this post, Secrets of iRacing. The “secrets” part is a little dramatic but there are quite a few tid bits I think new users will find very interesting and valuable.

Update 2017-03-14: Added Tuning Car Setups main section to cover car setup basics and added the first two sub-sections Virtual Racing School Setups Academy Basics and The Simpit with Shaun Cole on Basic Setup Tips.

Update 2017-01-02: Added Performance > Unpark All CPU Cores to Reduce Stuttering tip. Added Force Feedback > Enable Simple Min Force to Reduce Wheel Chatter tip. Added Going Faster > Use All The Track (And Everything Else) tip.

Update 2016-09-12: Added Tweaks main section and Disable Head/View Rotation with Slip Angle sub-section.

Update 2016-07-04: Added The Schumacher Advantage tip in the Racing section.

Update 2016-06-26: Added Racing tip about practicing new week tracks early, cleaned up section headings.

Update 2016-05-14: Added video, “iRacing Road Racing Basics with Wyatt Gooden @ iRace4Life 2016,” a very well presented on-track demonstration about learning road tracks.

Update 2016-04-14: Added Incidents section.

Update 2016-03-20: Added Graphics section about iRacing’s new DirectX 11 (DX11) rendering mode and notes about how to use it.

Update 2016-01-01: Added Going Faster section discussing what you do besides practicing to improve your lap times.

Update 2015-07-12: Added Race Sessions and Time Trials sections

Update 2015-04-28: Added Graphics section

Update 2015-03-21: Added Racecraft section

Update 2014-12-29: Added a racing tip, clarified some points, fixed some typos

Update 2014-11-23: Organized the post a little by adding and separating sections by topic such as sales, racing, safety rating, etc.

What is iRacing?

From the Wikipedia entry,

iRacing is a subscription-based racing simulation released by iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations in 2008. Official races, special events, league races, and practice sessions are all hosted on the service’s servers. The service simulates realistic cars, tracks, and racing events, and enforcing rules of conduct modeled on real auto racing events.

And here’s one of their game trailers,

Sales and Deals

iracing-saleBlack Friday Sales

iRacing has an annual Black Friday sale where account renewals are typically half off. For example, a one year subscription usually costs $99 but during the sale it costs $49. You can renew for multiple years and the the code they give you can be used multiple times even on different accounts.

iRacing Dollars and Credits Sales

iRacing has a sale around March (Update: They did the same thing Christmas 2014) where you buy iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you extra iRacing Credits for free. For example, buy $20 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $5 iRacing Credits free, or buy $75 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $25 iRacing Credits free. iRacing Dollars and Credits have equal value and can be used to purchase cars and tracks exactly the same. It’s a good deal!

Tech Tracks

iracing-spa-tech-trackTech tracks are tracks currently undergoing development by iRacing. They cost $5 which is half or more off regular tracks. You only get to keep the track until it becomes an official track at which time you will receive iRacing credit for how much you paid for it and you will have to buy the track again at full price. But, hey, at least you got to enjoy it until then!

Any other sales or discounts?

Sorry, no, iRacing doesn’t seem to do sales like other online stores like Steam where games might be 50% off or more. iRacing doesn’t sell cars or tracks at a direct discount other than the iRacing Dollars/Credits sales mentioned above. So try to score when you can!

Racing

Never Qualify On New Track Days

New tracks typically launch on Mondays in the evenings (EST). If you qualify just after the switch you’ll likely be one of a few who did and you’ll be at the front of the grid. Unfortunately, most smart drivers know new track days are typically going to be pretty bad for racing incidences so they don’t qualify and start near the back to avoid first corner wrecks. So, save your SR, and just practice before the race. Enjoy the ride around the track while all the bad drivers crash out early. Qualify the next day.

Continue reading “Secrets of iRacing”

RaceRoom Racing Experience Force Feedback Settings

Update 2016-12-10: The BMW M4 DTM 2016 at the Red Bull Ring Spielburg is an excellent demonstration of what the AccuForce should feel like in more games. SimXperience worked with S3 on the FFB feel for the November 2016 R3E update and, combined with DTM 2016 using the latest game physics, it produces an intense, visceral driving experience I had not yet experienced with the AccuForce since I bought it in early-mid 2015. I am very pleased, needless to say, after all my tweaking. 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:

Update 2016-12-10 (2): Important! Be sure you are basing your R3E Controller Profile tweaking on the correct device: The AccuForce Controller Profile. I was under the impression that, if the game knew about the AccuForce, and I setup the default in-game Controller Profile with the AccuForce wheel and buttons, that I was doing the right thing: Not so, it was using a lot of behind-the-scenes defaults for the actual selected device – the keyboard! So, be sure the first thing you do when setting up R3E is to actually click the AccuForce Controller Profile button in-game. It can be confusing as it doesn’t look like a button and it doesn’t highlight in a clear and obvious way. If you don’t do this you’ll end up reverse engineering the AccuForce Controller Profile, as I did, and you still won’t end up with a good result due to all the hidden logic they’ve already worked on themselves (including degrees of rotation support missing if you select keyboard).

