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Tune your controller input in DIRT 5 (Updated for 4.03)
By Nismo. and 1 collaborators
This guide is to help who doesn't know what the advanced input settings in the game do.
There's also a small tutorial on how to setup Steam's Steam Controller support for even finer tuning.
Quick introduction
DIRT 5 4.03 Update: The deadzones have finally been fixed!
A new section has been added to this guide to explain in detail what the in-game advanced settings for controller input now do.
A big part of this guide is now irrelevant, or less relevant, but I'll keep it around just in case you feel like the in-game settings just aren't enough or if you still want to know how Steam Controller works.
If an update ever comes with a change that affects this, I will update the guide accordingly.

Unfortunately this won't make the steering faster, or slower, this is only to help you fine tune your input for you to feel more in control of the car.

As for the Steam Controller Support, it goes beyond just the Steam Controller itself, it actually supports basically any controller that Windows, and maybe even Mac or Linux, recognizes as a game controller.

This guide will only scrape the surface of what this tool can do, but it will show you how to bypass the lack of options in some games, in terms of setting up your gamepad's analog sticks' sensitivity and deadzones.
Understanding the in-game settings

Steering Linearity - This will change your input's curve sensitivity.
More to the left = Less sensitive at lower amounts of input (Example: 25% of stick input = 10% seen in game)
More to the right = More sensitive at lower amounts of input (Example: 25% of stick input = 35% seen in game)
If you feel like your cars turns too much when you slightly move the stick, set the linearity lower (left), if you feel like your cars turn too little when you slightly move the stick, set the linearity higher (right)
This will not affect Steering Saturation (explained later). 100% input will always be 100% steering.

Steering Deadzone - This should be used to remove stick drift.
The higher this is set, the more the stick will have to be moved for the car to start reacting to your input.
If you see that the car is turning by itself, set this higher until the car turns only when you want it to.

Steering Saturation - This is how much you need to move the stick to reach maximum turning.
Having it set to the highest value means it will be a 1:1 ratio to your input. The car will only reach maximum turning if you turn your stick all the way.
If you want your car to reach maximum turning before you push the stick all the way (or your controller is broken and the stick can't register max input), start reducing the amount of saturation.

All of these adjustments can be tested out of the track by going into the "INPUT REPORTING" menu on the previous page.
Step 1: Enabling Steam Controller Support
This section is no longer necessary. The in-game settings now allow you to do this with enough depth.
Only use this if you feel like the in-game settings aren't precise enough or as a reference for other games.

If you are familiar with how Steam Controller Support works, first, why are you here, second, skip this step if you just want the settings for this game.

To enable Steam's Controller Support feature, enable the Big Picture mode:

We will only need Big Picture to enable this, if you don't like it you can just exit the mode once we're done with activating the feature we want.

Once we're in, head to the Settings menu:

And finally go to Controller Settings:

From here, you want to enable the configuration support for your gamepad. Steam will tell you which type of gamepad you have connected:

Once you're done and want to leave Big Picture, just go all the way back to the home page by lightly spamming your ESC key, press the power button and Exit Big Picture:
Step 2: Tweaking your controls
This section is no longer necessary. The in-game settings now allow you to do this with enough depth.
Only use this if you feel like the in-game settings aren't precise enough or as a reference for other games.

As I mentioned in the description, DiRT 5 cuts your total input range by about 50%
Although 50% off is typically seen as a nice deal I can't say the same about this unwelcome input range cut.

This can cause issues like not knowing when the car is going to start turning, how much it will turn and when it reaches maximum turning.

DiRT 5 loses about 25% on both inner and outer deadzone. This basically means you need to push your stick quite a bit off the center to start turning, but you also reach maximum input well before your stick hits the edge of the socket.
Just imagine you're driving down the road with your car, never knowing how much you need to rotate the steering wheel for the car to start turning, sounds safe right?

