Since the beginning of the history of computer and console games, driving simulators have covered the desires of those who, being unable to access sports or competition cars, as common mortals usually do, want to experience the sensation of taming hundreds of cars. horses on the world’s most famous roads and tracks. But as for other games we have become accustomed to the keyboard or game controllers, fans of driving simulators have seen increased doses of realism and control thanks to the steering wheels and pedals that different manufacturers have developed for these games. .
If at first we had to settle for pressing keys to move the steering wheel or step on the pedals, now we can not only operate the vehicle’s controls but even feel its reactions through the steering wheel. One of these companies is Thrustmaster, a manufacturer with a recognized pedigree that began by developing joysticks adapted to the control of flight simulators and that in 1999, after the purchase of the French company Gillemot, expanded its catalog and applied its knowledge in the field of flight simulators. game control to the steering wheels and other peripherals with great milestones such as the replicas of the steering wheels of Ferrari models thanks to a special agreement.
In the market of steering wheels for driving simulation we can find a whole range of peripherals with different benefits and prices. The tricky thing is to find, as is the case with the Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback, all the essential elements that a steering wheel should have without causing the budget to skyrocket. We are talking about elements such as the “Force feedback” that transmits the car’s reactions to driving maneuvers to the steering wheel through motors, and the pedals both included in this device.
The first thing we look at when unpacking the Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback is build quality. These types of peripherals are sometimes made of excessively light, low-strength materials that do not give the impression of being “real flyers.” In our case it is a well-built peripheral with an excellent feel on the steering wheel. The power connection and USB cable (Xbox and PC compatible) are on the front and are fixed. Also in this part we will find the network plug connector for the connection of the pedals.
Specifications Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback
12 bit optical sensor
12 action buttons + 1 direction pad
Yes, on the sides of the steering wheel axis
USB (Xbox / PC)
33 x 32 x 30 cm
The Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback clamping system consists of a wide platform that can be released and tightened by means of a thread that rotates with a folding handle so that it is more comfortable to turn the system and that the steering wheel is fixed without disturbing the part when sitting . The fixing piece rests on two pressure points that can pivot, to adapt to the shape of the table, and padded, so as not to damage it. Keep in mind that the screw completely unscrewed leaves a space of about four or five centimeters, something to take into account since it could not be installed on very thick tables.
In any case, in our case the solution has been a folding camping table robust enough so that it does not dance when using the steering wheel (about 30 euros approximately). A practical solution since we can place it at the ideal distance from the television connected to the console and the table can be folded and stored when not in use, leaving the living room free. It is also adaptable to different heights depending on who is going to play. In the case of a room with a work table or adapted to gaming, we have not encountered installation problems since their thickness is usually not too large and they are usually wide so there is space to place the pedals underneath.
Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback: Complete Controls
The part of the steering wheel is very complete with the usual buttons for controlling the game on Xbox and the two shift paddles on the sides. The feel of the materials is very good and rubbery, with better grip, although perhaps unrealistic compared to the materials of a “real” steering wheel. The diameter is 28 centimeters, enough for good control with both hands. The touch of the buttons is good and they are accessed easily and comfortably.
The pedals are an accessory that undoubtedly adds realism, although they are somewhat close together and do not have a system to fix them on the ground, although the base material is non-slip, the set is light so we can accidentally move it if we step on the accelerator with enthusiasm or the brake. However, as it has a good support surface for the heels, we will soon get used to supporting the foot in such a way that the pedals do not move. It requires some adaptation but the result is quite good.
The connection is made in a very simple way, we simply connect the steering wheel to the console or the PC, connect the pedals and then to the power. The steering wheel will perform some calibration turns that will also help us to see if the steering wheel grip is sufficient or if the table vibrates too much or moves. Once these calibration turns have been carried out, the steering wheel is ready to be used and in our case to start the use tests.
Our tests with the Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback were carried out with an Xbox One X and among others we used the games Forza Horizon 4 and Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport 7. The one that is undoubtedly the strong point of this peripheral immediately took center stage: the Force Feedback system. Despite being a wheel from the Thrustmaster entry range, the system it uses is that of its older brothers with a mixed gear and pulley mechanism that, according to the manufacturer, is more efficient and less noisy than other systems. The result is that when, for example, we venture off the asphalt or the terrain is slippery, the steering wheel perfectly transmits the sensations and adjusts the resistance to turning according to the simulation of the driving environment we face.
On the other hand, the driving precision is remarkable, something that we will notice more in circuit games like Motorsport. Here you also have the feeling of being in front of a steering wheel of a higher category and that is that a sensor with 12-bit optical reading has been incorporated. We really liked the sensitivity to the corrections in the middle of the curve that depending on the speed with which we take it we will find more or less resistance. In short, a surprisingly realistic result for the price range in which we operate in this case. If we want to complement the steering wheel, we can use brand accessories such as more advanced pedals, lever gearshift and even handbrake (essential for skidding in rally games and the like).
A steering wheel for driving simulation games is an investment that is not available to everyone. They are peripherals that have a fairly high price that on the other hand corresponds to what they are since they are devices much more complex than a game controller. It is true that you can find steering wheels at a low price, but they are peripherals that often do not offer essential functionalities such as the “force feedback” system or do not have pedals, which are very important for a good simulation.
For that reason we really liked the Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback since for less than two hundred euros we can enjoy all the fundamental features that we have mentioned with the quality and response of this brand’s peripherals with a more than convincing quality of use. Of course, it is a device to take into account if we are starting in car simulation and we want a complete and quality device without having to make a large investment. Few drawbacks like the stability of the pedal system or the fixation are minor problems.
Final evaluation SUMMARY
It is undoubtedly one of the most balanced steering wheels for simulation of driving games with the best value for money. Good Force Feedback system and good precision.
Installation and configuration7.5