Update 2016-11-16: I’ve been tuning FFB from the ground up for AF after the November 2016 update released yesterday. I feel I landed on pretty much the same as the 2016-11-14 update. The only drawback so far is a lighter wheel around center especially on straights. For the gory details of how I got to my settings, here’s the post that I made in the SimXperience Owners Club forums. Here’s the settings screensnaps:

r3e-sc-1-20161116 r3e-ffb-1-20161116 r3e-ffb-2-20161116

Update 2016-11-14: Just before the November 2016 R3E update, I was playing around with Dynamic Oscillation Control – Moving instead of Dampening in SimCommander and, with a little bit of friction, I quite enjoyed the results not having to put up with the side-effects of fluid dampening on handling behaviour. I even set some RaceRoom Raceway #1 finishes! :) I’ll be updating for the November 2016 R3E update, shortly, but for now here’s the settings:

r3e-sc-1-20161114 r3e-ffb-1-20161114 r3e-ffb-2-20161114

Update 2016-09-27: Been playing around with FFB to reduce ‘boat sway’ on straights. I’ve been experimenting with more dampening and even had to add some spring (ugh). I also clued in to the in-game FFB settings where Steering Force Intensity is the magnitude of strength for all the settings in that section (it strengthens or weakens the sum of all other forces in that section), and I also realized the Vertical Load and Lateral Load really need to fit in 100% (ie. one can be 75% but the other must be 25%). Here’s the settings:

r3e-sc-20160927 r3e-ffb-20160927-1 r3e-ffb-20160927-2

Update 2016-01-12: Renamed Wishlist to Suggestions for Improvements and added a number of items.

Update 2015-09-25: I’ve been putting a lot of my AccuForce updates for R3E in my AccuForce post over here.

Update 2015-06-04: Check out this post by Georg Ortner of S3 that explains the different FFB options.

Update 2015-04-15: Georg Ortner, dev for Sector 3, has posted his G27 Logitech Profiler and in-game settings (link fixed 2015-04-16 as they deleted the old one ugh) on the S3 forums. Ugh. Okay they deleted that thead. It’s still a good thread for getting an idea of what other people are doing, however. Here’s the gist: He has disabled Spring Effect, Damper Effect, and Centering Spring and I don’t modify anything else in-game or in files yet. I had these at defaults, due to my assumptions about some his previous posts over at the RaceDepartment.com forums, but I think these are better settings for the G27 now. I think the ffb center deadzone issue is a little bit better like this. I still feel no need to modify any files. My in-game settings are also pretty normal still. I think this is a net win so it’s worth a try.

Update 2015-03-31: Sector 3 released another update today. It will make you reconfigure your controllers (which isn’t such a bad thing since ffb is always being updated, just wish they had saner defaults). Watch out for the need for ‘inverted forces’ that some wheels, like the G27, need. I left pretty much most things at default. Among the changes were “3 new FFB multipliers for spring, damper and friction in FFB settings.” Spring is the one we’re interested in for dealing with the G27 center deadzone issue which still exists. I did a binary search from 0% to 100% to 50% to 25% and ended up at 25%. At each level I tried to determine whether hard cornering was ‘clipping’ (overdriving the wheel motors so no nuanced forces could be felt) and felt that 25% allowed me to feel the road through hard steering but, unfortunately, that means the deadzone is still there.

Update 2015-02-13: Sector 3 pushed another release yesterday. I’m using all FFB defaults and finding tweaking isn’t very rewarding in R3E with a G27, unfortunately. Center deadzone is still there. Great game, though, and I play it regardless of the FFB troubles. After seeing all the cars, tracks, audio, single player, multiplayer, experiences, championships, hill climbs, etc., I have to say I don’t think any other sim right now comes close to the complete package R3E delivers. Well done, S3!

Update 2014-11-18 – 2: Maybe I’m just getting used to the FFB but perhaps there has been a slight improvement in the G27 ffb center deadzone with the latest update although it’s not nearly enough. As well, the AI respect/aggression appears to have been improved. I can occasionally run side-by-side with AI now without getting rubbed off the track and AI are no longer ramming me from behind going into corners so much.

