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F1 2010 – What’s Known So Far

May 4, 2010 2 comments

After reviewing the developer diaries pumped out by Codemasters, as well as after checking additional sources of information, I put together a list of what is currently known to be in F1 2010.

  • Release date is in September 2010 for PC, Playstation 3, and XBox 360.
  • Based on the Ego Engine that DIRT, DIRT 2, and GRID used.
  • All new drivers, teams, and tracks will be represented.
  • Anthony Davidson assisting in the development of game by offering advice and input on how the cars should handle. Car handling will be consistent and predictable, but nervous and twitchy in corners to simulate a real Formula One car.
  • All drivers and key team personnel are fully modelled in 3D.
  • Cars will behave realistically. Downforce settings will be felt significantly in corners, and cars will change their handling drastically at high speeds.
  • “We don’t want to make the game as realistic as real life, otherwise you’ll be spinning off left, right, and center,” says Anthony Davidson.
  • Tire temperatures and wear will be present and will be very important in the races. Marbles, water, rubber on the track, etc. will also affect tire performance differently.
  • During pit stops, mechanics will change aero settings, replace tires, and replace damaged or broken car parts.
  • The most complicated weather system ever seen in a racing game. Weather is unpredictable and will change in real time.
  • Falling water will cause the race track to slowly lose grip. Trees and trackside objects will be able to shelter areas of the track from rain.
  • Performance changes and parts on the car being upgraded throughout the season will be present.
  • AI drivers currently lap at nearly the same times as their real life counterparts.
  • Players will be able to interact with the media, allowing them to answer questions, criticize their team, and so forth. This will affect the off-track gameplay in career mode significantly.
  • Career mode will also involve interacting with your fans and sponsors.
  • AI drivers will know when to defend and attack, and individual drivers will have personality characteristics that are meant to mirror the real life drivers that they are based on.
  • No spectator mode in online racing.
  • Race engineers will inform you in real time what is happening in the race. Your brakes, lap times, gaps to your opponents, and events going on around you will all be dictated to you.
  • Career mode will be 3, 5, or 7 seasons long. The player may choose how long they want it to be.
  • Beating your team-mate in career mode often will make your team favour you more, allowing you to be the first to have new car upgrades.
  • Puddles will cool your tires if they are overheating.
  • No mechanical failures.
  • There will be no safety car.
  • Players will be able to design their own character for career mode and can spray champagne on the podium.
  • Ability to “choose” a rival in career mode.
  • Formation laps will not be present in the game.
  • All kinds of flags will be present.
  • “Flashback” feature from DIRT 2 and GRID may be in the game.

I’ll make updated posts like this around the start of each month with every bit of known information, though I will make two posts regarding F1 2010 in June, since the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) occurs in the middle of that month, and the game will likely be presented at the show.

RaceFansTV and a thank you to Mark Webber

May 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I received an email today containing a link to a very interesting website that I feel is worth mentioning to anyone who happens to stumble upon this blog, which is suprisingly more than I honestly expected lately due to a slight increase in traffic. The funny thing about the increase is that I have Mark Webber’s funny faces to thank! Yes, according to the search engine terms in my blog’s dashboard, most people who end up here without my help (meaning those who didn’t click my various forum signatures and such) did so by looking for funny pictures of Mark Webber. Thanks Mark!

Anyway, the link I received this morning is for a new site called RaceFansTV. No spaces in the name it seems, which I think makes it easier to remember the url as well, which is simply RaceFansTV.com. You can’t forget that, surely.

To give you an idea of what to expect from the site, I will quote RaceFansTV.

RaceFansTV is an international initiative led by motorsports enthusiasts to bring back much of the great historical racing footage that has been captured over the past 80 years – since the video camera was invented.

Because motorsports is a global industry, we have team members working from 4 continents and collaborators sharing content and helping us manage the system from at least 15 different countries.

So while an ¨About Us¨ section might be particularly interesting on some websites; here, there is nothing special. We are like you, passionate about motorsport and highly motivated to keep all the classes of racing alive for future generations. Therefore, we hope you will join us and this section can be about you too!

Good honest people with a very ambitious and exciting sounding website! They have a very innovative site, so check it out.

RaceFansTV – http://www.racefanstv.com/

Tomorrow I’ll write up an information piece about F1 2010 on the PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. In a few more months we’ll have our hands on it, so I figure it’s time to start storing information on this destined-to-be-good Codemasters racing game.

Codemasters spills the beans on F1 2010 (Well, somewhat..)

March 11, 2010 3 comments

Ah, finally! Codemasters has finally shown off F1 2010 in some form. For those F1 fans who are also gamers and have been living in caves for the past year, Codemasters acquired the license for Formula One games and churned out F1 2009 last fall with a little help from Sumo Digital. I only played the PSP version of F1 2009, which was probably only average. I’m not really one hundred percent sure because the control scheme prevented me from playing the game as much I would have liked to. F1 2010 will instead be released in September on the PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 as opposed to any handheld or underpowered Nintendo console.

F1 2010 will be, as far as I am aware, developed completely inhouse by Codemasters, and will use the same game engine (the EGO engine) that was used for GRID and DIRT 2. I actually quite like the physics in that engine, but I’m worried about the controls that we may end up with. GRID and DIRT 2 were very casual friendly racers with controls that could not decide whether they wanted to emulate an arcade or sim racer. An F1 game should feel one hundred percent sim, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that.

Anyway, here are a few scans and such. Click to enlarge.

