• "Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built." - Henry Ford
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Dear Guest. Follow RaceDepartment on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Steam and YouTube.

Featured Have Your Say: Force Feedback Expectations

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Paul Jeffrey, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    Messages:
    7,103
    Ratings:
    +12,011
    Have Your Say - Force Feedback.jpg
    Welcome to the weekend people! It's Saturday so that can only mean one thing.. Have Your Say returns!

    Well the ball is really starting to roll with reader submissions following our last couple of successful 'Have Your Say' articles, and this next one I suspect will be no different. Submitted by our very own @Rupe Wilson, today we would like to talk about Force Feedback (FFB), and the expectation of sim racers when it comes to how a car feels through our add on peripherals...

    This is what I received from Rupe and I think he makes a very interesting point, and something for which I think deserves further discussion amongst the community:

    "As I do read articles and posts to try and keep up on the latest stuff games and tech it seems there is such a big difference in what people expect/understand as to what is ffb in a wheel.

    Now I know I'm no ffb expert but I know what I like from driving other sims / or know what im used to and anything new seems wrong. Is it wrong or just different..?

    Again this is all down to personnel preference. I've tried settings where there is that much centre spring and damping its unreal and masked any real feeling you get from the tyres, I've tried settings for my wheel with everything maxed and everything on minimum and it was so bad it was worse than driving with no ffb..

    Do we have an actual answer say from a dev as to what the game is supposed to tell you or try and relate to you through your wheel..? (I bet me included will be in for a surprise on what they say) what is canned and what is real, what is needed and what's for show and wow factor..
    Why do we even have canned effects...? What do you want to feel with your wheel that allows you to drive better... what's your ffb style?"
    So for today the subject of our latest 'Have Your Say' article is this:

    What do you expect from "good" FFB, what makes you feel faster / more connected with the road and what do you want FFB to achieve in a racing simulation?

    Please don't be tempted to get into a "Sim X is the best FFB" argument. It encourages idiots to comment, and we could do without any more of those if recent threads are anything to go by... :O_o::D:p


    Have a burning desire to share a topic you want featured? Got a good idea for our 'Have Your Say' series? No worries, drop me a PM!

    Happy weekend people!
     
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    Messages:
    7,103
    Ratings:
    +12,011
    As an aside to the main theme, anyone remember the wheel in the picture? Had one of those bad boys back in the day on Xbox.. awesome (relatively speaking) piece of kit. Hours of fun using something that probably cost less than 10 quid to make..

    Escalation is a funny thing. Started with a £50 odd wheel clamped to an old PC desk, now got kit worth more than my road car up in the man cave.. ! Boys and their toys.. ;)
     
    • Like Like x 11
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Haha Haha x 2
  3. gasoline12

    gasoline12
    Premium

    Messages:
    467
    Ratings:
    +182
    I had and still have in the loft, that wheel.
    For me FFB needs to convey the force of the wheel getting stronger in resistance as i corner and with a few pointers to bumps and wobbles and car movement.
    I was a track day driver and kart racer, now sold all of that stuff and just treat sim racing as the hobby now so i do need a level of bells and whistles and i needs to feel as close to the real thing as possible, real thing as in driving feeling and car being a mass.
    For the most part i can get that feeling but the one that stands out for me is Raceroom personally, but RF2 / AC / AMS are great.
    It weird though that this article came out today as last night i fired up my wheel and AC and for some reason it felt even better than ever? Then i tried all my games back to back and th TX wheel seemed to have an extra level of detail and strength and i cant fathom quite why or if its just because i have had man flu for a few days so maybe dulled my senses?

    For me the worst thing about FFB in games is the way they deal with understeer...mark my words never does FWD understeer simply feel like you have no weight in the wheel or car...never bar maybe just maybe on an icey road in winter when its snowing...

    Sometimes i think with FFB you have to just take a step back and actually have a think about what that little wheel is doing and then it is actually quite incredible to think i have an expectation for it to feel as good as a track day or a kart race in real life and it pretty much does when its all spot on...that's amazing...it really is.

