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F1 interested in offering simulation alternative to official game


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An official Formula 1 simulation game could be offered alongside the current series produced by Codemasters in the future.

The sport’s digital head said introducing such a title could be an “interesting” long-term development.

Other motorsports such as NASCAR licence their cars to appear in simulators like iRacing in addition to ‘arcade’ titles such as the NASCAR Heat series. The only officially-licensed F1 racing game for major platforms is the series produced by Codemasters.

F1’s head of esports and digital business Julian Tan said having an “accessible” game is the sport’s priority. However he believes simulation titles are becoming “increasingly important” and producing one would be of interest in the “long term”.

“For Formula 1 specifically, we have a terrific game in the Codemasters game that helps us achieve our core objectives at this moment,” Tan told the Black Book Motorsport Esports and Gaming webinar when asked whether F1 could licence a simulation title like NASCAR’s.

“Certainly in the long term future I think that it would be interesting. I think would be a good move as well to start seeing how we can build capabilities within other parts of that gaming infrastructure, gaming ecosystem in the in the field of simracing.”

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F1 has expanded its range of official games in recent years. A new official Formula 1 management game series was announced earlier this year.

IndyCar also appears in iRacing
Tan said the emergence of “hardcore simulation” titles is “an incredibly important narrative” within esports.

“When you take a step back outside of Formula 1 for a second, you think esports as a product, esports is essentially the use of a video game in a competitive setting, you get [professionals] playing that and I think a lot of it will come down to a wider gaming portfolio. So being able to have the capabilities and the gaming titles within each of these different niches I think is important.

“I do think that simulation will become increasingly important. When we think about the longer-term strategic objectives of Formula 1 esports and how we operate within this space, I think that there are many, many levers.

“We talk about accessibility and for us, I think the first and foremost priority is how we can use esports to break down borders and increase accessibility. And I think that the Codemasters game actually does a terrific job of doing that because it still provides an authentic experience without being overly [demanding], I would say, from a difficulty perspective. It provides accessibility, which I think is a good thing.

“But when you think about other strategic objectives that esports within motorsports could potentially fill whether that is the blurring of lines between the virtual and the real, I think that our Codemasters game does a great job but if you wanted to have that more porous movement between both realities, I think that having a sort of a simulation-focussed game does help those objectives.”

The latest edition of the official Formula 1 game, F1 2020, will be released in July.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 59 comments on “F1 interested in offering simulation alternative to official game”

    1. Worth remembering that Codemasters acquired Slightly Mad Studios, makers of the Project Cars franchise, late last year. So Codemasters already have the F1 license, and now have a more sim-orientated developer and game engine in their umbrella.

      1. @graham228221 to be fair Project Cars is also more of an arcade game compared to reals sims like assetto corsa, rfactor2, iracing or raceroom as its physics simulation is very basic and shares it’s base with the nfs shift games.

        1. William Jones
          21st May 2020, 10:00

          Agreed. Automobalista 2 seems to be the proof needed that the engine cannot handle being a detailed sim – if any team could wrangle it, it would be them, but it’s not looking good… or rather, it’s looking great, but driving like Project Cars!

          1. Personally, I think Automobilista 2 started off like PC2 but it’s changed throughout the updates and it’s really good now. I didn’t enjoy Project Cars 2 so was hesitant to get this and was really disappointed when I first played it but it’s a lot better now than it was. The first few updates didn’t seem to change anything but I read you have to delete the folder for AMS2 in my documents for each update and after I did that, the game felt completely different.

            1. William Jones
              22nd May 2020, 11:24

              Oooh, thankyou – I’ll give that a try

        2. greasemonkey
          21st May 2020, 14:09

          Not true. PC2 (and AMS2) physics is evolved from the same ISI physics core as rF1, rF2, rFPro, RRE, AMS1, and now AMS2. All of these titles evolved from the codebase they started with, and the mother of all of these is ISI’s pMotor.

          iR evolved from GPL, so it is in another unique family. LFS is another true sim of unique codebase. AC, and now ACC, are also their own family. But all of those titles in the first paragraph are sort of in the same “family”. The particular cars within those titles that may be “over accessible” are that way mostly due to parameterization of the models at hand. Some of those titles known for “over accessible” actually have some hardcore gems in them too.

          1. As far as I know the madness engine might be technically based on an early version of isi’s gmotor engine from the f1challange days but its physics code is very reduced to make it console friendly and free resources for graphical improvements. Especially as it was first adapted for the nfs francise.

            1. greasemonkey
              21st May 2020, 15:14

              For PC and PC2 this is not true. The physics frequency is reduced on consoles (but still higher than rF1 for example), but on Windows/PC it is at full fidelity.

