It’s the last week of the Logitech Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Challenge in the U.S. I’m sure you’ll agree that using a racing wheel contributes substantially to the experience that racing games like Gran Turismo 5 Prologue can deliver. Breaking your rear tires free around a long corner at 80 miles per hour is a much more visceral event when you’re wrestling with a wheel to regain control. In fact, there are quite a few nuances of the game that really become much more apparent when you’re using a steering wheel.
Force feedback is the most noticeable way the wheel can change your driving experience. In addition to the more obvious effects, such as those you encounter when you strike an object or run over a curb, a force-feedback wheel can deliver subtle information about how the car is performing in a particular situation. Push the throttle too hard through a corner, and you’ll feel your tires starting to lose grip. Lose control of the car’s rear end and the wheel will fight against you as you counter-steer to regain control. There are many ways in which the wheel’s force-feedback transmission can help the game’s sound and graphics engines realistically convey the experience of driving.
Precision, as well, is a huge benefit of using a racing wheel. The Driving Force GT can be turned 900 degrees, or 2.5 full turns, from lock to lock. Its optical encoder can recognize turns as small as 1/10th of one degree, meaning that there are 9,000 distinct positions that the wheel can report to the game. Similarly, both the throttle and brake pedals have a full 1,024 possible positions each. This translates into extremely smooth and accurate steering capabilities, and the ability to perform incredibly precise braking and throttle actions.
Finally, there’s the fun factor. It’s tough to quantify, but there’s just something about racing with a wheel that makes Gran Turismo games even more fun. Maybe it’s whipping the wheel from lock to lock to navigate the tight switchbacks of the Eiger Nordwand. Or maybe it’s rapidly downshifting with the stick as you decelerate for a 90-degree turn in London. It could even be the subtle feathering of the throttle to keep your tires from breaking loose during a high-speed turn. Whatever it is, it sucks you even further into the experience and makes it that much more real. And for me, that’s what’s really fun about Gran Turismo. I’d love to hear how the Driving Force GT has made Gran Turismo 5 Prologue more fun for you!