PS4 vs Xbox One Head-to-Head Face Off: August 2016

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

This is the latest update to the full list and you can hover over the web site icon for a very quick summary.

  • PS4 logo 75x16  Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • PS4 logo 75x16  F1 2016
  • Xbox One better than PS4 Transparent 16x16 Marvel Ultimate Alliance
  • PS4 / Xbox One equalXbox One / PS4 equal Transparent 16x16 Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (2012, PC) – 8/10 racing game review

AmazonBuy Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends at Amazon

Cast / crew
Additional Design and Head of Studio: Ian Bell
Additional Design and Development Director: Andy Garton
Additional Design and Chief Operations Officer: Stephen Viljoen
Creative Director: Andy Tudor
Producer: Suzy Wallace
Technical Director: Ged Keaveney
Audio Director and Composer: Stephen Baysted
Sound Designer: Greg Hill

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (2012)

8/10

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is yet another game unlovingly belched out by Atari before it was quite ready. Yet despite the sometimes iffy frame rate and PS1-era pop-up on Spa, a rough diamond shines through. This is a challenging but visceral and satisfying game with fun handling on Normal, attention-demanding on Pro; communicative on both. It really showcases the differences in performance characteristics between road and race cars and between generations. There is also an unusually accurate sense of speed in that your speeds feels different when you are travelling fast or slow. A lot of car games always feel like they’re going at a million miles per hour regardless of the car you’re in (see Grid 2). There are a number of tracks we’ve never driven in an officially licensed commercially available product such as Rouen and Enna Pergusa; there’s a welcome return for old Hockenheim, sort-of old Imola, old Silverstone and a top fantasy track in Misty Loch. The career mode throws up a pleasing variety of tasks and is surprisingly satisfying, especially once Mansley shows up. On Hard difficulty and Pro handling, this is an entertaining handful and a very stern challenge but there are three difficulty levels and two handling models to ensure that your time with the game is satisfying and fun.

This game contains

F1 2012 (2012, PC Windows Steam) – 10/10 Formula 1 racing game review

Cast / crew
Executive Producer: Ian Flatt
Creative Director: Stephen Hood
Game Director: Paul Jeal
Technical Director: David Percival
Technical Art Director: Stephen Johnson
Art Manager: Andrew Watt
Designer: Jason Darby
Designer: Lee Mather
Designer: Mark Lewis
Designer: Mark Russell
Nick Barber: Race Engineer
David Croft: Presenter
Anthony Davidson: Hot Lap Voice

F1 2012 (2012)

10/10

This remains the best racing series of it’s generation and a number of small tweaks and the new Austin track enhance the experience yet further. The inclusion of unpredictable weather was a masterstroke and Codemasters have also made the evolution of the car throughout a weekend with it’s differing tyre and fuel components even more distinct than before. Harsh penalties are still a minor issue, though; AI cars cannot receive penalties and their mistake / mechanical issues do not scale for shorter races meaning they never make mistakes. F1 2012, astoundingly, remains the only major racing title to feature all the principle elements of racing: practice and setup, qualification and racing with pit stops; something Forza and Gran Turismo have ostentatiously failed to deliver in the 360 / PS3 generation.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Spa (13th, Q5)

I wonder if Codemasters give the players a helping hand for the second half of the season as I got a far better result than expected last time out at Hungary and nearly repeated that here. However, high-speed Spa should be a circuit where the KERS-less HRT should really, really struggle.

For qualifying I went the Jenson Button 2012 route and eventually opted for a low downforce set-up (with my traditional camber alignment for the fronts set to -3.5). I settled on this after trying a slightly higher downforce setup and the cool thing was that there was a time difference between the two setups in each sector. Sectors 1 and 3 are largely full throttle while sector 2 is largely corners. With the lower downforce, I went faster in sectors 1 and 3 and slower in sector 2 than I did with the higher downforce setting. It is satisfying when something that is reported as happening in real life is repeated in the game but, of course, with you at the wheel.

