Too Much Customer Appreciation

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Not long after the 2016 calendars flipped over to May, we here at PRC.net received a worrying Reader Submission from Tyler W., informing us about the complete lack of details regarding the upcoming F1 2016 title from the team at Codemasters. Someone, somewhere, must have got the message Tyler was attempting to convey, as the covers have now been completely removed from F1 2016. After a dismal effort last year in F1 2015, a multi-platform release that was lacking in both gameplay modes and overall performance stability, many elements removed from the series during the jump to next-generation consoles are set to make a triumphant return – including a detailed single player Career Mode, as well as the Safety Car. They really shouldn’t have been removed in the first place, but with how disappointing the entire sim racing genre had been throughout the 2015 calendar year, it was almost par for the course.

So yes, screenshots of F1 2016 are plastered all over your favorite traditional sim racing news sites, so go have a look. Graphically, it’s looking much more refined than last year’s title, and new locations such as the Baku Street Circuit are preparing to appear in a racing game for the first time ever. The current Formula One season has been a mixed bag, but obviously a video game rendition will allow people to immerse themselves in a virtual rendition of the sport, and create their own narratives that can potentially eclipse what’s happening in the real-world championship. Given the size of F1’s fanbase, it’s important Codemasters gets this one right, especially considering even the casual fans were left wondering what the fuck they bought last year. It was certainly not worth the asking price.

To duplicate the process that turned another Codemasters project, DiRT Rally, into the best racing simulator of 2015, the team have announced a Closed Beta program to ensure the game is polished to an acceptable extent prior to the software going public. Codemasters will be turning 100 applicants loose per platform on a rough draft of F1 2016, hoping that dedicated Formula One fans will find as many issues, exploits, and glitches as possible before the game is officially put up for sale. You can sign up here, though you must be a Codemasters forum member with some kind of post history to increase your chances of getting picked.

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Personally, I don’t think this is a good idea, even though I’m aware that Codemasters is a team that desperately needs the community’s feedback for any game that they plan on releasing in the future. DiRT Rally was successful because the only people who were even remotely interested in providing feedback for the title during the game’s Early Access phase, were hardcore rally fans hell-bent on finding a successor to Richard Burns Rally. The community could work towards a common goal and generally agree on the areas that needed improvement, as basically everyone involved wanted the same thing from DiRT Rally: accurate physics and challenging AI. It wasn’t long before amateur rally drivers were coming out of the woodwork to share their experience behind the wheel, and the game’s tire model subtly improved with each build to the delight of many sim racers who had invested long hours into the title. The end product was nothing short of phenomenal, albeit with just a few too little stages for my liking.

The Codemasters Formula One series, on the other hand, has many different groups all wanting vastly different experiences from the product – and this is completely understandable, as the F1 games are designed for mass-market consumption. Some sim racers who purchase F1 2016 will accept nothing less than a rock-solid simulation, as rFactor mods just don’t cut it anymore. Others believe a simcade route is the way to go, compromising realism for a shallow learning curve and simplified tire characteristics. Lastly, some Formula One fans cannot stomach anything longer than a three lap sprint, guided around the track by numerous driving aids practically piloting the car for them.

Codemasters wants input from everybody, and this simply isn’t going to work. The sim guys will play the first beta build, promptly take to the forums and claim the turbochargers aren’t modeled correctly, then demand the cars need to be more snappy on corner exit. Those who can barely make it around the track without half of the aids enabled will proceed cry out in frustration that the game is now too difficult for them once the proper adjustments are made. A competent yet slow driver may scream “Hallelujah!” over the cars turning laps that are nearly identical to real-world speeds, yet an alien driver may discover a setup exploit that rewards low downforce configurations on high downforce tracks. A teenager who has never even sat behind the wheel of his mom’s minivan may throw in a request for nonsensical handling changes and additional force feedback effects, advice Codemasters might accidentally abide by provided he can word it in a way that makes his request seem reasonable. I get that this whole closed beta program has the best of intentions, but given how many different types of racing game enthusiasts play F1 titles, filtering through everything to find the genuinely useful advice will be nothing short of a nightmare.

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This situation has already presented itself in a different racing simulator, a title not operating under the guise of a closed beta. Recently, iRacing physics mastermind David Kaemmer made the preposterous claim that the outside edges of Formula One tires running at extreme negative camber values do not cool down when not in contact with the tarmac. Even though Kaemmer was 100% wrong in his explanation – the tires absolutely do cool down in this situation – and it served to highlight the fact that iRacing doesn’t always get things right, iRacing fanboys rushed to defend Kaemmer’s theories, merely because it was David freaking Kaemmer, and iRacing is their favorite game. There’s a chance somebody could discover a serious issue with F1 2016 during this closed beta phase, only for them to get swarmed by Codemasters fanboys who are just happy they’ve been accepted into an elite club.