    Oh and to add i was watching a journalist driving an AUDI LMP car the other day on youtube and he was saying how easy in relative terms it was to drive which i expected, but he said he really struggled to left foot brake as thats all the car allowed you to use as no space to right foot brake like F1 cars and i thought hang on if there was one thing sim racing taught me to have no issue with then it is Left foot braking, well also karting, but left foot braking is just 2nd nature to me now...
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
    • Like Like x 8
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. Newproto

    Newproto

    Messages:
    218
    Ratings:
    +144
    Quality FFB allows you to get full control of the car and this does not always depend on the hardware.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. gasoline12

    gasoline12
    Premium

    Messages:
    467
    Ratings:
    +182
    [​IMG]



    And this was my first ever wheel set up....on xbox with toca race driver 3.....sublime at the time...i just remeber it being great..
     
    • Like Like x 7
  6. AntoN_CheZ

    AntoN_CheZ
    Premium

    Messages:
    94
    Ratings:
    +21
    I guess as someone who has never driven track or even a sports car seriously, I would start by expecting what I see on screen to match what I feel in the wheel. From an intuitive point of view. Sense of speed and downforce mid corner being portrayed as wheel weight, the bumps and imperfections in the track that may affect the handling of the car actually coming through the wheel so that you have the chance to alter your line, etc. I think right now AMS has the best feedback out of the lot, but that said they are all up there in terms of the big name sims. I think having NO options other than force strength in AMS helps it as you don't feel like you have the chance to tune it 'wrong'. Same as AC, and iRacing to an extent, although I say to an extent because I have never felt comfortable with iRacing and the high levels of force for a relatively low setting in the FFB options.

    I think it's a great place to be in terms of hardware options and the way devs are implementing their physics and levels of FFB. Now the challenge comes with the task of creating an immersive and convincing RACING simulator, as opposed to a driving simulator. Track days, race weekends, practice with real world consequences and limitations being incorporated into the products, weather, time of day. All of that is the next level now. Only iterations are needed in terms of tyre models and FFB in my opinion. Might not mean much though :)
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. DucMan888

    DucMan888
    Premium

    Messages:
    92
    Ratings:
    +83
    I usually crank up the multiplier a bit as I enjoy a heavier feeling wheel as it allows me to be more confident in my inputs. It also confirms what I think I'm seeing, such as under steer which I have a tendency to do, and find I am improving my driving as I have made adjustments to spring and overall force applied in the wheel. I have decided to upgrade the wheel/pedals and hope that the trend of improving continues, the main thing though is just a more immersive feel. In closing, thanks to all for the tips on FFB in other posts as it has help tremendously in my experience.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Mr Pibb

    Mr Pibb

    Messages:
    194
    Ratings:
    +105
    I'm happy to have any feedback frankly. I started simracing so far back all I had was a plywood wheel mounted over my keyboard to press the arrow keys when I turned left and right. An elastic cord for force feedback LOL. So talk about low expectations ...
     
    • Haha Haha x 5
    • Like Like x 1
    • Love Love x 1
  9. MarkR

    MarkR
    Premium

    Messages:
    189
    Ratings:
    +222
    I like wheel FFB that feels like a good real-world car, something like a Lotus Exige or what Evo magazine call 'nuggety' steering feel. Plenty of good communication through the wheel, some vibration and ability to feel the surface change, little tugs and pulls at the wheel to let me know what the sim car is doing. The great real-world track cars I've driven from Exige to R26.R to GT3RS all share those traits and it is great when games get this feeling right.

    The reverse that I really don't enjoy is games that have feedback that feels like my VAG road car in it's sportiest setting. All this setting does is add excessive weight to the wheel and actually dulls feedback through the wheel. Games that make feedback all about weight and lack feel are the ones I avoid. Even my consumer TX458 wheel can generate so much weight that at full feedback I end up fighting the wheel. I've never experienced a real track car where this is the case and I can't imagine any advantage for the driver having to fight the wheel. There are race cars like the 80's F1 cars and Indycars that did require that level of physicality to turn the wheel and for those who want to replicate that, great, but for the majority of cars the steering should be light and communicative. The games that really get this right make unassisted steering cars Caterhams and the like feel heavy in the pits on cold tyres but then light and communicative once the speed builds, just like the real cars.

