Casper Egas | Tuesday 28 Aug 2018, 13:22

Xboxworld mocht langskomen bij het pers evenement van F1 2018, waar Casper een interview aflegde met Lee Mather. Hoe dat ging, lees je hier!

Op het F1 2018 launch event voor de pers was Xboxworld aanwezig om mee te doen aan een toernooi op Monza. De spellen stonden opgesteld met prachtige playseats met realistische stuurtjes en gebogen schermen. Het evenement vond plaats in Amsterdam in de Beurs van Berlage. Naast de gamepers was ook Rob Van Gameren van Ziggo en Lee Mather van Codemasters aanwezig. Hoewel ik het toernooi niet heb gewonnen, heb ik wel een interview afgelegd met Lee Mather, Game Director van F1 2018. Het interview is hieronder te lezen en werd in het Engels afgelegd.

 

INTERVIEW

Casper Egas: Hi Lee Mather, what is your role in the development of F1 2018?

Lee Mather: I hold the creative vision of the game. So I basically decide the features we want to include in the game. Get the team excited about what we want to do for the game.

Were you Game Director in the previous outings of the F1 games by Codemasters too?

Yes, from 2010 on.

A lot of games that release each year can become stale after a while. How do you ensure that F1 2018 is worthwhile for fans of F1 2017 and feels fresh again?

People are surprised bywhat we did between each year. 2015 to 2016 was a huge leap, and there's a similar leap in the 2017 and 2018 games. We have a larger team now, which enables us to do a bit more. We try to cram as much as possible into the game.

What are the major changes in F1 2018 compared to F1 2017?

The most noticeable is the career, because the press has been brought into the game. So you have real control over your career. Now you can pick your rival and your contact and how you handle the press interviews. You can motivate certain departments. That is what you see in real Formula One. Drivers react differently to different situations. Just this weekend in Spa I heard an interview in which Martin Brundle said to a driver that he showed real sportsmanship, and that is precisely what we call it in the game. Some of the drivers have that real character and others are more reserved.

I believe some Dutch players will have trouble reacting fast enough in the interviews, because you will have to read the English texts rather quickly.

I have some good news, because we are going to patch in the ability to increase the time or even disable it. That way, nobody will be alienated. It will come in the next patch or the one after that.

I love the addition of classic cars in the game, but why is it never possible to play a multiyear career, starting in a historic Formula 1 year?

It is impossible to get all the cars in all the seasons. Of course we have the 2018 season, so we have got all the cars. If we wanted to do, say, 1992, we couldn’t get all the cars to create the full grid. So it is impossible to do that. A lot of the teams don't exist anymore. Even for more recent years we would have to do it separately, since sponsors keep changing. It's not as straight forward as "we had the license before, so we can use them again." We have to go back and look at them individually.

It is a shame though…

It would be good. The nice thing though is that now we can have a wider spread of cars. Take the classics for example. If we were to do something with the seasons in that way, we wouldn’t have been able to do the cool seventies and eighties cars. So instead we get to really show the journey of Formula One. The best thing about that is, if we would have done the ‘17, ‘16, and ‘15 cars, they wouldn’t feel drastically different. Now however, you can really feel the difference with the seventies and eighties cars. Even the 2010 ones feel really different compared to the 2018 cars.

Lots of my friends love local multiplayer and thanks to the Nintendo Switch it has made a resurgence. Were split screens modes even considered and if so, why didn’t they make it in the final game?

Yeah, we still talk about it regularly. It is difficult to implement in Formula One because of the speed of everything that happens and when you are dealing with a small amount of screen space, it is quite hard to see what is going on. Also the on screen display is incredibly complicated as well, and to squeeze that into two windows of that size is quite challenging. We also need to make sure that if we do it, that it runs at sixty frames per second, because otherwise the inputs won’t be sharp and the inputs won’t feel right to the player. So it is something we talked about and continue to talk about.

So maybe next year?

We will have to see. We’ll see how it fits in. There are lots of things that are fighting for the same space, as always.

The rival system in F1 2018 reminds me of Super Monaco GP by SEGA. What other older Formula One games did you like or were inspirations for F1 2018?

Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix on the Amiga. That was probably the first one I played really seriously, like really seriously. Like so much so that the I played it on the Amiga and I had a Competition 5 joystick and because I constantly held it forward to accelerate I broke the bottom microswitch. Since I worn that joystick out so much and it was so perfect, my dad got me a new microswitch for it and we replaced it, because I couldn’t give up my broken joystick. So F1 GP on the Amiga by Geoff Crammond was amazing. There's also something cool in that period in gaming where people who created it put their name on the box. So that was the big one. Obviously I played Super Monaco GP and Continental Circus, I mean that was another. There was even a Nigel Mansell game on the Amiga as well.

I still have it.