I’ve personally seen this kind of behavior manifest itself in the iRacing forums, thanks to the abundance of stat tracking applications willingly posted in each member’s individual signature, as well as the notoriety of certain users. iRacing members not old enough to posses a valid drivers license, or have never turned laps in any kind of amateur race car at speed, have offered extremely detailed and often bogus insight as to how a Sprint Cup car should drive within the simulator. iRacing traditionally listens to these members over those with genuine technical insight, due to shallow message board alliances. The September 2011 build of iRacing is a version many longtime members hold in especially high regard, but after several underage and ill-informed Peak Anti-Freeze Series drivers complained that they suddenly weren’t winning races and had to conserve tires, iRacing embarked on what’s now a six year quest to rectify something that wasn’t wrong in the first place.

Codemasters has the potential to fall into the same trap with this closed beta program. It’s going to be impossible for them to listen to everybody’s insight, given how diverse their Formula One audience can be. As we get into the final months of September, October, or even November of 2016, I wouldn’t be surprised to receive a submission from somebody claiming the Version 0.6.1 build of F1 2016 was the greatest racing simulator ever built, but because xxSniper91xx couldn’t win and impress his YouTube fans, all advanced tire characteristics were scrapped.

Edit: lol I used the same picture twice.

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41 thoughts on “Too Much Customer Appreciation

    1. No obviously we have a vendetta against him and his blog mate. Here is a developer giving it a genuine effort to make the whole thing not a bunch of bullocks and he has to take a piss on it.

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      1. He´s right: this is a shit effort from Codies. Make an effort to see who you send the game to. Ask them footage of their driving in any other game. THEN see if they´re good and send the game to the competent ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. There’s no way this they’re doing this for physics/handling feedback imo. It’s either a simple PR job, or for network testing.

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  2. You’re unbelievable. The first guy to scream that developers don’t listen to the customers is bitching that Codemasters is looking for player feedback. I mean really Austin, I know you aren’t that bright, but at least be consistent. Furthermore, I doubt you really care about this anyway as you’re too preoccupied with your simpleton NASCAR shit.

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    1. A game with a wide range of player types and no clear direction as to whether it’s supposed to be a hardcore sim, point & shoot sim, simcade, or casual shitfest wants feedback on the handling model from ALL players. Please tell me how this is somehow a good thing and won’t result in pointless bickering between sim heads who want authenticity and plebs who want a gentle learning curve.

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      1. I have no idea if there will be bickering or not. I’d like to think most people know better than to expect an F1 sim from Codemasters. At the end of the day, it’s the developers who have to decide how the game will drive. While they may have delivered subpar games recently, I do have faith they are less paranoid about this than you are. I’m sure they can sift through the arguments and sort it out. And did it ever occur to you that maybe they DO want a wide spread, so as to find an acceptable middle ground?

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      1. Oh wow two, that’s incredible. What an incredibly convincing argument you’ve made. What about the fact the cars are boats reliant on 1970s technology? And the fact that the vast majority of races are still oval races? I’m not saying the drivers aren’t talented, but there is nothing cutting edge about that series, and you cannot deny that much of the audience is well, let’s say, less cultured than in some other forms of racing. But that was a conscious choice by NACAR to market to them I suppose.

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        1. Yes but considering your series hasnt made any advancement what so ever since 2006 and tracks lacking anything but challenging and fun. Shoot id watch DTM a series on par with F1 technology and surprise F1 drivers that drive in it over F1 now anyday. Just face it F1 is on life support without a Senna or Schumaucher there.

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          1. It’s not on life support. Facing a decline in popularity, yes, but so is NASCAR. There are also financial problems that need to be addressed but there is no crisis.

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            1. True but then im not the one starting a flame war over the fact that valid concerns for a racing genre are and/or void because people have projected opinions on how the physics of a car works when 1) they arent even part of the team for F1 and 2) are just talking out their ass and then deem it necessary to criticize another series of racing that has nothing to do with F1. But go on tell me how Austin is the devil and how im a delusional dick rider for him when you dick ride a game so in turn makes you a hypocrite.

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  3. Idk if F1 at this point is still in contention its been stale since 2006. Id rather watch those sexy F1 cars from the 70s and 80s instead of this “F1″…

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  4. iRacing’s six year quest for a better tire model was precipitated by a few ignorant forum users (perhaps with nebulous ties to certain developers?) claiming the tires didn’t feel right?

    That’s your claim?

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    1. The handling model in early iRacing was atrocious, I don’t think anyone could possibly deny that they’ve at least improved it. (By how much, is an open question)

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  5. I think most people realize that the F1 game is like Forza.Looks nice and has mass appeal but is always going to be a simcade because it has to appeal to the maximum amount of gamers.

