“F1 2010″: The Formula 1 game made by F1 fanatics (Interview, Part 1)

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

The eagerly-anticipated official F1 game by Codemasters goes on sale next week.

I played the finished version of the game for the first time yesterday and talked to two of the game’s designers – and self-confessed F1 fans – about what’s gone into the first new F1 game for major formats in four years.

F1 Fanatic: This is your first F1 game. How big a deal is it for Codemasters to have the official F1 licence?

Paul Jeal, senior game producer: I think it’s massive for Codemasters, to be honest. And it’s massive for us as well, we both joined Codemasters specifically to work on an F1 game.

We’ve worked on Formula 1 games before and, for various reasons, weren’t quite able to influence those projects enough so when Codemasters got the licence we sought them out. I joined in August 2008 which was about a month after they signed the licence.

So a lot of the high-level design ideas that people either love or hate are probably down to me!

Steve [Hood, senior game designer] came on board in early 2009. We’re both F1 fans so we weren’t really looking back to previous F1 games we just know what’s missing in those games and what the fans are going to want so it’s key to use to get as many of those in as possible.

Steve Hood: I’ve always felt that, certainly in the past few years, F1 games have been made by people that were just tasked with getting an F1 game out. Whereas Paul and I – we love watching Formula 1 and we understand the things that I love about Formula 1 and why people get into it. Like the tactics or what makes a good pit stop or even why it’s important to be able to conserve fuel.

Down on paper, they sound like terrible game mechanics. But I think it’s quite cool. So we’ve tried to put that stuff together in this game as well and give it a new approach. We always say “reinvent Formula 1″, in terms of games anyway. But I don’t think anybody’s done it justice for a long time. I’m certainly not saying we’ve done that in out first iteration. But that’s out intention and that’s where we’re going.

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

F1F: So which F1 titles have you worked on before?

PJ: My first job in the industry was a tester on Geoff Crammond’s “Grand Prix 3″ which I still consider to be one of my most favourite games.

I loved it and obviously it gave me a great overview of the gaming industry as a whole and how games are made. I think sometimes the testing role is perceived to be really good fun but I think my first job was to bounce into every barrier on every track.

F1F: I’ve just been doing that…

PJ: But then, towards the end of the project people would ask, “OK, who wants to do a full season, 100% race distance?” and I was like, “Yeah, I do!” I loved it.

Obviously I’ve worked on various different games since then but I always wanted to come back to work on an F1 game.

SH: I worked on Sony’s original series when it moved over to the Playtstation 2 in 2001. We were re-doing a Geoff Crammond game, a stock car kind of game, and then they said, “we’ve got the licence for Formula 1 now, so now it’s a Formula 1 game, and it’s got to be out next year!”

That was very early on in my career and now I feel, certainly with the people we’ve got here now, we’re able to do more justice to it, and certainly with the new machines as well.

"F1 2010" by CodemastersF1F: The game is coming out before the season has finished and before one of the tracks has even been raced on. Why bring it out in September?

SH: Primarily it’s because you can’t get all the licences signed off. The teams don’t unveil the cars until very late on and we need to build the tracks and build the cars.

PJ: If you look at when F1 games have come out historically, it’s either been after the season has finished or close to the end of the season.

It was a difficult decision for the company to not release a next-generation version in 2009 but it was absolutely the right decision because it had to come out of the box and smash the ball out of the park and be really, really good.

When we were looking at the release date originally we had to choose between June and September but a June release would have meant using 2009 season data. And that meant there would have been Brawn, and not having the three new teams and not having Schumacher.

Things change so fast in Formula 1 so it was quite an easy decision and we decided to go for the earliest we could do a 2010 release.

SH: We really wanted that new stuff with the new teams. And with Michael Schumacher being back in, because Paul’s a massive fan of him!

But all that stuff helped make it a more exciting season. Everyone was looking forward to it. Schumacher might not have done particularly well this season but he’s still a massive pull and it’s great to get him back in the game.

PJ: It’s got its problems, for example pit stops. We developed that very early in 2009, then we heard refuelling may be going. So we were checking F1 Fanatic and other websites daily to see if it had changed.