Qualifying went really well and I ended up a surprise 5th. The qualifying results were a bit strange, though, as Jenson Button was one-and-a-half seconds ahead of everyone else in pole position.

Now here’s something spooky cool. The race start went jolly well and I was in third going down the hill toward Eau Rouge with Webber in close proximity to my left. Whereupon he only did the same maneuveur that he famously pulled on Alonso in 2011 and swept around the outside of me and shot off up the hill. Sweet. I overtook him again at the end of Kemmel Straight into Les Combes and accidentally gave him a little tap that put him into a spin. Well, he must have had his spinach this morning because just a lap later and he’s up the inside of me in Bruxelles after I outbrake myself slightly (I didn’t quite add enough distance to compensate for the full fuel load exacerbated by the downhill braking zone) and I’m in fourth.

If it had remained dry, I would have finished fourth. Sadly, it started raining a lap after my pitstop and rain only seems to really affect human players. This means that the AI drivers seem to have oodles more grip than me and as the weather worsens each lap, my lap time collapses. I would have missed the team objective whatever happened (they expected me to finish in the points) but coming around Blanchimont on the last lap in 11th I had my first unassisted accident for a while (the last must have been in Monaco, it always is) and span into the wall (like Raikkonnen did in 2008, that’s another real-life incident occurring in the race, cool). I crossed the line in 13th which is a good result but if it had been in the dry, it would have been better. Still, the higher placement than expected in the last two races may see me adjust an option or two to put me back where I should be. We’ll see.

F1 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Hungary (3rd, Q2)

Hungary tends to give with one hand and take with the other for me. Traditionally, I qualify well then suffer mistakes and all kinds of bad luck during the race. This pattern has persisted from Microprose Grand Prix through to F1 2010.

The Hungaroring is a track I like. It’s often described as Monaco without the walls as if to indicate it’s a really slow track but it’s all relative. The thing I love about the corners at Hungaroring is that most of them require you to stand on the throttle as soon as you’ve completed braking. Turn 4 is clearly a fast kink (exhilarating when executed successfully) but look at turns 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13. Some of them are 180° corners, some of them are over 90°; yet all of them share the technique of braking hard into the apex then immediate full acceleration. This feeling is tremendously satisfying and there isn’t any other track quite like it. Something else that’s unusual about Hungaroring’s layout is the lack of any corners that feel really slow; Turn 6 is the slowest, but doesn’t really feel like it because of the threading-the-needle accuracy required and the rest are all medium-to-high speed.

With a highest-but-one downforce car setup, a quick practice yielded a surprisingly good 11th. With fresh tires and, after a few laps when I remembered, Fuel Mix 3, I was qualifying 5th on a lap with significant mistakes and wheels off the track. A consolidation was required and I was delighted when a clean lap put me 2nd behind only Alonso. I was even more surprised when that was how the session ended. 2nd in an HRT where I’d been qualifying on average in the late teens. Result!

Would the race turn out disastrously for me as it has so often in the past? No. This was a fun race and the result was great. My first laps were spent battling Vettel and Schumacher, my post-pit-stop mid-race fending off Schumacher successfully and only my error at Turn 12 saw Vettel waft by two laps from the end. Even though I lost a place from my start position and had the race’s second fastest lap, third is still a great result for me and an HRT which have only been placing in the teens.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Nurburgring (16th, Q14)

So if my average qualifying performance so far is 18th (as the statistics on the loading screens helpfully assert), why is my team objective to qualify 14th? Well, perhaps they know something I don’t because at the Nurburgring, even though I forgot to set my Fuel Mix to 3, I manage to qualify 14th.

So, how about the race target of 12th? Considering the fuel mix error and my good starts, that seems highly achievable.