              And some of SMS’ newer physics code is pretty high end. Note that Reiza has access to rF1, rF2, and SMS physics, and can cherry pick what they like. AMS2 has a pretty wide physics palette to play with. Personally, I am quite impressed with the most recent beta drops of AMS2. (AMS2 is running even higher frequency than PC2)

            2. Didn’t play PC2, but having access to drivers, teams and their feedback, SMS can improve their engine.

            3. @greasemonkey It might be correct that the madness engine has improved over rf1 in some areas (especially tires i think), not a surprise given the age difference. But some sources even claim there isn’t any of the original isi gmotor code left in it.
              Regardless of the actual code PC1/2 deffinitly lacking precise handling feedback and feeling even to rf1 and overall feels more like simcade on level with forza for instance.

              It is no secret Reiza were originally going for rfactor2 as base for AMS2 as it is probably the most detailed physics sim right now, but couldn’t agree terms with Studio397 and therefore had to set for madness. But I’m sure if anyone can make a real sim from this engine it’s Reiza.

            4. The PS3 and 360 versions of pCARS 1 were cancelled in part specifically because they didn’t want to cut down the physics engine for consoles, so they moved to the newer platforms with more CPU power. SMS are also the guys who developed GTR2, and pCARS is a direct evolution from there.

              The Shift games were mainly done by shoving arcadey tyre data into a pretty decent sim tyre model made by staff who had worked on the physics for the acclaimed Richard Burns Rally. For pCARS that tyre model was replaced with a newer design, so any NFS influence was gone. EA also retained all rights to the Shift games, minimising the amount of carry-over possible.

            5. greasemonkey
              22nd May 2020, 1:07

              If you still have PC2 installed, try something like the Formula C on Sport tires with RAW FFB.
              On AMS2, try the V10 Formula car (although for that, I still prefer the old default FFB at this second).

          2. Woww. Impressive. Hey greasemonkey, would you happen to know anything about or have any resource links to rF2’s Internals plugin? I’m looking for sample code.

            1. Ty sir. I fact, I had found that page and couldn’t find it again after I got loaded Internals into Visual studio. I found some code for overlays, but they are in javascript. I’m setup for C# and C++, but I am taking what I can get at the moment. Thx greasemonkey.

            2. greasemonkey
              22nd May 2020, 15:10

              I mostly live in linux/g++ toolchain land, so I guess I never felt compelled to try to plugin to rF2. :) Good luck and have fun.

            3. Exactly what I’m looking for greasemonkey. They didn’t give you all this stuff with rF1. They did good. Ty sir.

      2. And the argument over which video game is closest to reality continues forever…

      3. So how does the handling of the car compare between PC/PC2 and the official F1 game? I have very little experience but fooled around a but with F1 2017. You take something like the Ferrari 412 T2, turn off all driver aids and it seemed very tricky to drive. Not very forgiving when you do something stupid. Maybe only the braking seemed too easy (didn’t get lock-up).

    2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      21st May 2020, 8:00

      This should become the “next step” for an open Formula 1 simulation. This is the Holy Grail of many sim drivers out there.

      It also raises the possibility of another “next step”.

      How accurate could it be? Could the figures from the fluid dynamics technology currently used in F1 be fed in to produce a simulation of the racing we could have based on proposed rule changes?

      I don’t know the answer. I’m not sure how CFD could work with a group of cars together, but it’s an interesting thought and could be an amazing tool to develop the real world Formula 1.

      I’m trying to make sense of this!

      From a gaming perspective I guess it would make it less accessible, but from a spectator point of view all the more worthwhile.

      1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk most commercially available software either adopts Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) models or Large Eddy Simulations (LES) models, which are only approximations to the Navier Stokes equation in instantaneous form (which are themselves incomplete in 3 dimensional form).

        Even with those simpler models, modelling a single car by itself requires considerable computational resources – I am fairly sure that the computational resources required to simulate 20 cars on a real time basis, all of which could be interacting with each other and with each one in a constantly evolving dynamic state, does not yet exist and probably won’t exist for decades.

        1. Have to agree anon; if that were even remotely possible atm., I am sure we’d seen some of it from Brawns 2020-rules team after all, to give them stronger data on how well it would work, after all, they did not have to comply with the team’s computation limits. And as far as I recall, they got up to studying two cars in sequence didn’t they? I am sure if they could have, they would have taken those cars to a track, and tried a ‘real’ fight between them, but the didn’t. No, that’s going to take a while, if it will ever be practical, I would guess.

        2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          22nd May 2020, 8:51

          Hmm I’m not so sure…

          I’m a software engineer in Assembly, Logistics and Telecoms so this is not really my area, but as such I’m constantly having to look for algorithms that mimic and predict physical processes.

          In this case I’m sure there is a large amount of simplification and abstraction that can be done to get a 90% correct answer. Of course as you point out, adapting current CFD models to calculate the down force available for 20 interacting cars in real time is a non-starter at the moment.

