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Gamepad Support - Analysis, Suggestions, Wishes

Discussion in 'Automobilista 2 - General Discussion' started by GTAce, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. GTAce

    GTAce New Member

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    Disclaimer: I know that sims are played best with a good wheel/pedal set-up.
    There are people, like me, who cannot use a steering wheel because of a disability.
    We still enjoy simracing a lot, even with a gamepad.
    This thread's purpose has accessibility in mind too, so please refrain from shaming pad users, stop calling us "kiddos", and let us enjoy this hobby too.

    Before I start with the topic itself I'd like to share something about my person (if you don't care just skip to the next, bold part). My name's Maurice, I'm 30 years old and drive hardcore sims on PC since GTL days. Because of a muscular disease I always had to use PlayStation controllers. The list of (PC) sims I have experience with:
    GTL, GTR2, Race 07/GTR Evolution, RaceRoom, rFactor, NetKar Pro, Assetto Corsa & Competizione, pCARS 1 & 2, R3E, iRacing, DiRT Rally & 2.0 and more.

    All of them are good with a gamepad, with my benchmark being AC, except for pCARS 1 & 2.
    Both games suffer from big issues which stem from weird decisions made by SMS.
    I was a part of pCARS 1's backing campaign back then and very vocal about that, especially because the game felt much better once than at release...

    AMS2:
    AMS2 actually does feel better already, I don't know what changes were actually done, but it is better. You do notice similar issues though, which is natural with it being in the same engine and the understandable lack of focus on it (at least I assume that).

    Flaws in the gamepad input:
    Let's start off with some of the bigger flaws, deadzones and speed sensitivity.
    The game still has a noticable deadzone even if you turn it off in the setting. This seems to be an issue with the Madness Engine but I know you can get rid of it with some tweaking, the engine is capable of it. Another problem is how the speed sensitivity is set up. You need to use 85+ to be able to catch slides without ending in a tank slapper, but that limits the steering lock too harsh at lower speeds. You have to take hairpins so slow, that you lose seconds just from that. It also makes the racing trucks undrivable.

    Visual feedback:
    Another problem at least I have is the lack of full-lock-animation on the virtual steering wheels.
    I know that animating this stuff is difficult, so I thought a compromise could be to have a setting that removes the virtual driver, but lets the wheel turn 360°. When you steer with a stick, this actually gives you a nice, visual cue.

    Bugs:
    This is maybe better suited for another thread, but there are some bugs too, like not being able to get out of a replay, or scrolling through the car class selection.

    More in-depth testing needed:
    This is actually also directed at myself. I'd love to do more in-depth testing, but it's hard alone and doesn't help anyone if the developers don't get to see it....

    I do love the game, the variety of cars and tracks you don't see in any other sim, coupled with Madness' weather and physics features is amazing. It is hard to fully appreciate it though, if it doesn't feel right. So... I hope someone actually listens and cares.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
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  2. Dicra

    Dicra Member

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    First of all: Great thread and good effort to describe the current gamepad issues the game does have!

    AC doesn't allow you to map throttle and brake input, and this design decision means I'll never play it. So ... if any game developer wants to copy AC (or ACC), please don't do this.

    I'm not sure about that. I don't have a deadzone, except for that one time where I accidentally registered my Dualshock 4 as an Xbox Controller and AMS2 refused to save the changes I made to the deadzone.

    In general, I agree, even though I think you're exaggerating a bit. For me, putting it on 70 for the more nervous cars (like Formula Vintage, or Stock V8) is a good compromise, and I tend to go around 55-60 for the more stable ones (Formula 3, ARC Camaro, etc).
    I admit that I probably wouldn't go below 70 if the low speed corners weren't such an issue. However, 85 is a bit extreme - you can do full-lock-countersteer in basically any situation that way, which I feel is a bit too easy.

    You're definitely right about the low-speed corners, though. At around 80kp/h, we should have almost full steering lock, but instead, there seems to only be a comparatively small increase in steering angle from 250 kp/h to 80 kp/h. It does make turns like the Hockenheim's or Montreal's hairpin quite exasperating.

    Apart from that, there are some navigation issues. The "quit race" button usually does not work when I try the game pad; I have to use a mouse for that. Also, during replays, it's not always clear how to get from, say, the driver's list, to the camera menu.

    However, apart from these issues, I'm actually quite happy. Then again, I know that I'm probably too forgiving when it comes to gamepad support, having played a lot of Project CARS 1 & 2, where I had to deal with some wildly annoying steering behaviour.
     
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  3. Rodger Davies

    Rodger Davies Active Member

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    Hello!

    I'll add some of my own thoughts in time but nice thread and many good points.

    I play on a pad a fair bit; I use my home office so during the week and have a young baby so setting up the wheel for a quick race in the evening isn't an option so pad it is.

    Interestingly, I never got the hang of AC on a pad and, although ACC is a little better it really doesn't feel very well supported to me still (I still can't use the d pad!). Conversely I thought PCARS2 was pretty decent on a pad, definitely a vast improvement on the nigh-unplayable PCARS1. I also find the GMotor games support pads very well - AMS1 and Raceroom are absolute pleasures - and Dirt Rally is superb out of the box.

