19-09-2012 01:13 PM
Wow, I’ve got a few heated messages about Wear-Gate and that’s putting it as softly as I possibly can. For some reason a vocal minority seem to jump on bad news, without waiting five minutes for an explanation. I care, we care, we’re doing our best and we’re here to interact with you whenever we can. I like to think we do more than most, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for some people.
Let me start out by saying I have read almost every tweet sent my way, the majority of the forum posts and I’m well aware of the reaction and why people might want to jump up and down with internet-rage. You care, you want your point to be registered and I understand that. Truly, I do. What I can’t understand or more importantly won’t accept, are some of the outright disgraceful messages sent to myself and those that work with or for me. There is no need for that kind of stuff.
I can only call on those with a little more maturity and manners to help make this forum a better place. I’ve spent more of my time elsewhere of late and it’s the last thing I want to be doing. The community team has a tough enough job as it is managing the numerous forums. Let’s not make their job any harder and let’s not turn this forum into a place new players searching for information will never want to return to.
Historically I’ve gone out of my way to interact via my personal Twitter account and the forum simply because I think it creates a better relationship between those that make key decisions and those that buy the game. I’d like to keep doing this, but it’s a process of give and take. Try and contribute sensibly and politely, it helps us all. The repeat offenders and sarcastic few just get blocked so your voice is quickly lost. If you really do care, how is that going to help?
Now, let us get down to the points some of you have been calling for information on. (Apologies if you think it’s late, I can be quite busy at times).
First off I’ll mention the loss of two of the three Free Practice sessions. This isn’t something we do lightly (remove things) so it’s fair to say we do not feel this has any adverse effect on the game for the overwhelming majority. I appreciate some people are annoyed as they like to run the entire weekend as realistically as possible but I’ve been unhappy with the fact the practice sessions are pretty dead. There hasn’t been enough worthwhile content in there to attract more people to practice (that is something I would very much like to rectify in the future but it’s a big task and not one we can do simply and effectively right now) and as a result having to factor in additional hours of Practice into an already huge testing plan doesn’t make
sense. We decided to trim this area of the game now and allow more time for the team to focus on areas people will be looking to enjoy more regularly. We have had to make some tough decisions in order to try and raise the quality bar across the game. Many people claim we should just make it an option but we’d still need to test it and if more things are optional the test plan increases massively as a variety of combinations will need be run. Time will tell if this approach is right. I’m certainly not averse to reversing this decision in a future game but it’s highly unlikely we’d ever consider patching this into the 2012 title.
I am willing to reconsider the next point, Tyre Wear Scaling, if people find (after extended play) they really preferred the old system. Given useful feedback we might work together to create an improved system. One we might even look to include in any possible future update. However, I do ask that you try what we’ve put forward in the initial release. Don’t just hate on change without trying it.
Tyre Wear Scaling – It’s been removed so that there is no true variation in pure wear rates across sessions and race distances. We felt as though this, perhaps standard in some racers, was muddying the waters too much in 2012, a title in which the tyre model was further refined and built upon to better handle temperature, front/rear bias, even specific team characteristics. So, for example, you might well find yourself able run longer, more consistent stints, in a Sauber compared to say the Mercedes. This is one way in which we’re trying to better reflect the talking points found not just in Formula One, but also in this current 2012 season.
Last year many of you could jump into a race, become accustomed to the tyre wear and how far you could push it, then jump into a different race distance only to realise you had no idea how long you could run the tyres. That knowledge you gained pretty much went straight out the window. If we were to carry that system into the 2012 game you might find, as you try to refine your setup to handle the specific wear bias your car is displaying, that it makes no sense come race day because the scaling changed. We’re looking for some clarity to enable people to come up with cool strategies that’ll show promise in whatever event they jump into. Our desire to enhance the tyre characteristics, to model specific strengths and weaknesses, was only serving to confuse matters when built on 2011’s scaling system. Planning a strategy to suit your style, your objectives, was becoming a nightmare during the middle phase development of 2012. Sure, in real life teams were struggling with the tyres early on but most feel they now have a handle on them (within reason). We don’t want people to stumble upon something that works in one race that then cannot be applied to another, seemingly similar, scenario. There is a great deal of knowledge to be gained on the tyres and I’ve no doubt some of you will learn how to best use them, but we wanted to make this learning process a little clearer.
