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A sneak preview of the F1 2012 game
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Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Aug 2012   |  8:45 am GMT  |  85 comments

This week I was lucky enough to visit the Codemasters Studio in Birmingham where developers are putting the final touches to the new F1 2012 game, due out next month. We recorded an interview with Creative Director Stephen Hood which you can hear in the next JA on F1 Podcast next week.

This is the third year of Codemasters producing the official F1 game and with a new contract in the bag going forward the developers have been able to stretch their legs a little.

There are some interesting new features on the game, including Champions’ mode – a section that reflects the record six world champions in the field, details like being able to adjust the brake bias (you see the driver’s hand come off the wheel and move a lever like on the on-board camera shots), localised weather and a Young Guns test, where the basics of driving an F1 car and how to use things like DRS and KERS are also explained. Part of this is going to be available as a free demo, something Codemasters haven’t done before.

So what’s new on the game? “We have made a game that sits between arcade impressions and racing simulation,” says Hood. “We are trying to make a game that really represents the sport when you watch it on TV. This year we are trying to get people that are still afraid of F1 and racing simulations;people that don’t know anything about DRS and KERS. Sometimes I think the hardcore community think we are trying to dumb down the game or turn it into an arcade game, but the commentators on TV are always explaining these things and that’s what we are trying to do. It’s more of an accessible game.”

Codemasters are very proud of the physics of the game, they model the tyre performance, temperature of the track following another car’s dirty air, aerodynamic effect as downforce increases with speed. They have also modelled some of the tyre wear characteristics of the 2012 F1 cars, so the Mercedes is heavier on its rear tyres in the race, for example, while the Sauber is lighter on its tyres.

“We look at the talking points of the season and one of the advantages of coming out later in the season is we can reflect that,” says Hood. “We’ve played around with that, so in effect each of the teams have their own characteristics: front tyres wear differently to the rears, different bias on different teams, for the true F1 fan who wants to play the long races and experience the sport as it is this season. So that if you are driving a Sauber and you are behind a Mercedes, you know that you can run longer than him. That’s the kind of attention to detail we are trying to incorporate all the time.”

One of the new features of the game is of course, the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Check out the site later when I will be posting a video of Stephen Hood and I driving and talking through an on board lap of the Austin track. A mixture of elements of Turkey, Silverstone and Korea, I think fans will be quite impressed.

* Look out for the next JA on F1 podcast, featuring the Codemasters interview, later next week.

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1

I am amazed that no steering wheel user has complained about being 3 seconds a lap slower on line. I have played 2010 and 2011 which were both great.In 2012 F1, Codemasters say they wanted a level playing field with hand controllers and steering wheel users. They have over done it. A few tenths would not have been too bad, but three whole seconds! I have gone from coming 1st a few times a night to getting used to being in the bottom half. I have now given up with the 2012 game and am enjoying the 2011 version.

2

just read that there is no championhip mode in the game meaning you cannot play a full season as any driver the offcial f1 game of 2012 without championship mode what a joke.who is in charge at codemasters a chimpanzee? sorry to any chimpanzees who may be reading this.

3

I’m convinced that the game will be great. But what about XP support? I hope Codemasters is going to support XP!

4

Apparently if you become world champion on ‘expert’ level you unlock an ‘after the race’ segment for future races. Here you go back to the motorhome and plan your next 24 hrs. If you have chosen a married driver (Kimi, Schumacher) your challenge is to escape from the missus and meet up with fellow drivers and crew at a bar. Bonus points are awarded for most creative excuses and coming home after 6am and not getting caught. If you chose a driver who is single then you can do what you want…but do it well!!

I think its something that Codemasters should be congratulated on

5

I havent got 2011 and doubt I will get 2012. They are just too similar to justify spending £40 on each year.

I bought 2010 when it first came out and I have to say quite enjoyed it. That was until I realised how bugged it was and how little support and upgrades came from Codemasters. It is a little arcadey in feeling to drive, Im sure they used the same physics engine as Race Driver: Grid which is a balls to the wall arcade game (one which I like I hasten to add). It must be difficult for them to get the balance right, most folk I imagine dont want to spend hours tinkering with setups and perfecting their lines. Perhaps they should have two different modes with different physics.

