Steering wheel setup

Steering wheel setup

From BeamNG

BeamNG.drive supports most steering wheel brands and models in the market. Check the Controller Support page for a more detailed list.

We bundle automatic configurations for the most common wheels out there, this way It Just Works (tm).

If that is not your case, you are having any troubles, or want to make sure everything is alright, then please follow this guide.

Installing drivers for Windows

First of all, install the latest available drivers. It doesn't matter if you wheel seems to work. Many devices will seem to work, but some functionality will be broken, until you update to the latest drivers.


Note: if you are not sure how to install or update drivers, please check the manual that came with it.


Problems it may solve:

  • Throttle and brake pedal working randomly in Logitech G25/G27 wheels
  • Force feedback going berserk in Logitech G29/G920
  • Being unable to use H-shifter
  • Being unable to use Clutch pedal
  • Being unable to steer all the way to 900º or 1080º


Recommended driver configuration

Game control panel.png

Most drivers for Windows will have a suboptimal configuration by default. This is a compromising configuration, that understandably tries to work best for all games out there.

In the case of BeamNG.drive, and also most other race sims out there, it is better to tweak some of these parameters. The general guideline is the following: apply as few filters as possible, so that the simulator is able to gather inputs and produce forces in the cleanest way, without being disturbed by too smart driver settings.


Warning: Some drivers may change the settings when they detect you are running certain games, sometimes using 'profiles'. Make sure you are modifying the correct configuration. Check your steering wheel manual if you are unsure.


So go to Windows Control Panel, locate the USB/game controllers option, and select your steering wheel.

Drivers: Input configuration

Note: the location and name of these options will vary from one steering wheel to another. If in doubt, ask at the forums.

  • Configure the wheel for maximum wheel rotation range. In many wheels this is 900º, in some others it is 1080º, some are less. Always use the maximum possible.
  • Always use independent throttle and brake pedals. Depending on the drivers, this may be named something like "enable split pedals" (enable it). Or maybe "use combined axes" (disable it).


Drivers: Force feedback configuration

Note: the location and name of these options will vary from one steering wheel to another. If in doubt, ask at the forums.

  • Make sure FFB is enabled.
  • It is usually best to use 100% overall strength. This usually assures more fidelity in the forces. Don't worry, BeamNG.drive allows to reduce or increase the force from within the game (more on this later on).
  • Try to disable any centering spring. If not possible, set this centering spring to 0% strength
  • Try to disable any damper effect. If not possible, set it to 0%.
  • Try to disable any spring effect. If not possible, set it to 0%.

Keep in mind that centering springs, damper effects, and spring effects are not required for BeamNG.drive; the high frequency physics engine allows to output raw forces without having to use these special effects.

Hardware check #1: Windows drivers

Once all settings are set up, let's make sure the hardware is correct.


The wheel Driver configuration window usually has a way to see which buttons are being pressed, and which axes are being moved. Use each of the buttons and axes, one by one, and make sure they respond correctly on your screen.

This means, checking their range is correct (does it move all the way from zero to the maximum possible value?, checking for noise (does the value fluctuate a lot even if you are not touching the wheel?), etc.


If anything fails, check your steering wheel manual, contact the manufacturer of the wheel, or use a web search engine to find out about other people having the same problem as you, and how to troubleshoot it.

Hardware check #2: BeamNG.drive

Beamng hw.png

If all is fine so far, make sure the BeamNG.drive is able to see the same things that the Windows drivers see.


Open BeamNG.Drive, go to Controls menu, Hardware tab.


Use all the buttons and axes, make sure they respond correctly on screen too, just like with hardware check #1.


If anything is wrong here, but was fine in the previous step, please report it on the forums.

BeamnNG.drive: Bindings configuration

Alright, now that we have troubleshot all possible problems in the hardware and windows drivers side, let's move onto the actual game.

If you have a common wheel, you will find that BeamNG.drive has already set up bindings for you, and everything works correctly. Clicking 'Reset All' will always revert to these default bindings.

If not, go to Controls > Bindings menu, and start adding bindings.


BeamnNG.drive: Force feedback configuration

Disclaimer

Force feedback is a complex subject.

The fact that most steering wheels are consumer-grade hardware (each with its own specific compromises to reach affordable prices) does not help.

Furthermore, BeamNG.drive does not only attempt to simulate one driving situation, but many extremely different ones. For example:

  • Gently parking a street car
  • Slow rock climbing
  • Medium speed street driving
  • High speed racing on the limits of vehicle capabilities
  • Maneuvering of heavy machinery
  • Off-roading through very bumpy terrain
  • Harsh landings after stunt jumps
  • High speed crashes that will generate huge forces
  • Etc.

This means that, unlike many other lucky games, we cannot compromise our force feedback system for one specific situation, but instead we need to cater for a wide range of situations

That said, we try our best to do so, and are always looking for ways to improve it.