SH: Every now and then an email would come around from someone with a link to a website saying “Oh, that’s banned now, and this is coming back in” when we’ve already done four weeks of work on it.

PJ: We wanted all the cars to come in at once if the weather changed, and all the pit crews to come out, and we had to start work on that early otherwise it was never going to happen. We got to a stage where we had to lock it off until the rules were finalised.

Then we discovered our eight-second pit stops would have to come down to possibly as low as two-and-a-half or three seconds, or whatever it was going to be. So that was quite a lot of work in itself.

When we get data from the teams sometimes you’re luck enough to see it in January or February of that year. But what they actually put out on the tracks in testing compared to this point in the season is quite different.

You can imagine doing the game before 2009, if you could do it before the start of the season, no-one would have had the Brawn as a runaway championship leader. So then you’ve got to do DLC (download-able content) and patches to get the game back up to scratch.

We’d love to get it out earlier in the season but I think there’s some benefits to being this late in the day especially with a season like we’ve got this year.

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

F1F: You mention download-able content and patches – are there any plans for that with F1 2010? Obviously there’s already been a couple of driver changes.

SH: Not for 2010 I would imagine. Our game is very specifically set to start before the 2010 season so it’s not an accurate representation of where the season is now.

We want our players to experience the races as close as they are to real life so the Red Bulls are advanced at the beginning, McLaren are going to come on strong on the faster circuits, you’ll see teams like Renault coming to the fore. But it’ll be different for every player as well because where they finish determines their performance upgrades as well.

So the game starts off in March 2010 and then takes its own path.

F1F: In terms of the licence, you’re limited to doing just one season at a time, is that right?

PJ: Yes, you’re limited to the contest of that specific season.

Obviously there’s a lot of call for classic cars, classic seasons – that’s not specifically part of the licence that we’ve got. That’s not to say we can’t do it in the future.

"F1 2010" by Codemasters

F1F: If you look at something like the Football Manager series of games, a part of its appeal is being able to play across multiple seasons. But it seems that’s something you can’t have in an F1 game?

SH: Well, we’re hopefully going to change that a little bit. There’s certain things you have to do, that’s why we’ve tried to put as much into this game as we can with thee “Live the life” be-the-driver-type elements.

But for every yearly series you have to give players a reason to want to buy the next one. I think it’s not enough to just have the India track in for next year and a couple of driver moves. We’re going to have to move our car handling forward, our AI and our damage model.

Then we’re going to have to look at some other elements of the driving experience such as the safety car, formation lap, whatever. Lots of ideas for moving the “Live the life” stuff forward and expand the multi-player to make it an essential yearly purchase.

F1F: So in the game there’s 12 different cars and 19 tracks. Is there anything else the player can unlock?

SH: We don’t really do the ‘unlocks’. One of the things we’d love players to be able to unlock is classic drivers or classic cars. But it’s quite a lot of effort to get that in. We did use more time than we had available with the game as it is.

But the ‘unlocks’ come through in the sense that when you’re playing in career mode the team work on developing the car so you get unlocks for that over time. For example a new undertray, new brake ducts, these kind of bits and pieces that improve the performance of the car.

There’ll be highs and lows throughout the season. One of the other teams may pick up and suddenly they’re going faster than you and you’re struggling. The next season, you’re at the team’s home race, say, and they bring a big upgrade package and you’re ahead again.

F1F: What are the most difficult things to get right in a game like this?

SH: The biggest thing is the speed of the cars – and it always has been. Because if you play a touring car game, for example, you’ve got a lot more time for the player to adjust the car in a corner.

When you’re racing at Formula 1 speeds one of the things that people are able to research now is the lap times of the circuits and the speeds that the drivers can do. And then they’ll know if they’re going 3mph too fast down a straight or three tenths off the lap time.

So just getting the lap times right means that you’re going so quickly around some of the corners the player needs to know the circuit and position the car perfectly. And he’s then got to get into that rhythm of applying the throttle gradually, braking hard and then easing off so you don’t lock up, getting those things in there is extremely difficult.

