Getting Started with ACC

It’s fair to say that Assetto Corsa Competizione (ACC) isn’t the easiest simulation racing game to get to grips with. While trying to get the hang of what’s going on, you inevitably miss information that appears briefly on screen, or are left wondering what you need to do or why it’s all going wrong, particularly if you aren’t already familiar with the real-life series regulations. With that in mind, this page aims to help newcomers get settled in and racing.

Note – This page is a work-in-progress and, since the console version has just launched, concentrates on that for the time being. I only have access to the xbox version, but the principles for PS4 will be the same. Mainly, the controller button symbols will vary, but I’m sure you can figure out those and adapt.

Before you start driving:

Navigating the games user interface is done using the D-Pad and the A button to select. Sometimes the current option is highlighted in white, sometimes with a white outline and sometimes in red. Yes, it’s not very consistent, but you’ll get the hang of it! Often, you will need to highlight a setting or option, then press A to select it, use the D-Pad left and right to change and finally, A again to complete.

Before you drive, you’ll want to start by making some settings tweaks. Open the Options window in the lower right corner of the games’ main screen. The Audio options are probably all fine to be left alone for now, but you’ll want to go in to the others and set some things up…

Controller settings:

By default, Controller (instead of wheel) settings were selected, but I have no wheel plugged in so that makes sense! I’ll concentrate on controller settings here too, since that’s likely what most new players will be using.
The default for Steer Stick to be set to Left Stick will be what most people are expecting. Throttle and Brake Positions on Normal will use throttle on the right trigger and brake on the left trigger. Again, this will be what most people expect, but you can change these if you wish.
I’ll cover the Force Feedback and Advanced settings later as it’s not obvious what they do, but they greatly affect how the controller feels to drive. The only tweak I made to get started was to change Steering Gamma down to 2.5 from the default 3.0. Otherwise I left these alone and got used to the driving quite quickly.

Where you DO need to make some settings changes is over in the Control Bindings on the right side of this screen. I am used to Forza Motorsport, so I made the following changes:

Shift Up: B button
Shift Down: X button
Flasher: Y button
Cycle Camera: View button (looks like two overlapping squares)
Look Back: Right Stick button
Cycle HUD MFD: A button

There are LOTS of other options and some may be handy to bind, for example to the left and right buttons (which by default look left and right). But I recommend playing the game for a while first, and seeing what you find yourself using (or wanting to use) often.

Once you have set things up to your liking, I recommend choosing a simple, one digit preset name and save the profile (in the lower left part of the screen). That way if you make future changes that you don’t like, you can roll back and load settings that were better. Equally if you make changes you prefer, save over an existing profile by giving it the same preset name and saving again. Back out to the Options screen and continue to..

Assist settings:

These settings are personal preference and generally are all set to Automatic/100% when you first play the game.
I would recommend switching from Automatic to Manual on the Gearbox setting. Personally I also changed the Stability Control setting to OFF from the default 100% and changed the Ideal Line to Hidden. Since automatic gearboxes, stability control and, obviously, ideal lines are not on the real cars, the game classes them as gameplay assists and not realistic, therefore your driver rating “scores” will improve more slowly with them enabled.
Engine Start, Wipers, Lights etc can be left on Automatic without penalty since they are part of the real-world series and are there to make the game more accessible.
When finished setting your preferences, back out to the Options screen and select…

HUD settings:

These too are personal preference, but I STRONGLY recommend leaving Enabled the following options:
Gear/Speed, Tyres App, Virtual Mirror, Proximity Indicators and Radar.
Personally I have everything Enabled here except the Server Statistics.

With all of these options looked through, you should be ready to hit the track, depending on which mode you choose to start with…

Time to start driving:

ACC now gives you a choice of where to go to start driving. Since you need to get a feel for the controls and how the cars drive, I would recommend NOT jumping straight in to multiplayer. Instead, I would recommend choosing either Career, Special Events or Single Player to start.

Career:

The career within ACC will take you through some test drive scenarios and through a season or two of racing against the AI. This is a reasonable place to start driving although maybe not the best! Career aims guides you through some of the games features while you drive and race, however, it’s very easy to miss information given to you here though as you’ll likely be concentrating on something (probably driving) as a snippet of information is presented to you briefly on screen. I can help with the most important things here though.