Let's begin by making sure the controller is connected and enabled, then you should see this:Simply click that button to proceed.

Moments later this should open. Let's head to the left stick configuration because that's where steering is typically done:

Once you're in, you'll find some basic configuration stuff, but for what we want to do we need to go to additional settings:

You can basically just copy the Horizontal Scaling and Anti-deadzone values since these are simply to patch the game's excessive deadzone:
If you find that you have some stick drift, run the game, keep this window open and slowly increase "Deadzone Inner" until the drift is gone but don't change the anti-deadzone.

The best way to tune deadzone is going in the cockpit view in a well lit area where you can clearly see the car's steering wheel moving as you move your analog stick.
Ideally you'd want the car to start turning when you think you have moved the stick just enough for a small input to be read by the game, but once you release the stick it should always recenter the wheel.

For me the steering was still a little too sensitive so I adjusted the response curve so I can do finer adjustments easier. (Less sensitive inputs near the center for an ease-in effect)

If you're curious, this is what each setting does:
  • Horizontal scaling will set the maximum input the game will receive by multiplying your total input range by the value you've set, effectively getting rid of outer deadzone. DiRT 5 will reach maximum steering at 81% input, by setting the scale to that 81% reaching full input in your controller will match the steering maxing out.
  • Anti-deadzone works as the name says, it removes the game's deadzone and it does it by raising the minimum input your controller will send to the game. After some tinkering DiRT 5 seems to only respond to inputs over 25% (which would be 0.250).
  • IMPORTANT: Horizontal scaling is the last filter to be applied which means we've lost 19% of our total input range, so we need to make sure we still get 25% anti-deadzone, not 81% of 25% anti-deadzone (which would be 20%).
    To get 25% anti-deadzone after it gets cut by 19%, just divide 25% by 81% and we get our 0.309 anti-deadzone value.

Before you close everything, I'd recommend going back to the controller overview and getting rid of the default deadzones Steam adds to the other analog inputs like the triggers and the other analog stick:

For the triggers:

For the stick:
This can be applied to any game with a lacking controller implementation that doesn't allow you to fine tune deadzones and sensitivity curves.
It's a shame we have to resort to this because games no longer give us the options, but luckily Steam has our backs.

I'll be sure to keep the guide updated in case a patch changes the controls' behavior.

Enjoy your hooning time in DiRT 5 😁
Odie.TV Mar 12, 2022 @ 9:07am 
AC and ACC are games i've yet to look into, but i've heard good things about the former. I don't play a whole lotta racing games, and when i do i tend to stick to older games or titles that have a discrete enough way of doing things that i personally don't mind them as much ( ie. forza).

I had to stop and think for a moment on your comment about controls and physics being two completely different things, because DIRT5 demonstrates this so clearly: everything just feels so much snappier and more real with the "wheel trick". If anything, it saddens me to see there's a competent physics engine underneath all that input handling garbage most people won't get to experience, simply because the choice isn't given to them.

No need to apologize for your rants ( to me, atleast), please keep fighting the good fight for accessibility and controls in games :steamhappy:
Nismo.  [author] Mar 11, 2022 @ 12:00pm 
So many games suffer from overly filtered controls, especially now when developers go for needlessly complex physics models and then slap a bunch of input filters to make the game playable.

It's a strange time for racing games, we either have stuff like DIRT 5 or The Crew 2 with pretty aggressive, and sometimes downright bad, input filters or full-on simulators where people just shun you for trying to play the game with a pad or keyboard.

Wheel users having an advantage in arcade/sim-cade games is silly, and good input filters are possible for simulators without "dumbing down" physics.

AC Competizione has a really good controller filter and people seem to accept it as a true simulation game. Sadly the filter isn't customizable, but I feel like it proves how controls and physics are two completely different things.

