“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: ?óÔéĽ?ôF1 2010?óÔéĽ?? 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. Benjamin said on 22nd March 2010, 11:54

    First of all… I’m a sim-hardcore fan and those vids are looking great but we simply can’t judge cuz its in arcade-mode.

    The HUD graphics are really arcade looking, and I will for sure turn them off.

    I sure hope Damage will look as good as GRID did. When you crash and hit the tyres, they should expolde like crazy – just like they did in GRID.

    Hope the game is awesome, but I wont expect too much…

    Benjamin, from Denmark!

  2. Chaz said on 22nd March 2010, 18:03

    Looks good but I’ve never played these sorts of games before so will wait for the release and reviews…

  3. Salty said on 22nd March 2010, 21:09

    Grand job you lucky devil. Safety car or no, I’m looking forward to a new F1 toy – sorry ‘simulator’ to, um… allow a better understanding of the tracks. Yep – that’s the one.

    Like several of the masses here, I loved the Geoff Crammond stuff – his second effort was my first much loved racing game. GP4 was brilliant and carried on with the season updates until, well it, or perhaps I, just got a bit tired. Was hugely disappointed with some other offering though. Never got into Legends. Super Monaco Grand Prix just never ‘felt’ right. F1CE on the PS3 was lovely, but have done it to death – as I did them all. Best of the rest was LeMans 24heures for me – with that awesome Dandy Warhols theme song.

    New game looks lovely, just hope they made it tough enough for the sad hard core racers as well. Forza Codemasters! Give us another TOCA2, um… with F1 cars of course.

    nb. If I eat pizza – I generally make it myself. I hate cans of soda. I am not a pasty chubster.

    • Salty said on 22nd March 2010, 21:25

      Actually – and I know it’s really naff to reply to your own posts, but would love to know what happened to Mr Crammond – would make a brilliant article Keith…

      Just a thought.

  4. Benjamin said on 23rd March 2010, 11:22

    No Safety Car, no formation lap, no mechanical failure? Just advanced graphics… Hmm..
    If there’s no mechanical failures, the race is gonna be so unrealistic!

    And now a rewind feature? Oh ffs, that’s a lame idea, F1 is meant to be tough, if you make a mistake you pay for it. Can’t believe they’d have such a feature on it. And no mechnical failures? That sounds even more pointless.

    BUT THEN:
    Starting to look a bit brighter now, this is from the Codies forum, and this is what the
    F1 2010 Chief Games Designer had to say:

    Quote:

    Without giving everything away at this stage, your engine can degrade massively. The eight engine rule is in-game for a reason. The car can overheat, your tyres can blister, you can suffer punctures, you can play with the performance of the engine whilst driving around to prolong its life, you can suffer in dirty air, the state of bodywork damage can impact on aero performance…

    Not to mention the fact we’re still working on many little things. Sometimes not too much is said (yes, even at a reveal event) because items are in development. The AI cars can suffer failures too.

    What we do not have, and I personally dislike, is random failure. I don’t want to drive 64/65 laps and have a random failure that I cannot do anything about remove me from the race. I want, as a player, to know I can do something about a problem.

  5. Spud said on 23rd March 2010, 18:14

    Has anyone played Superstars V8 Racing on the PS3.

    I thought I was buying V8 Supercars, with Jamie Whincup etc. etc., so I was a bit annoyed with myself when I saw what I actually had bought.

    I put it on to play anyway, and it is brilliant. There are no big name drivers to speak of, Gianni Morbidelli Ex F1 driver is the only one, but the cars feel and drive great, the tracks look brilliant (Portimao looks class!). It’s quite a challenge too, although maybe thats because I’m just not very good :P

    I’d recommend it though, it might keep some of you ticking over until F1 2010 comes out.
    Just a suggestion….

  6. Benjamin said on 24th March 2010, 11:59

    Will there be manuel shifting gears in F1 2010..?

  7. Subaru_STi said on 21st April 2010, 21:01

    I still have fears that the handling and physics engine is going to very “arcady” and the hopes and dreams of all us hardcore F1 simmers are going to be shattered!! and much like Subaru did with the Impreza they will sacrifice a few thousand hardcore geeky fans for a few million casual customers, already when you mention career mode it sounds like it going to be cheesy with the watering down of the handling to make it easier for joe public to think they are good enough to drive an F1 car, and i will cringe if i hear any of the F1 drivers talking! and only 13 online slots per race? what a joke rFactor has races with 40 racers in one online race some times, i have to say the wet weather, track gradient and the graphics are the only things going for it so far.

