RACING

How Frontier Developments created F1 Manager 2022

ADVERTISEMENT

With the release of F1 Manager 2022 today, and going on digital pre-orders last week, it marks a significant moment in the history of Cambridge-based Frontier Developments – its first motorsport-derived title in 27 years of development. video games.

Based in an industrial area called ‘Science Park’, Frontier is housed in a towering building that features an equally intimidating reception area surrounded by security and NES.

ADVERTISEMENT

This home to hit RollerCoaster Tycoon, Elite Dangerous, Planet Zoo and Jurassic World Evolution.

But, on the face of it, that has little to do with the high-speed, high-stakes world of Formula 1.

“At Frontier, we have built a reputation for developing deep management and simulation experiences,” says Andrew Fletcher, Game Director of F1 Manger 2022.

“F1 is a sport that thrives on depth and detail, and it gives us plenty of opportunities to visually present that data in a way that die-hard fans and newcomers to the sport will hopefully appreciate.

“We have several F1 fans across the company, including myself and a lot of the team working on the game, so for us it was a bit of a ‘pinch’ moment.”

The resource management of balancing input and output is where the real parallels between Frontiers’ latest effort and the back catalog are clearest. A key element that will ultimately decide your fate, whether in Planet Coaster or F1 Manager, juggling your team’s ability to appease sponsors, pay salaries and simultaneously invest in car development is essential.

In order to make this balance authentic, the creative team first gathered vast swaths of stats.

“For the driver evaluations, we used real-world data from various sessions to inform each of the nine performance values, to ensure we replicate the sport closely,” Fletcher said.

“Part of the challenge is to separate the performance of the driver from the performance of the car, which we also took into account. So, for example, with the “cornering” performance rating, we looked at historical qualifying laps and specifically the performance of the drivers in the most demanding cornering sectors.

“In addition to other relevant data, such as how often drivers overshot track limits during flying laps, we used these sector times to understand who can successfully carry more speed through corners. “

When you first play F1 Manager 2022, it’s the attention to detail that really strikes a chord. Historical statistics for red flags and weather are used for each track to give them a realistic feel, while evolving information is used to calculate the relative pace throughout a season’s development processes.

“The parts design and development system was developed in close collaboration with the F1 motorsport team to ensure that we were as true to the sport as possible, whilst providing the necessary flexibility from a performance point of view. design of the game so that it is accessible to all players.”

However, one thing that I found particularly impressive was the 3D modeled recreation of the races in the title.

You see, with a management platform, it’s not strictly necessary. A few dots moving around a driver tracker-like circuit board would suffice, and indeed if you speed up a session at more than four times the speed, that’s what you see.

But below, each car is visible, they move on the track, pass, defend and sit in trains with drag reduction system. There are pirouettes, accidents and retirements. There’s even a fully dynamic weather system and a working safety car.

Now, it’s clearly not as smooth as a pure-bred driving game, no doubt. But, for a management-focused release, it’s the genre that defines.

“Right from the start, we knew we wanted this to be a graphic step up from what people expect from management titles,” Fletcher points out.

“The data and graphics are going to be exciting for die-hard fans of the sport, but the whole F1 experience is a visual feast that really hooks fans.

“We knew that if we wanted to create a ‘broadcast-style’ graphical experience, it had to match what you see on TV. To that end, when you’re on race weekends, you can watch every session unfold from the trackside cameras or from various angles on board with any of the drivers,” Fletcher said.

Sound is also an essential part of the F1 Manager 2022 experience, with David Croft and Karun Chandhok on punditry duty and radio communications between team and driver created after the team sifted through more than 25,000 clips from previous races.

“The process itself is quite complex, because it’s not just about writing and recording,” recalls Robbie Mann, lead dialogue designer.

“We also had to work with different teams to make sure we got all the records we needed to create a dynamic system that reacted to player performance.

“Crofty and Karun were recruited once we wrote the original scripts, and they brought their expertise to shape those scripts to match their own voices.

“It was often an incredible knowledge-gathering exercise that served us incredibly well throughout the development cycle.

“At one point during our recording sessions, Crofty was hitting over 1200 words per hour, which is definitely the most I’ve ever seen!”

Now F1 Manager 2022 is available to anyone with a PC, PlayStation or Xbox and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, the culmination of years of research and development is now out in the wild.

But it does not stop there.

“This is definitely the start of a new franchise, and I think everyone at Frontier is excited to see it continue to grow over the next few years,” Fletcher said.

“One of the most rewarding parts of our job is when we see players enjoying the game and creating their own stories.

“We can’t wait to see how they handle the pressure of the hot seat, making those key strategy calls in a split second and testing themselves over multiple seasons.”

ADVERTISEMENT