Featured Simracing With A Gamepad

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by leon_90, May 1, 2018.

  1. leon_90

    leon_90
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    Simracing With A Pad.jpg
    Sim-racing is obviously associated with hardware like wheels, shifters and pedals. Meaning to mimic, as close as possible to reality, the behaviour of a car, whether it is an open-wheeler, a sportscar, a rally car or else, it is evident that proper hardware also replicating real life instruments and input is very much needed.


    Being a somewhat growing market, even though we are still talking about a niche inside the gaming economy, the companies producing this kind of specific hardware are growing too, giving the possibility of choosing among a plethora of different options. Depending on your budget, you can get an entry-level wheel and pedals, or go for a full rig, complete of a Direct Drive wheel, hydraulic pedals, magnetic shifter, handbrake and maybe even a VR headset. I believe nobody could argue that the latter would actually be much more immersive and take you much closer to the real experience, given that you will be using a proper sim along with it.

    What happens though, if you cannot afford, for any given reason, even entry-level hardware for sim-racing?

    You might be, because you would be saving the money for more urgent matters or important needs. Alternatively, it might be simply a problem of your life partner not approving spending any amount of cash in it, or dedicating house space for it. Lastly, it could also be a problem of space itself missing for you to actually install a sim-racing rig, or just not have the time to fully dedicate yourself to the hobby (or being in the process of evaluating if you like it or not). Physical disabilities might be at stake too.

    So what would you do in these cases?

    Simracing With A Pad 2.jpg

    Going for a gamepad might be, in fact, the only sensible solution. Cheap, unobtrusive, it has also the bonus of being usable in many different titles from different genres, from fps to rpgs to indie titles, increasing its practicability and its value for money. The manifest downside is that, obviously, the immersion is almost null compared to a full sim rig and it is impossible to achieve the exact same level of detail in the driving experience with a pad than with a good wheel.

    I believe it is not necessary to explain the reasons why is that. On the other hand, it is true however that, given good practice with it, it is possible to become actually quite proficient with a gamepad. Tweaking the input settings, both in Windows, if necessary, and in game, can also help a great deal in achieving good control of the car. Of course, sim-racing, in its content, spaces today from Karts and Formula 4 cars to 1500 bhp Turbo-Panzer monsters like the Porsche 917/30. It might prove problematic to get the same level of confidence with the two farthest opposites, but it is not impossible nonetheless.

    Moderns sims have gamepad racers more and more in mind nowadays, trying to provide the meanings for them to achieve a satisfying experience out of their product with it. Older sims are also playable with a bit more tweaking, thanks to the simplicity of yesterday’s hardware.

    Pad racers, though, are looked in an unkind way by fully invested sim-racers, avoided like the plague in online competitions and events. Is it actually due to their dangerousness, or is it just misconception and prejudice?

    Those who use a gamepad for sim-racing, in fact, are always aware of their handicap, and strive to achieve as much self-reliance with the virtual vehicle as possible. They dedicate time to improve their driving ability, and show more respect than others by usually avoiding dangerous situations in which their controller input would not be sufficient to circumvent an accident. Generally, they have also spent a good amount of time exercising with a specific car, chosen for a league or an online event, still because of their desire of being as proficient as possible with it with a pad. They have more practice, and the habit of doing more practice, *compared to the average* sim-racer using wheel and pedals.

    Many of the drivers promoted by the GT Academy, who now are professional racers in worldwide competitions, were long time pad users too, with which they got the basics.

    Simracing With A Pad 3.jpg

    I would also like to share my personal experience about the argument. I do not have the space or money to invest in a sim-rig, and I have always been sim-racing with a gamepad. During the years, I managed to get a good level of confidence with it. When, a while back, a friend invited me to try his G27, I accepted, eager to try what I thought it would have been a very different experience. To my surprise, I found that my understanding of the vehicle allowed me to control the car in a very similar manner to what I do with my pad. The biggest problem was getting, of course, used to the Force Feedback, which was the game changer. The driving feelings and sensations, however, were not that as far as I thought they would be. It was a very pleasant experience, obviously preferable to the one I have with my pad, but it was still possible for me to capitalize on my previous knowledge gained with a controller. In small time, I managed to get my lap time under to my usual.