Then lay on top of that the fact that you’ve got 23 other cars around all doing the same thing. And they’re open-wheelers so you get wheels interlocking, you can’t just rub along the other cars, that’s always the biggest challenge for me.

JL: All the components are linked as well. For example you want to get the next car handling update in their because it’s better for the player, but then you’ve got to re-train the AI in terms of their behaviour, and you’ve got to test it across all the tracks.

In the second part of the interview Paul and Steve talk about Anthony Davidson’s role in developing the game and how they tried to make the cars’ handling and damage models as realistic as possible. Don’t miss part two tomorrow.

Buy Formula 1 2010 for PS3
Buy Formula 1 2010 for Xbox 360
Buy Formula 1 2010 for PC DVD

F1 Fanatic earns a commission on products sold via the links to our affiliate partners above, however you are not charged any extra. See here for more information.

“F1 2010″ by Codemasters

Advert | Go Ad-free

88 comments on “F1 2010″: The Formula 1 game made by F1 fanatics (Interview, Part 1)

1 2 3
  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th September 2010, 12:47

    We don’t really do the ‘unlocks’. One of the things we’d love players to be able to unlock is classic drivers or classic cars. But it’s quite a lot of effort to get that in. We did use more time than we had available with the game as it is.

    Interesting that they should say that. It’s been a decade, so I can’t imagine that the same people are working on the game, but I remember buying Colin McRae Rally 2.0 (one of my favourite games of all time) and there was about three times as many unlockable cars than there were actual rally cars.

    • Richard Brown said on 16th September 2010, 13:02

      I loved that game! Can remember all the evenings I would it with my dad when I was 8, and the hilarities we got from him being so bad, he used up all his repair points fixing his suspension and engine, that by the end of a rally, he couldn’t fix his headlights for the night stages. Aw those were the days :)

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th September 2010, 13:13

        Yeah, I just remember that I could never master the Swedish stages. No matter how hard I tried, I could only ever get a bronze trophy for it. And the Rally Britain on internmediate. That was hard. I never actually placed high enough to be considered as finishing it. I’d fish it out of my collection and have a run on it, but the controller on my PS2 stopped working the other day.

        But damn … was it ever fun hammering across the Kenyan countryside in the Metro 6R4, a car that was actually designed by Patrick Head of WilliamsF1 fame. Dider Auriol loved it, Henri Toivonen used to do incredible things in it (but then, he always did the impossible) and Jimmy McRae had success with it back in 1986.

        • Richard Brown said on 16th September 2010, 13:47

          Completely agree about trying to master Sweden. I think the only game I did ever manage to get the hang of that country was with the original WRC for PS2.

          I think the rally that made Colin Mcrae 2.0 for me was Finland. Back in the day of primitive PS1 graphics, even the smallest fir-pine tree was like hitting a rigid, brick pole haha. And so I’m absolutely convinced I owe a lot of thanks to this game for making me competent at driving games, for learning the hard way to thread a needle at 150mph, even more so at night. Was actually quite scary for me at that age :S

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th September 2010, 14:00

            Finland was okay, but it got a bit same-y by the end of the eight stages. Nine and ten were pretty good, though. So was the arcade stage.

            No, my favourite rally in that game was always Kenya. I quite enjoyed England and Italy, too. And that massive stage in Sweden, the one that ran over the dam – Skara, I think it was – was also epic. From memory, Greece was also pretty good. I hated Corsica, though. When replaying the game years later, it was always the point where I would grow bored with it. The arcade stage was awesome, too, though.

            But I missed the Rallye Monte Carlo and Indonesia from the first game.

          • Robert McKay said on 16th September 2010, 15:31

            I still play McRae 2.0, I think it’s brilliant. Particularly the tarmac rallies, because you can just throw the car in with incredible speed and know that it’ll stick.

            Perhaps rather an antithesis in a rally game, where, after all, powersliding is the name of the game, but damned FUN.

            And particularly Italy where the corners just keep coming at you relentlessly, you just zone out and react without thinking about it.

          • Stage 2 at Findland was my favourite stage! i remember i used to practice there so much that i nearly remembered every corner of it…

            how i loved Colin Mcrae 2!