    Losing FFB mid-race a few months ago surprised me - my lap times and ability to control the car were unaffected if anything the game actually became easier. I wasn't expecting that at all, I thought the extra feedback was helping me but actually the lack of feedback meant it was easier to use more curb and be less distracted by bumps in the track. For all the great feedback and immersion the wheel adds I can match my lap/stage times in most games with the gamepad, not that I'd go back to using a pad.

    I've tried some of the high-end wheels and yes they can generate huge forces but for me they add very little over the TX458 wheel in terms of actual feedback effects. None of them helped me go any faster either but I link that back to my surprise finding of no FFB above. The high-end wheels really do look lovely though so I can understand why people want them, enjoyment per ££££ ration they don't quite offer enough for me.

    My favourite optical/sensory illusion with the wheel is in VR. While I know I'm holding a 30cm round TX wheel in my hands my brain makes me feel like I'm holding whatever wheel I'm looking at in the car on the screen. Big wide wooden wheel in a 60's sports car and it feels like I'm holding that, tiny GT3 wheel and somehow my hands feel closer together even though rationally I know they aren't. I suspect wheel weight and speed play a part but can't really explain it, it's a great illusion though however it works.

    Force feedback and the huge range of games that offer it are the best we've ever had, it's easy to find a game that feels right and that is something we should all be celebrating.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Eckhart von Glan

    Eckhart von Glan

    Messages:
    4,704
    Ratings:
    +721
    using a g27
    the one thing about ffb that annoys the hell out of me is how different it is from game to game. it takes you a couple of hours usually to get it kinda right, but you always think there might be a better experience out there, you just did not press the right button, slide the right slider, set the right number. personally, iRacing is my favourite when it comes to how you feel the mass of the car reacting to turn in, apex and getting out of the turn. rbr is the other standout.
    searching forums for advice is fine, but then again, settings are very personal and i found out that most of the sets offered did not work well for me while others solved the problem from one klick to the next.

    that said, i have never put in the effort necessary to get it right in ac and rF2 and so uninstalled both of them, they might be spot on for all I know, i just never bothered to find out because with limited time, one game (iRacing) for track and one for off track (atm WRC7) are alI i can handle.
     
  11. Buster

    Buster
    Premium

    Messages:
    229
    Ratings:
    +206
    I know I am amongst the minority here when I say, I like a "light" feeling, I do not like a lot of force, I want to be able too change direction very quickly without fighting with any resistance on wheel. I will never use the "spring setting" ... I also use a very small wheel range, I will always set my wheel up like this.

    I want to feel the bumps on the track and kerbs and know when you are off the black stuff, but most importantly I want to know what the tyres are doing. I want to feel that force that you place your tyres under when you are driving on the edge, basically I do not want to "guess" when I am driving on the edge, I want to feel that information through the wheel.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  12. Reynaldo Luna

    Reynaldo Luna

    Messages:
    3
    Ratings:
    +1
    My first experience with force feedback was at the arcade. It was OutRun and if you went off the road the wheel would shake side to side. The first time it really took me by surprise and I thought I had broken it somehow. That was fun, but I really learned to drive with Atari's Hard Drivin'. It was all there the shifter, the clutch, turning the key to start the car, and the force feedback of the wheel in that long turn if you took the long route. I loved that game and always wanted something like that at home. Well, I've got a good computer a decent wheel and pedals set and a fast monitor. All I need to do now is to fab a key to start my sims. ;)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Andy Jackson

    Andy Jackson
    I am the new Colin Mcrae I am Premium

    Messages:
    6,604
    Ratings:
    +3,062
    Force Feedback has come a long way since the early PC sim racing days. My actual Honda Civic almost has as much real force feedback as my TM T500RS has. But the Civic is not as detailed. :sneaky:;):)
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Haha Haha x 3
  14. Mark Ratzenbacher

    Mark Ratzenbacher

    Messages:
    43
    Ratings:
    +10
    What is Force Feedback ?