And thus we discussed the removal of wear scaling and upon removing it from the development builds we realised that it only served to clear the water. Our title is incredibly complex and I’d go so far as to say the elements we play around with in order to better simulate the sport of F1 make our title the most complex racer ever developed by Codemasters. It’s hardly a dumbed down racing game. Brake bias, fuel mixtures, all the compound types, the pit-exit rule – yes, it’s a game, but we still try to incorporate the soul of Formula One, the magic that makes Codemasters F1 series so different from other console racing games.
Naturally you modify elements between games but throwing more and more into the pot isn’t going to deliver a decent game. Every element that exists in the game has to be managed going forward. It’s not a case of developing a feature and once included walking off without having to manage its behaviour in the subsequent release. Everything is interconnected.
So, does it mean we’re in for boring, terribly predictable races at anything less than 100% distance? No, not in the slightest! One chap on Twitter suggested everyone would just run the Option tyre from the start until the penultimate lap (use of both compounds rule exists in 25% and greater distances, as it did last year). Well, maybe I could just follow that strategy and come away with a positive result? To highlight this let me run you through a 25% race I had before writing this…
• I was driving as Nico Rosberg in the mighty Mercedes
• Race Only, 25% Distance, Locked to Sunny Conditions
• Random Grid – I was placed 5th in my shiny Mercedes (Lewis’ future car?)
Upon arriving in the garage I checked the Car Monitor to see the total number of laps I’d be racing at this 25% distance. It was 17 laps in total… should be easy enough to manage that this evening. Next I have a look across at the Race Strategy menu. My team suggested I run until Lap 6 on the Option and then switch to the harder Prime for the remaining race distance. What? I’m not following that, I’m going to follow the strategy I’ve been told everyone will use by that chap on Twitter! Also, this seems to be flying in the face of the anticipated tyre life. It’s almost as complicated as real life…
Looking at the tyre information the Option is marked as being capable of roughly 18 laps here at Catalunya (all compounds are included in the game). That Twitter bloke might be onto a winning strategy here! Pushing my strategy beyond 15 laps I see it’s being marked as a poor choice… maybe there is a little more to this tyre management than meets the eye. Pirelli thinking one thing and my race strategists another? If I were to jump into another team I’d see a different set of numbers as the teams take into account their current levels of tyre knowledge and car management (Williams can extract a little more from the tyres, initially, compared to Mercedes but as the Career progresses Mercedes may gain the upper hand).
Well, I’ll stick with the current strategy but ignore it out on track. I’m going right to the wire with these Options and expect to build enough of a lead when the AI elects to pit, to later get in and change to Primes to satisfy the compound rule.
Sitting on the grid, waiting for the lights to go out, I get a pretty decent start but Grosjean moves over from the inside and I have to lift ever so slightly to avoid making contact. This puts me at a disadvantage on the run to Turn 1 as the guys behind are hard on the throttle and are now using large amounts of KERS. I drop two places into and around the first corner. I tell myself I’m playing the long game; I’ll jump them all later in the race, just stay out of trouble. I make up a place as Alonso, further up the field, goes a little wide around Turn 3, unsettling his car, sparking avoiding action amongst those nearby. It’s all kicking off on this opening lap and I seize the chance to pass Alonso and regain a place. Now up to 6th and making good use of the fact I’ve more remaining KERS than those around me courtesy of my poor start. I pass Vettel before the first lap is complete and slot back into the 5th place I believe to be mine by rights. From here I can do something.
Over the next couple of laps the race settles down and I’m feeling pretty confident. A 4th placed Grosjean is a little too far away for me to get DRS so I start managing my pace, ensuring I remain consistent, not using too much fuel. Vettel is doing pretty well around this circuit but he’s not reeling me in and I’ve safely put him outside DRS range. I’m sitting pretty, doing my thing, waiting to pounce on any problems encountered by those ahead (that’s what I was telling myself).
It’s the end of lap five and my Engineer tells me Vettel is likely to pit soon. He’s also urging me on to use some additional fuel and close the gap to Grosjean. “Mix 3 lets catch this guy!” No, I’m playing it my way. I’m sure I know best.
