Tag Archives: forza

How I Use The Xbox Adaptive Controller To Play Forza Horizon 4 One-Handed

Huge shoutout to Jim for recreating my real-life Scout’s livery in the game!
Screenshot: Forza Horizon 4, Photo: Andrew P Collins

Forza Horizon 4 is one of the best driving experiences you can have without getting off your couch. But it, like most video games, requires two hands to play. Luckily for those who are not so-equipped—like me, unfortunately, at the moment—Microsoft makes a special controller that can be configured for just about anybody and any body.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a remarkably versatile device. Centralized by a platform-like hub with two big buttons and a directional pad; it’s also bristling with ports that can accept a bunch of different input devices. Joysticks, buttons, pedals, even mouth controls, and other very specific clickers can all be easily plugged in and mapped to Xbox controller button functions.

Photo: Andrew P Collins

The hub itself is wireless, just like a regular Xbox One controller, so you can use it from a couch or a wheelchair or wherever and sit far from the TV while keeping the wired controller accessories within reach.

Ergo: “…a gamer can game with one hand and one foot, or one hand and their shoulder, or even one foot and their chin,” as Microsoft Product Marketing guy James Shields explains in a surprisingly emotional promotional clip.

After a bad off-road wipeout in real life relegated me to my apartment and rendered my left hand useless for many months of the past year, my colleagues were kind enough to send me one of these controllers.

Here’s how I dialed it in for driving around digital Scotland in Forza Horizon 4.

Physical Setup

Photo: Andrew P Collins

My gaming posture puts my ass on the couch, Adaptive Controller on the floor, and nunchuck accessory in my right hand while my left rests or runs occupational therapy exercises. (It’s called multi-tasking.)

Here’s an important and odd aspect though: the nunchuck is actually plugged into the left port, but I turn the whole Adaptive Controller around so it’s physically on the right. This is partially so the brake and throttle are where they’d be on a car, but also so I can use the clicker buttons on the nunchuck to activate the left bumper button, which you need to enter races in-game in Horizon 4.

I click the big buttons with my feet, using the left for brake and right for gas, and use my right thumb to steer. That’s all I really interact with during gameplay.

Photo: Andrew P Collins

The Adaptive Controller also has a start button to pause, a select button to bring up the map, and a directional pad I use for changing the music, pulling the handbrake (extra realism since I have to reach down for it!) and cycling through menus. To get to any of those, I have to bend and stretch, but it’s alright because they’re not needed often.

With this configuration, I can be pretty competitive and usually win races with opponents set to the “inexperienced” difficulty. Though I have won on more challenging settings, I’ve been playing racing games since the original NES was barely obsolete and I’m confident in assessing that hand-and-foot gaming is a lot harder than using a traditional game controller. Point is: prepare for a steep learning curve if you’re moving from a regular clicker to a unique special-needs setup like this.

Anyway, I’m grateful that this option exists at all. But the Adaptive Controller doesn’t come out of its box ready to play like this. You need to configure both the game and the controller itself to work for you.

In-Game Setup

In Forza Horizon 4 you can’t map specific buttons to functions individually, but you can cycle through quite a few controller presets.

For use with the Adaptive Controller and nunchuck, particularly in the way I described above, I run with Default Layout 9:

Basically, you need the A and B buttons for throttle and brake, LB for selecting things, RB for moving through menus, D-pad right for changing the radio station (they’re all so good, you don’t want to skip this) and D-pad down for e-brake for sweet, sweet snow drifts.

Don’t forget, if you turn the whole controller around as I do, the directional buttons will be reversed from the user’s perspective. The stick for steering will not be backward, of course, as that’d be impossible to drive with.

That’s kind of the minimum controls you can get away with accessing to have a good time in Horizon 4.

I haven’t messed with the advanced adjustments yet, but you can if you want to fine-tune your controller’s responsiveness.

In the difficulty settings, I left the mistake-erasing “rewind” off originally but it does make races a lot easier to win. Otherwise, I’ve found that the combination of traction control on but stability control off lets you have fun and slide around, but also makes it slightly easier to accelerate in snow and mud in, say, a 900 horsepower Lamborghini. Which is a thing that happens in this game.

Software Setup

The Adaptive Controller has its own mapping program you can open like any other app from the Xbox home menu. I have mine programmed thusly:

For my configuration, to use in conjunction with Forza Horizon 4’s Default Layout 9, and the controller backward, the important parts are to map: D-pad down to X, D-pad left to RB, D-pad up to Y, and I actually haven’t messed with D-pad right but maybe there’s another function you might want to add there.

If you were hoping to drive a manual-shift car, sorry, I haven’t been able to crack that one for myself or my fellow one-handers. The in-game messaging is inaccessible too, so, if you’ve messaged me and been mad I haven’t replied, don’t take it personally. I just can’t reach the chat button.

