Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Logitech Driving Force GT

Also known as the Gran Turismo wheel. Made for the PS3 and GT5 this wheel is awesome! Now if you are thinking about getting one because you are tired of playing with a controller, or maybe you want some more realism in there, this is the wheel to get. Also for 130$ great deal, plus very fun to drive with it's 900 Degrees steering. What turns some people off is the force-feedback but you can always turn that off. Now I'm not going to review the wheel, there are like a million videos and blog posts that do that. What am I going to do then? Let Me tell you about how it went with me.
 Here is what i bought used from Amazon, yes I'm that cheap. Now my biggest worry was if this wheel would run under Linux. Yes you heard me right, I am a Linux gamer. Well after reading much on forums I found out that many people had trouble with this wheel under Windows! You need to download drivers for this wheel to work properly under Windows. The Logitech site provided the drivers one might need, the software looks bulky an unnecessary, but worked well for Windows 7. Some people say this wheel is really meant for Play-station and was given PC compatibility as an add-on. So I wasn't expecting it to work right under Linux when i got it. That's what dual-booting is for.

So how does the Driving Force GT run under Linux? As my test rigs, I had Linux Mint Debian 2.6.38 Kernel and Ubuntu 10.04 2.6.31 Kernel. They both took the wheel the same, only 200 Degrees of steering, I could not use the shifter knob and the foot paddles acted as one axis. Meaning that under Linux this is only a 2 axis wheel. (think joystick, up=gas down=brake left/right=obvious) The Logitech DFGT goes under a fallback mode when no drivers are available, so that explains a lot. (Right Paddle - R3 - Select, does not unlock it, at least under Linux) Also Force Feedback is a maybe on some games and sometimes works, I tested Live For Speed and Nascar 2003 Season (Papyrus) if works but when I had Force Feedback enables, the wheel would shift the the left and basically act like a stubborn mule. If the wheel turns one way when you race i would highly recommend you remove force feedback within the game, not sure if it was a Wine Issue on Linux or the wheel itself, but removing force feedback would allow you to race comfortable under Linux. (problema solucionado!) (Note! Once and only once for some strange reason the wheel worked 900 degrees under Linux! the shifter knob worked too but the Force Feeback did not, after a while it went back to normal, weird)

 Besides games under WINE, this wheel plays well under native Linux games, like Speed Dreams, Vdrift, TuxRacer, Tileracer, FlightGear and the list goes on. (Note- you will still need to calibrate and change some really detailed settings in most games to get the wheel to work right, EG Vdrift needs to know that the gas pedal need gain... you know the drill)

All in all, this wheel performs like a 50$ wheel under Linux, you can mod the kernel to unlock the 900 degrees and use the shifter, but i don't have time for that. It works and it's still fun, but to fully enjoy the wheel, means it has to be played on windows. Pishaa! Like that's going to stop me. I played Tux Racer for a while on Ubuntu (A penguin that slides on his belly down the hill.)

(note, when my Nascar-enthusiast friend saw this he said, "What a waste of a wheel.")

Now under Windows is a different story. After downloading and installing the latest drivers for Windows 7 32 bit (took forever!), I still could not use all 900 Degrees. I had to use the Windows calibration and in there Logitech kindly hid the 900 degrees lever. (It's under Settings!) I moved it to a comfortable 800. The wheel performed like a dream and so well that my friend bought the same wheel like 2 days later.

We are both not rich, and this 130$ (100$ used on Amazon with Shipping incl.) wheel hits just the spot for us Sim racers. Otherwise we would have bought the G27, but reality it is. Having tried the G27, this wheel is a very well deserved 2nd place. The only thing my friend didn't like is the lack of a clutch, yes he's a drifter. I use auto but the only thing I didn't like was the lack of Shifter paddles, if you look closely there are not paddles but buttons hidden behind the wheel, I use Formula cars so shifter paddles for me is nice when the auto tranny won't shift up.

Either way can't complain too much because I Love it!