Sure enough, a couple of laps later, some of the cars around me start to pit. My Engineer has already called me to pit a couple of times but, unbeknown to him, I’m going to ignore the agreed upon plan and run things my way, right to the end. The road ahead starts to clear as nobody, including race leader Hamilton, have a big enough gap to me to pit and come out ahead. Eventually I’ve the track to myself, everyone ahead has been in and I’m still running on my Option tyres. I’ve inherited first place. I’m doing a Perez and I’m proud. Problem is, I’m feeling less and less confident in the grip they don’t seem to be providing… I’m feeling a little more nervous, not leaning on the car into the slower corners where downforce has little to no effect. I’ve corrected a couple of little slides out of low-gear corners and starting to realise I really need to concentrate on looking after my rubber if I’m to follow this bold strategy. Everything else about my Mercedes is feeling pretty strong today, the car is competitive but I’m reliant on my tyres.
Lap 10 and I have a big moment out of the penultimate corner. Huge amounts of opposite lock to catch an unwieldy kerb-hop, which unsettles the rear. I’m in trouble. That’s cost me a load of time and I glance at the gap to a Prime shod Lewis as I accelerate onto the main straight. He’s a little over five seconds behind. My Engineer comes on the radio to tell me Lewis is eating away at my paltry lead by a second a lap… but he also says he’s now in fuel saving mode. Maybe he’s pushed his car too early, all too eager to push at the very start and ignore the long game? If so he’ll pay later in the race but right now it’s Lap 12 and he’s gaining. He’s clawing away at my lead. The gap is down to 3.4 seconds and I can see him driving a much more planted machine than the one I’m currently wrestling with. On the mini-map I can now see a number of cars chasing him and, if truth be told, that alone costs me a couple of tenths as I start to tense up, nervous the car will bite without warning. My rear tyres are suffering.
I can’t get more from my Options, the swipe shows them looking more worn than a sunbed loving grandmother and I’m finding the car unsettled in slow and medium corners. The tyres themselves look pretty flakey, no need to view the swipe to realise I’ve not been particularly kind on them. Lewis is on my tail, a second behind as we both appear on the start-finish straight… he’s got DRS, and I’ve got no fair method of defence. Under braking he pulls alongside but I don’t make it all that easy, I squeeze him into Turn 1 and he nearly makes a mess of things as he accelerates out of the right into the left flick. My Engineer is on the radio screaming at me to try and stick with him incase he makes a mistake but I’ve nothing left to retaliate with. Just watching him round the long winding right makes me dream of having a new set of tyres. I fall ever further back in his dirty air, my front pushing wide more now than ever. We’ve still got four laps left to run and my attention has now turned to the chasing pack. I’ve got to stop for tyres, but how much will it cost me? My rears are completely gone and the front left has had it. I was using KERS around the long right Turn 3 and I put too much energy into that tyre, asked too much of it and now I’m paying the price.
I wrestle the car around another lap and enter the pits in 3rd position… 4th position… 5th position… I scamper away with a fresh set of Primes and I can feel the smile I have on my face as I realise I can soon push the car again. Exiting the pit-lane, taking care not to cross the white line, I mash the throttle and hammer the KERS for all it’s worth on the sprint towards Turn 1. I can see the cars behind lining me up into the braking zone and I exit Turn 1 in a less than respectable 8th place. But I’m still in the points, I can still get something out of this but I’m then hit with understeer, debilitating understeer, my tyres are cold! I can’t get the turn-in I need through the next series of corners and I’m taken apart, first by Hulkenberg and then Perez…
Massa passes me as I’m off line trying to defend and I’m out of the points in 11th. Alonso, cruelly passed by so many on lap 1, is not far behind. I’m sandwiched between two Ferraris eager to move up through the field.
I’m working a poor strategy, but I convince myself I can make something of this mess, maybe I can collect a point. I’m on newer tyres than Massa who is only just ahead of me and my Primes should switch themselves on in the next lap or so. I’ve plenty of fuel so I dial up the mix and set about chasing down the Ferrari, whilst, in turn, Alonso harasses me. I’m not gaining because I’m having to defend, I’m stuck and I can’t get enough out of my tyres this early in the stint. I can’t switch them on, I’m struggling to compete against cars that are getting more from their slightly older Primes despite my straight line advantage. Using DRS Alonso passes me as we enter the final lap and I’m resigning myself to finishing a lowly 12th after starting 5th and once leading the race.