Update 2014-11-18: Sector 3 has released another major update today including the DTM Experience 2014 amongst various other improvements. Once again I’ve deleted my controller profile in-game to ensure I’ve got their latest controller changes in and I’ve reapplied my changes.  Surprisingly I don’t yet feel a need to change any of my profiler or in-game settings that I had with the previous October update. This is unfortunate as it means Sector 3 didn’t address G27 ffb center deadzone issues. They also haven’t improved AI respect/aggression which I was hoping for. That’s not to say this isn’t a great addition, though, as they’ve made a tonne of improvements to track and cars and released new content all besides DTM-E 2014. There’s even a free real-world track now for RaceRoom drivers: Portimao. Keep up the good work S3!

Update 2014-10-18 – 2: I’ve updated my ffb settings for the game update released on 2014-10-17. I started a new controller profile in-game. This resets the controller RCS file and apparently the latest update came with some significant changes that caused all my settings to act strange so I’ve redone everything. The good news is I’m not editing the RCS file anymore. All my changes are in the Logitech Profiler and in-game.

r3e-logitech.pg

Update 2014-10-18: Sector 3 released an update for RaceRoom Racing Experience yesterday and it came with some force feedback changes that really messed with my G27 wheel settings. It felt very, very light. I suspect this was due to game changes under the hood concerning the “FFB steer force front grip exponent” and “FFB steer force rear grip exponent” RCS file settings that I had heavily modified (see 2014-09-20 update below). If you’ve done this and are experiencing ffb settings try restore the original copy of your RCS file. I did and the wheel came back to normal in-game. Unfortunately the ‘road feel’ felt a little duller than it did before. I upped Vertical/Lateral forces from 160 to 200 and it was a tiny bit better but not enough. Back to the drawing board… :(

Update 2014-09-22: I’ve been experimenting again trying to get as much information of the wheel as possible even in ‘high force’ situations like hard cornering where the force output from the game is much more than the wheel can handle and ultimately drowns out the fine detail. My new Controller RCS file (see below) settings are: FFB steer update thresh=”0.0015″ (1/10th the original; not really sure if this actually helps). In-game settings: Vertical Load: 160%; Lateral Force: 160%. Some cars with heavier steering (Eg. BMW Z4 GT3) still max out the forces by quite a bit and all you get a simple, strong linear steering force. Not much use when you need to feel your way around a corner. If you’re experimenting on your own try to see, during the apex of sharp corners, if you can feel subtle tire force variations. If you can highlight those forces then you’re providing yourself with information about the contouring of the road, understeer and oversteer, etc. All things you need to know to tell how your car is handling. Right now it’s still unsatisfactory but it’s better than it was.

Update 2014-09-20 – 2: I compared brake sensitivity with iRacing. For linear brake springs iRacing uses a default 1.8 brake factor (~25% at half way brake travel) and this roughly equates to 0% in SimBin/S3 titles. I’m used to iRacing brakes on a linear spring so I setup mine in R3E at 0%.

Update 2014-09-20: A post over at RaceDepartment.com for DFGT FFB settings works quite well for G27s. His changes come down to editing your controller rcs file (see below for comments about that): FFB steer force output max=”1.2″;
FFB steer force grip weight=”0.8″; FFB steer force front grip exponent=”8.0″; FFB steer force rear grip exponent=”2.0″; FFB steer load multiplier=”1.85″FFB steer lateral multiplier=”1.1″; FFB steer rack factor=”0.55″. It works quite well and I can finally feel cornering forces although the ffb gets drowned out around most serious corners. The really drastic change is that 8.8 for “front grip exponent”. By default it’s 0.25 so it must really be helping. My only real problem is that this reintroduces the G27 ffb center deadzone issue as not enough forces are applied to keep the wheel fully centered. This means your Vertical Load setting is largely nullified on straights. Another poster recommends upping your Logitech Profiler Overall Effects Strength to 107%. It’s worth a try. I tried it. It drowned out other ffb effects.

Update 2014-09-17 – 3: I have been reading through the FFB Guide mentioned below. While steps are provided to go from baseline force feedback and gradually tune in more and different forces, which all sounds great, sadly the very first steps are what I still feel is lacking in R3E’s force feedback on the G27. It feels as though too much force is being applied to the wheel during ‘heavy’ steering / maneuvers and there’s no forces left to play with for other effects such as vertical load, lateral forces, understeer, even shift effect. Maybe S3 will fix it but, unfortunately, they don’t really have a track record of delivering on those kinds of things. Still, one can always hope!