Also, I have not successfully been able to do much in photo mode without a standard controller yet.

But pay special attention to which “slot” you save your setup to. If you save your mapping to slot 1, you have to physically set the controller to match slot 1 also. It’s a little button on the controller with a corresponding light, but it’s easy to forget about. That had me pretty frustrated for a good 20 minutes before I realized what the light on the controller was.

The setup I just described is the best way for a one-handed person to play Forza Horizon 4 on Xbox One based on quite a few hours of my personal research.

However, in case that doesn’t work for you, I also reached out to Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios, and they got back to me with their official recommendation for how to game this game with an Adaptive Controller:

  • Plug the PDP One-Handed Joystick into the left stick port of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The Joystick will be left stick.
  • In the Xbox Accessories App, create a custom remapping profile (recommend calling it something like “Forza Horizon 4 – 1 handed”)
  • In that profile, remap X1 to LT and X2 to RT. This remaps the little joystick button to brake, bigger joystick button to accelerate.
  • Leave the buttons on the Xbox Adaptive Controller — A, B, View, Menu – as they are. This allows you to rest your hand on the XAC and/or hit these buttons with your right hand as you hold the joystick in that same hand.
  • Plug a standalone button into Y. It’s a dramatic way to hit reverse while holding the PDP One-Handed Joystick, or you could put it under your foot.
  • If you want X or bumpers map to D-Pad Up, Down, Left.

I’ll point out that the “official” remap there requires another external button in addition to the controller and nunchuck. But, the team also forwarded how to play the game one-handed without buying any extra accessories at all:

“You can also play ‘Forza Motorsport 4’ with one hand using a traditional Xbox Wireless Controller, using presets available in the game’s “Controller Options” menu – these presets put essential controls (steering, gas and brake) all on the left side, or the right side depending on a player’s preference.”

Video games, especially internet-connected modern ones, are a great way to get out into the world when your physical body cannot.

The fact that this Adaptive Controller exists is a real boon for the gaming community, and I’m excited to say that it’s really brought me very genuine joy in a dark time of my life.

If you or somebody you know is physically barred from gaming, or driving, and hasn’t heard about this I hope this blog gets them into Forza Horizon 4. If you’re already using a setup like this and have tips for us one-handed video game drivers, I hope you’ll share them in the comments.

I’m not sure where the best deal for the Xbox Adaptive Controller is, but here’s the main listing in the Microsoft store, where you can also find a big quiver of accessories for it.

Source: Kotaku.com

Forza Horizon 4 Bug Wipes Some Players’ Car Mastery Progress

In Forza Horizon 4, vehicles are like characters in a role-playing game. Players can grind for skill points to buy perks and unlock each vehicle’s full potential. A game update that went live last week wiped many players’ skill trees clean, erasing months of progress. A fix is in the works, but the developers say it could take weeks to implement.

Reader Dennis tipped us off to the situation over the weekend, pointing us towards a massive thread about the issue over at the Forza Motorsports forums. According to several players’ accounts, the error occurred following the installation of the May 7 “Series 9” update for Forza Horizon 4. Upon entering the game post-update, some players discovered that the car mastery perks they’d unlocked for their vehicles had been reset. Making matters worse, these players also said that perks purchased with skill points following the update would reset when they restarted the game, making further progress impossible.

This is very unpleasant news for the Forza Horizon 4 players who’ve been affected by the bug. The car mastery system, one of my favorite features of the game, is one of the most compelling reasons to play. In order to unlock all of a single vehicle’s perks, players must spend hours driving that specific car, stringing together tricks to earn skill points. With more than 600 cars in the game, that’s a lot of driving. Understandably, the affected players sound upset. The poster of the original forum post wrote, “After today’s update, I’ve lost almost all progress. It’s like I’d done nothing. Any light anyone can shed on this would be appreciated. I’m sick to my stomach right now.”

Developers reacted quickly to the issue. On May 8, the day following the bugged update, Forza Support Twitter acknowledged the problem. On May 10, a fix was issued that prevented the issue from affecting any more players and made it so that purchased perks did not disappear upon restarting the game. What the fix did not do is restore skill points to the players who had lost progress. That particular fix is going to take much longer, possibly weeks. From the Forza Support Twitter:

  • We are now working on a fix to return all players’ lost Skill Points. We are expecting this fix to be live with or before the Series 10 update.

The Series 10 update for Forza Horizon 4 is slated for release in early June, so the fix for skill points could arrive any time between now and then. In the meantime, players affected by the issue have been awarded 10 Super Wheel Spins for their troubles. Perhaps they can win cars via the in-game prize roulette to keep them occupied until their favorites are restored.

Source: Kotaku.com

Forza Street Is Pretty Looking, But Too Simple

The newest game in the Forza franchise isn’t a sequel to Horizon 4 or a new entry in the main Motorsport series. Instead, Forza Street is an upcoming mobile game spin-off that is now available on the Windows 10 Store on PC. The game focuses on one-on-one street races and looks gorgeous. Sadly, there isn’t much in Street beyond the visuals.

