Question about Sims and Auto-Steering Rotation

Spinelli

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This isn't specifically about AC but does apply to AC and is about simracing games in general.


I see time and time again certain manufacturers' wheels or specific wheel models either not working with particular games' auto-rotation or stop working after a game update or maybe a wheel driver/firmware update or for whatever other reason. I noticed this most recently with some games with my Accuforce v2 and with a particular game that had a bug which caused auto-rotation to not work in some cases.

Then it occurred to me: why don't racing devs implement the steering's auto-rotation by applying the steering locks from the game itself instead? This would avoid having to program the game to talk to all the different manufacturer's drivers and wheel models out there. It would also avoid game-updates or wheel driver/firmware updates breaking the auto-rotation for certain manufacturers' wheels (or particular wheel models). This would be a universal method therefore it would work for all wheels regardless of age, model, brand, etc.

Nothing would change from the player's side except 1 very easy & quick thing to do: simply input into the game your physical wheel's maximum steering rotation (180 or 240 degrees for some older wheels, 900, 1080, whatever it may be). This would only need to be done 1 time no different to how we all map our buttons (keys, pedals, wheel, etc.). Also, just like with the current system, you would of course still be able to change the car's steering ratio in the car's setup/garage menu if you prefer a faster or slower ratio - nothing will change from the player's point of view compared to the current system.

The thing that may make this method I'm explaining unfeasible - as someone pointed out to me - is if FFB wheels have different FFB behavior based on what their rotation is set to. Eg. there may be FFB scaling from the wheel's side for different FFB effects/filters depending on the driver's wheel rotation, or other FFB parameters (that affect behavior) on the wheel's side may change/scale according to the rotation set in the wheel's driver. If this is indeed the case, then the method I'm explaining of course wouldn't work optimally and therefore wouldn't be desirable.

What are some of your thoughts/opinions on all this?
 
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Dec 17, 2012
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The issue is that wheels cant really talk to the game at all except throwing out a value between 0 and 255 (or more for higher bit connections). As far as i understand your post the steering is already being set the way you suggest. And when problems happen it's usually the "quick and very easy" part breaking down.
 

RasmusP

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Dirt rally 2.0 has this. It's called soft lock.
You calibrate the wheel in the game so it knows your degrees and then reach car will have a 100% ffb border at the "real" lock of the car you're driving.
So while driving with slight clipping, let's say around 50-100% ffb output from the game, hitting 540° for modern rally cars or 720° for some cars will give you a 100% constant ffb output.
You can turn the wheel further but no input will be taken and the constant ffb will stay. When you turn the wheel back to the starting point of this soft lock, the constant ffb will vanish.

The problem you have with this though:
In dirt rally 2 you can set the soft lock to a certain strength. It feels quite good!

In Assetto Corsa you can enable soft lock in the ini files too but that soft lock is very bumpy!
You hit the end and the wheel kicks back from that "border".
Turning and holding against it results in a violently jumping wheel that kicks you lol.

What I'd love would be something that is more like hitting a sandbag. Some damped, increasing force that feels like mushing against a thick pillow.
No idea why only dirt rally does this at least somehow right.

Have to say I basically never hit the soft lock anyway so I wouldn't really need this.
But it would give a lot more immersion. The little things that matter... For example starting in the pits of Nordschleife tourist, hitting the lock every damn time to get out of your slot :)
 
Dec 17, 2012
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Ah, thought he meant steering range/ratios.

If it's soft lock then idk, on low end wheels there is not enough torque to do anything so the hardware solutions are working great. No idea about high end / DIY wheels.

@RasmusP I wonder if DR2 having good soft lock is down to soft in the game or the hardware... for example if a DIY DD wheel lacked the hardware supported locking, would DR2 still be delivering smooth (not like AC) lock, or is it just better at communication with the wheel on when to apply its lock, and therefore would not work well in that case.
 

Spinelli

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Jan 22, 2014
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Dirt rally 2.0 has this. It's called soft lock.
You calibrate the wheel in the game so it knows your degrees and then reach car will have a 100% ffb border at the "real" lock of the car you're driving.
So while driving with slight clipping, let's say around 50-100% ffb output from the game, hitting 540° for modern rally cars or 720° for some cars will give you a 100% constant ffb output.
You can turn the wheel further but no input will be taken and the constant ffb will stay. When you turn the wheel back to the starting point of this soft lock, the constant ffb will vanish.

