RR DC1 Driving Controller - a review

The racing hardware

RR DC1 Driving Controller - a review

Postby Ghegs » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:12 pm

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On paper, the RR DC 1 Driving Controller is a good idea. It's a pad-with-a-wheel, supposed to give you more control over your racing games than what a normal gamepad's analog stick can offer, but without hitting the clunkiness and price of a wheel and pedals. It even has force feedback support.

Unfortunately, while the concept is good, the execution misses the mark.

The controller is the size of a PS2 controller. In fact, everything about it screams how it's a third-party PS2 controller, only with the analog sticks replaced with a single wheel, that you're meant to use with your thumbs. The plastic feels cheap and light. The wheel itself feels better, and thanks to the ribbed grips can be controlled with just one thumb, though using both feels more reliable.

The L2 and R2 buttons, which you'd probably want to use for brakes and acceleration, is where the first problems arise. Rather than triggers like in a Xbox 360 controller, they're analog buttons with very little throw, which you're supposed to use to get anywhere from 0% to 100% in either braking or acceleration. Depending on how the game's controls are configured, you might need to use so much force to get 100% out of them that your steering becomes considerably more difficult.

The rest of the buttons and the d-pad aren't great either, but adequate enough. The d-pad would probably only be used in menus only anyway. However, the face buttons' placement is problematic. In the picture above, see how close the square button is to the wheel? If you turn the wheel a bit to the left, the wheel actually covers the square button a little bit, making it extremely difficult to use while racing. You can pretty much forget about that button completely, forcing you to make due with three face buttons. And forget about using Select, PS, and Start buttons in the heat of the moment as well. When fully turned, the wheel completely covers either the Select or Start button, like so:

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That also shows the maximum turning radius of the wheel, not even 90 degrees one way. It's not exactly bad, but I wish it'd be a bit longer. The L1 and R1 shoulder buttons can also be problematic. Rather than being normal buttons, they're considered axes (axii?). Which means it's up to the game if it allows them to be mapped as buttons, like for downshift and upshift. Also, it might just be my controller, but the L2 button is very "resistant", like its deadzone is three times as big as it should be, making it very difficult to use.

Which leads me to configuring controls, which either breaks the controller completely or makes it at least acceptable. It's pretty much required that the game allows you configure the deadzone and sensitivity individually for steering, acceleration and brake to get any use out of it. The controller's own software doesn't allow setting these, so it's all up to the game. In fact, when trying to test the controller's force feedback in the Windows controller configuration, the program crashes. It does work fine in-game.

I tested the controller with four games. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, FlatOut 2, DiRT and Project Cars: Pagani Edition. In OutRun 2006 you can only set "sensitivity" which relates to the steering's sensitivity and maybe deadzone as well. This made steering in the game acceptable, but without a way to configure brake and acceleration it was more or less impossible to drive, as I couldn't get any decent acceleration out of the controller without ramming my index fingers through the buttons.

FlatOut 2 has options for setting wheel's deadzone and sensitivity but nothing for other buttons, so that was also frustrating to play.

With the more sim-like games things improved, since those tend to have more in-depth configuration options. Heightening acceleration's sensitivity made things much more manageable. It was even fun at times. Using the wheel did indeed give me smoother steering, and it was easier to keep the angle than with a pad.

So overall, it's not completely bad, but it is limited. It will technically work with any PC racing game, but playing any that doesn't give the necessary configuration options is just not gonna be much fun. And even if it does, you're limited in the amount of buttons to use, which might exclude some necessary functions.

I really do like the concept of having a product between a gamepad and a wheel. Unfortunately, this controller's problems keep it from perfectly filling that spot. I'd personally still recommend a neGcon and a PS1-to-PC -adapter. Hopefully RR DC1's developers will bring out another version that addresses the issues. Or maybe even a different one, with the twist function from neGcon coupled with long triggers for accel/brake for index finger use. I think that might be my dream racing game controller.

If you have any questions about the controller, ask here and I'll try to answer them.

RR DC1 and the wireless version RR DC2 are available for purchase at the RaceRoom Shop.
Speed is the magic that gives us direction
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Re: RR DC1 Driving Controller - a review

Postby itsgood2slide » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:40 am

Ghegs wrote:It even has force feedback support.

Interest piqued.

Ghegs wrote:analog buttons with very little throw

Interest dissipated.

Ghegs wrote:I couldn't get any decent acceleration out of the controller without ramming my index fingers through the buttons.

Analogue buttons: 17 years later, they are still ruining racing games.

Thanks for the review, Ghegs!
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