          • sato113 (@sato113) said on 17th September 2010, 0:00

            i loved the UK rally with the old manors and rivers and fields. especially going from tight country lane to open muddy tracks.

    • Maybe the reasons for that are that there were fewer unique cars in the WRC when Colin McRae came out than there are F1 cars now, and that programming the actual ‘racing’ element and AI takes up so much more time than just showing a stage time for the other drivers at the end of a stage.

      It would be cool to have a Grand Prix Legends type game for the consoles!

      • Joey-Poey said on 16th September 2010, 14:03

        I agree! However, if you’re into the simulator type stuff like that, Forza II (and III, but I haven’t played that as much yet) are pretty darn accurate when it comes to driving physics. It’s not open wheels, but it’s a fun challenge along the lines of GPL

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 16th September 2010, 13:20

      what a game. I love the menu music too! industrial beats…

      I like the repair points system. and the night time kenyan rallies were amazing.

    • MigueLP said on 16th September 2010, 16:20

      its great that we all played CMR 2.0 sad is that he died 3 years ago i know he didnt made the game anyway i love it and still play it

    • Colin McRae Rally never had official license, and so (as they speak in the interview) they had more freedom which they now don’t have. F1 license is, as far as I know, very very strict and money orientated.

  2. Rahim RG said on 16th September 2010, 13:19

    Pretty Good…
    Unfortunately…i will have to buy a Playstation 3 to play the game…
    Cause i have a PS 2
    I’ll be buying it for sure….Looks interesting

  3. “My first job in the industry was a tester on Geoff Crammond’s “Grand Prix 3″ which I still consider to be one of my most favourite games.”

    Well, if they get close to GP 3, I am buying it… For sure!

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th September 2010, 13:25

    Can’t see how any unlockables would benefit the game anyway. I’m not interested in an arcade style game.

    Besides classic F1 cars are just not comparable these days so all you could really do with it is Time Trials.

  5. SkinBintin said on 16th September 2010, 13:27

    So so so so desperate to play this. Especially since the Christchurch earth quake a couple weeks back killed my PS3 (no F1 Championship Edition for a fortnight)!

  6. jahbaba said on 16th September 2010, 13:33

    Damn I hope I’m not too late..: I am burning to know whether it will be possible for fans to build MODs with this game.

    99% of F1-loving PC gamers have litteraly been surviving on MODs for the last 5 years !

    Mr Collantine, can you ask ? please ? pretty please ?

    • He said in the interview there won’t be any downloadable content.

      • jahbaba said on 16th September 2010, 14:02

        That is not my question.

        I would like to be able to use the game physics & 3D engine to add fan-made tracks and cars.

        don’t even think of getting me started on that new rip-off DLC fashion…

        • disjunto said on 16th September 2010, 14:37

          if PC gamers want to mod it, it will be modded :D officially, probably not. but it probably will get something :D

        • The one addition I would be extremely interested in is the fan-made tracks.

          We spend a lot of time critiquing modern tracks for their lack of overtaking opportunities and bland sameness, it would be interesting to see the ideas that come out of a crowd-sourced environment like game modders.

          I know i would invest the time and effort to build and test some of the ideas I have had for interesting track challenges, just to see them tested in a virtual world.

          • Hallard said on 16th September 2010, 17:22

            I totally agree. A track creator is the thing I want most in a next-gen console racing game. I would probably spend DAYS on end trying to create a masterpiece.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th September 2010, 14:16

      The interview’s already done and written but I’m pretty sure the game isn’t designed to be mod-able.

  7. The more I see and read about the game, the more appealing it looks. My initial fears of an arcady game are gone now, after reading and listening to tons of interviews with these 2 guys. It’s especially reassuring that they are huge F1 fans themselves apparently :)

  8. Glad you’re giving this game so much run. I’m very excited for it and will be buying a PS3 just for it! (oh, and a little game called GT5 as well) Can’t wait!

  9. no PC version for pre-order in US?
    any ideas why?

    • You can preorder through Steam (36$)

      • @goofy
        THX!!
        I must have missed that.
        you TOTALLY made my day!