Well, this time I got a poor start as my humble HRT just couldn’t compete in the drag to the first corner. I snick a position back around the outside of the Mercedes Arena (turns 2 and 3) and am in wheel-to-wheel combat heading into Dunlop-Kehre. Unfortunately, I forgot that F1 2011 models fuel weight and my normal braking point is not adequate to stop my car from understeering into the kitty litter. 12th? Not now. My aim has to adjust to finish best of the F1 runts: 18th.

It cannot be overstated just how important Codemasters’ opponent indicators are in making this an enjoyable racing experience. A lap or two later, I’m battling hard with Maldonado and Perez, side-by-side, being overtaken and overtaking, all without incident, all tremendous fun and all because Codemasters gives you the information you need and cannot receive any other way. You can’t use your mirrors on the car, you can’t use surround sound cues, you can’t use your innate sixth sense, you can’t just feel where the other car is. So Codemasters, almost uniquely (perhaps it’s copyrighted), give you clear indicators revealing exactly where the other cars are. It works tremendously well.

Something that doesn’t work so well is shown up a few laps later when  I out-brake Alonso into the final chicane (I think it’s currently called the NDK Chicane, it used to be called Veedol Chicane). My move and his defence causes him to jump across the kerb right across my path. I hit him square in the side (if I had reacted quickly enough I could have braked; I got a penalty for his mistake) and our cars bumped into the air a bit but no debris, no damage. The damage in F1 2010 and F1 2011 is awful. F1 accidents cause hundreds of pieces of shattered debris to come flying off the cars. Not in Codemasters’ game. In fact, when a major accident does happen, the result is a bit embarrassing, like first-timer Guybrush Threepwood hocking a loogie. Is it a licensing issue? It shouldn’t be. Accidents and altercations are part of the F1 experience and shouldn’t be terribly muted. This is a game. No-one can get hurt in an accident in a game.

As to the race, the brief early excursion and this penalty mean I finish in 16th, which for me was a bit of a save but for the game, a failure to meet their objective. And to be fair, my fastest lap time did indicate I should have finished just outside the top ten, specifically 12th. Perhaps the team do know something I don’t when setting their objectives.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Britain (16th, Q18)

One of the things that irritates me slightly about Codemasters’ two F1 games is that they alter the qualifying and race objectives too quickly. I’ve set the game difficulty to make it so my HRT and I am about the fastest of the three lowest teams and not cruising around above our station. The objectives initially reflected HRT’s status. However, because I’ve had a couple of points finishes, the objectives have moved to qualify 13th, finish 11th. I think the objectives should only be refreshed at the mid-season break to average out good and bad performances.

I knew going in that I was never going to meet the teams objectives and set my own. Qualify and finish 18th, best of the F1 runts.

Qualifying went okay and the race went rather well initially. Some AI hesitation allowed to cleanly hussle my way up to 11th and, on the soft tyres, it looked like I could just about hold that with some judicious positioning into Stowe and Brooklands. However, on my other tyres, my fastest lap revealed I could only hope for 18th and, sure enough, dudes flashed past me any which way they wanted. The rot stopped a couple of laps from the end when Di Resta passed me and his teammate, Sutil, who was faster than me, was several seconds down the road. I managed to stay ahead of him and with Webber not finishing, I crossed the line 16th and was reasonably satisfied.

The odd thing about Silverstone is that the corners that the drivers like such as Copse and Becketts just don’t work very well in the game. It’s the same with Spa’s Eau Rouge and Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew. I’m not talking about accuracy or fidelity. No-one’s really captured the feel of these classic corners and reproduced that in any game. I do know some of the ingredients that are missing and maybe I’ll discuss those in another post sometime.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Valencia (10th, Q15)

I forgot to highlight in my Monaco post how much I appreciate men with flags in this game. It’s a reminder of the great Geoff Crammond Grand Prix (aka World Circuit) series of games and a reminder of a couple of small touches he included that modern games still don’t assign any importance to. Being humiliatingly wheeled or craned off the track, cool down laps with all the marshalls waving flags and replays cameras in the same place as the FOM broadcasts.

