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Long-term support of entry level DD options

Hey there, I've been searching extensively and it seems like this place has a lot of experts on this subject so I thought I'd ask here. I'm planning on upgrading to the low end of direct drive wheels and I'm trying to figure out which one I like best in time to catch any sales this week. I know the AccuForce V2, Simagic M10, and a handbuild SimuCube 1 are in range and seem like good options. Build complexity is of no consequence.

What I haven't been able to get a clear answer on is how the feedback quality and future sim support stack up. I've seen the review from a few years ago where OSWs came out ahead of AccuForce in feedback, but I've heard the latter has improved since then and it seems like a dedicated company like SimXperience, with tons of tuning features and multiple source modes, would be better able to keep up with new releases and have more options if and when official support ends. I'm curious how much sim-specific support is required to get high quality/accuracy feedback, and if the answer is much at all, how good the various systems in that price range are at keeping up or allowing you to tune it yourself. Are there holes in the support for certain titles? If OSWs have shaky long term prospects, is the feedback that much better than something like an AFv2?

For context, I have two light, very communicative sports cars that I drive on a regular basis, so I really do depend on the wheel communicating authentically with me in my driving style. Neither has power steering and I find even most sporting vehicles highly over-assisted, so I definitely won't be the kind of person who turns the force way down.

Thanks to anyone who can give me a little bit more confidence before jumping into one of these things!
 

Des Pearce

Premium
I've owned an Accuforce Pro (original version) for 6 months now, without a doubt the step up from a belt drive wheel us huge but from the Accuforce upwards the differences are probably much smaller. Don't expect them to feel like your cars though, they give you all the information to go quickly but it's nothing like driving something like a Caterham on a track.

The Accuforce is well supported by a company that specialises in motion rigs and have been going a long time. The VRS wheel would also be a good option, they have been around a while and the motor is well known and gives good feedback.
 
In what sort of way do they not feel like cars? If it's less texture in the road surface I wouldn't expect that kind of detail in the modeling, but I need the grip-dependent centering force from the caster to come in with some level of finesse. If that's there I imagine it would just feel like driving a different car. That's fine.

The VRS looks like a lot of bang for the buck but it raises the question of software support again. It all kind of boils down to this: if the manufacturer of the wheel gave up updating the software today, would you still be able to set it up to get similar quality feedback in a game released tomorrow?

Good to hear from an AccuForce owner though. Lots of OSW users out there ready to talk about their experiences.
 

blekenbleu

Premium
if the manufacturer of the wheel gave up updating the software today, would you still be able to set it up to get similar quality feedback in a game released tomorrow?
AccuForce is seemingly one of few DD wheels that use a native Windows USB driver, so even if a game does not communicate with their SimCommander application, it should at least be able to work directly with their controller.
 

Des Pearce

Premium
but I need the grip-dependent centering force from the caster to come in with some level of finesse. If that's there I imagine it would just feel like driving a different car. That's fine.

It all kind of boils down to this: if the manufacturer of the wheel gave up updating the software today, would you still be able to set it up to get similar quality feedback in a game released tomorrow?

Being truthful I'm not sure I understand what "grip dependant centering force......" actually feels like. If you mean how the wheel feels when you have a sudden traction break then most of the popular sims have that. The more subtle feeling you get close to the limit as understeer or oversteer take over then that varies, in my opinion, from sim to sim. Some wheels can introduce more of it through software (Accuforce, Fanatec DD and Simucube 2 certainly, I'm not sure about the osw wheels) but it is canned rather than physics based in most sims i think.

Certainly with the Accuforce if you took Sim Commander away you'd still get one of the best in terms of feel from the sims, it would just vary much more between sims. Sim Commander in its current form covers all of the major sims and offers many additional forces along with its own interpretation of ffb based on accessing the games physics engine. It would be many years before it became obsolete in my opinion.
 
If you mean how the wheel feels when you have a sudden traction break then most of the popular sims have that.

Yeah, that. Because the caster angle causes the contact patch to be "behind" the steering axis, the force trying to center the wheel in motion is basically proportional to the steering angle, but limited by traction. Get to the limit of grip and it starts to float around, understeer and the wheel goes limp, oversteer hard and it either pulls the other way or you do as the force suddenly disappears. If sims aren't modeling it properly that's a bit odd, as the physics are quite simple.

If it varies that much from sim to sim that's actually good news as I see it, since it means that the feedback effects are primarily driven by the game engine and not the wheel software. If that's the case I'd probably go with something like handbuilt or VRS OSW wheel - I love the concept of the tuneability of Sim Commander and being able to alter questionable effects, but additional torque headroom (I know the arguments, but for example according to VRS' measurements my Miata before power steering delete was already the maximum on the AF) and a low pole count servo with less magnetic cogging sound like better hardware if I'll get a consistent experience anyway. That's kind of the struggle I'm working with at the moment.
 

Des Pearce

Premium
Yeah, that. Because the caster angle causes the contact patch to be "behind" the steering axis, the force trying to center the wheel in motion is basically proportional to the steering angle, but limited by traction. Get to the limit of grip and it starts to float around, understeer and the wheel goes limp, oversteer hard and it either pulls the other way or you do as the force suddenly disappears. If sims aren't modeling it properly that's a bit odd, as the physics are quite simple.

