By Team SimRacingWorld
3 May 2010
These official Q&As are re-posted from the official Codemasters forums following the release of the 2nd developer diary video.
How far ahead of this vid are you?? Because if it looks like this now well I think my head will fly off when I play the game!!
It’s always tricky to put an exact timeframe on this, as some of the footage clips are older than others, but it’s safe to say that we’re at least 3 – 4 weeks ahead of what your seeing each time. As T4RG4 has said before, we’d love to wait until we’ve finished the game to create this type of thing, but I think most people would have given up on us by then!! We’re so protective of showing off work in progress, as it’s hard to communicate the issues and glitches that we’re aware are in there, or let everyone know how complete a particular feature is. The truth is in game development that the majority of the visual gains come right at the end. All the work beforehand is focused on getting the tools and under the hood systems in place. Even over a period of one week at the back end of the project the game takes massive strides forward.
Does the AI ever get those twitchy moments as we saw in the red bull at 1:14?
AI is one of the hardest areas to get right in a racing game. Think about all the great handling games there are out there and then think about which ones have truly great AI. We’re putting a lot of development focus into getting our AI right, in terms of them lapping very close to the real track records, in terms of them having racing instincts to block or defend their position, or choosing the right time to attack, as well as them having similar characteristics to their real life counterparts. The specific twitchiness mentioned has come about through a combination of this work as well as the extensive car handling work we’ve done on this project. We cannot understate the value that Anthony Davidson has brought here. He has been a regular visitor to the studio, sitting down and working “hands on” with the car handling team, with more visits pencilled in for the near future. This work will also continue into F1 2011, so it hasn’t just been purely an exercise in PR. One of the things Anthony is keen to get across in the game is how twitchy and nervous F1 cars are, so again we’ve focused a lot on this and you’re beginning to see the results in these videos. These areas are already looking good, but beyond this project we will continue to improve and develop them further for F1 2011, and beyond...
Are you still thinking about changing the colour balance, it seems this is the only thing people are really negative about.
One of the last things that we do is ‘fine tune’ the way that the post and the lighting work together. This is something that is still very much ‘live’ and doesn’t really start until after Alpha. We’ve certainly toyed with different effects; because of the relatively contracted production time and resourcing a lot of this growing up has been aired in public. That’s a good thing though because it’s allowed us to gauge the sentiments of both the hardcore F1 fan and the broader audience we’re hoping F2010 will attract. As we close out the project we’ll now be able to combine that feedback with the vision we have for the game backed by the experiences learnt on Dirt2 and Grid before it. The Art Director has been passed all the feedback on the forum so far and will take this onboard during this final phase of the games development.
Will setups from offline be usable online? And will we be able to trade/swap setups with friends online?
Yes, you can use your offline setups online, and in fact we’ve actually not included an online practice mode due to this very reason. We fully expect players to spend hours perfecting their setups offline before unleashing them to the world! There isn’t an in-game system whereby car setups are traded or swapped online, but the screens are fairly simple to use so this could easily be done on the forums.
As the AI gets better due to ramping up the difficulty level, do they make less stupid mistakes?
The mistakes are ramped up to full at the moment for play testing purposes. We cannot take our eyes of the ball in terms of finishing this game so we’ve had to work the videos around this as best as possible. We’re massive F1 fans ourselves and we know that F1 drivers aren’t often pressurised into mistakes. Once the AI work has been finished, which continues right the way up until Beta, then this is just a case of number balancing.
I know this is off topic but can you give us any teasers of stuff the race engineer says to you, things that are really authentic.
“We've fitted a set of scrubbed tyre's you should be able to push a little earlier once they're up to temperature.”
“Lap times are dropping, looks like track conditions are starting to improve.”
“You're losing a lot of time through sector 1.”
“It looks like we might see some light rain this session, just be aware of the conditions and try to pick the best moment to put a lap in.”
“Your brakes are in the optimum temperature zone.”
“The weather situation seems to be improving slightly, we could take a chance and switch you to inters if you want.”
“Alonso's out-pacing us, we need to put in some quick laps.”
“Looks like one of the McLarens is about to pit, their crew are getting ready.”
“Waved yellows in sector 3. Yellow flag conditions apply, watch out for debris.”
“Drive through penalty, drive through penalty for overtaking under yellow flag conditions.”
“You're way out in front, time to think about conserving the engine.”
“The track seems to be drying out, look for the drying line.”
“Great job! G-r-e-a-t job! What a win! Congratulations, 25 points!”
Are we going to see official team gear such as flags during races and around the paddock, for example caps on fans?
We’re certainly aiming to get as much of this in as we possibly can. We don’t want to go into too many specifics about the licence on these forums, but suffice to say that these additional bits all need individual clearance from FOM and all the teams, then we obviously need the photo reference, to create the assets, and finally get it all signed off. We also have to include a fair mixture of assets so as to not be seen to favour a particular team. We’re pretty confident that you’ll be impressed with the level of atmosphere we have in-game already. Hopefully there’s much more to come as well, whether that’s in this title or the next.
Will the TV view cam be customisable, or is it still subject to change?
It’s still very much subject to change. We haven’t spent too much time tweaking or adjusting the camera positions yet as we want to wait for the 2010 cars to be implemented before we do so. We’ve read a number of posts on the forum about the TV view not being like the actual TV, but we certainly wouldn’t want to offset the view to one side of the car as it is in real life. Also with the higher real life view there is less focus on up coming apexes of corners, especially on tracks with large amount of undulations such as Spa. We have discussed including an option where players can tweak particular camera views, but this is very much on the wish list so there’s no guarantees at this stage as to whether this will make it in the game this time.
At the end of the video we see some on board with wet weather. The car seems very predictable and not particularly twitchy to me, to the point where it could be completely dry. Is predictable and 'easy' driving in the wet what you're going for or will it be easy to get some unwanted wheel spin and spin out.
Wet conditions are definitely not going to be the same as in the dry. Again, most of these specific values are dialled down when producing videos like these so that we can capture the footage in a relatively short timeframe. When the effects are ramped up the AI aren’t fully trained to deal with those conditions at the moment, but this is something that will come in the coming weeks. We’ve recently trialled some values in ‘intermediate conditions’ where we had to adopt our driving style quite dramatically. At the end of the day we’ve invested so much of our time and effort on the weather system we don’t want it to be all visuals and no substance, so you can be assured that it will be much easier to wheel spin or slide a car in the wet than in the dry.
Are all the steering wheels the same on each car or did you get data from the teams to replicate the real ones?
We‘ve taken a design call, with the agreement of FOM and the teams, to compromise on a mixture of the two. We want them as real as possible, but we want them fully animating as well. Therefore all the wheels are based on a generic button layout configuration, which has then been adapted per team so that you will see the hands shifting the paddles for gear changes, or button adjustments on the wheel if you’re tuning wing positions, or engine revs, etc.
Ok, this might be a stupid question, but once your car is parked in the pit-garage (for example during qualifying and the engineers/mechanics are walking around you and put your pit monitor in front of you), does it automatically switch to the t-cam view or can you view this from the cockpitview as well?
We’re looking at locking you into the cockpit camera at all times when you are in the garage. As part of the drive out / push back in sequence the camera position will then transition to your favoured camera position.