Anyway, on to Valencia and this is a strange track. Until 2012, real races at Valencia had been low on interest and spectacle largely, I think, because the main straights have walls that intrude where an overtaking car needs to go. While watching races here hasn’t been top drawer, driving them in F1 2010 had been very enjoyable and I tended to qualify below par and race above par.

Pleased to say that my success and enjoyment of this track continues in F1 2011. My qualifying went fine (15th) while my race was a bit harder work.

Curiously, considering that starts are arguably the single most critical element of the race day, games have almost completely ignored them, removing skill and interest in getting all of your horses to propel your car in the fastest possible manner off the start line while retaining control. That said, I managed to make a pudding of my start by concentrating a bit too much on upping the fuel mixture and so I lost a couple of places in the initial phase.

However, F1 2011 excels in allowing fair (or tipped in your favour slightly) wheel-to-wheel racing against the AI and a dan-dare move into the first corner sees most of the lazy getaway undone. By turn four I’m into the points. By the end of the lap, I put some pressure on Kobayashi and get into a happy 9th.

Valencia would then turn into a great battle with Petrov with his superior straight-line speed and DRS giving me grief on the straights and my higher downforce and better braking undoing all his hard work. That is, until lap 10 of 11.

I had spent a couple of laps on Fuel Mix 2 and so had turned it back up to 3. This has proved to be enough in the other races so far and I therefore greeted the flashing fuel icon with unconcealed surprise and not a little panic. So much panic that as I reacted to turn the fuel mix down to 1, I made a complete hash of the next corner, bumped into the wall with my front wing, damaging it, and Petrov snuck by into a 9th I couldn’t recover.

However, 10th is still a great result for me in the HRT and I’m in the points for the second time this season. Next up is one of my bogey tracks: Home, Silverstone.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Canada (7th, Q16)

Canada is probably my favourite circuit (along with Istanbul and Spa) and I always seem to go well there. However, the email from my engineer doesn’t have good news: it’s going to be a very wet weekend. High downforce is the name of the game here, not HRT’s strong point (it doesn’t have any), but practice yields a bit of hope that, unlike Australia, I may be in my rightful position and achieve the qualifying objective.

The qualifying session starts amazingly – halfway through I’m still in 3rd – but Codemasters exemplary wet weather features mean that there is a slightly grippier line becoming visible and the computer cars are starting to take advantage of it. I emerge with enough time for three laps but with traffic and an out-braking myself here and there I can’t improve on my earlier time and finish the session in 16th. That’s still good but I could taste the top ten.

The race itself will take place in heavy rain. The lights come on, and stay on for what seems like an eternity before the race explodes into life as the might of 20,000 horses rages into the first corner. Remarkably, I’m keeping it clean and making up places. I’m on the inside for 1 (Virage Senna), the outside for 2, the inside for 3 and a bit of manners for Mark Webber. Spectacular visibility issues cause me to just outbrake Massa into the next corner, Ponte de la Concorde, and myself. Webber nips back through but I know I’m great at the next chicane and a few more manners for Webber sees me back through. As I emerge from Épingle onto the back straight (Droit de Casino), I glance at my position and I’m in 8th behind Kobayashi who is already gapping me. I love Canada!

As I approach Épingle for lap 2, Kobayashi has tried to take 6th and failed putting him off-line and I disbelievingly slide into 7th. Kobayashi and I lock horns for the next 10 laps. With my downforce I’m better on the brakes and through corners; with his superior car he’s got the acceleration. But I’ve got track position and track position is king.

The last four laps really click into place as I put in four consecutive fastest laps of anybody in the race and nearly pinch 6th from an out-of-position Buemi. I cross the line in 7th, it’s my first points in F1 2011, HRT’s first points and I even finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton (11th). Thoroughly satisfying. I love Canada!