      • GLEE!!!! (clicks pre-order)

        After all our original comments (who knows if anything was noticed) on your posts Keith.

        It’ll be great to see how this plays.
        I know that this looks like by far the most advanced racing graphics (that spa comparison video was unbelievable). I’m hoping the physics astounds as well.

        Also the coaching section they referred to. I was excited to see in the interview proper F1 braking (that doesn’t work anywhere but F1, GP2, and a few other series) is mentioned.

        Also it looks like the ridiculous minutia that us F1 die hards love will actually be a part of this game.

        Now if I can only teach my 8 month old how to play so I have someone to race against (wife just puts it in reverse and drives at people;)

        Can’t wait!

    • luigismen said on 16th September 2010, 18:55

      I pre-ordered at amazon 60$

  10. F1 2010 certainly looks great, how drive able it is, is another concern for people that love F1 but don’t have the skills to ever be a champion driver, well at least they will not die trying, LOL.

    my favorite when i first started with a PC was the old Grand Prix Legends,
    loose suspension car moving wildly as you over steered into a corner, seeing the wheels go down and the car body rise as you went over a rise at speed, when a driver felt the raw power of the machine under him trying to contain it on the track was very smooth flowing game with lots of angles to approach a corner.
    how things have changed since then.
    looking forward to buying F1 2010.

  11. Jack Holt said on 16th September 2010, 14:34

    Keith, I’m thinking of buying it but I’d have to buy the computer and the wheel, which is the best configuration to go for? PC, PS3 or XBOX?

    Also, can you describe the AI, I’ve a terrible internet connection at home, so I’ll only be playing it off-line, is it immersive enough? Every game I’ve tried since Geoff Crammond’s GP3 has had boring AI at best, but usually it’s been rubbish. GP3 was brilliant in this respect.

    • A PC can be a bit more complicated to get running smooth if you don’t want to invest a lot in a high end one, but in terms of graphic you will be able to outperform the consoles. A console is easier to setup and get going without any form of lag. If you don’t have anything yet i will say that a PS3 is a good choice. A xbox is also good, but you can’t get a loghitec G25 or G27 wheel to go with it, which for me is a major letdown. I have a PS3 with a G25 and a Playseat for my racing games and it is a very good setup. Lots of fun and plug n’ play all the way.
      Get a new PS3 slim and then see if you can get a G25 and a playseat used on Ebay and you will get a lot for your money. It is well made and very solid from my experiences.
      The problem with the console is that it is hard to get the wheel attached to anything useful so i “had” to buy a playseat.
      With a PC you can just attach it to your table and it will be just fine.

      • US_Peter said on 17th September 2010, 17:50

        That’s basically my plan. I have a seat in my living room already that’s a perfect race posture. I just may have to build some kind of jig to hold the wheel.

    • US_Peter said on 16th September 2010, 19:31

      When platform has been discussed in previous articles, it seems the consensus is PS3. As far as wheel, the Logitech G25 or G27 both look nice and have realistic paddle shifters just like an F1 car… That’s what I’m gonna save up for.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th September 2010, 8:25

      Jack – hope to have an answer for you on that when I’ve played it on all three.

      • Jack Holt said on 17th September 2010, 14:24

        Thanks Keith – I’ll keep my eyes open!

        • Speed Damon said on 20th September 2010, 20:27

          Does anyone know if it is coming out on Wii? Please respond asap. I loved F1 09 on Wii. Once i got it i just kept playing and changing things until it got to the hardest it could possibly be. Great fun! Can u do this on this game.

          However, shame about only being able to play one season at a time, as compared to last years version of playing three consecutive seasons. Still should be good, (if I can get it :(…)

  12. xabregas said on 16th September 2010, 14:47

    Great interview.
    Anybody knows when can we buy in the shops ???

  13. David B said on 16th September 2010, 14:57

    Last time I tried the GP4 for PC. The only concern was that it was possible, also in “Ace mode”, to break very late at some first curves (La Source and Variante 1 at Monza especially), and you could overtake 10 cars in one time…!
    Hope it is not possible anymore.

  14. 22nd or 24th can’t remember which, have it on pre-order for my birthday next week :-)

1 2 3

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.