    The basic technical specifications, the API, the code ? I´m interested in the toolbox the developers have to use. It´s an old industry standard, right ? I believe todays simracers really demand for FFB 2.0.

    Here´s my 2 cents how the chain works: Sim (Telemetry calculation) -> FFB API -> Wheel

    1.) Every developer calculates their telemetric data with different formulas and therefore different results. These results are given to:
    2.) The FFB API, that has static tables ( and we need to know them ). Input from Sim will result in Output-Voltage to:
    3.) The motor-control of the wheel. Again there is a controller calculating the input from the FFB API.

    So there are many parameters that can make FFB feel good or bad.

    I really don´t know anything about FFB, apart from everybody else using it and wanting much more control about the output (and keeping it simple at the same time,lol).
     
  15. beef

    beef

    Messages:
    8
    Ratings:
    +10
    First ffb at the arcades for me.

    and the first ffb wheel at home was the Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel and was fantastic f7e5bb4c_vbattach111559.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 3
  16. Tobiman

    Tobiman
    Premium

    Messages:
    464
    Ratings:
    +171
    I like FFB that conveys information about what every tire/suspension is doing not just steering rack forces. AC is still the bar by which each sim is judged for me. There's just so much detail in the FFB and it's relatively easy to setup and run. I find myself having to tweak FFB in just about every other sim just to get a sweet spot depending on the car. With AC, there's a level of FFB refinement that is ingrained to each and every car.

    AMS is also decent in this regard but it's really car dependent. Pcars2 gets a lot of things right as well but I wouldn't call it perfect.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Skidmeister

    Skidmeister
    It's useless to put on the brakes when upside down Premium

    Messages:
    296
    Ratings:
    +211
    Good FFB should feel intuitive. If you are driving or racing real world cars you are focused on what the car is doing, not what kind of feedback your hands are getting. There are so many other things that play into good FFB besides just the wheel. You have the seat of the pants feel when driving a car on edge, if the graphics, sound, and FFB are all working together they produce 3 of the 5 senses your brain would be measuring in a real car. Minor undulations in the track surface, loss of grip, tires beginning to break loose, are all conveyed in combination with graphics and sound. I feel these are equally important in good FFB. This does not even take into account motion simulators. If you find yourself immersed in a sim and begin leaning into corners counteracting the invisible g forces, you are probably getting close with your FFB.
    I feel "decent" FFB can be achieved with inexpensive equipment because of the correlation of sight and sound that combines with the visceral experience. However if you can go the next step to direct drive, it is like seeing HD for the first time. The details present themselves much more clearly painting a clearer picture of vehicle dynamics. Even the addition of load cell braking can immerse you into feeling better FFB, because it gives you better idea of the pressures being applied to the braking and what to expect to feel coming back as information into your hands as a consequence of that. also I would add I think you need a really good tire model to actually represent all the different forces they send back thru the chassis to the driver. With that being said VR or triples can actually improve the intuitive feeling in your FFB and make you faster.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Skidmeister

    Skidmeister
    It's useless to put on the brakes when upside down Premium

    Messages:
    296
    Ratings:
    +211
    Aww man now you are picking on SimX, damn Paul I really like my Accuforce, why did you have to say that???
    :roflmao::D:p
     
    • Haha Haha x 3
  19. Sky

    Sky

    Messages:
    313
    Ratings:
    +146
    i'd say every single sims force feedback has at some point given me moments where i have no idea what its trying to tell me. :p
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Emery

    Emery

    Messages:
    1,169
    Ratings:
    +342
    I want the studios to make configuring FFB easier. Right now in their sims, they expect users to know, without ever being told, to turn off the artificial spring and damper that come preconfigured as enabled on most wheels (Fanatec, Logitech, & probably Thrustmaster). The signal shouldn't be clipping. The signal should be scaled for torque according to the actual torque range the wheel has, compressed if the wheel has inadequate range. The signal should be actual steering rack forces. I want to see power steering & drive-by-wire simulated for cars with those features.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5