Braking News: F1 2010 Irks, Impressions

By Jim Rossignol on September 27th, 2010 at 4:00 pm.


Another Hurrah/Bah event for our books: F1 2010 is out, and has topped the UK All Formats chart! Well done, Codemasters. Hurrah. Except, oh dear, the game is also hideously bugged on all formats. Bah. The Codemasters technical forums make for quite some reading. Worth noting the really killer ones, too. Additionally, I’ve been playing the game, so you can read on for some more hi-octane considerations.

Stylishly swathed in Codemasters’ now-familiar splendid menu systems, F1 is an attractive creature. The front end is, again, a secondary out-of-race set of options for your “character” driver and the management of your car and racing, nestled within the paddock/trailer environment in which such creatures dwell. This all gets rather complex as you play through the career mode, with both your relationship with the press and your team mate becoming considerations as you try to get a better contract and a better car. (On a completely basic note, be careful not to assume “Grand Prix” is the Go To race option, that’s actually just quick races with any team. I was mystified as to why my Force India driver was in a Mclaren until I realised I wasn’t in the career mode. Duh.)


The track experience is predictably versatile, too. It’s pretty, but it’s also hugely scalable to different experiences of play. Enter the game on default easy settings with all the assists active, and my cat could get round the track. In this carefully cradled mode you’re pretty much following the racing line, and holding down accelerate. Pull these hand-holding layers off and tune to your particular tastes – I quite like the fake HUD racing line, as it’s a good indicator of when to break, but I want to be handling my own gear changes, and so on – and you begin to see that Codies have done a decent job in creating an F1 game that is accessible to flailing idiots like me, but also can be tuned to be challenging and realistic. Those wheel-rubber choices might seem tiresome to me, but they are there to enable tweakings (even if they are reportedly bugged in the wet.) Whether or not you appreciate all the trappings of the career mode is going to be a matter of personal taste, but I think you’d be hard pressed to argue that F1′s instance of the Ego engine doesn’t deliver a fairly decent F1 game that will have some broad appeal as well as allowing some more hardcore tinkering – a tricky balance that these games desperately need. It’s not a simulation, oh no, but that’s probably for the best.

As for that monstrous bug list, well, I’ve seen a couple of them in action. Damage not affecting AI cars is the most obvious one, if just because I regularly slide people off the road as I fluff a corner. Many of the other issues – such as AI not pitting – I find hard to be sure about, if simply because my awareness of how the race is unfolding isn’t good enough. I’ve not been able to be entirely sure that the “race results not reflecting actual results” is the case, either, but that’s an enormously serious bug for an F1 game, if true, and it does seem to be true. There are number of minor HUD annoyances that are obvious, too. Of course the really serious issue seems to be the save game corruption. That’s not happened for me, but it’s a game killing issue, serious enough for people to be wary of buying the game until it is fixed.


I also don’t feel the general performance was great. Both Grid and Dirt 2 now run beautifully on my machine, while F1 gets a little chuggy, usually with no reason (not at busy moments, etc) and that doesn’t feel like a good omen, especially when the game can look so good when it is running smoothly. Ultimately it feels as if F1 didn’t get enough time in gestation. Codemasters probably need a few more months testing on this one, an issue which has likely come up due to this being an official, licensed title, rather than its own franchise, with its own timetables, as the other Codemasters games have been. We’ll expect a patch, but it’s very disappointing when the core game seems so vibrant and so promising. What a shame.

Anyway, I am sure a bunch of you have bought the title. Any thoughts? Has anyone tried it with a racing wheel?

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49 Comments »

  1. Daniel says:

    Immensely frustrating. I love my Forza 3 but I was hoping to get some time with a quality F1-dedicated racer – after all the drama at Singapore this weekend, and Monza/Spa before that, the idea of strapping into Button or Barrichello’s seat and taking a couple of hot laps with a racing wheel and pedals seemed overwhelmingly appealing.

    I’m quite sad to hear the game is this bugged – if one class of game CANNOT afford to have these kind of issues, it’s racing games. I guess I’ll have to wait until it’s patched. I wonder what will happen to the poor souls who bought it on Xbox/PS3 – will they get title updates?

