Interviews// Stephen Hood - F1 2012 Creative Director

Posted 9 Jul 2012 17:33 by
Games: F1 2012
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.

SPOnG: Where do you think the driving genre is right now?

SH: 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.

SPOnG: Would it therefore be better to align F1 2012 against sports games as opposed to racing titles?

SH: 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.

SPOnG: Are there any changes to the multiplayer set up?

SH: 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.

SPOnG: Is there any cross-pollination between you and the other coding teams within Codemasters?

SH: 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.

SPOnG: Are you planning any interconnectivity between the PS Vita and the PS3 for that version of F1 2012 and beyond?

SH: 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!

SPOnG: How are you dealing with the bugs and errors that are appearing in the F1 games upon their release?

SH: 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.

SPOnG: Thank you very much for your time.
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Games: F1 2012

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Albert 10 Jul 2012 13:49
I would still prefer rFactor if you don't make it more a race simulation than an arkade game. You should take good examples from iRacing, it is one of the best race simulations out there. People who like the races would prefer simulations rather than arkade games.
leedrummer100 10 Jul 2012 14:28
@Albert you didnt read what he said at all did u????????
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GT86 10 Jul 2012 14:54
Yikes he cant be very good at iRacing if he struggles to keep it on the road, its piss easy to drive around in iRacing, its when your on the limit that it gets hard, as it should be. In 2011 you could do stupid slides keep your foot in it in 6th gear through a bend and counter steer and be fine, its ridiculous. This is seriously the last chance im giving these guys,,,
Lucas 10 Jul 2012 15:43
Seriously? You're not going to have PS3-Vita integration because 'it's not fair to other system users.' I'm sorry but I'm 100% sure Sony didn't spend millions of dollars on a new handheld only to be told, 'Oh yeah we're not going to have integration between the PS3 and Vita because it's not fair to xbox users.' No thanks, if MC aren't happy about it they can make there own handheld.
Mark 10 Jul 2012 15:47
They've already had their last chance with me. I won't buy it until it's completely bug free, if it isn't they can stick it where the sun doesn't shine. I already wasted money on the first two games.
Seb 10 Jul 2012 17:25
@Lucas you own a PS3 & PSVita don't you.
Mike 10 Jul 2012 18:48
@Lucas Think of it more logically, they'd need to put a fair bit of investment (time, money and resources) into developing a feature for only 1/3 of the user base. That way it makes literally no sense. Don't get me wrong I can see why it would frustrate you if you have a Vita/PS3, but there's no use crying over something you never had in the first place...
.42 10 Jul 2012 18:52
GT86 and Mark you can both shut up and stop being so judgmental if you don't want to buy the game don't. Codemasters are the best thing to happen to F1 games ever. F1 2011 and 2010 are really good games and 10000 times better than what Sony and EA where making before. there not perfect but nothing ever is and we have too high standards now. people aren't happy unless they find something wrong to complain about. its so easy to bad mouth on the internet but try doing a better job yourself then if your such an expert.
UGX Racesimulator 10 Jul 2012 19:26
Will be waiting for it !
Callum B 10 Jul 2012 20:32
Renan 15 Jul 2012 01:07
@leedrummer100 he didnt haha
JAFO 15 Jul 2012 17:32
@.42_ You play racing games with a gamepad dont you. We understand why you like there games now
CR 18 Jul 2012 13:44
2010 game is way better than 2011 in terms of handling and realism. 2011 is basically dumbed down 2010 and seems they are going to dumb it down further and release 2012 game totally dumb so kiddos can play with the controllers. You know what? I'm out.
Unless they improve frame rate then I'd get it just to have fun with good looking racing.. but it won't happen. Frame rate is going to be s*** and handling just awful. There is only one way to find out... Ah, and seeing what they have done with Dirt in Showdown, there is a high chance that only playable F1 game will remain 2010.
Mika 18 Jul 2012 13:52
@CR yes, it should count as a criminal offence what they've done in Showdown and then called it a DIRT:( Colin McRae must have turned around in his grave!! Thats a sacrilege to rallye as a sport. Its obvious Codies now aim for preschool audience and spat on core gamers who actually earn money and buy games.
Murphy 20 Jul 2012 00:02
how can you take a developer for a current rules F1 game seriously when he is not be aware that there is no refueling aloud in F1!!!!

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.
hardcore racing fan 20 Jul 2012 13:11

You stupid or something? F1 2010 had the worst arcadish handling ever! 2011 was much better, and hopefully 2012 will be same or even slightly better sim still. Also, racing 2011 on a pad with no assists (as I do) takes about 10 times the skill you need to apply with a stinking wheel, so shut the f*** up. Hopefully Codies attention to pad usage level things up a bit. Most people - even the hardcore racers - are on pad.
NoAssistsRWD 24 Jul 2012 14:53
@Murphy Pre-season testing and practice/quali allows refuelling...
l Blue Cheese l 18 Aug 2012 02:21
End of the day u all slag codemasters off about what they are trying to do, make a great driving game, 2010 n 2011 have been the best games for f1 ive ever played. So Thank you to codemasters that have put F1 back on our computer screens :D
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