After a short video you’ll be given a set of three, ten minute driver training scenarios to drive, all in a Lamborghini Huracan at Monza, the Temple of Speed! The first objective is to simply get a feel for the car and the track by driving around the circuit in the dry. The second session has you doing the same, but this time in wet conditions. Remember to brake earlier! Finally, you do the same again, but this time in total darkness. I should point out here that you’ll likely find the dark extremely difficult since the headlights on this car appear to be bugged in the initial console release! The distance markers are practically invisible and I would suggest simply getting through this however you wish. Even if you drive like Miss Daisy!

In all three of these scenarios, you get underway by selecting the DRIVE option when it is presented to you in the race menu. You start in the pit lane and, if set to automatic in the options, your engine will automatically be started. Select first gear and head off to the right to leave the pits. The speed limiter ONLY works in FIRST gear. If you shift up to second in the pit lane, you’ll likely get a speeding penalty in a “real” race, so get used to driving the pit lane in first. On crossing the pit exit line, the limiter will disengage (or if you chose manual, you can switch it off yourself) and you are now joining the main part of the track. Don’t cross the solid white line that runs for a short distance down the track, this is a safety regulation in real-life racing and the sim expects you to do the same. At the end of your ten minute drives you’ll get a summary of your performance followed by the option to continue to the next event.
From this point the career proceeds along single player races against AI with occasional test days mixed in. I’ll cover those amongst the single player races later.

Special Events:

Kunos Simulazione, the developers of ACC, periodically (usually monthly) update the available events in this section. All of them are particular scenarios in a specific car, at a specific track and everyone completing an event has their performance recorded in an online, worldwide leaderboard. Your best records here come together to give your Pace (PC) score – more on that later.
The various scenarios that make up these events are:
Hotlap: Drive as fast as you can within the track limits, completing as many laps as you wish. Your best, legal time will be recorded on the leaderboard.
Hotstint: Be as consistent and quick as possible to record as many laps as you can within the given time window. In this mode, it’s more important to stay clean and make as few mistakes as possible.
Superpole: You have two flying laps to set the best time you can manage. Use the first to bring your tyres to optimum and be as quick and clean as you can on the second.

Single Player:

Single player mode puts you in complete control of what, where and how you drive. All cars and circuits are available to choose from, as well as settings like time-of-day and time progression, weather settings, ghost cars and AI driver settings. You may find this mode preferable to start driving in, since you may not like the games choice of Monza, or the Huracan, at the start of the career. With that in mind, here is a quick run-down of the various single player scenarios to aid your selection, starting with Game Mode:
Practice: As it says, this is a simple practice mode that drops you into the pits of your circuit of choice, in the car you selected. You can choose the time of day and the rate at which time passes (1x for real-time up to x48 where every second that passes while you drive equals 48 seconds in the sim).
Hotlap: Another simple mode where you simply drive for lap after lap, with the option of a ghost car of your best time available for you to beat.
Hotlap Superpole: A quick two flying lap run to set your best possible time.
Hotstint: Similar to simple hot lap, but in this mode you are aiming to be both quick and consistent to set the best time and number of laps within a given time window.
Quick Race: As it says, a quick, single race with no practice or qualifying. You can choose your starting position, length of race, number of AI drivers and their skill level.
Sprint Race Weekend: A simulation of a full sprint race weekend, optionally including practice and qualifying sessions (select skip if you don’t want to do them). As with a quick race, you can choose your starting position, race lengths (there are two races) and AI settings.
Endurance Race Weekends (3H/6H/24H): A simulation of a full endurance race weekend, as above, optionally including practice and qualifying. Race length and AI settings can all be customised. The type of race weekend (3, 6 or 24 hour) changes the regulations to which the sim race is run, as well as the maximum length of race you can choose. Yes, you can run a 24 hour race weekend event with a 1 hour race length (and the 24 hour race regulations), but you can’t run a 3 hour race weekend event for 6 hours.
Custom Race Weekend: As it says, all options are selectable.

Weather and track conditions are selectable for all single player events, from fixed, clear weather with an optimum grip level track, to fully dynamic (changeable) and random weather with a “green” track.

While the number of selectable options here can seem overwhelming, you’ll quickly find that most settings make sense after you gain a little experience.

So with all that information, where should you start?

