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A beginner's (or n00b's) guide to rFactor, since the game does not have a proper manual as such. This quick beginner's guide aims to get you up and running in no time! With thanks to ckount for the re-production rights to this article.

By ckount
28 July 2006

These are my key learnings from my first 5+ hours with this utterly enjoyable racing sim and the goal is for beginnner's to get going fairly quickly.

Following this guide might be simpler if you chose to run rFactor in windowed mode so you can read this guide at the same time. Windowed mode is enabled with rFactor Config. After you've set up your player, quit rFactor and uncheck windowed mode in rFactor Config again which makes racing so much more enjoyable.

Creating a Player for the First Time

This is self explanatory - just follow the guide. Click Customize -> Player.
Enter your name, and optionally date of birth (MMDDYYYY) and location (I wrote City, Country). Click Accept.

As I'm an F1 fan, I chose OW Challenge 2005. You can chose whatever you want but my findings and guide is about OW Challenge 2005.

Click Accept.

Chose Customize (already selected) -> Settings.

Difficulty settings:

Use the small gray arrows to select Veteran difficulty. To see the details you can expand the Difficulty view by clicking on the icon that looks like a window with and arrow to the left of it. In Veteran difficulty everything is off but Auto Clutch. If you like, enable Auto Reverse.

First Tip!

The first time you run rFactor you might want to leave Difficulty settings to default (Intermediate), but as soon as you've raced a couple of lapses and got a feel for the car handling - turn off all help except Auto clutch and Auto reverse (optional). Learning how to drive with all help turned off is essential, and not as hard as it might seem in the beginning.

After only 30 minutes of driving with Veteran difficulty settings, I was able to stay on the track without spinning wildly about. It's worth it.

Second Tip!

You need an analog controller that let you make smooth inputs. As opposed to a steering wheel or a game pad the keyboard is digital; it's either full throttle or full brake, full left or full right. You need to be able to brake smoothly and steer smoothly as well as throw that steering wheel fast and hard, to make your car's rear end swing out, e.g. to start a swirve.
I use the Wingman Rumblepad myself, as my Saitek wheel takes up too much space on my desktop. It works great with some practice.

Rules settings:
Leave as default (Strict).

Controls settings:
Click the gray arrows untill your controller is selected.
Expand view and make adjustments to your liking. Asside from steering, shifting and throttle/brake, I found it useful to have Speed Limiter (default L) for use when entering and in the pit), Request Pit (default S) and LCD Mode (default Enter).
Make sure to save your settings so you can use it again when creating a new player.
Click Save & enter name of your liking, and you're done.

First Finding!

Your controller preferences are not remebered when creating a new player. If you've created a new player and made adjustments to the Controller Settings don't be surprised when nothing happens as you try to leave the pit - press Esc and select settings and load your saved controller settings.

Another tip is that when you make your controller mappings, pick a name that is alphabetically ranked higher than the A to Z keyboard. That way you won't have to scroll through possibly multiple listings to find your personal preferred settings. My default wheel/button control set is named AAA so that it is always the first choice.

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