  2. scud says:

    There’s also the lovely bug of the lollipop man holding you in the pits until everyone else has already gone through. Meaning you’d better pit early and when no one else is or you can get screwed over pretty badly.

    It’s also hilarious that as you’re going into the pits the AI cars can become ghosts and go through you even though you’re making sure to get below the pit speed limit.

  3. Rick says:

    You didn’t try it with a racing wheel? Any analysis is therefore void until you have.

    I’ve been ennjoying it, I’ve really noticed any of the bugs you’ve mentioned, but the one thing that really irks me is how easy it is to have your lap invalidated just because you took a little too wide on a corner, or if you brush a barrier lightly on a street circuit. I’m making mistakes on Silverstone that I’ve seen drivers make at the circuit and not get penalised for, but the game penalises me. Singapore was particularly bad on this, in 40 laps I only managed to clock one valid lap. Given that most of the F1 fans would have started out by checking out Singapore, as the race was only a few days after release of the game, that wasn’t a great first impression.

    They’ve got a solid game, they just need to iron stuff out.

  4. Heliocentric says:

    Own dirt, grid and dirt2, even fuel. They are all lovely. This? I wouldn’t get it on a $5 sale. I bloody hate f1 and it makes an even worse game, hearing they’ve bodged it just adds footnotes to why i don’t want it.

    • Howl says:

      I only managed 30 seconds of the trailer, which saved me 30 squids.

  5. Taverius says:

    I’ve haven’t played a recent CM game that wasn’t chock-full of bugs.

    They also have a penchant for taking months to push out a patch that doesn’t address well-known issues, and for abandoning games after a few months with major bugs still open.

  6. abhishek says:

    There’s also the issue of the cheating (or non existent) AI, depending on how you want to look at it. The Codemasters forums are on fire after people realized that, while playing the single player game, you’re never actually racing against the AI. The game just plants cars at short distances in front and behind you to make it seem realistic, but their timings are totally made up (and badly at that). At the end of a ‘race’, you are ranked against times that the game chose to assign to the AI racers. It’s all kind of ridiculous actually.

    More reading here – http://community.codemasters.com/forum/f1-2010-game-1316/431006-confirmed-race-ai-phoney-2.html

    • Lukasz says:

      oh…
      wow.

      glitchy graphics, some minor tweaking

      that’s all fine. happens.

      but this. that’s horrible. WTF were they thinking?

  7. Emphursis says:

    I love this game, even though I am forced to just use a keyboard!
    The only big bug I have experienced so far (oddly, it’s not mentioned above) is the pit-lane issue, where the engineer doesn’t let you leave the pit until all the cars currently in the pits have passed, no matter how large the gap is.
    Annoying? Certainly, but not game breaking, you can just pit a lap or two earlier/later.

    I also haven’t had any graphical stutters at all (Phenom II 965, HD5770, 4GB DDR3) at the max detail (2xAA) at 1080p

  8. Ginger Yellow says:

    It’s not a simulation, oh no, but that’s probably for the best.

    Really? If I’m going to buy an arcade racer, and I often do, I’ll play something less, well, boring than F1. Surely sim is the way to go for an F1 game.

  9. Andy says:

    Wow, I’ve been waiting for the RPS opinion on F1 2010 and have to say I’m pretty surprised. I’ve played the game for a good few hours since Friday and haven’t noticed any of the bugs mentioned. The only single thing that annoyed me was cars becoming ghosts when they go into pits, as Scud mentioned up there. Also perfect performance at 1920×1200, everything on high (not ultra which causes extreme slowdown because I think it’s dependent on certain Nvidia technologies?) with Q9550, ATI 4830.

    Anyway, I will carry on enjoying the game, a pity others are having problems.

  10. Flameberge says:

    Yeah there are load of issues, and the one abhishek mentions is, depending on your opinion, either a massive issue or something that you won’t worry about. I would consider how that bug actually operates is more of an issue between the fact there is a discrepancy between the cars on the track and the algorithim that assigns them race times: You can see a guy you overtook that very same lap, come up on your HUD as you being the place ahead but as you cross the line, he has a faster laptime. This discrepancy also means occasionally you can see what orders the car in front of you finished, but on the race results screen, some have been swapped around. It’s not that you don’t race against the AI, you do, but that AI is not bound to the same rules as you are, and it is not ‘lapping’ a time as such.