    In AMS2 the navigation issues you mentioned really jumped out to me first - on some menus I'm pressing button after button trying to find the right one. I'm really glad you mentioned the replay one as I thought I must be being stupid for not being able to work that out.
     
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  4. GTAce

    GTAce New Member

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    You have to use a custom steering wheel as a basis instead of the "gamepad" preset. You can configure it in any way you want.

    Yep! Forgot to add the DiRT Rally games to my list.

    AC and ACC need a lot of tweaking, but they can be amazing then.
     
  5. Berno

    Berno New Member Reiza Backer

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    Hey,

    Nice thread. I have very similar concerns about gamepad in any madness engine game.

    It's a shame people can't take gamepad players seriously. While I have a G25 I only rarely use it. I have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis and any session with it will leave me in lots of pain. I also develop a sim racing app called DashPanel and its rather difficult to program and test with a wheel mounted to the desk. So most of the time I play on xBox 1 gamepad. Of course as soon as I mention this I get told to buy a wheel if I'm serious blah blah stop being poor and sucking at life etc. I've won on iRacing with gamepad so that should say enough.

    I was also part of the WMD group for the first pCars. It was terrible out of the box and after months of tweaking I found setting the gamepad up as a wheel in game and playing with many other values I had something that was usable for cars up to Formula 2. Anything more powerful was impossible to use.

    pCars 2 I remember lots of noise before hand that Ian Bell was playing exclusively on gampead (Because PC1 gamepad support was panned by console users) and had developed a system far superior to anything before on earth etc.. Unfortunately on playing pCars 2 I found that the system was to limit the lock depending on the radius of the corner. Its like the game has decided how much lock is ideal for the corner and you have to match your speed to make it with that much lock or you wont make it. I tweaked and looked for a long time there is no way to setup a gamepad in pCars 2 that lets you decide to apply more steering lock mid corner than the game decrees. If you want to give more input to scrub tyres, no way. If you get understeer its too bad slowing down is the only input available to you. Taking this control out of the hands of the player is beyond frustrating. As there is also a point on corner exit where the game has decided you are no longer 'in' the corner and the lock limit is released. Then of course your input suddenly jumps even though you haven't moved your thumb and have to fight to regain control.

    You can see people asking about this when pCars 2 came out:
    Any way to increase steering lock on a controller? : pcars

    I bought AMS2 with trepidation due to this issue and its absolutely ruining any chance of enjoying the game for me as it stands. To double check I wasn't loosing my sanity I switch from AMS to AMS2 back to back a number of times to A B cars. In AMS1 I can decide to apply more or less steering at any point from entry, mid, to exit of any corner. If I go in too hot I can use a combination of more steering input and pedals to get out of the situation, exit oversteer can be caught with opposite lock. All of it with a totally natural feel of a car.
    AMS2 is a total crap shoot. I enter a corner too fast for the lock supplied, have to brake to remove speed, at some arbitrary point on corner exit I'm given my full lock back resulting in my wheel shooting in the direction I was steering in and off onto the grass or zig zagging around the track like a fool. It's completely unplayable, a total shame given the content looks brilliant.

    I can only implore Reiza to go back and look at the ISImotor source code and lift all the steering help logic out and into AMS2. Do not take anything from pCars 2 its useless. Also don't even think about releasing this on console with the current setup, you'll be hung drawn and quartered by the console community with the current gamepead system.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
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  6. GTAce

    GTAce New Member

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    Glad I'm not alone.
     
  7. Dicra

    Dicra Member

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    Are you sure this is what happens? Because I think the issue is not that there's a preset that determines the amount of steering lock available relative to the corner you're driving through. I think the system decides how much steering lock is available relative to speed, and that this speed sensitivity is not perfectly calibrated, which leads to the issues you've described - especially the lack of steering lock increase on lower speeds.
    Sometimes, understeer induced by too much turn-in can be confused with a lack of steering lock as well.

    The following video should be illustrating that: I can absolutely turn in "too much" in the faster corners, but I can't do the same in slower corners. Also, I've noticed that even on 0 kp/h, my steering range is limited to about 180° all the time, instead of 360° or more, as it should be.

    Now, in the video I did one quick lap where I drove the same as always, and one lap where I just turned in fully for nearly every corner. Admittedly, this was done on a very unreasonable "Speed Sensitivity" setting - 60 is too twitchy for SuperV8 - but on Hockenheim, there's basically no choice if you want to get the hairpin at a decent speed on pad.

     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
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  8. Beccobunsen

    Beccobunsen Member

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    I can't save gamepas setting at all...
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  9. Beccobunsen

    Beccobunsen Member

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  10. GTAce

    GTAce New Member

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    Have you tried saving the settings with your gamepad instead of the mouse (just curious)?
     
  11. Beccobunsen

    Beccobunsen Member

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    Uh, there is...:eek:
    Strange...but yeah o_O, now work
     
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  12. Berno

    Berno New Member Reiza Backer

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    No I'm not sure anymore. Back when I got pCars2 this was my lasting impression of how it worked. I only tried AMS2 briefly in early access and couldn't control it at all so figured it was the same issue.