To summarize and give my recommendation, configure your controller as mentioned at the start and be ready to give it some time driving to get used to before tweaking.
Choose a single player, daytime, dry weather practice session, hopefully at a track you are familiar with and enjoy driving in other games. If you don’t know any of them, Monza has few corners, but Silverstone has a wide circuit with lots of run-off for when you make mistakes.
Choose one of the following cars, which are generally accepted to be more beginner friendly: Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Ferrari 488 GT3, Lexus RC F GT3 or one of the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3’s.
Finally, be ready to go into the Setup menu when in the pits, choose the Current Setup, move to the Electronics page and increase the TC (and, if available, the TC2) setting close to, but not, the maximum. The maximum is intended for heavy rain and standing water conditions and not recommended for dry weather even when learning.

Lastly, while driving, be aware of your tyre pressures and temperatures.
This is why I recommended leaving the Tyre App enabled in the HUD settings. You will be able to see the temperature, represented as the colour of each tyre (blue for too cold, red for too hot, green for just right), and the pressure of each tyre shown as a number by each one for the psi. After a couple of laps of driving, you want to have your tyres green, and at 27 to 28psi for dry tyres, or around 30psi for wet. When your tyres are too cold or the pressure is outside the optimum window, you will not have the full amount of grip available and will have to brake a little earlier to compensate.

Some information on the Advanced Controller settings.

So you’ve driven around for a while and gotten a feel for things, but maybe the controller isn’t responding quite how you would like it. Here is some information on what each setting does and why you might want to tweak it.

Force Feedback > Vibration Intensity: This controls how much rumble you feel coming through your controller and is VITAL feedback you need to control your car. You need to be able to feel the various sensations that come through, but not too strongly or they will be offputting. The default of 80% worked perfectly for me to be able to feel the tyres losing grip and the sensations of riding kerbs etc.

Advanced > Deadzone: This option should be as close to zero as possible, without you experiencing “drift” on the controls (particularly steering). If you find that when you intend the car be going straight it’s actually slightly steering one way or the other (assuming that you haven’t crashed and broken the steering), slightly increase this setting until the drift stops.
Speed Sensitivity: As your speed in the car increases, it is preferable for the amount of steering input that comes from the stick to go down. This setting does just that. If you find the car to be ok at low speed, but very twitchy at high speed, increase this setting. Conversely, if you’re ok at low speed, but you can’t turn in to high speed bends quickly enough, turn this setting down. Try to adjust this in combination with the Steer Speed setting, see below. Defaults to 20%.
Steer Filter: Input from controllers, particularly the steering sticks, can be “noisy” with the values changing a lot despite the user trying to hold the input steady. This option will filter out a portion of these changes. If set to low, you can find the car being unpredictable and hard to control. Conversely, if set to high, you may find the car feeling “numb” to your input and not responding to small corrections you want to make. Defaults to 80%.
Steer Speed: Real life car steering takes a large range, rotational input which doesn’t map well onto a tiny joystick with a short, linear throw. This setting allows the speed at which your steering input is translated into car steering in the sim. This is felt most directly at LOW SPEED, since the Speed Sensitivity setting above reduces your steering as the car speed increases. If the car feels very twitchy at low speed, reduce this setting. If instead the car isn’t turning in quickly enough at low speed, try increasing this setting. Defaults to 70%.
Steer Gamma: The gamma setting allows you to adjust how much movement on the steer stick it takes to move the car steering by a given amount. A setting of 1.0 is a straight line, or linear, translation. A setting above one changes this to an increasing curve, meaning that small stick inputs give even smaller steering changes, but a bigger increase when you push the stick all the way to the end of it’s travel. The bigger the gamma, the bigger the curve and allows more fine steering at the start of stick travel, while still keeping full steering input at the end of the stick. Personal preference strongly comes into play for this one and most people prefer a setting somewhere between 1.5 and 3.0. Default is 3.0.
Steer Assist: As implied in the name, this allows the sim to try to interpret what you mean with your steering input. It certainly doesn’t steer for you, but it does help to get the correct amount of steering for the situation. I strongly recommend leaving this enabled. Default is Enabled.

As with real race car set up, when changing your controller options, only change ONE setting at a time. Drive for several laps to see if the change is good or bad and then continue to tweak from there. Once you settle on something relatively close to what you think you want, stick with that setting for a while. It could just be that your perfect ideal isn’t possible and the final tweaks you need to make are you YOUR inputs, not the settings. After a short time, you’ll probably be perfectly happy with where you have ended up.

To be continued…

The information above is plenty to get going with and is probably enough for you to progress on to full race events and multiplayer. Coming soon though will be some more details on the regulations that races are run to and how to use things like the rolling start widget, the basics of car setup in ACC and how to make a successful pit stop.

See you on the track. Have fun! #beACC