Sorry for the rant, but every time I get the chance to voice my opinion on controls I do so because of the things I mentioned in that video :D:
Odie.TV Mar 11, 2022 @ 10:56am 
Ah, just watched that video, and it seems like you're way ahead of me in terms of figuring this out, up and including the GIMX adapter. I agree with your overall sentiment: people should be able to configure their controls regardless of their input device. Owning a steering wheel just to fix the controls on a controller is a ridiculous demand. I just happened to have an old wheel around so i could dig into this myself.

Either way, cheers for the insights, and this neat little guide!
Nismo.  [author] Mar 11, 2022 @ 9:52am 
I have a video, should be on this game's community videos tab, where I have a comparison between fully unfiltered controls, using one of those input adapters, and the game's normal behaviour on a pad.

This guide doesn't mention anything like that simply because most people will play this on keyboard or gamepad, and those who have a wheel will most likely just play it with the wheel.

At first, the game had pretty bad deadzones for the steering so I decided to write this to shine some light on the Steam input configurator to help with those deadzones.

An update fixed the deadzone issues, but the terms used for the advanced settings' options can sometimes be deceiving, especially saturation, so I also tried to explain what those would do.
Odie.TV Mar 11, 2022 @ 9:33am 
@Nismo. this also ties into something else i wanted to mention: I found a different approach to making the controls more responsive on controller, but it involves hooking up a wheel ( or owning a device that can mimick one, like those input adapters for consoles): If the game recognizes a steering wheel, and you set it as the default input, the game will disable most, if not all of the ways the game messes with your steering inputs, which include, but are not limited to:
- Deadzone
- Input smoothing ( with this disabled, the wheel will instantly turn, greatly improving responsiveness, but requires smooth turning to prevent losing traction)
- Countersteering ( the game will countersteer and limit your steering when it detects rotation/oversteer)
- Speed steering ( the maximum allowed steering input will lower as you go faster, improving stability at the cost of reducing responsiveness at high speeds)
With these changes, you no longer have to forcibly throw the car into corners.
Odie.TV Mar 11, 2022 @ 9:24am 
@Aviatorix if you happen to have a wheel that's recognized in the game as such ( ie. a Driving Force GT), but the steering and throttle/brake inputs don't work, you can work around the issue by feeding your steering wheel into x360ce to emulate a controller. The game will recognize the steering inputs from the fake 360 controller, even when you set the steering wheel as the default input.
Aviatorix Feb 11, 2022 @ 3:05am 
Um ,steering wheel? Can't get mine to work at all
Nismo.  [author] Nov 9, 2020 @ 6:31am 
Yes, unfortunately the deadzone for the driving is higher than for the livery editor (which makes absolutely no sense...) but you can fix this by simply adding more "Dead Zone Inner" until the livery editor stops freaking out.

This will also add deadzone to the driving but it won't be an amount that will throw you off that bad.
For me, since I couldn't bother much with the livery editor or photo mode I just keep the deadzone inner at 0 and if I really want to take a photo I just add deadzone for the time being and go back to 0 once I'm done.
ToiletGranny Nov 9, 2020 @ 1:14am 
Nismo, this is great, thank you!

I tried that on my Xbox One controller and I can confirm that the difference is very noticeable! The easiest way to see it (visually) would be to switch to the cockpit view and see how stick movements correspond to the steering wheel movement on the screen.

There's one minor issue, though. The stick now seems to be overly "sensitive" for the game, making it more difficult to use eg. the livery editor or the photomode. With photomode, the game requires any camera movement to stop in order to start processing the image and apply all the effects. With these updated controller settings, this is not happenig in DIRT 5; I'm noticing a very slow and subtle camera movement towards the bottom even without touching the stick.
Nismo.  [author] Nov 7, 2020 @ 11:32am 
This game hates when you take corners slowly, you have to throw the car into the turn just right to get the most out of it, it can be pretty hard to get with some cars.

The lack of deadzone options in the game can indeed make the car feel weird especially if you don't do cadence steering (tapping the stick basically).