The problem you have with this though:
In dirt rally 2 you can set the soft lock to a certain strength. It feels quite good!

In Assetto Corsa you can enable soft lock in the ini files too but that soft lock is very bumpy!
You hit the end and the wheel kicks back from that "border".
Turning and holding against it results in a violently jumping wheel that kicks you lol.

What I'd love would be something that is more like hitting a sandbag. Some damped, increasing force that feels like mushing against a thick pillow.
No idea why only dirt rally does this at least somehow right.

Have to say I basically never hit the soft lock anyway so I wouldn't really need this.
But it would give a lot more immersion. The little things that matter... For example starting in the pits of Nordschleife tourist, hitting the lock every damn time to get out of your slot :)
Yes! This is exactly what I'm talking about. Instead of the game changing the soft-lock from the wheel's driver / control panel end, the game sets it on it's own just from rotation without having to try and talk to the driver.

I'm sure the bumpiness of hitting the soft-lock can be changed by some dev-work or with options. For eg. some wheel manufacturers (more-so on DD wheels) use options like damping for the soft-lock, when the soft-lock kicks in (let's say 537 degrees), when it goes to full power (let's say at 540 degrees), the maximum power of the soft lock (100%, 85%, etc.), etc.)

This method:
- has little-to-no chance of errors/bugs
- doesn't rely on developers having to program support for wheels let alone specific support for all the different brands/models available
- will not fail to work nor require updating if something changes on the wheel manufacturer's side (eg. driver update)
- has a much lower chance of failure/bugs down the line as new game-updates are released due to the auto-rotation programming being much simpler therefore way less points of potential failure exist

Ah, thought he meant steering range/ratios.

If it's soft lock then idk, on low end wheels there is not enough torque to do anything so the hardware solutions are working great. No idea about high end / DIY wheels.

@RasmusP I wonder if DR2 having good soft lock is down to soft in the game or the hardware... for example if a DIY DD wheel lacked the hardware supported locking, would DR2 still be delivering smooth (not like AC) lock, or is it just better at communication with the wheel on when to apply its lock, and therefore would not work well in that case.
Well they're all interrelated physical steering ratio, steering lock (tyre turning degree), steering ratio, etc.

It shouldn't be any different on low end wheels. For eg. let's say you have a Logitech G25/G27/G29, wether the soft-lock is purely from the game or the driver, the max torque will be the same. Unless you're talking about hard locks (ie. physical locks) but I'm pretty sure no wheels have adjustable hard locks.
 
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Stereo

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I'm sure the bumpiness of hitting the soft-lock can be changed by some dev-work or with options. For eg. some wheel manufacturers (more-so on DD wheels) use options like damping for the soft-lock, when the soft-lock kicks in (let's say 537 degrees), when it goes to full power (let's say at 540 degrees), the maximum power of the soft lock (100%, 85%, etc.), etc.)

This method:
- has little-to-no chance of errors/bugs
- doesn't rely on developers having to program support for wheels let alone specific support for all the different brands/models available
Except these are contradictory, if the bumpiness depends on game options, the devs are programming support for specific wheels to make it work right.

I think rather than angle you want it dependent on wheel speed, with it using full power if the wheel's past 537 degrees and spinning outward, and no force if it's spinning inward or stopped
 

Spinelli

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Except these are contradictory, if the bumpiness depends on game options, the devs are programming support for specific wheels to make it work right.

I think rather than angle you want it dependent on wheel speed, with it using full power if the wheel's past 537 degrees and spinning outward, and no force if it's spinning inward or stopped
The devs can just introduce the same options that wheels have in their settings when it comes to lock, no? Like angle soft lock kicks in, soft lock damping, etc. Once those are introduced in the game, then it's still a universal setting that doesn't require all sorts of programming and updating on the dev's side for every single wheel out there.
 

bsmooth

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Might come in real handy for older wheels like mine which is Non-FFB and only a 180-240 wheel. Often it will work but is very over sensitive. Would be nice to be able to fine tune it per vehicle.
 