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Monaco (16th, Q20)

Monaco is, of course, the hardest real-life circuit to master in any video-game. I rate it as harder than the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Every mistake, no matter how small, is punished harshly, hopefully, just through a bit of lap time. Not qualifying last (on a well-matched difficulty level) and finishing the race are always my objectives, regardless of what the game wants. So qualifying 20th not 24th was a good result for me and the race. Well, the race usually goes better than qualifying. A muscular start (and my single flashback) saw me capture and solidify a massively satisfying 13th. After emerging from my pit stop, I was just behind my team-mate Liuzzi and the next opportunity was if he left the door open at La Rascasse. He did and I dived up the inside but I hadn’t reckoned on him going a bit slow there because he was going in the pits. Even as my engineer reminded me to be careful overtaking him, my wheel was in his side and a harsh but legitimate drive-through penalty was mine. As I was by the pits, I followed Liuzzi in and hoped that, even though the engineer and on-screen messages hadn’t had time to complete telling me about my penalty, the game would recognise my prescience and not punish me for it. Thankfully, it didn’t and I emerged way down in 20th place having served my penalty, someway behind my official objective of 16th. Still, my real objective is finish Monaco and so I settled in for the remaining 10 laps and was delighted to see people coming back toward me. A couple of typically ugly overtakes later and I’m in 17th with Perez a good way up the road and out of reach. With just a few laps to go, though, Perez pits and I sneak by. By this time, it being Monaco, I’ve dinged my front wing enough times that my engineer has offered me a pit stop if I can’t handle it but track position is king at Monaco. I just hold on, beating Perez by a tiny fraction of a second. So I didn’t qualify last, I finished the race at Monaco and, as a bonus, met the team objective of a 16th place finish. Great race and happy result.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Malaysia (11th, Q19)

The Sepang circuit is another one I don’t really like because I am rubbish at Turns 5 and 6 and, especially, Turns 13 and 14.

Still, a solid qualifying gave me confidence that I should be able to meet my career objective of finishing 18th or higher

A tidy start and a refusal to back off the throttle out of Turn 2 got me all the way up to a very pleasing 7th. That set me up for the race even though I realised that there were a number of faster cars behind me. A surprisingly smooth pitstop saw me out in 12th and, after the Prime boys stopped later, left me in 11th with four cars close behind and four laps to go. I didn’t make any mistakes but the racing was superb. Sometimes they would slip by and I would outbrake them into the next corner. In the end, I held 11th and was delighted.

F1 2011 Race Diary: Season 1, HRT, Australia (19th, Q24)

Melbourne is a circuit I don’t like because races always seem to go badly and it rains just way too much in games. Qualifying therefore took place in torrential rain. AI cars, of course, require no practice to go full speed in the rain and after half-a-dozen laps I’m still several seconds off my team-mate and have earned myself a broken front wing. Repairs cost the entire remaining time so I’m at the back of the grid. The race is in the dry and an excellent start sees me get up to 15th without damage, three places above my objective. An excursion into a sandtrap on the pit-in lap sees four cars go streaming by and from then on it’s an uphill battle to get back to 18th. Though I did make it, unfortunately, the much faster Rubens Barrichello emerged from a pit-stop just behind me and whooshed by without problem. Starting the season with Australia and Malaysia are always an exercise in damage-limitation for me and, to be fair, I’m pleased I’m not last and that I finished.

Xbox 360 vs PS3 vs PC Head-to-Head Face Off: F1 2011

Every so often, Eurogamer run a series of technical comparison reviews for games released on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

This is the latest update to the full list.

Starting with 2011 games, you can hover over the publications icons for a very quick summary.

  • 360 better F1 2011

Senna (2010) – 9/10 Formula 1 documentary movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Asif Kapadia
Producer: James Gay-Rees
Producer: Tim Bevan
Producer: Eric Fellner
Executive Producer and Writer: Manish Pandey
Editor: Gregers Sall
Editor: Chris King

Senna (2010)

Documentary. Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna had a single-minded attitude toward racing fueled by belief in God, belief in himself and belief that he was being persecuted by ‘the establishment’ for being too good.

