F1 2010 Senior Producer Interview: Part 2


Recently we posted an article for part 1 of the F1 2010 senior producer interview with Codemaster’s Paul Jeal (which can be found by clicking here) and now the 2nd part of the interview with CVG is below. In this part of the interview he explains why ‘head tracking’ is only in for the PC version, his thoughts on 3D and much more. Check out part 2 of the interview below –

How do the Press conference sections work in actual gameplay terms?

Jeal: The questions are asked to you, the driver, based on actual events that happened on track – it’s not just random, it’s all tied into the race. So if you had an incident or you got knocked out of qualifying you’ll be specifically questioned on that.

Then you’ll get a series of optional answers including ‘no comment’ to pick. Each one of your answers affects your relationships with various things. So you don’t always want to slam your team mate – you might want to lift him to help him if he’s a rookie driver. You can praise or criticise your team to get upgrades faster. You can use the media to announce that’d, for example, you’d love to drive for McLaren one day and start a relationship with them, although that’ll annoy your current team.

Have you considered incorporating head-tracking tech – like Gran Turismo 5’s expected to have?

Jeal: We’ve got some basic stuff in there with infra-red tracking. We’re just looking into that now – we’re currently going through controller support. Fundamentally our main aim for controllers is to support all the wheels and to make sure that players with the pad aren’t disadvantaged. I found that, with Gran Turismo, if you’re not on a wheel you don’t stand a chance of winning. That’s a shame, so we haved focused on balancing that.

We’re also looking at head tracking. At the moment we’ve got a couple of eye-type devices that, if you turn your head slightly left and right you can turn the camera.

When you say ‘eye-type devices’ you mean you’re toying with Natal and PlayStation Eye…

Jeal: Natal, not at this stage. We did look at it at one stage, but I think if we were going to do it we’d like to do it properly. But for 2010 there were too many ideas in the pool, and I don’t think we could have done the tech justice. And tech like Natal, I think you can do some subtle things like head tracking but there’s bigger wins to be had with that.

PS Eye we’ve not really looked at so, at them moment we’ve got what works in Dirt 2 – we’ve got a device on PC called the IR Tracker. It’s actually quite difficult to look left and right whilst racing – it’s counter-intuitive to turn your head away from the thing you want to look at so I’m reserving judgement on those things at the moment.

So, head tracking is only possible for the PC version?

Jeal: I think so, yes. But we don’t want 2011 to be just an update of drivers and teams, we want to go back to the pot, ask what didn’t make it this time around and how we can get it in there. There’s lots of stuff I’d love to get into this game, but you’ve got to nail each idea – this is our first chance to impress and we didn’t want to spread ourselves too thin.

So Natal and PS Move could be on the list for the next game in 2011?

Jeal: Could be, absolutely, yeah. To be honest there’s nothing discounted from the game design at all at the moment. We wanted to do the ‘Be the Driver, Live the Life’ objective, and it’s about choosing the features that’d suit that best.

Have you guys looked into 3D yet?

Jeal: We’ve had a quick look at it. It was on the cards but again, we really wanted to focus on the core experience. I saw Avatar in 3D and, you know when something new comes in and people smash the effects up to 15 and it really kills it, I was worried about that with 3D but looking at Avatar I think they used it quite will – nothing was too in your face and I think that’s a great formula for games.

Damage in racing games would lend itself to 3D – bits flying off towards you, other elements in games maybe not quite so well.

But 3D’s not something you’ll include in F1 2010?

Jeal: No, there won’t be any 3D in this one.

Do you have any plans for post-release download content?

Jeal: We were looking into DLC and if you take the 2009 season into consideration lots of driver moved and lots of things changed. We’re less concerned that those types of things are going to happen in 2010. We’re also releasing fairly late – September – because we want the game to be accurate and we’ve had to wait for the 2010 data.

So we’re quite confident we’ll be able to get the performance of the teams and replicate that quite well. So right now we’re not planning on any major DLC because the core team will then roll onto developing 2011. So what you might try to shoehorn into 2010, you might really end up taking away from that 2011 experience. So never say never, but right now probably not.

There were reports of financial difficulties at Codemasters’ in recent months. How, if at all, has this affected development on F1 2010?

Jeal: Absolutely not, no. We’ve got two key studios in the south – the racing studio and the action studio (Flashpoint). Looking over to Guildford they’ve got a lot of talent there. And obviously we’ve taken over the Birmingham studio which is where F1 is being made. So we’ve got four studios, it’s just a case of where we can fit in all the games across the board.

I think external development was probably the area that didn’t really give the biggest bang for the buck. In terms of you release a lot of quality titles under the Ego engine and then under the same brand you’ve got other companies developing on other platforms and other technologies and I think those are the things that depicts more than the four studios.

The four studios mentioned are the four cornerstones, if you like, of Codemasters. We’ve got over 100-odd people working on F1 so no problems there.

Thanks again to CVG for both parts of the interview.

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