Cote Dazur

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Might come in real handy for older wheels like mine which is Non-FFB and only a 180-240 wheel. Often it will work but is very over sensitive. Would be nice to be able to fine tune it per vehicle.
does it looks like this

yes, it is a shame devs are not optimizing their game for people who drive with those.:roflmao:
 
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The devs can just introduce the same options that wheels have in their settings when it comes to lock, no? Like angle soft lock kicks in, soft lock damping, etc. Once those are introduced in the game, then it's still a universal setting that doesn't require all sorts of programming and updating on the dev's side for every single wheel out there.
Look at it from the other way around, if a simple solution you thought out hasn't been done by developers with years of experience it almost always means it does not really work the way you are think it does.

As far as I understand modern wheels, there is actually a lot of difference in the way they respond, and wheel makers already spend a lot of time fine tuning their soft locks to work correctly across every production batch of the same wheel and over it's whole lifetime. So that's already a lot of variables to tune for, and that's just one wheel.
You basically want the game devs to do the work of all the wheel making companies combined. That's not quite "just introduce" in my book. Thou ofc, it's not impossible either, as some bigger studios with a lot of resources and experience (over many titles) like codemasters can do it right.

But as it stands AC soft lock is about the quality you get from "very easy and quick to do" development.


ps: The issue is that to get a proper soft lock, you need to work with wheel velocity at a high refresh rate (to have quick and accurate feedback on what state the wheel is in) and when signal is transmitted from the wheel and chewed on by the drivers it stops being quick and accurate, so any software solution working on the game side will end up being dependable on hand picked coefficients that could vary widely depending on wheel model. Making it more complicated than hardware soft lock.
 

Spinelli

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Look at it from the other way around, if a simple solution you thought out hasn't been done by developers with years of experience it almost always means it does not really work the way you are think it does.

As far as I understand modern wheels, there is actually a lot of difference in the way they respond, and wheel makers already spend a lot of time fine tuning their soft locks to work correctly across every production batch of the same wheel and over it's whole lifetime. So that's already a lot of variables to tune for, and that's just one wheel.
You basically want the game devs to do the work of all the wheel making companies combined. That's not quite "just introduce" in my book. Thou ofc, it's not impossible either, as some bigger studios with a lot of resources and experience (over many titles) like codemasters can do it right.

But as it stands AC soft lock is about the quality you get from "very easy and quick to do" development.


ps: The issue is that to get a proper soft lock, you need to work with wheel velocity at a high refresh rate (to have quick and accurate feedback on what state the wheel is in) and when signal is transmitted from the wheel and chewed on by the drivers it stops being quick and accurate, so any software solution working on the game side will end up being dependable on hand picked coefficients that could vary widely depending on wheel model. Making it more complicated than hardware soft lock.
Ya, perhaps I'm not understanding. I thought the game devs could just introduce a few settings like I previously mentioned. The last thing I'd want is for the game devs to do the work of all the wheel making companies combined. I thought this method I'm proposing would make way less work and only require a few universal options. Along with the games' overall FFB strength slider and other FFB settings (minimum force, etc.), there'd be a few options to adjust soft-lock behaviour (soft-lock strength, damping, etc.) and that's it.

AC could add just a few soft-lock FFB settings.

The only thing I can see which would be a problem is if the wheel's settings/filters from the driver (or firmware) itself behave in a particular way (eg. scaling) depending on what the wheel's lock is set to in the driver. So let's say the wheel is set to 900 degrees in the driver but the car being used uses only 360 degrees and therefore the game sets a 360 degree soft-lock. The wheels' settings/filters (damping, friction, etc. or maybe even general FFB) will be acting based on 900 degrees - since it's still set to 900 in the driver - not 360 degrees. I don't know for sure if that actually does happen (someone in another thread mentioned it may be the case). If this indeed is the case, then you'd never want soft-lock to be set from the game anyways as you'd always want the wheel's driver to be set to the correct rotation for optima/"proper" FFB behaviour. Is that the case though? I guess that's the important question to find out.
 

Spinelli

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I just wanted to chime in here and say that apart from this feature being available in Dirt Rally 2.0 & Assetto Corsa, I just found out it's also available in rFactor 2 - it's the only way, at the moment, for rFactor 2 users to get auto-rotation to work with wheels like OpenSimWheels, Simucubes 1&2, etc.

I've posted about it in the official Granity Simucube forums so hopefully Granity can chime in about potentially unoptimized FFB behavior due to the game, for example, setting up 360 degrees for a car while the wheel's driver may be set to something like 1080 degrees but, yes, it looks like there are some simracing developers out there who are implementing exactly what I've been advocating.
 
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