It’s still a while until we can expect first preview footage of F1 2012, Codemasters’ third Formula One title for the PC, Xbox 360 & Playstation 3.
In the meantime, there are some interesting interviews with Creative Director Steven to give us a glimpse of what to expect. The first includes a very interesting paragraph on the physics side as Hood reveals that F1 2011’s development was ended without a dedicated physics programmer!
Well, we closed 11 out without a physics programmer, which is a bit of a problem on a racing game! We’ve got a really strong guy now who’s looking into that. He’s made some significant changes, along with some other programmers, to the physics engine. The nitty gritty of it is that we’ve changed the way the aero is working, we’ve changed the way the suspension is working – and the suspension and tyres are critical to feel of the car. Previously you might have been bouncing over the kerbs or driving along and the tyres weren’t always in contact with the ground, they didn’t come back down quick enough. But now when you update the suspension, it sounds a bit weird, but it’s almost more compliant. The wheels are in contact with the ground a lot more and you suddenly get a lot more feedback. They’re doing the right things, which means when it gets sent off to other departments, like the audio team, they’re getting the correct inputs to their system. When you start to slide we can play the audio at the right point and you think, “Ah, I’m pushing the envelope here now”. Previously, it wouldn’t [work like that], they’d get these weird numbers and go,”When do we start putting in the screeching noise?”
If you’re getting fundamental problems like that… F1 is on the edge of performance, so these things can become very apparent to the user, because you’re doing such high speeds. Now it changes so that the car just feels… I wouldn’t say more alive, because that makes it sound skittish, but more in contact with the ground. You are driving a car now, it’s really on the road.
A second interview reveals more of the new physics approach as the developers are trying to strike a balance between F1 2010 and F1 2011, it also mentions the new user interface as Codemasters is ditching the Formula One paddock setting as the players’ base for the new title.
“It’s massively important for a game like this,” says Hood of the new front-end. “It’s a big sport with lots of money, and for me delivering a premium feel is really important. We’re trying something a little different this time where we focus on the cars rather than drivers. Lots of sports games from EA have a very sexy UI in my mind – though they’re not brilliant to navigate always – but there’s a certain level and standard they’ve achieved, and I don’t think Codemasters has achieved it thus far.”
While the physics side of things and other aspects look like they will be much improved, there’s also bad news in store for potential buyers, especially those looking to race on-line.
On Twitter, Steven Hood confirmed that F1 2012 will not offer a dedicated server functionality for PC-based online racing.
Twitter Screenshot via Racedepartment