    Further issues that have been mentioned is the over-sensitivity of the implementation of the rule where your lollipop man won’t release into the path of oncoming cars – the same issue occurs when trying to lave the garage in qualification and practice, you’re not let out until there is a MASSIVE gap.

    You can also never ever see your last sector time on the timing screen in practice or qualification, making it difficult to know if you are losing or gaining time.

    The main issue is definitely cpu cars not pitting. I think this is a subissue that comes from the fact the cpu cars on track are not the same cars that the game records as setting the laptimes, that maybe it loses track. Both of these issues I think may come from the fact the Ego engine was originally a rally game engine.

    • Flameberge says:

      However, I do have to say, despite all the games, which the game sound like a mess, I really, really enjoy it. The racing is fun, and the feeling of speed is great. It strikes the right balance of arcade and simulation, pitched far closer to the latter than probably any Codemasters game beforehand, aside maybe ToCA 2. It has great immersion and racing on the track, the problem is that the aforementioned bugs – when you become aware of them – break this immersion.

      Also that the cpu is randomly godlike on the Circuit de Catalunya for no apparent reason.

    • Hogni Gylfason says:

      I preloaded this game that I’ve been anticipating for literally years.

      I immediately started a 100% race-length expert career and put 12+ hours into getting used to the “physics”, which are actually fairly decent per CM standards.

      Driving is tremendous fun, striking a perfect balance between arcade and sim. I’ve played a lot of rFactor and the simbin games (GTR 2/3/Evo, STCC, Race On, etc) and F1 is not worse at all as far as driving is concerned, just different, just like it says on the box. Also it remedies what I thought was the worst defect of GRID, 3 lap races. In here you can do full 2 hour sessions, in addition to P3 and Q3. GP4 it isn’t, I’m almost tempted to call it TOCA3 with F1 cars, as TOCA3 was the last CM game that struck the perfect balance, and incidentally also corrupted (and still corrupts) saves.

      The problem?

      Any car you see is basically a speed bump in front of you or a whip behind. They bear almost no relation to the timings. This totally destroyed my immersion as soon as I realized it.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Wait, are people saying that cars have faster laptimes than a car they finished behind? That happens all the time in reality. You can have the fastest lap of the race and still finish 20th.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Yes but you can’t overtake a driver on a lap with a slower lap time than him on that same lap.

      Unless its quantum race physics.

  11. Javaguy says:

    I was /going/ to try it with my racing wheel but while I can bind controls to it I can’t get into advanced wheel settings to sort out the massive deadzone, so its back to a 360 pad and a sadface :(

    • Hogni Gylfason says:

      I had this problem. Then I installed the drivers for my wheel (logi momo racing) and set some axes in the settings and then the advanced and force feedback options became available after a game restart. I saw this workaround in a forum thread on racedepartment. Might work for others?

  12. jon_hill987 says:

    I guess the save game corruption bug is down to it using the godawful PoS called “Games for Windows LIVE!”.

    Worst Microsoft product ever*.

    *excluding “Windows ME”.

    • Flameberge says:

      Good point: what is actually worse, GfWL or Windows: Might Explode? Probably GfWL simply due to the fact you can’t avoid it if you want to play a large proportion of games, where as ME was pretty easy to never encounter.

    • Hogni Gylfason says:

      As a nice “bonus” of gfwl: patches have to be verified and approved – i.e. added patch delay.

      Windows ME :: “Windows: Might Explode” <- hu hu hu

  13. Jimbo says:

    It obviously sucks because it’s F1, but it’s pretty impressive that this beat Halo Reach in only its second week.

    I take it these numbers still don’t include digital sales? I would have expected Civ 5 to higher if they did.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Not likely, since all non-pre order sales *are* digital download, what with the game not getting a PC retail release.

  14. Kimmi says:

    According to Steven Hood on Twitter some of the bugs and the fake AI stuff only happen in high difficulty levels. So anyone who’s not noticing many bugs… well… :D

  15. FuzzyKitty says:

    “Those wheel-rubber choices might seem tiresome to me”

    Even if no one else did, I liked the pun!