    Now, this does not mean that, for me, driving with a pad equals driving with a wheel. Not at all! What I mean is that becoming proficient with a pad allows you to get a basic knowledge out of the driving experience, which then applies always and everywhere. Of course, it is only with a wheel and pedals that you can master the driving techniques that would serve you well also in real life, where cars certainly do not have a controller at the driving seat. Endurance racing would also be impossible with a gamepad. However, if a pad is everything you have, go for it and do not worry about it. Try to get as much practice as possible, and be sure that what you have learned will carry through when, luckily, you will be able to improve your sim-racing hardware. Sticking to the racing line, learning the tracks, mastering the racing etiquette, getting to know the cars, etc. All this can be learned also without a wheel, and is, actually, experience!

    To all wheel users, please show more sympathy to pad users, and remember that there is always a gap between arcade driving games users and sim-racers. If someone who uses a controller is playing your sim, he is certainly mindful of what he is doing and where he stands in the community. So go ahead and compete, and who knows what the results might bring!

    It is always important to get people together, avoiding conflict. We share the same passion, the same hobby. Let us remember that as something to unite ourselves despite our differences, and create a friendly environment in the community. Try to find common ground, instead of pointing at the differences.

    Simracing With A Pad 4.jpg
     
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  2. Metla

    Metla

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    Way to long for me to read, But...If I had to use a game pad, I'd choose games/platform that suited a gamepad.

    No matter the target market, They are all games. People overthink non-issues and turn it into overblown nonsense.
     
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  3. Llorch Durden

    Llorch Durden
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    Great article!

    I would say that , as a pad user for years , I've had this conversation more than once and imo it all comes down to how is the pad used and how people driving with well&pedals think we drive. Using an Xbox360 /XBONE controller means you got analog input , which means you should use it. We are not always breaking and accelerating like crazy , then pushing the joystick all the way to the left/right. A wheel is always more precise , but a controller is always a viable options too ( and the quality you get for a 40€ controller is awesome).

    On top of that , I never recommend to anyone willing to start a new hobby to expend a **** ton of money out of the box , so starting with AC (or any other sim racing ) by playing with a controller is the way to go. If you love it , the ceiling is as expensive as you want to ;)
     
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  4. peppepino

    peppepino

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    not new to me. I managed to play with a keyboard for so many years. A keyboard man!
    So, i totally agree with the article. The wheel is all new level of driving, of course. But, the "keyboard" experience is not to be wasted at all
     
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  5. leon_90

    leon_90
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    Exactly! A pad is a wonderful way to start simracing on a budget and then see if you like it or not
     
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  6. apex11

    apex11
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    Click bait.

    I'll bite.

    Point is with driving games for a small outlay you get the chance to actually do what you do in real life, turn a wheel press pedals.
    If you can get a wheel, you really should.
    But if can't or no space then just do what you can as long as YOU enjoy it, don't listen to anyone else.
    You can if needed drive a car with a controller in real life, driving cars is one of the most simple of things because they were made by humans for humans...
    You ciuld drive a car using rope attached to the wheels, anything....

    But yes for me and my needs (track day / real racing replacement) i need the wheel and pedals..
     
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  7. RobertGracie

    RobertGracie

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    Its a really good article, I use to be a keyboard guy before I got my first wheel like in the late 1990s and stuff after that I got a Thrustmaster Ferrari wheel with force feedback and well I had that wheel for years before I tried to get it to work again on windows 7 and everytime when I installed the device drivers it BSOD my computer and I didnt get it working, after that was a bit of a dry spell for me before I got back into gaming and went for an Xbox 360 controller and in late 2016 I kinda went all out and spent a total of about £150 for an Xbox One Elite controller with the dongle for it.

