F1 2010
F1 2010 Hands On & First Impressions - Be The Driver, Live The Life
Written Sunday, March 21, 2010 By Dan Webb
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Formula 1 games are as niche as games get these days and in years gone by, offering the race day experience hasn’t been the problem. The problem has come in creating a true F1 experience that makes you feel like you’re part of something much bigger. The impressive Codemasters racing development team and their equally impressive EGO engine are looking to correct that with F1 2010 and something they like to call, “Be the driver. Live the life.”

It’s a two part tagline that is designed to promote F1 2010’s authentic all encompassing F1 experience. “Be the driver” looks to promote the game as the most authentic and engaging F1 experience that you could possibly imagine on the track itself, while the “live the life” aspect relates to the off-the-track F1 antics that range from the team rivalries to the pre and post race media frenzy.

“Be the driver,” according to F1 2010’s Senior Producer, Paul Jeal, is meant to allow you to experience “everything that an F1 driver experiences on the race track itself.” Two key aspects make up this part of the game’s tagline; wheel-to-wheel racing – as in consistent lap times, watching and studying the AI and working out their weaknesses – and evolving race strategy. “It’s all about adopting to the strategy on the fly,” says Jeal. Those two aspects can be broke down even further though, as the game’s backbone starts to look like some ever expanding family tree.

The wheel-to-wheel racing aspect ultimately boils down to two further aspects. Firstly, the car handling, which Jeal describes as neither arcade nor simulation, but as “authentic.” It’s about the cars handling as the real life cars would and allowing you to get consistent lap times, ultimately shaving seconds off your lap times or extending your lead from your closest rival. And secondly, the AI’s behaviour and characteristics. “A lot of games in the past have focused primarily on car handling, maybe at the detriment of the AI,” said Jeal, “that’s certainly something that we’re not planning to do and there has been a lot of focus on the AI.” This ranges from the AI driver’s behaviour on the track, from slipstream drafting and trying to find an opportunity to overtake, to each driver having strengths and weaknesses. Some drivers may be great starters, good overtakers, or they might be poor under pressure or abysmal on the first corner.

In terms of the evolving race strategy focus part, that ties into the more tactical aspect of the F1 2010 title. It covers everything from which tires you use and when you take your pit-stops, to engine management and race tactics. I must admit the tire model sounds pretty damn amazing if they can pull it off, as Jeal tells the crowd that the tires will blister, marble and even puncture if pushed too hard. The in-car race tools can provide a much needed boost according to the producer as well, citing that you can alter wing levels and dial up the engine performance to get a much needed edge over an opponent you’re trying to overtake. You have to be careful though, as these short term boosts will wear the engines out quicker and that may affect your long term race season strategy – F1 teams can only use 8 engines a season. If that wasn’t enough, how about fully motion captured pit-stops and a fully dynamic weather engine that features anything from light rain to monsoon weather conditions where not only is the track slippery, but the spray also massively reduces visibility. The EGO engine has never been so full with life and detail as it will be in F1 2010.

“Live the life” for me is where the game gets interesting. We’ve all experienced the EGO engine by now and aside from the horrible vehicle handling in Operation Flashpoint 2, it’s been nothing but top of the table stuff, so we kind of know what to expect. The “live the life” part of the tagline though is all about your experience as a driver off-the-track. It’s about the press, the team rivalries, your career, your agent and so much more. It’s looking to create the back-end of the ultimate F1 experience.

“It’s about the world that goes on behind the game track” says Chief Game Designer, Steve Hood. It’s about the paddock and seeing the areas that usually require VIP access. “It’s about witnessing your rise.”

Not only are you going to be answering questions in the paddock and attending post-race press conferences if you finish on the podium, but you’ll also be spending time in your “driver’s room.” It’s essentially an extension to the Dirt 2 RV and here you’ll find access to your agent – “a main character” – who will look out for your career and deal with contract negotiations on your behalf. Want to step up to be Hamilton’s understudy? Your agent will be the key to getting you that big race contract. Stepping up to ride alongside one of Britain’s finest though could throw a few roadblocks your way, especially if you manage to step outside his shadow.

“Your biggest rival in the game is your teammate,” says Hood, and Codemasters are looking to put added emphasis on this aspect, especially as it plays a huge part in F1 today. The media are keen to push and put strain on this fragile relationship, so watch out. There will be awkward questions galore. Damn those pesky media... oh wait...

It’s not just media and back-room antics though, but throw in some technology races – the driver’s bread and butter, the pre-race garage, objectives and some end of season research and development, and F1 2010 is looking to deliver a rich and authentic F1 experience.

