“F1 2010″: PC review, the ‘fake AI’ controversy and details on the first patch

"F1 2010" (PC version)

“F1 2010″ by Codemasters was reviewed here last week in its Xbox 360 and PS3 incarnations.

Since then there have been some complaints about the game which Codemasters are set to address by issuing a patch for the game. They have denied claims the AI of rival cars is faked during races.

Here’s a look at the PC version of “F1 2010″ and some information on what will be in the patch for all formats.

“F1 2010″ for PC

The PC version of “F1 2010″ is pretty much a straight port of the console version of the game.

At present the game only supports older generation DirectX 9 graphics cards which mimic the capabilities of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

However Codemaster say the advanced capabilities of DirectX 11 graphics cards will be exploited in future patches – though not the first one. This will mean players of the PC version will eventually be able to enjoy a better-looking version of the game.

Already some enthusiastic PC game-players have enabled some DirectX modes by hacking their copies of the game. However this also causes some graphical glitches so it’s best to be patient and wait for the official patch.

This being a PC version you can play it on the keyboard if you really want to, though it’s even more frustrating than using a gamepad. You can customise controls to your heart’s content and fine-tune a steering wheel and pedals if you have one.

Beyond that, the PC version plays as well as the console versions and gets the same score. If you’re playing the PC version, look me up on Games for Windows Live using the user name ‘keithcollantine’. See here for a list of other F1 Fanatic Users’ Gamertags for all three formats.

F1 Fanatic rating

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The “fake AI” controversy

"F1 2010" (PC version)

Some “F1 2010″ players have voiced concerns that, because rival cars away from the player cannot be viewed in replay mode, they aren’t actually there, and the player is in fact racing phantom cars. Discrepancies in lap times seem to support this view.

Codemasters say the AI is not ‘faked’ during races. They say the other cars are there, and the reason you cannot view them in replay mode is because cars out of your field of vision are being rendered at a much lower level of quality to allow the cars and the part of the track you can see to be shown at the highest possible quality level.

I can’t help but think that many PC players with graphical performance in their systems to spare will be disappointed that compromise was made.

However Codemasters confirmed that during the practice and qualifying sessions the other cars aren’t on the track when you can’t see them.

They say this is because of the desire to have a “fast forward” button allowing you to skip through the session quickly. As that creates the impression of accelerating time up to 30-fold, the complexities involved in having the cars lapping at over 6,000mph were too great to overcome.

“F1 2010″: The first patch

Interestingly, Codemasters referred to the forthcoming update as the “first” patch, suggesting there are more in the pipeline.

Among the changes in the first patch are various modifications to the artificial intelligence of rival cars.

These are likely to include changes to the racing lines, such as the problem with turn 19 at Valencia which was noted in the review. The team say they have a “list of corners” where the rival cars are too slow.

Improvements to the rival cars’ behaviour in the pits are expected – including fixing one bug where rival drivers fail to pit and another where the player’s car is held in the pits too long.

Codemasters added the time spent working on patching “F1 2010″ will not affect the time spent developing next year’s version of the game.

Update: Codematers?σΤιΌΤδσ statement on ?σΤιΌ?τF1 2010?σΤιΌ?? bugs and patch

“F1 2010″ PC videos

The videos and screenshots below were created using a Geforce GTX 480 supplied by NVidia:

“F1 2010″ PC screenshots

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“F1 2010″ by Codemasters

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140 comments on “F1 2010″: PC review, the ‘fake AI’ controversy and details on the first patch

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  1. Its Hammer time said on 30th September 2010, 12:39

    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed another small problem.

    While positioned 4th at China, (in a Lotus on hard!)having started on the softer options, I went into the menu’s, selected primes and informed the team i was pitting next lap.

    They then bolted another set of options on. So i had to stop again and finished 19th!

    It turns out if you say nothing and just drive into the pits the team are ready for you with the right tires.

    Why have the function to select tires in race and prewarn the team of your plans to pit if the function doesn’t work properly?

