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

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

  1. Fer no.65 said on 18th March 2010, 1:49

    LOL at the laughts when you touched with Raikkonen :D!

  2. Marc Pearson said on 18th March 2010, 2:02

    As a person who still plays F106 on a daily basis just so ive got a recent F1 game to play i cant tell you how much im looking forward to this, a few times recently ive considered selling my xbox but this game always twigged my concious at the last second so i didnt.

    Concerning setting up a league i used to be a member of a racedriver grid league, we raced on a sunday night and it was always brilliant. The league promoted fair racing so you always talked to your opponent, eg if i was going to attempt a pass on the inside i would say so so my opponent knew i was coming instead of me just barging past. Great article keith

  3. Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th March 2010, 2:33

    It’s a shame Codemasters decided against having the feeder series worked into the game. Given that GP2 and GP3 are both spec series, it’s not like they’d have to program vastly different machines in. In fact, it would probably just be a case of getting the skins right.

    • WidowFactory said on 18th March 2010, 9:44

      It’s not that simple at all. The physics and damage needs to be correctly simulated and that is a full-time job. Given all the other parameters they have put in the game which normally racing games ignore (‘green’ tracks, marbling, flat spots, etc) all of these will need to be worked on and tested for all the different cars too. I would love to have more series too, but the game has already been delayed by 6 months…

  4. Gusto said on 18th March 2010, 3:25

    As someone who remembers Revs on the BBC Micro then progressed though the Crammond series to read ” This is not a bleeding-edge hardcore simulation – it feels more like “Gran Turismo” or “Forza” than “Grand Prix Legends” makes my heart sink. Suppose its a case off nice video shame about the song.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th March 2010, 6:25

      to read ” This is not a bleeding-edge hardcore simulation – it feels more like “Gran Turismo” or “Forza” than “Grand Prix Legends” makes my heart sink.

      Again, Codemasters have to make a game that appeals to the widest possible target audience. Hardcore fans only make up a minority of that market.

  5. roberttty said on 18th March 2010, 4:22

    wow, I wonder if Singapore will look dazzling as well?

  6. GeeMac said on 18th March 2010, 7:19

    Signs are encouraging, let’s hope it lives up to all of our expectations!

  7. David said on 18th March 2010, 8:53

    Since I’m a simulation-only driver, I’m pretty disappointed that its only not-completely-arcadey. Guess I’ll stick with rFactor for another year.

  8. samakafuzzy said on 18th March 2010, 9:09

    Is no-one else disappointed that it is just 1 season? I wanted a codemasters of old, like TOCA Race Driver, where there was many cars and tracks. Maybe have F12010, and then a selection of historic Formula 1 cars and tracks that are no longer used, like Imola, Mangy Cours, Hockenheim AND Nurburgring, Jerez, Indianapolis, Buenos Aries, Kyalami, Fuji Speedway, Adelaide and Brands Hatch :)

    • ajokay said on 18th March 2010, 9:47

      But it’s F1 2010, so it stands to reason that they only have the licence for the 2010 season, which means only tracks and cars and drivers from the 2010 season.

      I don’t mind too much, it’s just nice to have a new F1 game on the cuurrent gen consoles.

    • Lee said on 18th March 2010, 9:47

      I’m sure there will be unlockable cars and tracks like in previous games.

    • mfDB said on 19th March 2010, 19:06

      Maybe, if it’s popular, they will release new ones each year like Madden football. They could have gone back in time with this one, but I guess there were license issues. you can’t really go in the future because of rule/team/driver changes, so the Madden style would work for me….(although I’ve only ever had Madden 04 and 09)….

  9. Herbie said on 18th March 2010, 10:09

    I am the sort of guy who loves a simulation just like the rest of you. but if it is as realistic as forza that would be great!!

  10. You have a mistake in “According to Codemasters it added to little”. It should be “too little”.

  11. F1 2003 is the best one so far. As far as realistic handling goes all the games afterwards still haven’t matched it

  12. This game seeems awesome. My favourite part is that of motorhome and journalists and the damage seems far more realistic than in F12009. I’m waiting to buy it.

  13. chaosthoery said on 18th March 2010, 13:22

    A few questions:
    1)I know there is no safety car in this game, but what about full course yellows? Is there any? Because if there are yellow flags, you will still need to slow down until yellows are gone, (so not putting a Mercedes car in front of the pack while the race is yellow flagged is weird…)
    2)Its F1 2010 – I know, but reading about all those career management things it seems like the game will allow for next seasons (2011,12 and so on) just like some previous Fifa games? So, im interested wether its Abu Dhabi 2010 and game over, or your career continues?
    Thanks.

    • WidowFactory said on 18th March 2010, 14:12

      I dont know how its implemented in this game, but in previous F1 games you would start the next season again with the same drivers and cars etc.

  14. Jasper said on 18th March 2010, 13:28

    Looks good, nice to see the level of depth they’ve added to the game, with all the stuff other than the racing, but the most important thing is whether it’s gonna be fun to drive and to race. I think it will.

    I’ve got a contact where you can pre-order the game for £31.98 on xbox and ps3, if anyone’s interested let me know on my email (valdelrossi@yahoo.co.uk) and I’ll send you an email link to get the pre-order for that price.

    All the best, Jasper

    • WidowFactory said on 18th March 2010, 14:14

      Not dodgy at all…

      • Jasper said on 18th March 2010, 15:10

        Well I’m giving you my email, so it’s more dodgy for me than you. But suit yourself, I’m just trying to help people get a bargain, and also if I forward enough people I can get a discounted copy of the game.

        That’s the trouble nowadays, the internet is so full of cons, no one can distinguish someone who’s actually genuine to some stupid con.

        Give it a try, and if I don’t deliver what I promise, come back here and tell everyone that it’s dodgy!

  15. what will be the min reqiured parameters of the computer

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