          This would be my approach.

          Keeping things very simple to start with, let’s say we are only going to calculate a flat down force figure for the cars in proximity, based on grid (perhaps a 1m grid but I’ll come back to this).

          I wouldn’t attempt to do CFD calculations on the fly, we could pre-calculate (or pre-record in a wind tunnel) the down force of each car based on its proximity to others and then tabulate it. Then during the simulation, retrieve this data on the fly. Granted this is still a tough task, the only parameters then becoming the size and granularity of the grid, the number of cars and the look up rate.

          There are lots of variables here that would make the figures harder to calculate accurately or just less accurate, but any process that could attempt to model and more importantly, trial proposed aero configurations for cars racing in close proximity, is worthwhile.

          Be kind in any response, this is a fragile thought in progress!

    3. RocketTankski
      21st May 2020, 8:56

      They could help Codies develop a more hardcore sim to sit alongside the “arcade” game. Similar to Dirt Rally vs. Dirt 4. And have loot crates so that you can Pay to Win.

      1. I don’t do like the sound of loot crates or pay to win, that’s not very sim like

        1. Pay to Win is the literal business model of Formula 1.

          Sounds very accurate, imho.

          1. So you end up with skilled racers from poor backgrounds who are locked out of winning because they can’t afford the DLC or loot crates??

            Right. Fair and inclusive.

            1. @MJA I think you missed the point/joke.

              The point/joke is the IRL skilled drivers without cash seldom make it past entry level karting because of the costs involved. Not to mention the only cars capable of winning have absurd budgets.

              So very much pay to win.

      2. Codemasters never made a real sim, i think its more likely this will be an F1 Pack for an existing sim like iracing rather than a standalone sim to avoid a direct competitor to the F1 game.

    4. “more porous movement between both realities”.

      It’s phrases like these that make me love my morning meetings at work.

    5. Lure Geoff Crammond back from retirement for that. And don’t give it to Codemasters.
      On a different note, that image at the top, where is light inside cockpit coming from?

      1. William Jones
        21st May 2020, 10:06

        That would be the dream! Though I do wonder how “arcady” his Sims feel now, I remember playing on the Amiga… with the keyboard!

        As for the light, I reckon they’ve got a global illumination set so that you can see the details of the cockpit interior – on the one hand, yes this does make for some unrealistic lighting, but on the other, their aim is to make you feel like an f1 driver, and letting you see the inside of the cars better than with realistic lighting will help that. Worth remembering that due to the way our eyes work, projecting realistic lighting on a backlit screen removes our eyes natural abilities to “adjust” so some level of global illumination is needed in games to counteract.

      2. Mark McCubbin
        21st May 2020, 12:56

        This is the first thing I thought of as well. I’ve tried the Codemasters F1 games, and have bought a few (including F1 2019) – they all look great – but there’s a reason why I keep going back to Grand Prix 4. Even thought it’s 18 years old, it’s still the best one. The mods you get for it to update the graphics and bring in the new seasons, cars and tracks are a big part of that.

      3. that image at the top, where is light inside cockpit coming from?

        I assume this sim racer is wearing those LED shoes, @geekracer2000.

      4. Jose Lopes da Silva
        22nd May 2020, 12:36

        Hail to the great Crammond! You need to have a physicist, programmer and racing fan in the same person to achieve the best result.

    6. This is great news, after years of arcade titles form Codemasters.

      There are many things current F1 game is great at, simulation not being one of them.

      If we could get F1 cars properly developed from inside data to any of the leading sims, would be amazing for us gamers and e-sport drivers.

    7. The pentacle of motorsports should have the pentacle of sim racing. Was kinda dumb not to produce it as such to begin with.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        21st May 2020, 11:39

        Sorry, I know English corrections are not the done thing here, my bad, but I think a pentacle is the limb of a 5 armed Octopus, sorry Pentapus.

        1. Pentapus

          Couldn’t help but laught at that, @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk. Good one :D

        2. lol my bad. I even copied and pasted it from google. I’t didn’t look right but I was in hurry. derp.

      2. i think you mean the pinnacle of motorsport

    8. I played code master f1 for about 15mins. Hated it. Cars did not feel attached to track and cut scene was annoying.

      I went back to gtr 2 , gp4 and gp legends.

      1. There is indeed an issue with cars being more slidey than f1 cars should be. According to people who know what they are talking about more than me, and that actually have f1 2020, the issue is reduced, if not gone in f1 2020. Remains to be seen when it actually launches, though.