Update 2014-09-17 – 2: My latest setttings (only where different from what’s posted below): Logitech Profiler: Use Special Game Settings: Checked; Allow Game to Adjust Settings: Unchecked. In-Game: Shift Effect: 80%.

Update 2014-09-17: To disable Brake Vibration while S3 fixes the bug about that not being able to be changed in game edit your Documents\My Games\SimBin\RaceRoom Racing Experience\UserData\ControlSet\Logitech G27 Paddle Shift Custom.rcs file (your file name might not be the same) and set: FFB brake vibe freq mult=”0.0″ // Scales actual brake rotational frequency to force feedback vibration frequency. The default is 6.0. Make a backup of your file so you can recover when S3 actually fixes the bug. Note you may still experience similar ffb braking into certain corners but I’m pretty sure that disabled the brake vibe for me.

RaceRoom Racing Experience Force Feedback Settings

Sector 3 Studios (formerly SimBin) have recently released an update to their sim racer RaceRoom Racing Experience which includes, among other things, much improved feedback. I wrote a post over at RaceDepartment.com detailing my Logitech G27 setup, thus far, for what I feel is giving me the most information out the wheel that I can get right now. That post wasn’t stickied so I’ll reproduce it here in case it gets lost. I hope to update this post in the future as Sector 3 updates their game and I test out new force feedback settings. My primary force feedback goal is more information even at the cost of force strength. It’s amazing how much information iRacing has been able to squeeze into a G27. That’s my gold standard right now.

Also, in another RaceDeparment.com thread a forum member reminded us of an old FFB Guide (backup link) for SimBin titles based on, what I believe is, the underpinning rFactor force feedback configuration file settings including detail on how to use them – something that’s really missing in the actual configuration files. I’m not sure how old it is but since rFactor is still at heart of Sector 3’s RaceRoom Racing Experience it should still be valuable.

The rest of my post will reproduce the post, with some edits, I mentioned above about my current RaceRoom Racing Experience force feedback setting so far…

Continue reading “RaceRoom Racing Experience Force Feedback Settings”

Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

I love sim racing but it’s been aggravating some sore points on my body and causing me to miss out on what I love doing. So, I put together my thoughts so far about sim racing comfort to help me, hopefully others, keep on enjoying the sim racing we love.

Achille’s Tendonitis

As I noted in previous post reviewing the GTEYE Progressive Brake Spring for the Logitech G27, I suffer from Achille’s tendonitis from barefoot running. This has actually kept me from sim racing for months at a time.

At one point, I realized I had to stop sim racing to let my heel recuperate. After having stopped running and treadmill walking for a month, and being away from sim racing for a week, I’d come back to sim racing and realized I had to give up my stiffer GTEYE progressive brake spring. Even without running or walking the brake pedal aggravated my Achille’s heel. Don’t get my wrong. That brake spring is excellent but not for those who are recovering from strained tendons in their feet.

Some time after I wrote theergo3 above, I switched to left-foot braking. In the long run, it reduced the strain being put only on the right foot and helped me get back to sim racing.

Yes, it did take a lot of seat time to get up to speed with left-foot braking but less time than you may think. I might have been crashing quite a bit my first day, but within a day or two I was safe on the track, if a little slow, and a week or two later my times were very nearly what they were before. Months later and it’s not even an issue, I’m faster than ever.

For proper rehab of Achilles tendonitis, google for it and you’ll find a number of things to do. Key points are to ice while there’s pain, rest until there’s no more pain, avoid strenuous use of the heel, begin stretching begin working out the heel. It appears eccentric exercises on the heel work well for Achilles Tendonitis. If the condition persists, visit your doctor.

Shoes

One of the most important things I’ve learned recently is that shoes are going to be critical if you’re logging many hours of seat time per week or if you have a heel problem like I do.

ftssimshoesAfter spending over a year sim racing in sock feet, and then feeling the discomfort and pain of Achille’s tendonitis as I tried to work the pedals, I tried our some basic around-the-house shoes. They have a good, sturdy sole but are meant to slip on rather than tie up.

Amazingly, it immediately felt better and I was able to put in 30minutes of lapping without feeling any discomfort. I’d feel usually feel sore after 20-30minutes and stop, without shoes.

I’m not exactly sure what the improvement is but I have a few guesses. First would be the position of your heel, lifting it off the ground due to the built-up sole of the shoe. Next is the position of the contact part of your feet with the pedal. With socks it’s probably the ball of your foot. With a shoe it’s distributed by the sole so the forces get spread out more. It’s also possible that the shoes are keeping my feet in place more whereas without shoes I’d be constantly adjusting my foot and that would translate into micro-movements in the heel causing more wear and tear than needed.