    Thats £110 for the controller and £40 for the dongle (blame Microsoft for the prices!) and I have been on that ever since, being honest with myself I wish I could get back to a wheel and pedals but the prices of them today are just extremely expensive for me and I am doing my best to survive I am between jobs at the moment so money is extremely tight for me currently, I am not entirely sure if this is the right thing to post for this thread or not....

    Feedback is welcome on this I am just a bit worried if I have ranted on about something not following in the lines of the article above...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  8. VernWozza

    VernWozza
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    Great article. I hear you.

    I cut my teeth on a keyboard too back on Grand Prix and Grand Prix 2. I then graduated to a controller and used that for years, right up until RF2. I still use my pad every now and then when I'm waiting for my wife to get ready or when I don't have time to set up my wheel. I don't have it set up at all times due to space.

    As for pad users not being able to compete in endurance races on a pad. I recently did 1.5 hours with URD GTE mod at lime rock with no assists using a pad.

    It's possible.
     
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  9. M-Bimmer

    M-Bimmer
    Still on 20” winter tyres. Back to 22” soon

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    Don’t mind doing that in real life :D
     
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  10. RobertGracie

    RobertGracie

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    I would so totally love to do that, but I wonder how it would feel doing it around the old Nurburgring....loads of crashes I bet!
     
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  11. motoliser

    motoliser

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    ...GAME pad?!!
    I don't game anymore. I simulate!
     
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  12. krusti

    krusti
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    Still a videogame :)
     
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  13. aduo

    aduo

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    I've always used the gamepad for 2 main reasons : first is money , a wheel costs too much for me , second is the space you need . once you have a wheel you also need where to lock it and you also need more space , not to mentin that you also need a proper seat/chair . I usually seat on my couch , well it won't be possible using a wheel . I know that sooner or later I have to buy one but it will take a while before I'll do it . Using a pad by the way is not that bad , it depends on the game too , for example AC is a great game experience even with a pad , PC2 ... not much .
     
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  14. ShredatorFIN

    ShredatorFIN

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    Filled a survey for Wreckfest recently, in the overall results, roughly 25% had a wheel and 75% didn't. Kind of interesting, as it's a PC-only title atm, and has quite good FFB.

    In "hardcore sims" the percentage of wheel users is probably higher. I have no doubt that people using gamepads can be fast, it has been proven.

    But personally, I bought Assetto Corsa because of good reviews (a bit before 1.0) when I only had a gamepad, wasn't that impressed. Then tried it with friends G27 and was instantly hooked, went to buy my own G27 the next day.

    Now clocked in over 1000 hours in AC and over 200 in AMS, upgraded later into T500.

    I just can't get the appeal of sims, without a wheel and great FFB. It's the whole point for me, otherwise I would play something totally else. I'm not that big of a motorsport/car enthusiast. I play sims, largely because they are more "real" than other games, simply due to control method.

    Each to their own, just my 2 cents
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  15. Ryan_Lee

    Ryan_Lee

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    mod-edit: we are a discussion forum for text
     
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  16. WoodenPlankGames

    WoodenPlankGames

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    mod-edit: if you have nothing to say then don't.
     
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  17. Mankiewicz

    Mankiewicz
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    if you cant afford it you cant do it. it should be that way. i cant afford being a real kart pilot. in the other hand you have excellent funny games like forza, who has the best "game maked for" gamepad implementation i ever try. gamepads are really out of simracing because controllers other than wheels are out by definition SIMracing. is possible but is not really the target and shouldnt be
     
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  18. apex11

    apex11
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    Did this make sense in your head?
     
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  19. WoodenPlankGames

    WoodenPlankGames

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    mod-edit: if you have nothing to add, then don't
    poster-edit: just trying to help people understand what he said and allow him to learn from his mistakes.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  20. THE-Smike

    THE-Smike

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    I used to race with a DualShock3 controller in an rFactor F1 league and always managed to score points in the midfield.
    I even maneged to celebrate a class win @ an 4h LeMans event that we held.
    And in AC im helding a few RSR WorldRecord times with some F1 cars.

    Its all about practice & training.
     
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