Certainly sounds interesting, but I’m more anxious to hear about the actual racing and modes than features such as being able to talk to the media. Codemasters is quite well known for allowing players to have custom profiles and such, even allowing your name to be spoken to you in GRID, so I’m interested in seeing how they manage profiles in F1 2010. At the very least, I expect it to be as nice as it was in GRID, but we will probably also, hopefully, get a sort of appearance customization for our drivers so that we can see what they look like when they go to the podium and such. A helmet painter option also sounds like a handy idea.

More details are expected to be officially released on March 17, three days after the Bahrain Grand Prix. Hopefully Codemasters will show off some impressive gameplay videos!

F1 2009 (PSP) Review

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Before I share my opinions on the upcoming 2010 season, I’d like to take a moment to talk about Codemasters’ F1 2009 on the Sony PSP. While I have heard good things about the Wii incarnation of the game (which I’m unable to play due to not owning a Wii), I feel that the PSP version must be inferior due to the fact that I’m unable to find much that is “good” about it. Words I would use in place of “good” to describe this game are bland, average, and uninspiring. Read on and I’ll tell you why.

Due to its limited distribution, this game can be hard to find in physical form. I did not even bother trying my luck and just shelled out roughly $40 CDN for a digital copy over Sony’s online Playstation Store. This is, more often than not, the approximate asking price for a brand new game on the Playstation Store. Fortunately, most games that wind up available in digital download form turn out to be quite good, which I discovered when I had bought the PSP port of Tekken 6 for about the same price. It was a quality game, so I expected the price to reflect the quality of F1 2009 when I decided to take the plunge. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

Upon booting up the game, you are treated to an opening cinematic that is fairly uninspiring and boring. It didn’t capture the excitement and speed of Formula One, and I felt myself feeling underwhelmed after watching it. However, the main menu was very pleasant on the eyes, as was the background music. Unfortunately, the menus do not function as well as they look. Take for example the driver selection screen. In most cases, Formula One racers treat us with onscreen options to change between teams and drivers. However, in F1 2009 on the PSP, you can only scroll through drivers. To add insult to injury, information onscreen during this process is kept to a bare minimum. Beyond the driver name, portrait, and 3D rendition of their car, little else is given to you. Those who do not follow Formula One may not even know what they are selecting.

Choosing a circuit to race on is visually satisfying, but the fact that you have to watch the globe spin around to various countries before really even committing to whatever track you want to race on hampers any enjoyment I had gotten out of this submenu.

After I chose the time trial mode and selected Rubens Barrichello and Singapore on my very first sitting with F1 2009, I had to sit through a loading screen which, fortunately, was not that long.

Once the track loaded, I quickly got to the point of the game, the driving. Did I like it? No. The handling of the Brawn was an absolute joke as I found myself wondering if I had mistakenly purchased a Need for Speed game with a Formula One license. For those unfamiliar with Need for Speed, all of them minus the latest in the series, are arcade racers with extremely loose handling. I found myself making my way around Singapore with little to no effort, underwhelmed by how easy the game felt.

The graphics weren’t too bad though, so this was a plus. They reminded me of a late Playstation 1 Formula One game. Actually to be fair, the graphics are a little better than any PS1 Formula One game for sure. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, though. The sound is in a similar boat to this, with passable sound effects which do the job considering this is a PSP game. You can only do so much with a little handheld console with tiny speakers. This does not excuse the KERS sound, which sounds very strange and out of place.

By lap three or four, a very serious problem reared its ugly head. I really have to address the controls in this game, and I have to really stress that they are very, very uncomfortable. Square is brake, X is accelerate, and Circle is KERS. Given how small the PSP is, I found myself twisting my hand in awkward ways, and having to shift between braking, accelerating, and using KERS really started to take its toll as I felt my entire hand getting sore, especially my in palm.

Now, I’m 24 and I love gaming. I can sit down with a keyboard and mouse, or a Playstation 3 Sixaxis controller for hours and never develop sore hands unless I’m playing something that involves a lot of quick finger motions (fighting games and action-filled side scrollers do the trick), and this takes at least an hour to occur. The fact that some little PSP racer was able to accomplish this same feat in a matter of minutes said something. This game has a very terrible button layout! To make it even worse, I spent five minutes trying to find a way to reconfigure the button mapping, but it appeared to be completely absent from the game.

I attempted an actual race later on though, five laps around Interlagos as Kimi Raikkonen. I started 20th and finished in 6th,and overall I found the actual racing to be fairly decent. It won’t win any awards and the AI did not really do anything to wow me, but it was pleasurable. My only problem was that the controls made my hand sore about four laps into the race. I should mention KERS as well. I found that it was difficult for me to concentrate on the actual racing and where my car was going whenever I would use KERS, because I would shift my thumb so that it would cover both X and Circle. This left the Square button far, far away from my thumb. As a result, if I made even the slightest mistake, I couldn’t brake in time and I would always go off track because of this. If the button mapping wasn’t so terrible and could be reconfigured, then this would not be a problem. Ideally, L1 should be brake, R1 should be accelerate, and X should be KERS. Having all three lumped together made focusing on the race difficult, and I spent about half of my time staring at where my thumb was.

But let me end things right here. I’d like to say that this is a pretty decent F1 game, as it looks and plays just fine. However, it cannot even compare to the more popular ones out there. F1 ’97 on the Sony Playstation remains my favourite F1 game of all time and, from a gameplay standpoint, that game did more impressive things than F1 2009 on the PSP.

However, if you are both a Formula One and gaming enthusiast and own a PSP, then I would recommend this game and you should find at least get some enjoyment out of it.

Overall Score: C+