The thing I thought was most annoying about though 2010 was the AI. During the race some of them wouldnt pit at all so you would end up with Caterhams winning (this was on the hardest level) and when I came in for a stop I got held for ages and ages due to other cars coming down the pit lane, if I pitted from the lead I would more oftne than not come out last after a 30s pit stop.

I hoped they would fix all this with updates but they didnt, I lost trust in Codemasters. I will be waiting to see the reviews for 2012 before buying.

6

I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Hood and co. last year prior to the release of F1 2011. It was late May and we tried out a private beta version of the game. At the time, the words on everyone’s lips was “Safety Car” and Codemasters had never put a Safety car in any of their games before then. I was put in front of a camera and I was asked a question about the safety car, and whether I thought they would put the safety car in the game (At the time the devs were tight-lipped on the whole affair) and whilst the guy sitting next to me said that he thought it was great and he was really excited about it, I said something like: “Yeah, it would be great but I hope they don’t rush it’s development and leave bugs in the game.” (They also asked me about DRS and KERS, to which I replied “They serve no real purpose; they’re just gimmicks to keep the racing interesting, but at least they’re modelled fairly well.”) 4 months later, surprise, surprise: People are complaining about bugs and glitches with the safety car randomly appearing inside their car, disqualifying them from the race through no fault of their own. (Particularly online, where Lag between player connections is more potent)

To be honest, even as a hardcore F1 fan, I’m not able to deny that the games have some stupid flaws that could be avoided: (And I’m not just talking about bugs either) For example, the “corner cutting” detection is abysmal and will penalise you sometimes even if you put a single wheel on the grass, but on other tracks you can put half your car off the circuit and the game doesn’t lift a finger. Also the damage model is very poor and unrealistic, which they later explained away by claiming that FOM refused to allow them to make a more detailed damage model because it would cover up Sponsor logos, which is a shame because the team has decent potential and are fairly decent, hardworking and friendly guys.

Overall though I tend to look at the game as more arcade than simulation; just a fun arcade racing game with F1 branded cars and similar elements to F1, just intended as a bit of fun. I think financial gain on the part of codemasters does come into it, and because they are a greedy quality-over-quantity corporation the games suffer as a result; look at Microprose; they made Grand Prix 4 when the company was on it’s deathbed, but they still managed to make a brilliant game that is still loved and appreciated as a proper racing sim. Codemaster are, in my opinion, claiming to make racing sims when infact they make something that just feels at times like a lifeless, robotic and slightly corporate imitation of the real thing, which flatters to decieve. Also the “patches” and “support” for the games are laughable.

7

The codemaster F1 games are a very poor experiance.

I advise people to try GTR and RFactor series instead.

James, it would be great as a representative of an F1 blog you feed some of the above comments back to codemasters. It’s not just that their games are not realistic, they are bug ridden and therefore of a poor quality.

8

“I think the hardcore community think we are trying to dumb down the game or turn it into an arcade game, but the commentators on TV are always explaining these things and that’s what we are trying to do. It’s more of an accessible game.” This comes from the same team who claim that only 5% of their user drive with the cockpit cam.

I paid for the other games of the series and now I have learnt my lesson. These guys should be politicians, they would fit in well to that.

9

Seeing as Codemasters have produced an F1 game each year since 2009, they could stitch these games together to create a proper career mode rather than just repeating the same cars and tracks within a single game season after season.

10

Interesting piece…any one know of a F1 manager Game worthy of playing…Grandprix 2 will not run on windows 7…any offers anyone

11

I have it running on a Windows 7 system. You have to install DOSBox, a dos emulator. Works like a charm.

12

Grand Prix 2 by Microprose is still the best F1 game ever! Made in 1996, based on the 94 season, unbeatable for a true racing sim!

13

Agreeded 100%, I absolutely loved that game.

14

What got me hooked on motor racing was……..going to race meetings, sometimes standing (or walking round the circuit spectator areas) in bad weather, good weather, etc.

When I started doing this, I was still at school, & used to cycle 15 miles to the circuit. At that time you could go into the Paddock & talk to drivers & mechanics, who weren’t so ‘up themselves’then, & they would also talk to me.

I never knew that gaming could give you so much without leaving your living room.