    This aside as one very piffy remark, the game is absolutely fantastic. Barcelona is so much better to drive than to watch! :-)

    • They gave me inters once with not a cloud in the sky after I selected options on the menu…

    • I’ve found that changing my tyres from the menu as im approaching my pitbox is the best approach. I’ve changed it at various points in the lap but for some reason it seems to revert to the original choice either after the 2nd sector split or as you enter the pitlane.

      • polishboy808 said on 30th September 2010, 13:08

        I had full wets put on my car in BAHRAIN!!!! I was in 12 on the hardest level and I drop down to 17 just cause of the stupid mistake the team made, which would be unacceptable in real life, but this is a game, which makes it even more so!

    • yeah tat hapnd to me at the first race, finished 12th on the grid during qualis, n then started the race with option tyres. I had a flat so i pitted n they put me back on option tyres, then i fought my way thru n somehow gained like 2 positions n they called me back in for the primes. i did all this in 20 laps! finished 23rd!

      • Sounds exactly like my first race. I even wondered if I’d been mistaken and started the race on primes then Rob “not Smedley, honest” reminded me on the last lap I needed to pit… Finished 23rd, but beat my teammate :p

        • itz just sad. I clocked the fastest lap of 2:02.003 n still it was hopeless.
          All that on a keyboard. Now my fingers n palm aches! :-(

    • Staffan said on 30th September 2010, 20:17

      Hehe, i was 23st (legend) in Melburne racing against Bruno when the sky started to drip, i stayed out as long as was possible, went in, and got out on options. >_<

      Lost a lot of time, my god. but ended up after the race in 15'th place.

      (but dead last, the rest DNF.)

      And now Lotus have 1 point. Garrggg..

  2. I have a comment, and a question…

    The explanation about the AI cars is the biggest bunch of ******** I have ever heard. It simply smacks of double-talk which techies throw out at “norms” to keep them quiet. All the “issues” they refer to could be very easily solved in a number of ways. Which tends to make one suspect laziness on their part.

    Reading through the amount of deal-breaking bugs (circulating the internet) in quite core racing components of this game, how did you Keith, and other reviewers miss these problems in your reviews?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th September 2010, 15:42

      Obviously this is not a games reviewing website but I have been keeping an eye on what the major sites have been doing in terms of reviewing the game. The earliest reviews seemed to be very thin on detail and it seemed to me they hadn’t played the game much.

      I wanted to review the game after playing all three versions but it became clear last week that wasn’t going to be possible before the release of the game and the start of the race weekend. The review went up after I’d played the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions only and with a substantial disclaimer to that effect.

      At the point that review went up I’d played it on gamepad and with the steering wheel, on all the tracks and difficulty settings, and completed a season at 20% race distance. I’d had the Xbox version at home about a week.

      If you read the review I did highlight some complaints (an AI glitch at Valencia springs to mind) with the game but some of the others being described here – being given the wrong tyres during pit stops for example – never happened to me and still haven’t even though I’ve continued playing the game since.

      That said, you’ve got to retain a sense of perspective. Computer games are complex creations and it’s not unusual for patches to be released to fix problems. I’m no hardcore gamer but I can’t think of any recent games I’ve played where that hasn’t been the case.

      • Charlie said on 30th September 2010, 16:53

        Keith, tut tut, you mean to say you didn’t have a comprehensive QA team investigating every single possible interaction with the game, and then write it out in detail in your review? WHAT DO WE PAY YOU FOR?!?!?

        ;o) In all seriousness, you’re right that some people need to get a sense of perspective!

      • Thanks for the comprehensive reply Keith.

        For the record I’ve been writing software for 30 years. My first real job was on the same trading estate that Codemasters started out on in the 8 bit days. I knew the Darling brothers quite well in fact. :)

        My question was not a criticism of you. I am just curious as to how quite a large number of very easy to spot issues have slipped out with this game. There is a sub text to my question that you would only know about if you were in the game industry.