If it varies that much from sim to sim that's actually good news as I see it, since it means that the feedback effects are primarily driven by the game engine and not the wheel software. If that's the case I'd probably go with something like handbuilt or VRS OSW wheel - I love the concept of the tuneability of Sim Commander and being able to alter questionable effects, but additional torque headroom (I know the arguments, but for example according to VRS' measurements my Miata before power steering delete was already the maximum on the AF) and a low pole count servo with less magnetic cogging sound like better hardware if I'll get a consistent experience anyway. That's kind of the struggle I'm working with at the moment.

The physics are probably reliant on the tyre model which varies massively between sims. Rfactor 2 has the most detail, to the point where some of the more subtle effects can be slightly masked. I find Raceroom racing to have the easiest to feel traction loss and I can be more consistent in it. Other sims vary a fair bit, iRacing for me being the poorest probably due to the low 60hz ffb rate.

If I had the money it would boil down to the VRS (wired wheel being a negative), Simucube 2 pro (wireless wheel cost a bit rich for my blood) or the Fanatec DD1 (reasonably priced wheel options but dubious reliability and support). I'd probably go for the VRS but the cost would be more than double what I paid for my secondhand Accuforce Pro.

The reasoning is that my preferred sims are rf2, RRE and ACC all of which have great inbuilt ffb so the software that comes with the VRS seems to offer enough to get it feeling how I like it.
 
If I had the money it would boil down to the VRS (wired wheel being a negative).

Fortunately for me this is a nonissue, electronics are what I do and I have machine tools so running low-latency wireless and making up some slip rings for powered I2C are both reasonable. That's sounding like a good choice then. Any preference of VRS' custom controller vs the classic SimuCube?

The reasoning is that my preferred sims are rf2, RRE and ACC all of which have great inbuilt ffb so the software that comes with the VRS seems to offer enough to get it feeling how I like it.

AC/ACC and Dirt Rally 1/2 are probably my most played; RF2 and RRE have been recommended, so that's good. I'm sure with quality equipment that is less frustrating I will be picking up new and more serious sims - my current is a 15-year-old early Logitech with 270° of rotation, a 10" wheel, gear-driven FFB with a good 2-3° of backlash so it whips when changing direction, the encoder is behind the motor so it causes uncontrolled inputs too, and the motor driver doesn't have enough electrical headroom to keep up with rapid movement so if you turn fast enough suddenly the clamping diodes slam on the brakes on the wheel. Pretty much anything would be three orders of magnitude better, but I don't want to feel like I missed out on a better option after spending this kind of money.

Thanks so much for the input, it's making the picture a lot clearer.
 

Des Pearce

Premium
Through all of my reading and video watching I don't think VRS or Simucube 1 is a major issue, I've not read anything against the VRS software, in fact many see its simplicity as a bonus (myself included which is why, if I change, it would be the VRS), the Simucube 1 will see fewer updates as the Simucube 2 develops further I'd have thought.

I like the fact that they both use a well known motor and power supply. Not sure if the Simucube 1 is available new so that means another party between you and the software developer. At least VRS are using a simpler interface and you deal with them directly. You can probably argue cases for either until the cows come home. I really don't want to be messing with wheel setup so a good motor, simple but useful setup options suit me fine. I, personally, can't be bothered to learn the intricacies of Sim Commander, too many options and not easy to find good explanations of what each does, the hardware is good but the software almost too complex and feature rich.
 

blekenbleu

Premium
I, personally, can't be bothered to learn the intricacies of Sim Commander
Ditto: Thanks to MockRacer's Device Settings, I pretty much just set these:
controlcenter-settings-SDM-AF-sliders_ZERO.png

.. then dialed back intensity, saved to the controller, shut down SC4
and use in-game controls for subsequent FFB tweaks.
 

Andrew_WOT

Premium
AccuForce is seemingly one of few DD wheels that use a native Windows USB driver, so even if a game does not communicate with their SimCommander application, it should at least be able to work directly with their controller.
Can you please elaborate on this.
 

blekenbleu

Premium
Can you please elaborate on this.

My USB development experience was more with embedded linux,
so I may have some of this wrong, but in general,
unless a USB device is specifically designed to be a so-called WinUSB device,
then a custom driver and INF file are needed for Windows operation.
By contrast, Android and IOS tablets and smartphones allow use of any connected device in a supported class, since they do NOT want users installing custom kernel-level device drivers.

Every few years, Windows increases restrictions on device drivers,
leaving folks like myself with older USB devices having only earlier, now-unsupported drivers.
Historically, macOS has been even worse about this.

I do not now recall whether I actually tested this sequence at AccuForce delivery, but I expect
that one could plug an already-configured AccuForce controller USB cable into a Windows PC
with no SimXperience software installed, and it would be recognized e.g. in joy.cpl and DIView.exe
and work in most games that support generic game controller axes, sliders, and buttons.

I have not exhaustively researched other USB sim racing devices,
but, based on reading their installation instructions,
many appear to require proprietary drivers that are liable to such obsolescence.
Windows is relatively good about supporting older user-space software,
e.g. with "Troubleshoot compatibility", so even proprietary software from companies that go out of business without open-sourcing should still work, so long as supported device drivers exist.
 

Andrew_WOT

Premium
OSW, SC1, SC2 are all registered as HID-compliant game controllers using standard MS driver.
I suspect the only exception would be Fanatec.
 
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