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360 racing wheel

nlawalkernlawalker Registered User regular
edited June 2009 in Games and Technology
I'm a big fan of racing games trending toward the arcade side (100% in Burnout Paradise, yessir), but I happened to play the PGR4 demo the other day and noticed a couple things:
  • It's not a simulator, which I don't think I would like, but it provides a great balance between arcade and simulation and has all the trappings of good 360 games (unlockables, achievements, etc.)
  • I've played a couple other games, like GRID, that seem to follow the same groove. I've also heard great things about Forza and others.
  • And the big one, which I never really noticed before now - I feel like the experience would be vastly improved with a wheel.
I had never considered getting a wheel before, but as I started to realize that precision use of the analog steering and the gas/brake were critical (for those who aren't familiar with Burnout, you can pretty much put a piece of tape over the right trigger), I pictured myself playing with a wheel and pedals, and what I envisioned was awesome. I'd love to get into it a bit more, pick up a few games like Forza and PGR4 and a wheel, but I had a few concerns.

It seems like there's no way I could make it work without taking over my living room. It would be fine if I had more space, but at the moment I'm in a smallish apartment with the TV room being the center of things, and the accumulation of Rock Band instruments is already straining relationships :P Is a really good table and chair crucial to the setup? It seems like putting the wheel on one's lap would not just be sub-optimal, but wouldn't really be very fun at all.

MS Wheel or Logitech DriveFX? Or is there another, better one I don't know about?

Is it as awesome as what I'm picturing? It just kind of thundered down upon me that I enjoy racing games a lot and a wheel would really add to the fun. Now that the idea's in my head, powering through a corner in anything more realistic than Burnout just feels wrong, trying to nudge the stick just so and manage the gas/brake on the triggers, all of which have a much shorter throw than a wheel and pedals.

Thanks in advance. Oh, also, I haven't seen any threads on the front page about racing games in general, so feel free to start a racing-related discussion. Split/Second looks great (no, wasn't planning on using a wheel for that one).

nlawalker on

Posts

  • mspencermspencer PAX [ENFORCER] Council Bluffs, IARegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I have the MS wheel and can't comment on the Logitech one.

    tl;dr answer: it's good but not great. If money is tight, see if racing games are still fun a month from now and then buy only if the answer is still yes. You might find you tire of racing games, and a wheel doesn't add enough new challenge or new experiences to be worth the purchase price alone.

    Personally I like my wheel and think it works well with realistic driving -- where any time your wheels break traction or lose grip and slide, you've made a mistake and could have done that better.

    This is also a personal opinion, but I feel the process of gradually adding front-to-back acceleration (accel or brake) while gradually removing side-to-side acceleration (turning) and vice-versa is easier with a wheel and pedals, and force feedback.

    To put it another way, when practicing a track using a controller and steering by bumping the thumbstick, I will tend to go as fast as possible and learn to scale back speed to stay on the track.

    When practicing a track using a wheel and pedals, I will tend to begin at speeds that I know will keep me on the track and develop speed as I practice. I think I teach myself to pay attention to how the wheel feels when I begin to lose traction, and I get better at feathering the gas or brake through the turn to maximize speed. Then I race online and still get beaten by people who steer by bumping a thumbstick with their thumb. I'm fine with that -- I don't need to win every race, I just don't want to come in last.

    mspencer on
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  • BrymBrym Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I have the MS wheel, and I generally like it. I do use it on my lap. I'd prefer a table, but the lap works.

    They key thing to know is that it probably won't make you any better at the game. Instead, it just makes the experience more realistic and visceral. As a result, the wheel is more fun in games where realism is the goal. In Forza, I won't play without my wheel. In PGR, I can go either way. In Burnout, you definitely want to avoid the wheel.

    Brym on
  • InsanityInsanity Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Ironing boards work well for wheels. Adjustable height and all.

    Insanity on
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  • mspencermspencer PAX [ENFORCER] Council Bluffs, IARegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Funny story: after getting a copy of Make magazine that had an article showing how to combine some steel and a car driver's seat from a junkyard, and weld together a seat for a racing wheel and pedals.

    I almost bought a $500 welding machine of some kind. I mentioned this almost-purchase to a less-nerdy friend, and they talked to me about what can happen to someone who tries to weld for the first time without trained supervision.

    I don't own a welding machine, and I still mount my racing wheel to a desk.

    (That's kind of on topic: it shows I really like my racing wheel. :-P )

    mspencer on
    MEMBER OF THE PARANOIA GM GUILD
    XBL Michael Spencer || Wii 6007 6812 1605 7315 || PSN MichaelSpencerJr || Steam Michael_Spencer || Ham NOØK
    QRZ || My last known GPS coordinates: FindU or APRS.fi (Car antenna feed line busted -- no ham radio for me X__X )
  • BasticleBasticle Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I like to link people to http://www.thewayiplay.com so you can gawk at all the crazy cockpits people make.

    Basticle on
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