At any rate, I don’t think I’d go back to sock feet now even if my heels were 100%. Check out sim racing shoes, they’re a thing and they look really comfortable. One day I’ll have to get some.

Seating

ergo4The other bit of ergonomics I’ve been through is seating support and seating position. After a desk job all day and an hour or two of sim racing in the evening your back can really start hurt. After six months of iRacing my back is sore to sleep on.

I use a standard, hard-back, wheeled office chair and one thing I started a few months ago was to put a pillow behind me. This felt really comfortable…for the first little while! But, that’s when I started feeling very sore trying to sleep on my back.

It occurred to me that the pillow was pushing me away from the back of the chair and causing me to slouch. That’s not good for racing and, of course, it’s not good for your back because nothing is really supporting your back – it’s all muscle tensed up for the whole racing session. So I’ve removed that pillow and now I’m sitting fully back in the chair against the hard back. I can feel it supporting my lower lumbar area and helping more than the pillow.

Racing Seat

ubuttoAfter a year of sim racing, when I knew I wanted to stick with it, I purchased an Obutto R3volution which comes with a faux racing bucket seat.

The Obutto seat further supported my back with lumbar support, provides more comfortable padding and material to sit against, provides better support for your shoulders, can be tilt-adjusted to suit your most comfortable position, and, perhaps most importantly, sits you at a height and position that creates a better angle for your legs and feet to meet the pedals.

Sim Racing Ergonomics

As I mentioned, I love sim racing and I hope I can keep doing it for a long time to come. Doing anything for long stretches of time, and repeatedly, can cause problems for your body. Always take care of your body and you’ll be able to enjoy your sim racing for a long time to come!

GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

Update 2015-07-03: I just put in the new trio of springs tonight and I am very pleased indeed! I had previously put in and removed the brake due to an Achille’s Tendon issue but I’ve now put them all back in and they absolutely transform the pedals into a much higher quality pedal set. The feel is just so much nicer and more informative. I still say a must-have upgrade for G25/G27 pedal owners and well, well worth the price.

Update 2015-06-05: GTEYE has released throttle and clutch springs! I haven’t tried them but if they do for throttle and clutch what they do for brakes they’re a must have for G25/G27 pedal owners!

Update 2014-09-01: Following up on my concerns about my wheeled office chair moving too much because of the new spring stiffness – it’s fine now and my chair stays in one place. I didn’t need to do anything to the chair to get it to stick so I’m happy about that.

Update 2014-08-20: The pedal now feels very pliable now, very movable, not the stiff thing I thought it was in the beginning. This is great! I can still feel the progressiveness of it and I can still finesse the top range of motion into corners where fine motor control is needed. It’s amazing how much my perception of the feel of this pedal has changed, for the better, since I started using it just over a week ago. Well worth $30 as the first upgrade for Logitech G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-15: I have to say I’m back to normal and at home now with this new brake spring. I feel I’m more consistent, as well. I’ve put in a lot of laps of practice in iRacing before stepping into a few races and I have to say, while I had my doubts about how I would perform with the new brake spring, I performed quite well in the race and the brake pedal was really not a problem for me. This is a great upgrade and I highly recommend it for G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-12: I emailed the GTEYE guys about a less stiff but still progressive spring and he replied that it wasn’t really something they were going to do but he did give this interesting tidbit: “If you study the spring rate graph, you will notice that the initial spring rate is the same as the original spring, and by the end of its travel, its about 80% stiffer than the original. To my best ability this was the most appeasing to the larger audience, trying to find a one-spring fits all design, that does not detract in any way to the racing experience.

Update 2014-08-11 – 2: Just a few hours after I received the brake pedal, and I was getting 1:54s/1:56s on a course I can do routinely at 1:52, I’m already back at 1:52.5s high 1:51s! I’m also starting to feel how this brake is going to help me be more consistent. The resistance you feel from the pedal really helps you stick to a certain level of pressure much more easily than with the stock pedal which, I take it, is so easy to move around that your legs just don’t have that level of fine motor control. I’m very pleased to see how this is turning out so far!

Update 2014-08-11: Check your brake calibration! In iRacing I noticed a little bit of red was showing on the brake pedal meter while driving without touching the pedal. That meant the game thought I was pressing the pedal a little bit. No problem, though, just go to your options, click on the Pedals button and it’ll allow you to recalibrate. That fixed it for me!

GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

I’ve just received my new GTEYE progressive brake spring (eBay page) for the Logitech G27. I’m writing this post as I assemble the pedals and then step into a game and actually try it for the first time going around a corner(!). My thoughts so far…

GTEYE-Hero-1000

Continue reading “GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27”