        But I do think it is a shame that you did not pick up on the quite considerable technical issues there very obviously are with tyres and so forth. That is something that a game reviewer may not be aware of, but as F1 fanatics we all should spot immediately. As you said, these things didn’t affect your experience and I take you at your word.

        Mostly, I have found Codemaster’s statements on it to date to be disingenuous from my perspective.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th September 2010, 18:30

          Have you seen the full response that’s just been posted?

          Codematers respond to β€œF1 2010β€³ complaints

          • Absolutely. I read it before I posted my reply. (I liked the video you tweeted earlier also.)

            There’s a fair bit of double-talk in the statement from my perspective. Read it, and imagine a voice similar to Stefano talking about team orders to Eddie Jordan and you’ll pick up my read on it.

            I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on some of it.
            I take real exception to the AI acceleration excuse though. Sorry.
            But I dispute that on a technical level that would make for a very boring argument between a bunch of geeks. :)

            I am surprised that Ant did not pick up on these issues, but I don’t know how much time he got to test this.

            On the one hand I wonder if they messed up the build just prior to launch. And on the other hand I am a bit sceptical of the amount of high profile, and very positive reviews they got with this many bugs. But then most reviewers are looking at this from a very different perspective.

            As you say, it’s just a game.
            But I think they ran out of time and rushed this out.
            Let’s hope that 2011 builds on what is a good, if unfortunately fatally flawed base.

      • Ben Curly said on 1st October 2010, 6:33

        I don’t know. For me it seems that the game suffers from rubber-banding. That is if you are ahead the cars behind you catch up too quickly, and if you are behind it’s easier for you to catch them. Is it only my subjective perception?

  3. Richard Brown said on 30th September 2010, 12:42

    Keith. I had to go to uni the day after this game came out for my PS3, so I only got one evening of doing some general fiddling around and casual playing. Could you, or anyone, explain to me a bit what some of the technical issues are, and how they effect one’s gameplay?

    • U get to turn on fuel n tyre simulation on. So when u do so, during practice sessions u run out of fuel while driving so u have to pit, i am not sure if tat affects handlings as the car gets lighter.
      Also with tyre sim, ur tyres wear out as u keep driving n eventually u get a flat.

      I didnt find any difference in handling while the option tyres were completely worn out. Anyone did?
      Also i noticed, while the options wear out within 6 laps, the primes dont at all!

  4. Ned Flanders said on 30th September 2010, 12:50

    Haha cars lapping at 6,000mph would be fun!

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 30th September 2010, 15:01

      I can understand why they didn’t want to include that, but I would really like there to be more options with the replays. Also, there needs to be more online stats. (Like time played, races entered, percentage of races entered won etc.)

      • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 30th September 2010, 15:22

        My question is what about all the old Papyrus games that allowed you to watch EVERY car from EVERY camera angle offered? If they can achieve that from 92 all the way til like 2000 or so, to me it seems like it should be easily achieveable now. Even Forza 2 allows you to flip through cars and camera angles. Granted, you only race with 7 other cars, but I’m sure it’s comparable in the amount of graphics being displayed if that’s their issue.

  5. i started playing the game on legend (years of gtr and rfactor experience)
    i haev g25 wheel.
    first, it just doesn’t feel right, not as good as other PC sims. i know it’s not a sim, but it could feel like one…
    so i started with lotus. on practice sessions i manage around 20. but on quali, i almost always get last place, they improving too much after fp3. anyway, the race. i can keep up with them, they are rly easy to overtake, so i’m around 18-20 until the pit. i go in, and after that, i don’t see anybody. i was 18, after that, its dead last. and noone had any engine failiure or something. bahrein 20 lap, i was last, but weren’t laped. i thought the lotus was the reason. on melbourne i could only improve 1-1,5 sec in the ferrari, compared to the lotus, i qualified 20, almost the same as the lotus.
    almost impossible the lock the tyres, you can abuse the car in the corners, many times, full throttle, and you won’t spin, so it gives you the false confidence, and sometimes you just spin, same corner, full throttle…
    and the BIGGEST fail of the game, i mean HUGE. if you get oversteer, the rear lets go, you just tap the brake, and the car just goes back normal. like nothing happand, you just lose some momentum. so in almost every way, the game is a huge letdown for me, but it’s pretty at least…

    • You can brake to correct over-steer!!!! surely that should create more. Very disappointing will try that when I am at home after work.