  16. Wahngrok says:

    Strange, that even the “father” of the F1 games ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_One_Grand_Prix_%28video_game%29 for those not old enough to remember) already had the assist modes and was able to simulate all other cars in the race. It even had support for multiplayer (2 PCs via parallel port PLUS hotseat mode). Ah, great were the days playing with three friends in the basement with frantic chair swapping whenever the game switched to another player…

  17. GibletHead2000 says:

    I have been playing this with my *ancient* Microsoft Sidewinder wheel, and I can say that Time Trial is a blast. I really like how your time pops up on the global leaderboard, and you can download the recorded ghosts of drivers just ahead (or miles ahead) of you. The game also has excellent force feedback response.

    I haven’t played any actual races yet, as I’ve been trying to get my head around driving the tracks on a decent difficulty setting first… I’m quite concerned about the notion of the AI times being made up, cars not pitting correctly, etc… I’m very used to watching F1, so I assume I’ll be able to tell if there is something going on.

    Reading T4RG4′s twitter feed not too encouraging, as it does acknowledge some of these issues. They say they are “working on a patch” but that’s going to be a long time coming I expect.

    Still, I’m very happy playing it in Time Trial for now, but might find career mode / grand prix disappointing.

  18. Count says:

    Jim, I usually agree with your reviews, but you’re in the wrong here. I haven’t noticed any of the bugs you mention (except that you cannot turn off pit limiter) and the AI thing you mention is only in qualification: during the actual race you’re racing the AI fair and square. Most things in this sim have blown me away, rain ,low visibility, FULL race weekends… F1 is an excellent sim and a fun game.

    Also, you really should get a wheel if you intend to review racing sims ;-)

  19. Navagon says:

    Codemasters don’t do patches, no matter how broken the game. I highly doubt it will be fully fixed up. So based on their history I’ll have to avoid this one like the plague.

    • Langman says:

      There is still a decent, worthy game in there. It’s just rough around the edges at the moment.

      There’s so much about it that’s *right*.

    • Navagon says:

      Well you say ‘at the moment’ but with Codemasters it’s more a case of ‘always going to be like this’.

  20. Frye says:

    A little surprised about those bugs because I haven’t noticed any. But all I have done is look at a few tracks and drive against myself (ghost car!) on Spa for a few hours. I’m not getting 60 fps on an i7, but the framerate is rock-steady; no matter how many cars on screen, crashes or the weather it’s around 40 fps.

    Playing with a 360 gamepad with all help off except auto-shift and it’s already doable. I’ll have to look at getting a new steering wheel, just for this game. Or look into a gameport-to-usb adapter if they exist.

    Can’t wait to put more time in this.

  21. Rick says:

    Perhaps we should be a little more lenient on Codemasters. This is their first F1 outing (discounting the handheld F1 2009 game), and still the best F1 game since Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4. But it was never going to be as spot-on perfect as many seem to have thought. Codemasters has a licence to develop more, hopefully they will learn from mistakes made here. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so harsh on them, lest the licence is lost from PC to crappy console games for another decade. Think positive!

  22. Perry says:

    I like the game quite a lot. The save game bug killed a career midway through year one. That stunk.

    There are some game design omissions:
    - no race win celebration
    - can’t change pit strategy once the race starts
    - changing in car settings during a race is cumbersome
    - can not save a replay or export to movie
    - other drivers are fully modeled but there is no interaction (i.e. talking to team mate)
    - no customization (helmets)
    - should have some sponsor selection with objectives (like GRID)
    - the press have about 12 questions they repeat over and over

    • P7uen says:

      I was reasonably desperate for this game but luckily couldn’t afford to pre-order.

      The AI thing is the most appalling thing I have ever heard in my entire life (possibly), and specifically the single most important things an F1 fan wants: racing. What a mis-judgement.

      But not being able to change pit strategy in the race? I can’t imagine a single F1 fan being involved in the design of this game.