Basic set up

Beamng ffb basic.png

If your steering wheel is able to produce Force Feedback, it should show up in the Controls > Force Feedback tab menu.

In this menu, you will see the steering wheel binding you created for 'steering' in the previous step. Click it to edit the parameters, and scroll down to the Force Feedback Configuration section.


  1. First make sure Enabled is activated.
  2. Second, check FFB inversion: hop onto the D-Series Pickup vehicle, put the parking brake while stopped, and try to steer right.
  • If the wheel tries to counteract you, it's okay.
  • If the wheel steers even more to the right, then you must click on the Inverted checkbox to change it.

Strength

Beamng ffb strength.png

You can tweak the overall force with the next sliders.

Keep in mind that vehicles in BeamNG.drive don't simulate assisted steering servos, which means steering when parked will be hard. If you typically drive at high speeds, ignore the strength while parked, and test your configuration by driving at speed.

Vibration cancelling

Beamng ffb vibration.png

Due to the inherent lag in consumer-level steering wheels and in the software stack, vibrations is bound to happen in one situation or another.

If the vibration is very fast, increase the High Frequency smoothing values.

Try to keep both smoothing values as low as possible.

As usual, remember to test your settings under normal driving conditions, and not while parked. Unless your normal driving condition is parking cars, of course ;-)

Response correction curves

Important: This is an advanced option. Do not touch if you're not sure of what you are doing.

Introduction

Response curve for the average manufactured Logitech G27 steering wheels

Force feedback works by asking the steering wheel drivers to apply certain torque (certain rotational force) through the motors housed inside your steering wheels.

In an ideal world, the resulting torques would be proportional to the torques you initially requested.


However, in practice, this is rarely the case. Sometimes, when you ask 1 unit of torque, you may get 1.2 resulting units of torque. And then you ask for 2 units, but get only 1.9 units back. The result can vary wildly along the range of torques, and is impossible to know without testing each of all the possible torque values.


To compensate for this lack of linearity, we provide the option to use a Response Correction Curve. This curve basically tells BeamNG.drive how the steering wheel will respond to all possible requests. Based on that, BeamNG.drive will smartly "lie" to the drivers, requesting different torques, to get the actual desired resulting torque.

Reusability

Before continuing, one word about reusability of response curves:

The response curve will vary depending on the Windows drivers configuration.


For example, if you change the effects strength (or any other setting) in the Windows driver configuration panel, the response curve will most probably be different afterwards.

Keep that in mind if you are trying to use a response curve for your wheel while tweaking the Windows driver configuration.

Note: BeamNG.drive bundles response curves tailored to the recommended driver configuration (see the 2nd section of this guide). If you are not using the recommended configuration, the response curves may be off, and it is recommended to re-generate it for your specific drivers configuration. But even if you don't, the result will typically be better than disabling the curve altogether.


Also note that the response curve is usually the same for a given brand and model of steering wheel (unless it has undergone some serious hardware revision but still keeping the same model identifier). If you create a response curve for certain steering wheel model and drivers configuration, it will most probably be reusable by other owners of your steering wheel.

Generating your own response curve

Generating a response curve involves precise testing of your hardware, noting down what happens each time you apply certain torques.

There are several tools out there that allow to do it in an automated way, and register the resulting curve in a file, on disk.


BeamNG.drive is able to directly read the response curve files generated by the most popular 3rd party tools (such as WheelCheck and Force Curve Modifier), without needing any further format modifications. So just run those tools, export the result to a file, and place it at Documents/BeamNG.drive/settings/inputmaps/wheel.*.

For more information, please search the web for those 3rd party tool names, and follow any of the existing guides out there.

Note: Hover your mouse over the response curve graph of your BeamNG.drive FFB menu to get more detailed information about the naming conventions. Typically wheel.csv will do.


How the curve is used

BeamNG.drive internally sanitizes the curve you see on screen:

  • The curve will be normalized, from 0 (no torque) to 1 (maximum torque supported by your steering wheel). You don't need to normalize any values yourself.
  • It will remove any valleys, so that the response is always incremental
  • It will assume you start at 0 response for 0 requested torque, and that you end at 100% response for 100% requested torque.

After this sanitization has taken place, the curve is used in this way:

  • When the resulting torque is too small, BeamNG.drive will bump up the requested torque, so that it gets its desired resulting torque.
  • When the resulting torque is too big, BeamNG.drive will request a bit smaller torques, so the result is not that huge.


Tweaking the curve

You will typically want to tweak the curve just a little bit before it is used by the game.


If you have already placed the wheel.csv file in your inputmaps directory, the game will read it each time you restart the game or press Ctrl+L to reload the input system.