    • Subaru_STi said on 21st April 2010, 21:03

      when i said the GP drivers talking i mean like they used in the skits of the older Toca series, its the kind of cheesy things Codemasters do and i can forsee it in this game

  8. Critical_mass said on 6th August 2010, 14:48

    It all looks good and am looking forward to it… cant wait. Regardless how it turns out, its got to be a big improvement on F1 06, i like the game but it has too many quirks.

    Which brings me onto my next question. In F1 06 if it rained it was near impossible to do well, the other cars appeared to be unaffect by the rain. Has this been rectified in F1 2010?

  9. Critical_mass said on 11th August 2010, 12:41

    No one answer questions anymore? :-(

    • Well, the old games were made by Sony. This time Codemasters are doing it. All cars will be affected.

      Read this:

      12. How does the dynamic weather effects system work in F1 2010?

      Lots of head scratching, blood, sweat and tears have made it work! It’s been a real challenge, but the effect of the weather on the game has made it all worth it. Graphically, it obviously changes the environments, and when you’re following another car in the wet, it’ll impair your vision as it would in real life – it’s actually kind of scary, and makes for a really tense experience. But more than that, it’s the way it affects performance. It all feeds into the state of the drivable surface so water, for example, affects available grip and the cooling rate of the particular tyres you’re running. The track will get wet and dry out in real time as the weather changes, and different areas of the track will be more saturated with water than others as in real life. A huge amount of effort and resource has gone into this, and the system will undoubtedly set a benchmark for weather until Codemasters’ next racing title. Crucially, if you’re driving one of the lower-end cars, you’ll see rain as a performance equaliser and it may offer your best hope of scoring points you wouldn’t otherwise manage.

  10. oops, I thnk I fell foul of the posting rules…sorry.

    Umm, ok I have followed the most well known formula 1 game for years, loved it even in the early vector graphics days.

    This new one advertised here, looks like it might just eclipse the last well known formula 1 game (for pc) in 2002….Very Exciting!

  11. Toncho said on 13th November 2010, 23:21

    Keith, do u still rate the game?? There are plenty of complaints about this game on the net. I have copied below the main ones (codemaster website):

    BUGS & ERRORS OFFLINE

    -Pitstop exiting hesitation (see targa thread for temporary solution) (ALL FORMATS)

    -Race results not portraying actual results (ALL FORMATS)

    -Tyre punctures occur far too frequent (ALL FORMATS)

    -AI blue flag issue, they get disqualified (ALL FORMATS)

    -AI Fuel: AI qualifying slower then race start (ALL FORMATS)

    -AI ghosting cars (ALL FORMATS)

    -AI erratic swerving (in race when heating tyres isnt necessary)(ALL FORMATS)

    -AI drivers not pitting at all in a race. (ALL FORMATS)

    -Sound delay on shifting (ALL FORMATS)

    -Split timing would be Usefull on screen. (ALL FORMATS)

    -Sector 3 times don’t stay up, you can’t ever see your sector 3 (ALL FORMATS)

    -Slight lag on controls of car (ALL FORMATS)

    -Camera bug in time trial when exiting and rentering session head/hands disaapears TBC (ALL FORMATS)

    -Tyre availability bug in practice sessions, e.g., no Primes available in P2 image (ALL FORMATS)

    -Cars not being serviced in the pits and just sitting there, causing user to reset race if teammate is stuck. TBC (ALL FORMATS)

    -Pit limiter auto on regardless of setting. (ALL FORMATS)

    -wet times too fast , almost identical to dry times !??! (ALL FORMATS)

    – too much grip in the rain (ALL FORMATS)

    – too much grip with Intermediate/full wets (ALL FORMATS)

    – live timer doesn’t show personal best sector times (ALL FORMATS)

    – third soft/hard tyre set not available in qualifying (ALL FORMATS)

    – penalties given to player when ai hit you and also far too sensitive in certain forced situations (ALL FORMATS)

    -Freezing and locking up often (XBOX360)

    -Remove hidden anti spin mechanic car doesnt feel right (or give option on/off) (ALL FORMATS)

    -IN/OUT laps not counted in lap count for sessions (ALL FORMATS)

    -Users reporting Corrupt Save Data (ALL FORMATS)

    –THESE HAVE BEEN REPORTED THE MOST–

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