9/10

A peek behind the curtain of Formula One and it’s most mythical hero, Ayrton Senna, this is a must-watch for any F1 fan. It’s interesting and illuminating and features a whole stack of terrific footage we haven’t seen before including some amazing footage of the movie’s villain FISA president Jean-Marie “my decision is best decision” Balestre, wonderful on-board driving action, a great Jackie Stewart interview and in-car radio (especially from Senna’s Brazilian Grand Prix victory). Just from his racing Senna always came across as destructively single-minded (nothing was ever his fault) and this documentary reinforces that and adds the personal, though not entirely unfounded, paranoia and belief system that fueled that despite him being the most lauded and feted driver in the world. There’s less race footage than you might expect but there is still more than enough to satisfy, especially as so much of it is wonderful onboard of Senna in his office doing what Senna did best: drive every car on the knife-edge of control all lap, every lap.

This movie contains several sexual swear words, undetailed but unpleasant scenes of real death and injury

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

F1 2010 (2010, Games for Windows Live) – 8/10 Formula 1 racing game review

Cast / crew
Senior Producer: Ian Flatt
Senior Producer: Paul Jeal
Game Designer: Stephen Hood
Technical Director: David Percival
Lead Programmer: Mike Stimpson
Lead Programmer: Neil Topham
Lead Programmer: Ryan Sammartino

F1 2010 (2010)

Formula 1 racing based on the 2010 season. Work your way up from the bottom over three, five or seven years to achieve the most prestigious prize in motorsport: the title of Formula 1 World Champion.

8/10

Authentically structured Formula 1 game undermined by the staggering choice not to employ any recognisable FOM television graphics and shipping with a few game-spoiling bugs. The excellent career mode sees you striving to work up from trying not to finish last, through sneaking into the points, being a top ten contender, grasping a rare podium, to winning a race on a favoured track and finally putting together a championship campaign with a top team. It brilliantly insists on having you go through practice and qualifying (which can be time-accelerated) and a minimum 20% race distance (all the way up to 100%) making every event feel like an event. The core racing experience is outstanding; they harry and overtake where possible and this may be the first racing game where I’ve never being unfairly taken out by AI. Gran Turismo 5 may be the best driving game on this console generation, but F1 2010 is the best racing game.

Classified 3+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 3 or over.

Links

Pit babe HD 1920×1080 widescreen wallpaper – Ferrari F1 reflected in glasses

As this source image was not suitable for a simple crop to 1920×1080, I decided to have a bash at using some of the more advanced features of Paint.NET to construct the wallpaper.

My previous photo editing program was PhotoImpact but I had been dissatisfied with the amount of time it took to load for a long time. However, PhotoImpact does have a number of extremely powerful features and some really useful little bits and bobs that I will miss.

One of these is the option to store preset sizes under custom names on the resize dialog. For example, I had one named “folder.jpg” which resized the image to 256 by 256 pixels. A nice little feature.

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Ferrari F1

One of the unexpected joys of reaching the end-game of Gran Turismo 3 was the reward of being given a Formula One in all but name. They were called Polyphony001 and Polyphony002 and were Williams F1 cars with different paint jobs. Though I haven’t got there yet myself, there were also F1 cars in Gran Turismo 4.

ThreeSpeech and the official PlayStation.Blog today gave us photographic evidence of a fully licensed Scuderia Ferrari F2007 F1 car in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue PAL and I am rendered near speechless. Drool over the screenshots below (you can click to zoom the Shareapic hosted image for the full resolution version) and make sure you mop up afterwards.

UPDATE 8 April 2008: You need to complete Class S (at least bronze in every event) before you can purchase this car. Oh, and, on the European version, it costs 2,000,000 credits and the largest prize money is 35,000 credits. Start saving…


On track renders: is it just me or are these genuinely photo-realistic?