        Outside of one cutscene when you start career mode, there are no other unskippable cutscenes, iirc. Look on the bright side, you don’t get Crofty talking about a very obvious to use menu for a minute, while you have no control, like you did in older f1 games :D

        1. you don’t get Crofty talking about a very obvious to use menu for a minute

          Indeed, even worse than Brundle explaining what tyres are at every given opportunity, for every session in real life…

    9. Codies should either step up their game or leave it to Kunos, the guys who made Assetto Corsa, hopefully they won’t use unreal engine like they did on ACC

    10. So long as Codemasters don’t make it, this is great news!

    11. I need an officially licensed Motorsport Manager right now XD

    12. Prize question: who’s going to give Liberty Media F1 money to produce a niche product?

    13. Good for them for thinking about it, but I don’t see it happening at all… Not from Codemasters anyway…

      I mean, you need the laser scanned tracks first. There’s no point driving a realistic F1 car in anything else. That takes a lot of time and resources. Then you need the data from the cars, and they have to be willing to share it. Unless you’re creating a 1 car only series, like many sims do (iRacing only has selected cars from certain series, other sims do too), the amount of info is huge and you have to verify your calculations are correct. Then there’s the problem with the tyres, that’s a HUGE deal in simracing and even iRacing gets it wrong after more than a decade of trying…

      How often are they going to update the cars, tracks and so on? iRacing takes a LOOONG time to make new cars…

      And how many people are going to jump on that wagon when you can only race F1 cars around a limited number of tracks? if it’s an officially licensed game, that limits the possibilities a lot. It’s going to be a premium product for a very small market, with not much content compared to the rivals? It makes no sense…

      1. Yep, quite a few challenges to do this properly. Can’t see it happening for a while and if it does, will probably be with Assetto Corsa or rFactor.

        iRacing timeframes for car and track production are too long to satisfy the needs for an F1 sim is my guess.

    14. I still don’t get the hate for the Codemasters games as they are exactly what they are supposed to be… A fun & accessible officially licensed F1 game aimed at the wider audience & going off the usually positive mainstream reviews & sales numbers it hits that target.

      It’s the same as the Dirt & Grid games, They are aimed at the wider audience & designed to more more on the fun/accessible/arcade side because that is what the wider audience looks for. They went more towards the sim side with Dirt Rally & it didn’t get anywhere near the sales numbers the ‘Dirt 1/2/3/4’ games did which is why they are going even further down that arcade route for the upcoming Dirt 5.

      I get all these Codemasters games because I really enjoy them as they offer exactly what i’m looking for. Whenever I feel like something more on the sim side of things I look elsewhere but given where I am in life now the more sim stuff doesn’t interest me all that much which is why I spend more time with the more arcadey stuff now compared to what I once did.

    15. If you are playing on a joystick controller, like ps4 or XOne, forget about hardcore sims. I had an awful time trying to play Assetto Corsa on an Xbox Controller on PC. Simulators are made for steering wheel gear with force feedback, and the number of players who have this available is quite short. So, in the end, maybe a hardcore F1 sim will be not a trend among racing games, but instead, among sim games, just like AC, IRacing and rFactor.

    16. I get that Liberty want something accessible. They are selling a license after all and want to move max units.

      I’m happy they’ve realised that the digital license they are selling is not providing a decent e-sports platform. If they are asking Codies to solve it, then probably it means a Pcars DLC pack. But if they want to go iRacing for example, then they will need the lawyers to solve it at a licensing level.

      There is plenty of space for licensing the formula 1 Car Model(s) without the images and likenesses. Why not license the models out at a reduced rate to something like IRacing or AMS as a pack? Codies collect about AUD$80 for the whole thing, which is a story, seasons packs, car likenesses, Track Data, Drivers likenesses, voiceovers from Relevant talents, and really it’s a lot more than just the model and formula. That product has an audience, but it’s not the same set as the SimRacing crowd. Let that be the Codemasters exclusive license, but allow someone else to take a crack at the Car models in a more Sim environment.

      1. Is f1s head of digital and ex Mclaren member by any chance? He seems to have a good handle on Ron speak.

    17. I hope Codemasters to this, if only to stop the slew of comments saying “it’s not a proper sim” every time you hear about their new games.

      I don’t have an F1 team’s simulator in my house, I also don;t have the think end of £100k to sink on a rig like Alex Albon’s, I also don’t have several hundred quid to sink into a Fanatec or Logitech wheel. What I do have is an Xbox and a limited amount of free time to play an F1 game…and that’s what I enjoy doing. For that, the Codie’s games are more than adequate.

    18. Yes I do not want to see the drivers play mario kart I wanna see them race eachother in sims

      1. I want to see them race in real life…each to their own. :)

    19. ACC team needs to build , Pure Sim… Just feel there tire model , amazing.

    20. Well a top of the line, state of the art official F1 sim is what I’ve been waiting to hear for a long time, but this statement from the the head of esports and digital business is so vague and generic I doubt there’s any more to it than a notion at this stage.

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