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Lack of force feedback in wheel center / FFB deadzone?
Sometimes we receive customer complaints about missing "feel" or effects in the wheel center or when driving on straights. These issues brought to us on basis of a fundamental misunderstanding. Let us explain that a bit more:
1. The wheel does not treat the wheel center of effects in the center any different.
2. The game/simulation software has to send effects to the game in order to make you feel something.
The wheel itself does not have any real center in turns of force feedback. It is only one axis from 0 to 900° (or 1080°) and every command is treated equally, no matter in which position the wheel is.
The FFB commands tell the wheel to move either left or right. The wheel itself does not even "know" if it is in the center position or at least that does not have any effect on the force feedback effects. We do not filter any effects when the wheel is in the centered position. We do not alter the effects at all. Therefore, we would expect that the game itself changes the behavior in this situation.
We cannot generate effects which are not sent by the game. The game developer has the option to actually hold the wheel in center and add friction to it (= damper effects). That would prevent from the wheel feeling loose and holding the axis more tightly on higher speeds would also make sense.
The fact that they are not handling force feedback as you wish it would be cannot be solved by the wheel hardware and has to be reported to software developers. We hope that we can make our customer aware that our hardware products are not able to improve the commands sent to it. We can only display the commands and effects received by the wheel bases as detailed, fast, direct, strong and smooth as possible.
Force Feedback wheels have different mechanical friction and various resistance inside the motor (maybe when powered only maybe only when powered off, depending on the electronics). Especially higher grade wheels and wheel bases do have reduced mechanical friction. This will result in a different reception of the effects. Developers often "rely" on the fact that most wheels have quite a big amount of friction. That means that those wheels never feel loose even if there are no effects at all since there is a natural dampening due to the mechanics or the motor. Higher class wheels have a very limited amount of friction without effects, or you can even reduce the friction (DRI - drift mode). If you are using hardware like this, then the hardware is dependent on getting effects from the game to avoid feeling something like an FFB deadzone.
In fact, what you could describe as an FFB deadzone can only be a result of what games are sending to the wheel or even more important, what they are not sending. That applies to all types of Fanatec Wheels or Wheel Bases!