When that happens, the curve is embedded into your inputmap file. If you modify the source wheel.csv file, and press Ctrl+L, the inputmap file will be updated again. Remove the source file when you are happy with it.

Measurement errors:

If you have only generated the response curve once, it is possible that you have some error in the readings. For example, if you accidentally touched the wheel while it rotated, or bumped into your desk, then that curve point may be incorrect.

Repeating the measurement several times, and comparing the resulting curves, allows you to notice any possible outlier values that may have happened.


Noise:

If you correctly measure the curve several times, you will notice slight variations. This can happen because of many circumstances, e.g. temperature changes, slight gear or belt positioning differences, etc.

Measuring the curve several times not only allows to detect errors (as described before) but are useful to remove this kind of noise. You can average all of the curves together, and use the resulting curve in BeamNG.drive. Note that there shouldn't be a huge difference from one run to the next (unless your wheel is damaged), so it's okay if you decide to skip this step :-)


Low torque vibration:

Most wheels cannot handle low torques correctly. The response curve will usually be very plain in the first section, and this will force BeamNG.drive to request huge torques to compensate. This usually creates unwanted vibrations.

To prevent this, make sure you add a slight initial slope to the curve, even if the response curve clearly showed a huge deadzone in that region. This will smooth out the jerky response for low torque situations.

Visualizing the improvements

Beamng ffb app.png

To assist you with tweaking or verifying the response curve, you can visualize the results in real time, while driving.

  1. Go to the menu Apps > Add app
  2. Place the FFB Graph somewhere on the screen and click Done.

The data you are looking for here is:

  • Current: shows what torque is being actually requested to the Windows drivers. This is usually not the torque we want, but remember we have to lie to the drivers in order to get the torque we want.
  • Uncorrected: shows what is the expected resulting torque after having travelled through the drivers, firmware and hardware. In other words, the actually desired torque.
  • Limit: is just the force limit the user has selected in the FFB menu. No forces greater than this will be generated.
  • Unlimited: shows what would have been requested, if the force limit wasn't in place.

For example, in most steering wheels, you will typically notice that uncorrected forces are smaller than current forces in low-torque situations, because of the initial FFB deadzone.

A very good steering wheel should have a very linear FFB response, and so the uncorrected and current forces should be almost the same through the entire range of torques.


Common problems and solutions

Here's some common problems after everything has been configured:

Wheel acts weird

Make sure you have closed the Windows drivers window before opening BeamNG.drive.

Make sure to NOT open the Windows drivers window while BeamNG.drive is open.

Cannot set up the throttle or the brake. Car does strange things

If your steering wheel only provides combined throttle/brake axes, use the "throttle and brake" binding, and remove any wheel bindings under the "throttle" and under the "brake" sections.

If your steering wheel provides separate throttle/brake axis, use the "throttle" bindind and the "brake" binding, and remove any wheel binding the "throttle and brake" section.

Cannot get steering to work. Car only veers to one side

Make sure you have not added any bindings to "steer left" or to "steer right". If you have manually added any, remove them. Add one binding for "steering" instead.

Car steers to the opposite side it should

Open the steering binding, click the "Inverted Axis" and then "Apply".

Car does not accelerate until I press the brake

Open the brake binding, click the "Inverted Axis" and then "Apply".

Car does not brake until I press the throttle

Open the throttle binding, click the "Inverted Axis" and then "Apply".

Car brakes correctly, but then goes full speed into reverse after it stops

You are using the 'Arcade' shifting mode. Switch to 'Automatic' or 'Manual' shifting modes using the key 'Q'.

Steering is too fast, car is impossible to control

Make sure the wheel is in 900º or 1080º (or whatever steering angle your steering wheel supports).

In Logitech wheels, you can usually change that at any time during gameplay, by pressing the two middle red buttons on your H-shifter, while at the same time you press the bottom black button in the H-shifter.

Car steers slightly to the left (or right) when pointing straight

Make sure you are not using a vehicle mod that may have broken the suspension design of the vehicle.

Make sure to calibrate the steering wheel from the Windows Control Panel drivers window. Some wheels need to be unplugged and plugged again for calibration to happen.

G29/920 turns all the way left/right

Logitech G29 and G920 used to turn full left or full right in a buggy version of their drivers earlier this year. Update to the absolute latest official version.

Fully uninstall all previous versions if necessary. After installing, make sure to check that the installed version is the one you installed, and not some other version that Windows installed.

G920 crashes the game unless force feedback is disabled

Logitech drivers have a bug that can make them crash each time a vehicle is loaded in BeamNG.drive.

Until an official fix is published, you can try these experimental driver DLL files (provided by Logitech)

My steering wheel turns all the way left/right

Try checking/unchecking the "Inverted" checkbox under the Force Feedback tab. Some steering wheels or driver updates need a different setting.