15

Any idea if this will have a co-op championship mode?

16

Hi James

Are we going to have a competition to win here? 🙂

17

While we’re all strolling down memory lane, who remembers the Geoff Crammond GP series. It was amazing the communities that existed which kept updating and enhancing the game. Bring back those days, I say!

18

Yes, I spent MANY hours playing GP3 and GP4, actually my first REAL hook in to race sims

19

Geoff Crammond rocked! I started with Revs on the C64, right through to GP4. Wish he was still making them.

20

Hi James. The F1 series of games are ok but if you are a true racing fan and want to experience what it feels like to really race you have to try iRacing on the PC. I challenge anyone to find a better sim racing experience, outside of the F1 factory simulators. It’s awesome!

21

If you are a true racing fan and want to experience what it feels like to really race then take a car to a track day and do real driving.

22

my honest impression of the game has been ‘just average’. No doubt Codemasters makes fantastic games with their TOCA race driver series which evolved into Race Driver GRID. And who can forget their Colin McRae rally series which evolved into DiRT series.

I find the F1 game is not as involving. I feel that they needed to make sure the game reflect the real F1 sport means they are constrain to creative ways of making racing games FUN.

Both DiRT and GRID really allows you to be playful and drift the rear end so that you can POWER out of a corner very early. You’ll need to balance the throttle and countersteer accordingly to get the maximum. Getting it right is not easy but very much well-rewarded. Get it wrong and you’ll pay the price dearly. There is nothing about tyre degradation etcs. That is how I want to play a racing game.

23

As an F1 fan (which I am), if I was a fan of racing simulations (which I’m not) then I’d be at a loss as to why they release these games after the season and miss out on a massive potential market.

Why not initially release it as a downloadable subscription game, with each track becoming available after the event has finished, being configured with all the data from what happened at the race?

Once the season has finished, box it up and release it to the more casual market.

24

It’s a good game is F1 2011 and brilliant with a steering wheel. But for me it feels a bit floaty. The Ferarri F1 cars on Gran Turismo 5 feel alot better to drive, easy to learn but difficult to master. If only Polyphony Digital had the licence. Would never happen with a Sony funded studio. Like the guy in the 2nd comment says too the F1:CE game in 2006 was better. Shame the Sony studio in Liverpool which delevoped the game recently went bust 🙁

25
michael grievson

I’d like Codemasters just to release DLC each year.

26

I bought and raced F1 2010 when it came out, and thought it was okay. I bought F1 2011 and still haven’t installed it. I’m pretty sure I’ll skip F1 2012.

For flat out racing I still load Grand Prix Legends and blast around Watkins Glen in the Lotus. With all the 3rd party patches and graphics updates, and a Logitech G25 wheel with 6-speed shifter, it’s quite something.

Another one I enjoy is GT Legends, especially with the Lotus Cortina or one of the other lightweight 4 cyl cars.

27

I have had a GPL disc for years but can never get it to work, my G25 just refuses to work with it and the game crashes all the time! How do you make it work? The ironic thing is I can remember playing it on my mates Windows 95 PC way back in the day where you could count the number of pixels.

I havent played GTL for ages, great game I’ll have to dig it out again.

Hae you ever played rFactor?

28

Couldnt agree more on GPL and GT Legends….and yes on the Cortina… something addicting about that car. Good stuff

29

It’s actually the 4th year of Codemasters producing the official F1 game, F1 2009 for the Wii, PSP, IOS. ;))

30

When they release the game at the start of the year, so that you can do each race in sync with the actual season, it’ll maybe be worth buying…

31

But then you’ll complain when something crucial happens in the season and they weren’t able to implement it.

32

I think they should release in March, update with service packs through the year if reqd. Could have race weekend events where you log in to race the current track and cars, after the live qualifying/race finishes on TV.

Great way to keep people hooked to the game all year round, and would be great fun

33

Let’s hope they’ve actually tested this game before they release it. So frustrating to get a third of the way through your season to find it has been ruined by a glitch in the game. I didn’t buy the second game for this reason and won’t even consider buying this one until I read about all the bugs.

I guarantee this game will have race & season altering bugs.

34

Ask t4rg4 to send me a copy and I’ll give it a shot (ps3)

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