Yeah I still got all of them as well.

Are there any features from Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix that you still use in the current game?

It did a really good job of recreating the sport at the time. One of the interesting things that they did was, the way that they made a really easy mode where the game almost drove itself for you, that was quite interesting. Maybe that is something for us to investigate for the future; to make it even easier for people. It followed the structure of Formula One really well and it was the first game I played that allowed me to play a full season.

Super Monaco GP had the rival system which you guys have implemented as well. Was that inspired by games like Monaco GP?

It is funny you mention that, because it was really only afterwards that someone else pointed out that it was very much the same as Monaco GP, but we took it because it is what we see in the sport. It is very much that teammates are rivals, but also that there are rivalries that throughout the season. Most of what we do is based on what we see in the sport and how we can make it work in the game.

In what ways does F1 2018 take advantage of the Xbox One X?

So as most power increased, it gives us the opportunity to make sure the framerate is always sixty frames per second on all consoles, but we also get it to run at high resolutions. It is full 4K …

Full 4k?

That is one for the tech guys to answer. I couldn’t really give you the numbers, it does run 4K and we use some clever techniques to make sure that we retain sixty frames per second, so that is the most important thing for as. The resolution is higher, it has increased quality in the mirrors and we have increased particle effects. We really take advantage of the power in the same way we would run a PC. You can turn up some of the cool features to make it look better.

So quite a lot then?

Yeah, a reasonable amount. It is a very scalable engine.

Is that a lot of extra work?

Again that is one you should ask the tech guys, but I think to get the game running in 4K was a significant amount of work. Our target however, is always the sixty frames per second, no matter what we do.

How much access do you have to the real Formula One teams and their data?

In terms of actual data that they collect on tracks, we don’t get that, because that is like incredible data that they don’t share with anybody. We do really good data from the technical guys in Formula One, who help set the regulations in the sport and the cars. So we get a good understanding of the cars, tire loadings, aerodynamic downforce, drag, engine friction; those sorts of things are values that you really would have no idea about without someone to point you in the right direction. So we got a lot of great data from that. In terms of access to the teams; if you look at drivers who played the game this year, you see how close we get to the teams. Even quite early in the season we had Charles LeClerc playing the game in the Monaco Grand Prix weekend and then you would have seen the videos of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg who played it, we had the Force India Drivers play it, Max has played it and Grosjean has played it as well. It is really funny as when we go into the paddock to scan the faces of the drivers, as soon as they hear that there is someone there from Codemasters they want to know if the game is there.

How can you ensure that the cars match their real world counterparts?

It is never a complete guess, because we send our handling designer to the preseason test. He goes and watches the cars. You can take a lot from just watching the car, how it sounds, how it accelerates, you can get that by standing at the trackside. The audio guys record the cars and they analyse that as well. That is what the teams do themselves; they record the cars on track to work out the revs they are running and how the engine of the other teams is performing. That is something we do as well. We will wait till the season starts and we’ll watch the cars to see who's doing well and who is performing in what way. We can also look at apax speeds and high speeds in the speed traps, so we can get a good idea of how a car achieves its lap time. A car that has tremendous downforce has a great balance, so we build the chassis to best match the cars in real life.

Do you also change that during the season?

We do and we did last year. We are investigating it this year. The only reason we are sometimes a little cautious on that is because you started your career season and then your team suddenly gets knocked back. But we want them to be as accurate as possible. We were very close this year I think in getting the performance ranking correct and maybe we were a little bit out on Sauber, who are performing better than expected and Williams a bit worse.

What would you really like to add to a 2019 edition of the game if you had the chance?

I know what we do for next year, but for now the focus is on 2018, so there is still plenty to get to grips with this year, because we have got a massive game to play. So we can start thinking about 2019 later.

In the development process, do you have a large list of features and will you have to scrap features, or do you work from the basic game and do extras if there is time left?

We don’t scrap things, we don’t have time for that. We have a very clear picture of what we want to do. Sometimes other things that are on the periphery will make their way in, so for example if a department says it takes an X amount of time and there is a little bit more time than expected, it can sometimes make it back in. The game is held together quite well, so if one thing falls out, the whole thing falls to pieces. So we have to have a very clear picture of the game we want to make at the start of development. We do have hundreds of ideas and we keep adding to that list.

Is there something you had to keep out of the game this year?

No, not that I can think of. We hit everything that we were aiming for this year. It all went well.

Is it difficult to motivate yourself for a new game each year making a game in the same franchise?

I never found it a problem, I mean this is what I am doing since 2010 and I am still just as excited every year to make a new one. There is always that period when you finished, that I would say, I don’t know, but I give it a few weeks and I am straight back into the excitement. I never found it an issue, I think because we know what we are doing next and we are going to better ourselves.

Thank you for your time.

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