“F1 2010″ – first play (Pictures & video)

F1 2010 by Codemasters arrives for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in September

F1 2010 by Codemasters arrives for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in September

Codemasters claim “F1 2010″ will be “a departure for F1 games”.

F1 fans have been waiting four years for a new official F1 game for the latest generation console formats. In the last 12 months we’ve had hundreds of comments on this site discussing what should be in the game.

F1 Fanatic put your questions to Codemasters at their launch event in London today – and was among the first people to play an early version of “F1 2010″.

Handling

Senior producer Paul Jeal promised “F1 2010″ would offer “authentic, predictable and consistent handling.” I sampled a ‘pre-alpha build’ (‘early version’ in non-gamers lingo) of the game to put that claim to the test.

Even in this early version the handling feels more convincing than the decidedly arcade-style “F1 2009″. Stamping the throttle and throwing the car around do not work here. Drop off a Monza kerb with the accelerator down too far and you pirouette in an instant.

But nor did the game feel punishingly difficult. I quickly got a feel for how the car behaved and got into a satisfying rhythm within a couple of laps.

This is not a bleeding-edge hardcore simulation – it feels more like “Gran Turismo” or “Forza” than “Grand Prix Legends”. It’s easy to pick up but requires a bit of concentration to master.

They have toned down the realism when it comes to following closely behind another car. The handful of videos Codemasters showed us of the game featured more overtaking than the whole of the Bahrain Grand Prix – and that’s probably for the best.

You do have more control over the car settings than in previous games. The driver can alter engine management settings to get more power at the expense of fuel economy. Use up too much of your engine life an you risk falling foul of the faithfully-recreated limit of eight engines per season. And, of course, you can tweak the adjustable front wing.

But I couldn’t find a button to control the drivers’ knee to operate the McLaren’s infamous F-duct.

Rain and rubber

Codemasters are especially proud of their track simulation which they call ‘active track technology’. This re-calculates the grip levels on the surface for every 30cm the players’ car travels, taking into account build-up of rubber, marbles from the tyres and, of course, the weather.

This has a clear effect on your car’s handling. Not only do your tyres pick up dirt if you go off the track, but braking off-line is trickier. Go out on the track in the first minutes of Friday practice and you’ll find it’s ‘green’ – low on grip – making your lap times slower. You’ll have to pay attention to how the track develops to pick the best moment to set a time in qualifying.

When rain falls the track gets greasy and eventually puddles develop. If the rain stops a dry line begins to emerge and you’ll have to look after your tyres by seeking out damp patches of track.

We saw some video of the rain effects and they look genuinely impressive. Clouds of spray billow off the cars and reflections shimmer in the puddles on the track.

Damage

Codemasters promises a more sophisticated car damage model than we’ve seen on previous games. As well as knocking off wings and wheels you can damage your suspension which unbalances your handling. Debris from collisions can land on the track and cause more damage.

Some of this can be fixed with a quick visit to the pits but make sure you stop on your marks – one video they showed us featured a car knocking a team member down.

Your driving style can provoke damage too. Repeatedly lock a wheel and you can see blisters and flat-spots develop on the rubber. Keep punishing your tyres and they’ll eventually burst.

Rivals

Artificial intelligence is one area where F1 games have fallen down in the past, with drivers either weaving across the track absurdly or making no attempt to defend their position at al.

In “F1 2010″ cars defend their positions and try to break your tow. Interestingly, the team say they’ve tried to model the characteristics of individual drivers, so some are better in the wet than others, and some do better at certain tracks, such as Felipe Massa at Istanbul.

Your relationship with your team mate plays a bigger role in “F1 2010″ than in previous F1 games. No longer is he just the guy in the other car – you have to fight and beat him to get the team on your side. Finish ahead often enough and you’ll have access to performance upgrades before he does – just like in real life.

The paddock

Codemasters’ brand manager Paul Waters believes “F1 games have always done having the cars on track very well”. He explained the team set out to do more than just simulate F1 racing, but allow players to take control of their virtual career in a way they’ve never been able to before.

In career mode, your time outside of the car plays an important role in the game. You’ll go inside your garage and the team trucks – which are modelled for the first time in an F1 game, they say.

How well perform is reflected in how many journalists are camped outside your motorhome waiting to ask questions, and how many fans turn up to your autograph sessions.

You can even criticise your team in press conferences which will do you no favours if you’re a struggling up-and-comer.

Multiplayer and more

So what’s missing? The team admitted that the safety car – one of the most requested features in the comments on F1 Fanatic – will not feature in the game. According to Codemasters it added to little to the playing experience to merit inclusion. However the full range of warning flags will be simulated including red flags for race stoppages.