      • in gt legends, on some older cars, you can help oversteer by pressing the gas and brake the same time, you can brake the front tires, it can help a little, but not that much, and obviously not gonna help an f1 car.

    • Aussie Fan said on 6th October 2010, 6:36

      The spin/no spin thing is just because you have traction control on, so you have been getting on the throttle too hard all the time & the TCS has been catching it about 99% of the time but not always. Try a few laps with the TCS off & you will get a feel for the throttle control required, I did this & after a few initial spins (when I realised you could light up the tyres in even 4th gear sometimes) I stopped having the “random spin” problem altogether.

      Hope this helps :-)

  6. supernicebob said on 30th September 2010, 12:54

    I’m glad they’re addressing the issue of being held in the pits too long. I had a race in Melbourne in the wet and I’d managed to get my HRT up into 6th, only to be stationary for well over 20 seconds – and even then I actually got released into another car which became a ghost and I got loads of warnings for illegal blocking (thankfully no penalty). Although I ended up reclaiming places when other cars pitted, I could only manage a frustrating 11th place.

  7. Christian Biddon said on 30th September 2010, 13:00

    I have the PC version and it is amazing. I have an average system (2.4ghz quad core, 8GB RAM, 8800GTS 640mb gfx) and I run everything at full quality and the game performs perfectly.

    There are a few issues but I have never seen the pitstop bug and I am really happy with the game.

    Now I just need to find the time to play it what with work and kids eating into my mission to see Lotus win world championships once again!! :-)

  8. I hope codemaster can release the patch sooner rather later. especially that directX 11 support.

    racing in the rain on cockpit view is marvelous with all those spray and rain drop and blur effect.. that was the best part of the game.

  9. Mark Ambrose said on 30th September 2010, 13:29

    I am one of the HUGE amount of PC owners that just can’t play the game. The Codemasters forum is getting clogged up by people like me who have systems that should play the game (Dual core E6570, SLi 8800GTX, Vista32bit) but the game refuses to load. Re-installed the game via Steam, Re-installed Games for Windows Live, Updated graphics drivers, tried LOADS of suggested fixes from other forum members – and nearly a week after release and money leaving my bank account I still can’t play it :(
    I have the other Codemasters racing games – they all work. Games For Windows Live gets thrown in and it all goes horribly wrong!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • I’m running the game on what I believe maybe just a bit above the recommended system requirement.

      at first I thought I cant’ run the game because my system is that old 2Ghz pentium D, 3GIG DDR2, and NVIDIA gforce 9500GT 512MB

      and of course I have to use medium setting for that kind of system but the game run smoothly.

    • Dafizzner said on 30th September 2010, 15:00

      Mark I had the same issues. It took literally 20 mins to load the game on my PC and when it did the game drove in slow motion. Very frustrating as I waited for the game’s release for the entire year. So I went out and bought a PS3 just to play the game. Runs awesome. The steam download and windows live registration was a waste of time and complicated the whole process. boooooooooo!

    • if u have an original copy u are allowed to apply a crack.

    • I had loads of problems, with the steam version. Before I bought it I downloaded a cracked version to see if it would play on my Macbook as steam don’t offer refunds. Installed the cracked version fired it up, did a few laps and found it worked well, admittedly with the graphics turned down.

      So then I uninstalled the cracked version, jumped on steam, bought, downloaded and installed it, only to find it crashed EVERY time I tried to open launch the game.