Renders


Screenshots (notable jaggies in second one, hmm)

Pictures hosted at Shareapic.

ITV Hates Formula One

What would you say is one of the more important aspects of television coverage of a Formula One, or indeed, any, race? The result?

Well, if you are a Fernando Alonso fan, a Sébastien Bourdais fan, a Force India fan, or follow any of the non-Ferrari and BMW F1 field, you’re out of luck. ITV decided to only show the first four cars crossing the finish line at today’s Bahrain Grand Prix (Felipé Massa followed by Raikkonen, Kubica and Heidfeld), cut to an advertising break and never even displayed the finishing positions of the remainder of the field either from the FOA feed or using their own graphics.

You can see the finishing results at the official Formula One website. Alonso was 10th, Bourdais was 15th, Force India finished 12th with Giancarlo Fisichella and 20th and last with Adrian Sutil.

Slimm Says

Clearly the head of sporting coverage at ITV just hates motorsport as even when they do show it, they try and dump it on ITV4 to die (it doesn’t appear to be promoted on any of the other three ITV channels, at least during shows and films I watch). If ITV could show I’m a Celebrity twenty-four hours a day, every day, they would.

The End is Surely Nigh for James Allen

Two good news stories inside one week? First young Shannon Matthews is discovered alive three weeks after being kidnapped and now Formula One returns to the BBC. What is the world coming to?

Bernie Ecclestone appears to have exercised his right to terminate the ITV deal (which still has a couple of years to go) at the end of this season and will see uninterrupted multimedia coverage (TV, radio and internet) broadcast by the BBC. Quote of the story comes, unsurprisingly, from commentating legend Murray Walker:

Murray Walker“I’m absolutely flabbergasted – I was lying in bed listening to the news this morning and I almost fell out of bed when I heard it. It’s an amazing development because I think ITV did and do a superb job, and I think there is more to this than meets the eye.”

Flabbergasted. Great word.

‘More than meets the eye’ is right. ITV won the rights to Formula One coverage originally thanks to it’s chunky wallet. The BBC is unlikely to be able to compete on purely financial terms so it must be something else. Is the temptation of Charlie Cox going to bring down the curtain on James Allen’s live commentary career? Was ITV screening live qualifying on their digital-only channels more and more the last straw? Is the fact that they ignored just about everything except Lewis Hamilton last year (and this year, by the looks of things) upsetting the sponsors of the other nine teams not involved in the championship who weren’t getting a look-in? Were ITV going to giving priority to their FA Cup coverage recently won from the BBC and BSkyB?

What makes this doubly-surprising is, aside from James Allen’s unevocative and droning commentary (according to an expert who shall remain nameless but slimm), ITV have done a splendid job in presenting Formula One. They brought the football-style analysis, highlights and presentation to the sport. Their absolute best move was retaining Murray Walker from the BBC and bringing in Martin Brundle as co-commentator and one hopes against hope that he will transition back to the BBC (though given Damon Hill’s performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix and his hilarious ‘naughty chair’ comments, I would be happy with him as principal alternative).

When asked for a comment, I said: “Whatever the reason behind the switch, I am sure that James Allen’s services will not be retained for live commentary.” To be fair, it should be noted that James Allen tends to do a much better job with the GP2 highlights commentary and he is a much better writer than extemporaneous speaker. His biography of Nigel Mansell (as ghost writer) was an excellent read and his Michael Schumacher books appear to be of the same calibre.

Bye James.

Ferrari F355 Challenge: Scuderia Ferrari truck livery Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Inspiration for this paint scheme came from the Iveco trucks that were used in 2001 by the Formula One Ferrari racing team Scuderia Ferrari.

