Beyond that it gives you the ability to concentrate on what the player would like to do during the race. If I'm struggling to stay on the circuit in iRacing
fashion, I cannot give thought to when I should pit, what's the state of my tyres, what are my fuel levels because that is what players like.
To be honest we have played games like iRacing
and set about putting a lap together and it is incredibly rewarding when you do complete a race in it. But it's not approachable and not something we can have in our F1
games at present. It is however something we are aiming for by improving the simulation element of the games.
Where do you think the driving genre is right now?
I don't think they're very interesting at the moment. I loved the original Need for Speed
on the 3DO console and that's the last time I really enjoyed a game from that franchise. For me it gave a great representation of what it feels like to drive a really fast car. Driving games these days are about driving a car at 220 mph and dodging traffic while knocking things down and earning points for it. There's a market for that, but it's not something I have any interest in.
Would it therefore be better to align F1 2012
against sports games as opposed to racing titles?
That's exactly what we're chasing. I love the presentation of FIFA12
and the like to the point where they have fed back into the presentation of TV coverage.
So, we're chasing that kind of feel for the game, while evolving the driving model to make it physically correct. I'm working on the F1 games day in day out and one of the things I'm always focussed on is how the car feels to drive around the track.
I'm racing around 10-15 laps and while I'm doing that I'm trying to judge how the tyres feel and what the fuel consumption is. On laps 16 onwards I'm trying to see when I have to pit and at what point I have to refuel.
This is what for us is what F1 is all about: knowing when to save the tyres and the fuel and that is what makes our games authentic. Not the base driving model as in iRacing
, but the strategising around the car itself. We're trying to simulate what it is to be in a race, rather than what it's like to drive an F1 car.
Are there any changes to the multiplayer set up?
We're not planning to add much to the multiplayer aspect at all with F1 2012
. We're already up to 16 players. What we're thinking about is how to make the experience better with more people.
We've noticed that everybody's connection varies across difference territories; one player will have an amazingly fast and clean connection, while another will have a poor one. That's effecting the experience, but we can't have much influence over that, but that's unfortunately the world that we live in and I don't see it changing any time soon.
So, we're trying to improve our network code so that we can account for these inconsistencies in connection quality. This will provide a better experience as I think most developers, and we've been guilty of this in the past as well, feel under pressure to add stuff to every aspect of the game, when you can just polish aspects of it instead.
So, rather than just saying 'we're kind of happy with that, let's add a bunch of new stuff to encourage more people to buy our game'. In this instance we need to polish the current experience to make it better.
Is there any cross-pollination between you and the other coding teams within Codemasters?
Yes we're talking to each other quite a lot now because obviously since we extended the license of Formula 1, this has given us security and belief that we can improve year on year. We believe with F1 2012
in particular things have really come together, as long as we keep on improving year on year people will recognise that we're doing the right thing. I think the big sea change will be the next generation consoles as it will be where people will get into that space and declare that they're going to do something very special.
Are you planning any interconnectivity between the PS Vita and the PS3 for that version of F1 2012
No, because it would benefit one format only and it's not something we're particularly interested in doing. We're making the games we want to make and not what the marketing department wants to make. We only get away with doing that because the F1
games are selling.
Now, if they were not, then we may have started to plough that furrow. It's not on the cards, but it is something that has been discussed and it comes under a list of features we would like to see, but it would likely come across as a bit of marketing. Is such a feature going to add to the experience? Probably not. Now if Sony would chuck $10 million at us to do that, then sure we'll do it!
How are you dealing with the bugs and errors that are appearing in the F1
games upon their release?
Previously we would be working as a single team on the entire game and when bugs appear the development would stop as we try to track them down. This year we have a series of teams all working on separate elements of the game, which is being tested all of the time, and when it passes a certain number of tests, it gets integrated into the main game.
This allows us to do better quality checks, where previously we missed stuff. Whether or not this new method of working and testing works or not will be proven upon the game's release.
Thank you very much for your time.