From our relatively brief hands-on with the title, it’s hard to discern the title’s potential quality there. Simply put, there is only so much you can get from a short 3 lap race... and that’s not a lot. For a pre-alpha build though, the game itself was already visually impressive, with the tires easily being the most impressive part. You may laugh smugly and roll your eyes at my insinuation, but it’s true. It’s the little things like going off-road – unintentionally of course – and seeing the tires pick up the gravel which slowly flies off as you get back on the track that provide the wow factors.

In terms of handling, again, it’s difficult to get a feel for it with such a short race. The difficulty curve is noticeable however, with the sheer speed and handling looking like it could provide many a challenge. With the damage turned off though, no penalties on for cutting corners and an overly aggressive AI, it didn’t scream authentic F1, but that’s all down to what options were selected. Having damage on with penalties isn’t ideal for the sort of press event that this was. Plus… steering wheels for racing games? Give me a controller any day of the week. Archaic I know, but I’m set in my ways dammit! It should be said, whilst this was only a three lap race, the final version will allow for full 70-odd lap races if you should choose, as well as a ton more options to customise your experience.

It’s hard to predict from this early stage how F1 2010 will eventually turn out. If anything is clear from what Codemasters were keen to put across, it’s that they’re looking to create the ultimate F1 experience from the tracks to the pit lanes to the behind-closed-doors antics. Our hands on was ridiculously brief and the only thing you could gauge from it, is that’s it’s truly hardcore and will offer a pretty steep challenge for F1 and racing fans alike. With only 3 pods servicing about 300 journalists and event attendees, at the moment, F1 is all talk and not enough action. We’re interested to see how this one pans out though, because if they can deliver on their promises, F1 2010 could be the ultimate F1 experience, both on and off the tracks.

F1 2010 is currently scheduled for a September release.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 515
Comment #1 by BemusedBox
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:10:06 PM
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Love raceing games so a must buy for me.

Forum Posts: 82
Comment #2 by MR X 93
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:10:49 PM
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Loved DiRT/Grid racing Engine. This game's gonna be great

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #3 by GoodfellaAdriano
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:28:08 PM
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Forum Posts: 1
Comment #4 by TwiIight
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:31:58 PM
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meh I'll wait for DiRT 3

Forum Posts: 593
Comment #5 by x 19 Luke 87 x
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:38:50 PM
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Gotta be better than F1 champ edition. That wasn't the best game i've ever played...

Forum Posts: 52
Comment #6 by Shinnbob
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:41:24 PM
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Anyone not getting this will be missing out on a real racing game, hope it lives up to all this hype as i would hate an F1 game to fail.

If it fails i will go back to playing Grand Prix 3 on PC =D

Forum Posts: 18
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:42:54 PM
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Looks pretty good :D

Forum Posts: 934
Comment #8 by radar616
Sunday, March 21, 2010 @ 11:55:52 PM
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Not really digging this idea of the "Be the Driver" stuff.

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #9 by o schm1dt o
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 12:00:52 AM
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I love the engine they use. I will get this game. But Dirt 3 will be even better i'm sure.

Forum Posts: 199
Comment #10 by Night45Fox
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 12:46:05 AM
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Sweet, last F1 game I played was Formula 1 Championship 2001, just was watching the grand prix of dubai the other day.

I dont really like Dirt, Grid was great but glitched achievements dont settle well with me, Will have to see if this turns out to be worth it before I decide.

Forum Posts: 149
Comment #11 by KPD7424
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 01:06:17 AM
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This game will be great!!! I cannot wait!!! Forza Ferrari Forever!!!

Forum Posts: 446
Comment #12 by sak7395
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 02:43:09 AM
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Is this like forza

Forum Posts: 722
Comment #13 by SWAGGART
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 02:50:42 AM
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#13, Forget Forza mate this game is gonna rock,Dont get me wrong I love forza but we have all been craving a decent F1 Game for many moons now, I know with confidence that this will be one hell of an addictive racing game because I remember how good it was on the Playstation 1,"GAME ON"

Forum Posts: 2773
Comment #14 by jtr1gg3r
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 03:18:44 AM
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was gonna start complaining, until I saw you can pick a 70 lap race =D

thats authentic!

im hardcore on F1 =P, if theres multiplayer then you gonna see my name on that leaderboard.... number 1! jokes haha

Forum Posts: 2773
Comment #15 by jtr1gg3r
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 03:20:22 AM
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@10 that was the Bahrain grand prix =P

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #16 by pkas06
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 03:28:09 AM
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Aside from al the comments, this is a good, lengthy and insightfull article. Thanks for writing.