Forza Street tells a light story about your driver making their way across the country in a series of races against high ranking drivers. The story includes TV news anchors, cryptocurrency, secret patrons and a cool looking older dude in a hat. It’s all very odd and I sort of admire the game for being weird like this.

The thing I was immediately impressed by was the visuals. Forza Street looks slick. Lots of night time races, with bright neon colors and reflections. The races also use multiple cinematic camera angles, making races feel more exciting. Of course, this is running on a fairly decent PC. I have no idea how well this Unreal Engine-powered game will run on older phones. But if the visuals hold up on a smaller screen, it might end up being one of the better looking mobile games I’ve played.

Sadly, the pretty visuals disguise a simple game that is probably too shallow to keep most Forza fans interested.

All driving, braking, and accelerating is done with one tap or button. There is no steering. Each race is a point-to-point and filled with a few turns and straightaways. To control your car you simply click and hold the spacebar or tap the screen. When you reach a turn, indicators on the track signal when you should let go of the gas. Timing this perfectly helps you keep your speed through the turn. Then as the turn ends, you time when to start accelerating again. Mess up the timing of these moments and you could lose speed or even crash, costing you time and possibly the lead.

This simple mechanic is fun enough, but it is also the entirety of what you do during races. There is a turbo button, but beyond that, every race I’ve played so far has boiled down to timing turns and hitting turbo a few times. Races only take a minute or so to finish. Quickly I found myself getting a bit bored.

The driving gameplay is similar to CSR 2, a popular mobile driving game. But where that game used a similar one button or tap control scheme, it was focused on gear changes, while Forza askes players to handle turns. I actually prefer the Forza Street racing gameplay as it feels more generous and has a better sense of flow.

Outside the driving, the game feels like an older mobile game. A lot of modern mobile games I’ve played recently, like Brawl Stars or Elder Scrolls: Blades let players play as much as they want and don’t use energy meters. Forza Street brings back this bad mobile game system. Complete too many races and you might just find yourself out of energy an unable to play. The game also has multiple currencies. It feels like a mobile or Facebook game from 2012.

Another disappointment, that is a little more tolerable but still strange, is that Forza Street lacks any licensed music. Forza games have had wonderful and eclectic soundtracks and it is a shame Street doesn’t have its own great soundtrack.

Forza Street might be perfect for you if you want a simple and quick bit of racing action. But annoying energy timers, basic gameplay and a lack of music make the game feel too small and shallow. Especially when you compare it to other racing games on phones, like the fantastic Asphalt series, which have more in-depth racing controls and multiplayer action.

Source: Kotaku.com

Microsoft Removes Carlton, Floss Dances From Forza Horizon 4

The Carlton and Floss dance emotes are no longer available in Forza Horizon 4 following changes made to the game as part of today’s big Series 5 update. Although publisher Microsoft won’t say why it removed the emotes, both dances are the subjects of lawsuits against publisher Epic Games for using them in the mega-popular game Fortnite.

While the player controls cars in Forza Horizon 4 and not people, driver avatars sometimes appear on screen, at which point they can perform dance moves of the player’s choice. The game’s Carlton emote lets players’ avatars perform actor Alfonso Ribeiro’s dance from The Fresh Prince while the Floss emote lets them perform the dance originally performed by Instagram personality Russell Horning, better known as Backpack Kid, on Saturday Night Live back in 2017. Both have now been taken out of the game.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Microsoft would not elaborate on why the emotes were removed. In a statement, the spokesperson said, “Forza Horizon 4 features a large portfolio of content and is continuously updated.” The emotes have been in the game since it released in October 2018. Other emotes based on popular dances, like one that imitates Drake’s Hotline Bling dance, are still in the game.

Their removal today comes as lawsuits pile up against Epic Games for some of the emotes included in its game. In December 2018, rapper 2 Milly filed a lawsuit against the company for Fortnite’s use of his Milly Rock dance, re-named in the game “Swipe It.” Later that month, Ribeiro and Horning joined in with their own lawsuits. Ribeiro is also suing 2K, the company behind the NBA 2K games, for using the Carlton dance as an emote in the past.

The latest person to file a lawsuit over emotes based on real-life dances is Rachel McCumbers, the mother of the boy whose dance was added to Fortnite after he submitted it as part of Epic Games’ BoogieDown contest. As Variety reports, McCumbers’ son, known in the Fortnite world as “Orange Shirt Kid,” lobbied the company and fans to try and get his dance added to the game, which Epic Games eventually ended up doing, titling it “Orange Justice.” The rules of the contest stated that no one who participated would be paid, but that hasn’t stopped McCumbers from suing the company for unspecified damages.

Source: Kotaku.com