  23. Faldrath says:

    There are a lot of things missing, as lots of people are saying. But even so, this is by far the most fun with a game I’ve had this year. The racing is awesome (with a force-feedback wheel), and full length races are exhilarating (and less likely to have the pit-stop bug – I haven’t seen it so far). It runs very decently on my 3-year old PC, too (although I haven’t seen rain yet).

    • Faldrath says:

      Oh, and if you don’t use the cockpit view, you’re unworthy of this game.

  24. Bonedwarf says:

    And this is exactly why I groaned when Codemasters got the F1 license. I am a massive F1 fan, have been for 23 years. Played F1GP, Grand Prix 2 and Grand Prix 3 to death.

    I wouldn’t touch this Codemasters abomination with a 10 foot cattle prod.

  25. kororas says:

    Me and my friends are all loving this game, yeah it has bugs but its still playable and very enjoyable. Id recommend it to anyone who has a vague interest in racing and/or F1.

  26. KrakBooom says:

    I purchased this game when it was released.
    For me, the joy of playing F1 2010 is really spoiled by the fact that you are not really racing the AI ( http://community.codemasters.com/forum/f1-2010-game-1316/431006-confirmed-race-ai-phoney.html )

    I am amazed they took that design decision. I love watching F1 and was really looking forward to spending a lot of time on this game “living the life”. I was well aware that this would be the first of several F1 games, each improving year by year. But, after seeing this design feature, I am not sure I will pay for the next games in this series.

    I am very disappointed and really think Codemasters have done themselves a serious dis-favour.

  27. Randdalf says:

    All these bugs are blown WAY far out of proportion. Sure, occasionally an AI driver won’t pit, sure there’s some minor things like AI drivers not being affect damage, but none of this are major issues! The game is otherwise a wonderfully crafted racing simulator that runs almost perfectly – it’s fun, it’s tense and it’s challenging. Apart from save game corruption (which I haven’t encountered yet, but backed up save files), there is really nothing much wrong with the game.

    • KrakBooom says:

      I beg to differ.
      The game might be fun when you are just doing hot laps or racing online. But if you prefer off-line racing (like I do), it is definitely NOT a sim-racer when the AI doesn’t really do any laps. I recommend you read the thread at: http://community.codemasters.com/forum/f1-2010-game-1316/431006-confirmed-race-ai-phoney.html

      I do however agree with you that most of the other bugs are not game-breakers. The AI not actually racing is not a bug, it is a fundamentally WRONG design decision. (At least in my opinion).

    • P7uen says:

      What AI drivers? There are none, as I understand it.

      Would you enjoy watching foot-to-ball if they played 90 minutes and then randomly chose the goal difference?

  28. Jason Moyer says:

    If they patch the bigger bugs and optimize things a bit, it will be a great game. I’ve been driving it with my G25 and after setting up the wheel (which seems entirely archaic after spending so much time with iRacing – is it really that hard to properly support wheels in a racing title? Not to mention that the game uses all of 180 degrees of wheel motion) it’s really quite good for a lite sim. I’d rate the overall experience somewhere above the other Codemasters titles and below the Papyrus/iRacing/Richard Burns Rally cream of the crop. It really does feel almost like a successor to Crammond’s Grand Prix series, particularly in terms of capturing the atmosphere of a grand prix. My biggest negative, bugs and controller configuration aside, and also the one area where Crammond’s GP titles are still king, is the weak damage model, although I highly suspect that they had to tone it down considerably due to the FIA license. Not a bad game, though, and most importantly I’m getting a lot more fun from it than I have from iRacing in years.

  29. dtgreen says:

    I’m probably picking this up for my 360 (shock!) on Friday as I have the afternoon off work. Some of the bugs talked about are putting me off somewhat. I’m looking for a cheap F1 wheel for this, as my intentions are to turn every driving aide off except gear changes (at first) and dive into it properly.

    I hope my 30 quid isn’t wasted!

  30. Dhatz says:

    formula games are boring by default, but how come they fucked up saves in all Dirt 1, Dirt 2 and this?

  31. gmateo says:

    Hey folks.
    I bought the game and I am very satisfied. Although many bugs seem to make the game unplayable, I never noticed any of them and enjoy the nice, realistic feeling the game gives. Playing this game with a force feedback wheel is just delightful

    greets