Approaching the final couple of corners I can see Hamilton’s had an accident, he’s lost is front-wing and in the ensuing chaos he’s made a few cars take avoiding action and slow… I seize the opportunity, diving around the outside of Hamilton and two other cars into the final corner. I hold them off to cross the line in 9th. That’s two measly points in my Mercedes. Not too sure my Engineer will be all that impressed, let alone Ross…
Moral of the story? Get to know your car, your style and the track. If you want to run a one stopper in the longer races, look after your tyres. Think you can play it better?
In the longer races you may well find the slower race pace makes it a little easier to run for longer on the tyres. I could certainly see myself running a lot longer on the tyres had I run a more conservative pace early in the race. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment and take a lot out of your tyres. I feel pretty confident I would have finished strongly had I followed my Engineers advice and pitted. I could have burnt some fuel and nailed an extra lap once the road ahead cleared which might have even bumped me up a position. If however you find yourself stuck in traffic, it might be a good idea to make an early stop in 2012. I’d argue there will be a fair bit more tyre strategy going on in this year’s game.
In closing let me say that I look forward to reading your feedback once you get stuck into the full game. Just remember to keep it polite, fair and constructive. Everyone here wants to make the best F1 game of all time and with your help and support we can achieve that.
19-09-2012 01:22 PM - edited 19-09-2012 01:23 PM
Very good reply Steve, and i would like to say do not be discouraged by all the crap you see going on around here.
Or on Twitter.
This game has some outstanding features.
19-09-2012 01:26 PM
Thank you for taking time to explain, I have read your letter very carefully and after some consideration I am willing to see your point regarding scaling tyre wear and although thats not what I wanted to see, I believe its not a deal-breaker for me.
Regarding the removal of FP1-2 this is the BIGGY for me and I think its very unfair to say 'most people don't use it, so rip it out' as lots of us DO use it and lots of us love F1 and like to simulate a full F1 weekend.. this is no longer possible.
It also worries me deeply that you'll happily remove anything that the 'majority' don't use. I can see the career mode being removed in F1 2013 as most people play online only. Sadly people like myself who only play offline and love to do the full weekend are blatently being ignored as the game points more and more in an arcade direction.
I'm sorry to say, I have lost faith in Codemasters ability to bring a good F1 game to the fans, I will not be buying this.
Thank you for reading. Should you change your mind on the FP1-2 via patches or in F1 2013, No doubt I would be interested again.
19-09-2012 01:26 PM
Thanks for the explanation Steve!
I'd also like to point out that I've been playing a lot of GP4 recently, which has no tyre (or fuel) scaling whatsoever. Has it affected the amount of fun I get out of short-distance races? Not in the slightest. I think people just need to get their hands on the game and get stuck in. Then they can make their judgement based on the game itself, not its feature-list.
19-09-2012 01:27 PM
Quite a read! Nice job you take a lot of time to answer these kind of questions on the forum and on twitter (how I stumbled here, not a regular on the forums lately).
I liked F1 2010 and F1 2011. As a hardcore F1 fan, I won't even miss the practive sessions, I'm more interested in experiencing similar situations that I'm seeing on tv. I think the codemasters team have the same view on an F1 game so I have faith.
And I'm looking forward to future titles where things like tyres, dynamic weather and real life scenarios (like the champions mode) keep getting more developed.
Keep it up, and it's nice to read your updates (on twitter). Doesn't have to be always about the game, but things that go on in a game studio are always interesting!
19-09-2012 01:27 PM
I´m all for scaled tyre wear, but boy, the guys th
You´re supposed to pit as soon as fitting a new se
getting as fast as possible to the line with two s
Anyway, Steve, you should introduce scaled tyre we
Really hope that "you can run longer pushing less
19-09-2012 01:29 PM
Thanks for that Steve, I've been sitting back and watching wear-gate explode with most people yet to even try the game! Crazy.
After reading your response Friday simply can't come soon enough. Going to be a weekend filled with F1!