    The game will not fail due to who or how Codemasters decide to test the game for them.They know fanboys will not be critical and they know simulation value experts will be over critical.

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  6. If this “open beta” process is anything like my company’s, it’ll be difficult to find 5 useful pieces of feedback out of those 300 “testers”. People without anything invested in the product simply don’t make good beta testers.

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    1. Main thing you get is better hardware coverage, as long as you can automate the reporting to the point the actual users don’t have to say anything, just crash it with their weird AMD drivers.

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  7. Most testers only sign up just so they can try the game,not to flesh out bugs.

    In b4 the ” my precious ” lot come to defend d.k.

    I for one can’t trust him one bit,he never backs up his claims and he’s admitted in court that he lied to his customer’s because he thought folks would nt buy iracing if they knew 65% of n2003 code was ported over for iracing.

    Sorry but when you do that,you can go fuck yourself,people say oh he hasn’t gave anything away because he doesn’t want the competition to see his work.

    Fuck off,just Fuck right off,he hasn’t done that because he doesn’t want people to know he’s been bullshitting from the get go.

    I’d love to meet a few iracing forum members,I’d take there briefcases and beat them to death with it.
    And the ones that call you an entitled spoilt bratt for wanting the game to fucking work,well,I’d take my sweat time on them.

    I can’t wait for dirt,it’s going to show just how delusional iracing are.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. >DiRT Rally was successful because the only people who were even remotely interested in providing feedback for the title during the game’s Early Access phase, were hardcore rally fans hell-bent on finding a successor to Richard Burns Rally. The community could work towards a common goal and generally agree on the areas that needed improvement, as basically everyone involved wanted the same thing from DiRT Rally: accurate physics and challenging AI. It wasn’t long before amateur rally drivers were coming out of the woodwork to share their experience behind the wheel, and the game’s tire model subtly improved with each build to the delight of many sim racers who had invested long hours into the title. The end product was nothing short of phenomenal, albeit with just a few too little stages for my liking.

    what a load of bologna

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            1. What is the problem? This isn’t a sim racing news website. Is a blog where you analyze games and updates from your perspective, with your opinion.

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      1. >were hardcore rally fans hell-bent on finding a successor to Richard Burns Rally
        except before Dirt Rally got announced, every such ‘rally fan’ was more than satisfied with RBR/RSRBR. there was absolutely no demand for a new rally sim. it was the dev’s initiative to actually spark some interest by letting out some of the dead air

        >the game’s tire model subtly improved with each build
        how can you talk about a tire model at all, in a rally game that has no tire wear mechanics, no tire strategy (not even selecting for dry/wet conditions), no mixed surface stages (Monte Carlo is merely hard slippery and hard less-slippery, but still same basic hard surface), and punctures that happen on any big impact, not necessarily with the wheel

        >The end product was nothing short of phenomenal
        the game was released 10 years after RBR and yet it does only minimal to mediocre improvements, with no innovation. this is anything but phenomenal.

        then again, the author is primarily a fan of NASCAR, which is the polar opposite of rally (you literally cannot find two more opposite kinds of motorsport), so no doubt at least something is going to be ass-backwards in such a thread or article.

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        1. True but then DiRT Rally is one of the better rally games that has come out for rally enthusiast thats new. Im not saying that its the next Richard Burns but its better then DiRT 2…

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          1. it’s better than RBR, even though not by much. but it’s far from ‘phenomenal’. it’s a ‘getting back on track’ milestone at best, assuming there will be more rally sims that will try to one-up it, in a reasonable timeframe, i.e. not 5~10 years after the last ‘best’ game with nothing else to even compete or compare

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            1. Thats understandable i think Austin meant within that vacuum of 5-10 years it is phenomenal compared to the other rally games that have come out. *cough* WRC *cough*

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  9. Your implication that somehow this will be a disaster because the unwashed masses don’t know what an F1 car is supposed to feel like kind of falls flat when you remember very few people have actually driven one of those cars in anger. You’re no more qualified than the vast majority of us would be to comment on how an F1 car “is supposed” to feel like.

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    1. He, and any other F1 fan with a strong interest, enough onboard footage watched and with a general idea of what laptimes and overall performance the cars have, and a general idea about the tyre lifespan of each compound are in a much better position to judge the result than Average Joe.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I used to enjoy going on YouTube to watch some ingame footage from DIRT.

    Something truly disturbing is happening with Dirt rally. For some reason, every basement dwelling neck bearded fat American cunt, feels the need to have a camera pointed at his a) head b) feet c) head and feet.

    WHY THE FUCK????
    No you are not some fucking mad skiLz bro rally driver. I just want to see the game. Not hot dog fingers rotating his plastic steering wheel, pretending he is an actual rally driver.

    just stop it please. i beg you.

    Liked by 1 person

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