Forum Posts: 8
Comment #17 by howling crazy
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 03:28:56 AM
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cannot wait last time i played an f1 game was on the obsolete ps1

Forum Posts: 75
Comment #18 by European Gangsta
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 03:32:52 AM
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Spend time in the drivers room! That'll be awesome my dad is in charge of shell's sponsership to Ferarri, so last year I went to the Monoco Grand Prix and we were in the Ferarri Moterhome standing next to Massa's parents watching practice. :)

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #19 by vella
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 03:55:52 AM
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This game can't come soon enough! Just hoping they can pull it all off and its as good as they say.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #20 by CotU360
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 05:38:49 AM
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I dont get it.... I mean.. Formula 1 is freaking nice to look at and see it live... and i didnt mention how fucking awesome it must be to drive it same.... but, Formula 1 never makes me fun playing it with a Controller nor a Racing Wheel...didnt think this Game can change my opinion..

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #21 by CotU360
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 05:39:47 AM
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same = self

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #22 by Whitesnake75
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 06:08:50 AM
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Thanks for a great article Webb and further igniting my excitement for this game!! You managed to answer a few of the questions i had regarding this and fortunately as a massive F1 fan (and one who is desperate for a good F1 game!!) it's left me wanting more... Blistering tyres? marbles off the racing line? mo-cap pit crews? full length races? now i just need to know if it will feature safety cars!! I want this game NOW!! Please Codies, take your time, polish the game to perfection and give us what we want.. the ultimate F1 game

Forum Posts: 178
Comment #23 by Blue Thunder28
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 06:31:41 AM
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Visually this game looks fantastic. Looking forward to it maybe I'll have one last game to use my racing wheel with before it's replaced by Natal LOL. Not sure what racing games are coming by holidays.

Forum Posts: 14789
Comment #24 by Webb [STAFF]
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 07:13:05 AM
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@#23 - I'm not sure it does unfortunately. I'm pretty sure I read it the other day somewhere.

Forum Posts: 119
Comment #25 by Desmondo2000
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 08:31:12 AM
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the night races are gonna look awesome in this game especially the abu dhabi one starting off in daylight and finishing under flood lights drool cant wait

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #26 by CannibaL
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 08:31:23 AM
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I dont understand why they are bringing this out near the end of the F1 season. When the new season starts, some of the cars will be different and the drivers will change. Looks awesome though =)

Forum Posts: 1748
Comment #27 by IXISHADOW
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 09:31:11 AM
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They explained this in the most recent interview which is avaliable on the 360 dashboard. They stated that there have been so many changes this year they are going to wait and polish it and follow through with the real life decisions. Basically they are going to wait and see if this fuel idea is going to stick...

Plus the next F1 season wont be for another year so releasin the game in September makes sense as The next season would not start for 6 months.

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #28 by CannibaL
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 09:37:42 AM
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@28 I suppose so, it might be me but i have always hated playing games when they are out of date after a few months. Its like bringing FIFA out in the middle of the season or other sports game. They need to ditch the fuel, it was funny when the fuel hoses were still on when they pull away lol

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #29 by Whitesnake75
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 10:41:20 AM
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@#25-Can't have everything I suppose! Never mind, i think i can live without the safety cars (although it would be great...)
If they wanted to they could implement it though... especially seeing as Piquet jr and Briatore are now no longer in the sport.... At least they wouldn't have to model the "crash for benefit" strategy that Renault famously used....
On the subject of the release window, i think it's a good thing it comes out when it does, at least us F1 fans will have something to keep us busy during the close season whilst waiting for the next.

Forum Posts: 27
Comment #30 by Golani 360
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 12:33:13 PM
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This should be good!

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #31 by ArmeniusLOD
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 02:49:56 PM
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Unfortunately I'm skeptical of this game because of Codemasters' track record with physics engines. It always feels like driving a boat. The cars never feel like they have any mass. I thought GRID was a great concept for a racing game, but I could never enjoy it because of the physics engine. I'll still check it out, though, because I'm a Formula 1 fanatic.

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #32 by blade0307
Monday, March 22, 2010 @ 09:43:20 PM
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GO MOSSA and F1!!!!!!!

Forum Posts: 612
Comment #33 by VisionsOfDemise
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 @ 04:44:14 AM
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Cannot wait. I've loved every single racing game by these guys. This one hopefully won't be an exception. :)

Forum Posts: 1211
Comment #34 by CFC07
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 @ 06:16:57 AM
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anyone no if there will be a demo

Forum Posts: 20702
Comment #35 by Barad
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 @ 06:18:47 AM
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Hopefully there will be a demo out soon, I've never played an F1 game before but this looks awesome seeing as i love racing games, specially this much into level of the realistic simulation type. Nothing will ever beat Forza 3 though :P

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #36 by bb88
Saturday, September 11, 2010 @ 08:08:55 AM
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I played F1 2009 on the wii and that was a good game.
Now finaly on 360, im buying.

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Game Info


US September 21, 2010
Europe September 24, 2010

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