Nor will players be able to drive the formation lap – again the team said they felt it added too little to the game compared to other aspects. However this feature and the safety car is being considered in the 2011 version of the game.

Because of license restrictions you can only play with the 2010 season cars and tracks. Codemasters say they looked at adding feeder series to the game but decided it would take too long to do.

The timing of the game’s release means it will be on the shelves before the cars have raced at the new Korean circuit, meaning that track will have to be built without data from the race weekend. However the team are confident that can build it accurately and have no plans for a post-Korea patch to improve the simulation.

Up to 13 people will be able to play at once in online multiplayer. Curiously, the team said they had been advised by FOM to leave the slot for a 13th team free in case one appears later this season.

The version of the game we played today which you can see in the pictures below is still in the early stages of development. Although some of the aspects fans might want to see won’t appear in the game the early signs are very encouraging. But we won’t know for sure how good it is until the game finally arrives this September.

Codemasters F1 2010 screengrabs

Codemasters F1 2010 video

This video shows ‘pre-alpha’ code which uses unfinished graphics and last season’s cars. The final game will use the 2010 season cars, tracks and drivers.

This second video was shot at the event and, again, features pre-alpha build code. Look out for Raikkonen going over the top of the Red Bull:

Read more: ?σΤιΌ?τF1 2010?σΤιΌ?? by Codemasters arrives for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in September

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185 comments on “F1 2010″ – first play (Pictures & video)

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  1. zoid9969 said on 17th March 2010, 19:16

    Finally, a F1 console game that beats F1 ’97? Time will tell.

  2. Sounds pretty good, thanks for the review

  3. Disappointing its been put back to September (from March) and that there will be no safety car but I can wait. :-)

    Better the wait and it be good that rushed and rubbish

    • Than not that…. doh!

      • I really don’t see where the fun in following the safety car for 20 laps in wet conditions would be anyway, or for 5 laps after a crash. It does seem a tad pointless, even if it does more accurately represent an F1 race.

        • matt90 said on 17th March 2010, 22:47

          I agree, I think it would be boring and frustrating to have to follow it for more than a single lap.

        • Icthyes said on 18th March 2010, 0:18

          You don’t, others might. What would the harm be in having it as an optional feature?

          • DanThorn said on 18th March 2010, 7:45

            When I saw the safety car feature in rFactor I was excited – but after 2 or 3 occurences I just turned it off. Trying to drive around at a reduced speed predicting the movements of the AI often ends in a crash or penalty, and with most F1 2010 gamers likely to only do races at 10-15% of the original distance, a safety car could neuter half the race.

          • David B said on 18th March 2010, 10:25

            Definitely agree with you.
            I would like the option of Safety Car and formation lap also.

          • ajokay said on 18th March 2010, 12:01

            Oh sure, as an option obviously. I’d probably turn the option off after a couple of goes, unless it war particularly interesting, which I don’t think it would be.

        • sato113 said on 18th March 2010, 19:39

          obviously they wouldn’t do that. a lap or 2 behind the safety car would be good. no more than 2 tho.

        • Pete said on 19th March 2010, 21:41

          Safety cars should be included however it You should have to slow down and reach the back of the train and if you want, press start and skip to the final few bends before it goes green so you get to do a rolling start.

    • Yeah cuz if was released in March then that would be stupid as that would mean that they would be making it around November to late February time and they wouldn’t know what teams and drivers would be in it cuz they weren’t all signed up by then. So I don’t see how they would have been able to make the game anyway

  4. Daniel said on 17th March 2010, 19:19

    PC Simulation with a Logitech G25 is where it’s at!

  5. Spud said on 17th March 2010, 19:26

    Looks good!

    September can’t come fast enough.

    In the meantime I’ll have Moto GP 09 to keep me ticking over.

    Nice articles as always Keith.

  6. tomforpresident said on 17th March 2010, 19:28

    personaly the only shame is that there will be no brawn, all the features sound great.
    my last fave game was f1 career challenge on gamecube because of the the idea of rising through the ranks and 4 years worth of f1 cars.

  7. Untitled258 said on 17th March 2010, 19:29

    I can say, having F1CE, its a novelty to do the formation lap, and its nice to try and weave around to get heat into the tyre, but after a while it just becomes tedious. It all sounds good though bar the omission of the safety car.

    Gonna have to get me a wheel for my ps3 i think.

    • Adrian said on 17th March 2010, 22:47

      I would have had them as options that can be switched on or off…but that would probably have added even more time to the project…

      …looks amazing though, makes me wish I had more than just a laptop…

    • Miles Plumley said on 22nd March 2010, 11:26

      Hey man, i hear ya. i dont have a good enough PC to do the game justice. any idea what your gonna get? im looking for a good ps3 wheel but im struggling

  8. Can’t they just give you the option to not use the safety car and formation lap. You could turn off the formation lap in Championship Edition.