It is a two-tone silver and red scheme with the Scuderia Ferrari logo emblazoned on the side. The badge seen here is a heavily masked version of the manufacturer’s decal supplied. The Italian flag colours have been replaced at the top with a shallow chevron design. The shield shape was created by placing a red hollow shield vinyl over the Ferrari manufacturer’s decal. Nice and simple.

The other design note is the monochrome sponsor logos for FIAT, AMD and Olympus seen either side of the rear wheel-arch. My original idea was simply to pick white monochrome decals from the four pages available in Forza. Except on this Ferrari there is less than a single page of manufacturer decals available. Very peculiar. So I set about creating some of the simpler sponsor logos manually. Thanks to Forza’s handy Change Colour for a group of vinyl’s option, I was able to create the AMD and Olympus logos in their normal colouring and then change the whole thing to white when stamping in the final location. As a bonus, I now have these three logos available to stamp onto any car.

The design above is my second iteration. This is my first.

I decided that there was too much silver on this version and so adjusted it as above. The monochrome sponsor logos were stacked vertically just behind the rear wheel-arch. I had also simply pasted the Scuderia Ferrari logo in the same orientation on the other side of the car meaning that the Ferrari badge was toward the rear of the car. When I did it, I thought it didn’t look right but wasn’t quite sure why. When I tweaked the design with the second iteration I realised what was wrong and fixed it and so the Ferrari badge is toward the front of the car on both sides.

Lotus Carlton: Lotus JPS inspired Forza Motorsport 2 custom paint job

Having won an old Lotus Carlton I decided to pay homage to the classic John Player Special black and gold Lotus’ of the late 1970’s Formula One circus.

Despite some time being spent on it, one thing that didn’t work out was a JPS logo. None of the Forza fonts were close to the original and while constructing a J and P from primitives posed no problems, I simply couldn’t get an S that worked.

One of the really cool things with the JPS Lotus was that all the sponsor logos were in black and gold regardless of their original colours. I recreated the Texaco logo as it was nice and simple and was also used on the original cars. Perhaps Forza Motorsport 3 will allow us to tint manufacturer logo’s so that this effect can be easily achieved in the future.

After getting tired of painting, I went racing with Version 1 (below) and instantly decided that I didn’t like the pattern over the front wheel-arch. I’d also forgotten to do anything with the rear of the car which is something I always seem to do.


Version 1

I altered the wheel arch pattern to cover just the front door and placed the Lotus Motorsport logo inside. The colouring of the logo was entirely appropriate to the JPS colour scheme and made that part of the car look a bit more interesting. I also painted the front and rear bumper with a wrap-around pattern and added a black and gold ring to the Vauxhall badge in the same way that the Formula One cars had a little round JPS badge on their noses.


Version 2

I had a good time with this car as it is a nice unusual entry into a racing game and I used it to whup A-class Ferrari’s and Porsche’s.

PGR 4: Project Gotham Racing HD widescreen wallpaper

The Project Gotham Racing 4 demo hits Xbox Live this week with the game in hot pursuit in retail. The demo is big (1.27GB) but is taking an age to download for some reason but I might pop a preview up soon.

This taken from the official cover artwork available on Microsoft Game Studios Dutch site.

With Activision distributing future multi-platform titles for Bizarre Creations one wonders if Activision have purchased the currently-lapsed Formula One licence (it used to be a Sony exclusive) and are taking Bizarre Creations back to their roots in making Formula One racing games. Oooh, that would be nice.

Spyker F1 HD widescreen wallpaper

Spyker just secured a very lucrative Formula 1 World Championship point so I thought it was about time I posted this 1920×1080 widescreen wallpaper I’ve had sitting on my desktop for a while. What makes this a great PC wallpaper is the fact that the background on the left is out of focus and this makes your icons stand out nicely.


Spyker toolbox

The original picture is an official Spyker wallpaper from their excellent digital magazine which comes out after each grand prix. I’ve enjoyed reading them this year (though I do wish the pictures in the galleries could be seen at a higher resolution) and hope they continue with this next year under new ownership.