    I've just tried it again and it feels a little better. But overall the feeling is frustration and a lack of control. I went back to back with AMS and in that I could choose my lines, turn in point and how much steering lock to apply mid corner. The grin on my face just kept growing.

    In AMS2 the best I could get was a feeling that I was on a ride where I a little control over how it went. Its still totally frustrating. Hairpins are just painful you basically have to park the car to get it to turn. To me its like there is a very low maximum lock when using gampad. Like what you noticed. I couldn't test out the Speed sensitive steering theory as for me if I change it and go back to the menu its always 95%. Will have to check if choosing with a gamepad helped.
     
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  13. John Hargreaves

    John Hargreaves Active Member Reiza Backer

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    Great thread , I'm inspired to hook up my xbox controller and have a go. I've got PC2 on the PS4 working pretty well so I'll see if it transfers over with the same settings
     
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  14. Berno

    Berno New Member Reiza Backer

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    I thought I'd take a look at the final corner in Adelaide that is maddeningly frustrating in AMS2.
    I really have to park it to get any rotation then wait forever before getting on the power due to being lock limited on gamepad.

    AMS:
    AMS.jpg
    I went extra wide and turned in full lock while trail braking up to the apex. I actually got too much turn in and headed for the inside curb. It was a side effect of trying to show how hard you can turn in. You can see my apex speed well above 70 and best lap in the low 1:19's.
    AMSAngle.png
    I realise the visual wheel might not match the actual lock going in the sim but its the only indication we have. I measured about 80 degrees, the thumb stick was full right.

    AMS2:
    AMS2.jpg
    I had very little control over my turn in point, turned with the max the game would give me and had to brake until it finally had any rotation. Apex speed at 60. Wait on exit with the same lock forever before putting power down. Minimal wheel scrub on fronts. Best lap low 1:22.

    Ams2Angle.png
    Measured 54 degrees full lock.

    Feeling of being in control, searching for the limit or actually enjoying myself completely gone.
    As I said in AMS2 I feel like I don't have any say in how aggressive I drive, or if I want to experiment with different turn in points or lines.

    I realise I chose slightly different F3 cars but 3 seconds is a lot of lap time to lose even accounting for different tyre models and physics engines. I can feel all the time being lost mid corner because I don't have any steering lock.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
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  15. GTAce

    GTAce New Member

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    Thanks for the informative contributions!
     
  16. Berno

    Berno New Member Reiza Backer

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    Well this is interesting. I now know all my previous controller tweaks weren't being saved due to this weird issue of having to exit with the gamepad for it to save changes!
    I wondered why everything I was trying didn't take effect.

    It seems my main issue was excessive speed sensitivity of the default 95%. I've been tweaking and while its still not as controlled as AMS I could now lap decently and close to my AMS speeds. It all feels a lot more sketchy but that could well be just the different tyre models. Improved? More realistic? IDK my backs to bad to drive an F3 car around a street circuit thats for sure!

    AMS2 New settings.jpg
    With new settings I'm able to apply proper lock at the apex.

    AMS2 new settings lap.jpg
    Setting a semi respectable high 1:19.

    I'd like to spend more time tweaking my controller settings now that I know how to save them.
    I still find the steering jolts quite a bit on corner entry. As said a lot of this might be due to a higher fidelity in the bumpy circuit. Madness engine has always been very bouncy and slidey compared to other sims anyway.
     
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  17. Berno

    Berno New Member Reiza Backer

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    Here are my current setting if interested.
    Still very much WIP and some whacky values set to min or max to see what effect is had:
    Controlelr.png
     
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  18. John Hargreaves

    John Hargreaves Active Member Reiza Backer

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    These are the settings I use in the PS4 version of PC2, and they translate pretty well to AMS2. This is based on using auto gears and ABS/TC/SC all high. It gives quite a good experience with the lower power cars, but the F1 cars are still a bit twitchy. Personally, I'd suggest increasing the aids for the more difficult cars (at least as an option) to make them accessible on a pad. Cars such as the Lotus 49 are not well suited to pad driving and really need increased stability and traction control.
    The sprintcar, GT4, P4 class, Fiat Uno etc all drive nicely for me with the above settings.
    PC2 gamepad driving is still a bit on the twitchy side, the better titles that have good pad control do more smoothing and still allow subtle and accurate control. I'd say GT Sport is the best I've tried for pad control - I think you just haver to accept extra driving aids with it, as that sort of compensates for the quick instinctive corrections you can easily do with a wheel.

    controller settings AMS2.jpg
     
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  19. Beccobunsen

    Beccobunsen Member

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    I have the damping slide to 95, and still i cant do a decent "analog turn", i have a good quality gamepad. (Not the best but..), no problem with the trigger. But the analog stick are too sensitive in ams2, i ve done calibration in win and in steam, is perfect and smooth, but in ams2 is almost digital at full speed. My tt is always 4 or 5 sec from the first.
     

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  20. John Hargreaves

    John Hargreaves Active Member Reiza Backer

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    Yeah, I've got pretty clumsy 20th century thumbs, I have to concentrate very hard to be smooth in the madness engine on a pad.
     
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