      In the end I removed the Steam version and reinstalled the cracked version with my steam product key. Works a treat now but pretty bloody poor that I needed to do that.

    • Mark Ambrose said on 1st October 2010, 0:53

      UPDATE:
      Well, I set up a partition on the hard drive and installed Windows XP.
      installed Steam, Re-downloaded F1 2010, downloaded Games for Windows Live and installed the game……………….
      I now have a fully working F1 2010 :) Playing on maximum settings and it looks bloody great! Now to get my old Logitech Wingman Formula Force wheel to work!!! (although keyboard isn’t THAT bad)….

      • nik (@nik) said on 1st October 2010, 14:18

        Mark, XP doesn’t support DX11 – so you might want to find a more permanent solution. Try Windows 7 on your new partition.

        I am really disappointed by the DX11 decision, the game was heavily promoted as being one of the first to fully support DX11. It is a shock that a week after the game is released they backtrack and confirm that it is DX9.

        I bought a new card just for this game.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st October 2010, 14:23

          the game was heavily promoted as being one of the first to fully support DX11

          Really? I don’t remember that.

        • Mark Ambrose said on 4th October 2010, 17:59

          Well, I don’t have a DX11 card yet but I do have Windows 7 – but will wait until I fully upgrade the PC to install that. Just a snazzy graphics card left to buy! Really enjoying the game though :)

      • hubart said on 10th October 2010, 10:31

        Mark, Did you get your Wingman working with the game? Any tips you can share? The wheel does not come up in Options

  10. Michael said on 30th September 2010, 13:35

    I think Adrian Newey could make an F1 car lap at 6,000mph….eventually :)

  11. F1silverarrow said on 30th September 2010, 13:44

    Keith, are you considering on changing the rating for this game with all the bugs that it has?

    Game freezing, 20 second penalty pit stops, unbalanced wet weather racing, AI going faster in main race then quail, corrupt save files, AI drivers are not on equal footing to the player, aka ghosting through you on pit stops, don’t get penalties when they smash into you etc…

    And that’s not all of them.

    4/5 to me seems a bit too high with a unfinished game, it only deserves a rating that high when the “complete” patch is downloaded which sorts this rushed piece of work.

    Very disappointed by codemasters for releasing this.

    • F1silverarrow said on 30th September 2010, 13:50

      And to reply to what score I would give it? To be honest it doesn’t deserve a rating because I feel it’s unfinished, and only yesterday hearing they would bring out a patch for 2010 have I handfired to not trade it in for fifa11 already.

    • SkinBintin said on 30th September 2010, 13:58

      Play online. Great fun, and iffy AI means nothing! ;)

      • Playing online doesn’t appeal to me tbh, i’ve played my fair share of online games Runescape, World of warcraft and soon to be The old republic.

        All you get online in racing games are tools who drive the other way round and ruin the race for everybody I just wanted the career mode to do.

        I would of gladly waited for another month or two and get the full article then get it now and have alot of problems with it. People may bring the excuse up saying other games have bugs, yes but not this obvious… it would be like having a fighting game and you can’t punch the other person or a halo game where you can’t throw a grenade, it ruins the whole experience.

        Hope codemasters can sort it out quickly before 2011’s rep will be ruined for next year.

      • Aussie Fan said on 6th October 2010, 6:38

        Exactly, online is the best!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th September 2010, 15:45

      No, see the reply to Stephen above.

      • Apparently software is the only product these days which can be shipped in a relatively unfinished state, if my company did that with hardware, they’d be slapped with several lawsuits within a month.

        Anyway, it does look like the development was rushed in order to meet the licensing requirements, but imagine what if the game was even worse than what it already was, wouldn’t the license be pulled by FOM for damaging the brand?

  12. ohh yeah, forgot about the wer racing. very wet track, i put on inter tyres, you can brake at the same points as dry track, pretty much flat out out of the corners too, you just can’t see anything cos of the spray, but you have so much grip!…
    it’s prety much an arcade racer

    • Have you noticed how you pretty much never need Intermediates. The slicks seem very good in wet weather.

