F1RFT 2008 1.0 – Review
There are some topics that somewhat split the rFactor community. One of these is the discussion about up-to-date F1 mods. While some are eager to drive the current cars, others think quality beats quick development and won’t mind playing a 2006 mod in 2008.
The F1RFT 2008 mod pushes thit discussion to a new limit as it simulation as season that has not even started in real life. Is it good nevertheless or a waste of time? Read the review to find out!
The mod brings us the 2008 Formula One season in full swing. It features all cars and drivers of the upcoming season. Spyker has been turned into Force India, a bitter Fernando Alonso returned to Renault and Sebastien Bourdais is keen to prove that he can’t just win Champ Car races.
F1RFT 2008 comes in a convenient 423mb installation-package. The first thing you’ll notice when starting the exefile is that the setup is in Hungarian language – no surprise as it has been made by a Hungary-based team.
Once the setup is done you can start rFactor. No messing with your PLR file or anything else is needed. After the neat-looking intro video you’ll find yourself in the redesigned menu screen.
Now you can make your choice which of the 11 cars to try. All of them come with upgrade options; sadly those are only available in Hungarian too. So it needs a few clicks to find out what changes what, upgrades include aerodynamic changes such as a low-drag setup for Monza. There is no upgrade on the tires though; the cars will always have the white-striped soft option tires installed.
Once we get to the track, it’s time to look at the graphical side. Keeping in mind that this mod was made in less than 3 months, no one would expect graphical perfection. Texture work is nicely done; most textures are up to modern standards in terms of quality and resolution. Some sponsor logos look a little low-res but again, this is a compromise in terms of development time.
All car models reflect the changes of the 2008 season. The McLaren comes with the bridge-frontwing, BMW has their “Tomcat” wing installed and the Ferrari F2008 sports gigantic winglets on the side.
Even though all these cars look pretty much correct, it’s also the most obvious proof that things were rushed on this mod. The new winglets and pieces don’t really fit with the rest of the models; the new parts could have used some work on the normals to make them look better. The close-up view of the Ferrari nose shows what I mean. Things look good until you take a too close look at them.
Other things show that barely no beta-testing has taken place. Sebastian Vettel’s Torro Rosso still sports Vitantonio Liuzzis name on it and Lewis Hamilton is wearing Fernando Alonso’s helmet. Hamilton is also spelled “Luis” in the timing screens. Other graphical bugs include the damage model where parts of lost wings can still be seen floating in the air.
The probably most off-putting thing about the graphics are the 3d arms though. rFactor is currently not designed to support 3d arms like those in GTR2 or RACE07. The mod uses a work-around by gluing the driver arms to the steering wheel. While that looks rather convincing in T-cam view, it looks extremely odd from the outside because the arms are not attached to the driver. If you go into a corner, the arms can be seen hanging in the air. This makes replay-watching and screenshot-making rather unpleasant; some angles can not be used because of this.
When it comes to sound, this mod can stand up against the more famous competitors. All cars come with their own, pretty convincing sounds. The external sounds are good too, if it weren’t for the downshifting sound.
While I am not sure how that is supposed to sound, I’m pretty sure that an F1 car downshifting does not sound like somebody’s flushing an unwanted pet down the toilet. This is the only flaw with the sounds I could find though.
Physics & AI
The mod uses standard-physics for all cars. I am not really a very talented sim racer nor do I think that I know how race cars are suppose to handle. That’s why I won’t say the physics are realistic or not, they feel comparable to other F1 sims though.
The base setup is a little oversteery; a few quick fixes in the setup make it very well drivable though. The car comes with both hard and soft tires which behave correctly. While the soft tires are used up rather quickly, the hard ones are good for longer stints.
I don’t fancy online racing, which makes the AI an important thing in every mod for me. The AI in F1RFT is solid, racing on the standard ISI Nürburgring GP circuit worked without flaws. All 22 cars made it through the first corner without problems; the AI is pretty racy und fun to drive against.
The problem with many F1 mods is AI speed balancing. The same issue is apparent here, Practice and qualifying sessions bring up rather random results. While it is somewhat hard to predict what the 2008 season will bring, it is a rather safe bet to say that Red Bull and Toyota won’t be dominating the season. Other AI bugs I have spotted are engine failures during the outlap in practice; this seems to be happening with the McLaren pretty often.
Another step that takes quite a while when developing a mod are performance-friendly cars. With a mod that was put together that quickly, I knew not to expect much when it comes to that. And indeed, this one is rather hard on the frames.
Even though the models are not very high poly or have high resolution textures on them, F1RFT eats up Vram. The 512 MB of my Geforce 8800GT were eaten up quickly by the 22 cars, causing rFactor to turn down my all-full graphic settings.
When starting with a full field, I get less than 40 frames and 70-92 frames during the race. This is just 40% of what I am used to with the MMG F1 2007 or GSMF PCC997 mod. That shows that barely any time was spent on optimising the models.
Is F1RFT 2008 worth the download? The answer is yes, but with a big “if” attached. If you’re really desperate to drive the 2008 season cars, this mod is for you. It’s not really bad but it lacks development time to call it a quality mod.
If you looking for outstanding graphics, download MMG F1 2007, if you look for the best overall package get a CTDP mod. But if all your heart desires are those 2008 cars, this mod will make you happy.
It is a useful mod for sure. Many leagues run 2008 seasons and usually built those cars themselves. Those people have been saved from lots of work as this mod easily matches the quality of typical league-modifications. When racing in multiplayer, the mod’s biggest flaws of standard physics and AI issues disappear, making it a good choice for online racing.
Okay, that was my first ever review? Liked it? Or not? Please tell me in the comments!