    • Actually, just thinking about it. If your car can get damaged from debris left on the track, how do you get rid of it? Does it dissapear into thin air like in F1 CE, or can run over marshalls as they pick it up?

    • George said on 17th March 2010, 20:21

      I think it’s more of an issue of being too much work to include, rather than people not wanting it.

  9. Joey-Poey said on 17th March 2010, 19:31

    this sounds a lot more like what I’ve been hoping for! Here’s crossing our fingers that they deliver on their promises…

  10. Sounds to me like Codemasters have listened to what the fans want, which is good to see. They picked up criticism last year for not bringing the game out on all the platforms, which was annoying.

    However from what you’ve said the driving will be realistic as will the computers. The last f1 game i got was F12002 which is so long back that the Jaguar and Arrows were on it. On that game even on ‘hard’ level you could still be a Jordan (which at the time was an average midfield car) and still race through the pack easily to win.

    There was nothing more frustrating than the fact if u worked hard to catch people, for instance get 7 seconds of the driver in front over a period of time that within 1 lap of getting past them (at least for me) you’d be 8-9 seconds ahead. In short, once you got past drivers it’d be near impossible that they’d fight back and even challnege you for a position.

    On F12010 i want to be struggling in the midfield at first and really having to work hard to gain a creditable result.

    The press conference thing seems a good idea and is something that im suprised hasn’t been used in F1 games before. In alot of football based manager games you get to speak to the media/journalists so it’s only a matter of time. And in action based games you’re given a choice of what you want your character to say. It’s a great way of making the player feel involved with the game.

    Not that i want any driver to not complete the season, but have Codemasters said if there are going to updates onto the game say if a reserve driver comes into the team to replace a driver (Hartley in for Alguersuari for example).

    Dead important that it’s in HD, as this will make the mis en scene/scenery look more realistic. I know that on F1 06 or F1 Championship Edition it struggled for ‘realism’ on some circuits with ridicolous amount of sunlight i think on Monaco where before going into the tunnel at times it was hard to see where you were going.

    • I agree! Racing games which are way too easy are dead boring, in F1 CE I would have to intentionally slow down in qualifying so I don’t get pole all the time, or make sure I have a bad start so I can have fun and overtake.

  11. Kevin C said on 17th March 2010, 19:34

    Thanks for the info, great article, been searching the official forums all day, but this sums it up perfectly.

  12. sato113 said on 17th March 2010, 19:51

    let’s hope any crashed or stranded cars on track don’t disappear after 10 seconds!

  13. Cube said on 17th March 2010, 19:55

    A little disappointed that the game won’t have all 24 cars, just 13… but, the gameplay will make up for it!

    I’m looking forward to this mroe than the f1 season itself.

    • mfDB said on 17th March 2010, 19:59

      Cube, I read that to say that only 13 people can play together online, but there will be all 24 cars (with an extra slot in case the 13th team shows up before it’s released?).

      Keith, can you clarify?

      • Barney Gumble said on 17th March 2010, 20:05

        I’m pretty sure there’ll be 24 cars on the main game, he meant there will be a limit of 13 human players on online races

        I think it’s revealing that FOM are still hoping for a 13th team this season. We haven’t heard much from Stefan GP lately- perhaps Zoran’s been told to go away and sharpen up his English skills before he gets a place for his team

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th March 2010, 20:21

        Yes there will be all 24 cars in the game, maximum of 13 can play at once online.

        • Cube said on 17th March 2010, 20:33

          AH! that’s all right then! I wipe away my disappointment & replace it with “I WANT IT NOW” syndrome.

  14. Barney Gumble said on 17th March 2010, 20:01

    Looks good. Shame they haven’t added a safety car, especially since so many of us seem to want it. It would be great if you were right at the back, the SC came out and you got a chance to fight your way up the order.

    Also, I think having feeder series’ would have been a good idea too. I have Moto GP 2004, it’s not a particularly good game, but it has a fun career mode where you move up from 125cc’s to 250cc’s and finally end up in Moto GP. Oh well, there’s always 2011 for that…

    • Magnificent Geoffrey said on 17th March 2010, 21:53

      I agree that it would be an excellent inclusion, but from what I can gather the actual license provided by the FIA/FOM that Codies acquired is very restrictive and I don’t think they would even be allowed to include the GP2 series for instance without renegotiating the license terms (and obviously shelling out a lot more cash.)

    • Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan said on 17th March 2010, 23:22

      Yes they brought back the 125’s and 250’s in moto gp 08 and it would be really cool to have gp2 or something in formula 1 games as the feeder series .

  15. Jay M said on 17th March 2010, 20:11

    Will there be car setup?

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