      • xxiinophobia said on 1st October 2010, 1:20

        Just yesterday the rain came out while I was attempting to qualify at Melbourne. I’d left the pits in the dry on Options, and it started drizzling just about the time I got into Sector 3 on my out-lap.

        I completed my first timed lap during this light rain, which was good for P10, but by Lap 2 the whole surface was fairly wet, and there was little traction anywhere. Any high-speed cornering attempts were promptly met with various types of non-grip. Lap 2 was 24 seconds off the Pole time.

        I cruised back to the pit lane, and under the engineer’s guidance, I switched to Intermediates and went back out. My first flying lap did not improve my position, but Lap 2 was good for P2, about 0.150 off the Pole.

        I think the experience is highly dependent on your game difficulty. I’ve played on nothing but Hard with traction control off, and I can always tell the difference between each tyre compound, heavy or light fuel load, and when tyre simulation is on, cold, heated, and cooked tyres.

        Your mileage may vary.

        (I’m playing Xbox 360 version with the gamepad, BTW.)

  13. Sparkyj23 said on 30th September 2010, 13:49

    I had a look at the Codemasters forum and its a firestorm over there. Looks like CM didn’t realise F1 fans are fanatical and knowledgeable. They’re putting fires out all over the place.

    That pit bug is terrible, I fought p to 8th and pitted and got held in the pit lane even thought there were no other cars pitting.

    • F1silverarrow said on 30th September 2010, 13:54

      I know how you feel, was 9th to 24th in shanghai in 1 pitstop. I just had to stop playing before I chucked the cd out of the window.

      Not playing again until the patch comes out.

    • nik (@nik) said on 1st October 2010, 14:24

      They should have hired a group of 8-10 F1 fans to user test this game in the lab prior to release. Something tells me that commercial pressure dictated the release date rather than the tech team releasing it when it is ready.

      Happens all the time with some game studios. The best game studios like Valve release games ‘when its ready’ – and you can see the results of that in the successes they have enjoyed.

      I only know of two game studios that stick their finger up to commercial pressure and release games on their own terms – that is RockStar / Take-Two and Valve – and if you look at the best games of the past 10 years it is no co-incidence that almost all of the top games are from either of these two studios.

      If either of these guys got the F1 license we would have waited a bit longer to get a game (the release date may have been baked into the FOM agreement) but we would have gotten a 10/10 game where a lot of time is invested in polishing off and testing (the 80/20 rule).

      I feel for the developers at Codemasters, because I know most devs take pride in what they release and these guys, given the opportunity, probably would have loved to have an extra 6 months or so to polish this game up. Now we must rely on patches, and the devs are getting blasted for something that was outside of their control.

  14. I’ve got to admit there’s plenty of annoyances I have with the game the biggest being in most races at least one AI car doesn’t pit and gets a shockingly good result. (Karun just finished 6th in Barcelona on a 50% race)

    I do really enjoy the game but I’d say 1 in 3 of my races so far have been ruined for some reason to do with the games glitches/inaccuracies and that’s far too often.

  15. In Monaco, when you only touch the kerbs, it gives you a warning for cut track! I had a first lap crash, 10 AI that spun, then they all became transparent and I cut through them! Then I entered the pits and went through Kobayashi. I stayed still for 10 seconds despite having finished the pit in 4, to let others pass. When others pit I find incredibly Liuzzi, Senna etc. in the first 5 places. I am happy for Liuzzi, but it isn’t realistic!

    • Steph said on 1st October 2010, 11:39

      I went through Liuzzi in the pit. I also got the warnings about cutting the track at Monaco for doing nothing.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 1st October 2010, 18:16

      I found a new glitch. Surely someone has already spotted it but I’ve never heard of it.
      In Valencia, in qualifying, I set a lap of 1:50. On the next lap I passed the second intermediate with -31 seconds of gap! Then I ended the lap without errors but without improving my best lap.

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