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May 2024

F1 24

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Codemasters
Release Date: May 31, 2024

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'F1 24' - Physics and Handling

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on April 22, 2024 @ 8:00 a.m. PDT

F1 24 players can expect a fully overhauled Career mode, new EA Sports Dynamic Handling System, and so much more.

A few days ago, I was able to attend the livestream previewing Codemasters' upcoming F1 24. Among a variety of topics that were covered, a good amount of time was spent on the upcoming game's enhancements to its physics model and how the cars handle. Handling has been an aspect of Formula 1 that the series has been grappling with, and it seems like F1 24 is trying to make these improvements a focus of this year's release.

For starters, the game is touting an all-new kinematics system to model vehicle suspension. The idea is not just to better model how actual F1 and F2 cars handle, but it also allows for a vehicle's suspension to have dynamic camber gain, toe change, etc., based on how the car is being driven and the forces that are being placed upon its suspension. This new system also makes steering geometry more accurate, down to things like the Ackermann effect being more accurately represented (wheels on the outside of a car travel at different speeds and distances during a turn).

There is a slew of other improvements that are reported to be in the upcoming game. An improved tire model was touched upon briefly, with more authentic tire heat and wear touted in addition to more realistic behavior of a tire's contact patch. Spring and damper forces have been revised, the weight distribution and center of mass placement of cars will be more realistic, and the new suspension model will also allow for better handling dynamics related to weight transfer and moments of inertia.

The tire slip curves have been adjusted for wet conditions, and the top of the slip curve is smoothed out; as a result, it's realistically easier to catch the tires when they break loose. Wet racing also has a realistic effect on tire cooling, so diving for the dwindling puddles on a drying track can be important to keep your intermediate tires cooler and alive for longer. Without being able to get hands-on with the game, it is difficult to say what these new changes feel like, but it's good to see the team putting some effort into this aspect of F1 24.

The new systems give the player more agency and input into how their car handles. Downforce and drag are impacted to a greater extent by wing angles and ride height. There are more options to set up a car, and while no details were given, I suspect that will provide greater flexibility in dialing in a car for a particular track. For example, the ride height can be important in finding the sweet spot for a particular car's performance.

It seems like Codemasters put some downright engineering into play when doing some of this work — including hiring an actual mechanical engineer onto the team. As it turns out, he used to make mods for older F1 games, so it seems like they found the right guy for the job. Among all of the improvements, it was mentioned they used a computational fluid dynamics model and a virtual wind tunnel to work on the aerodynamic modeling, so the title could deliver more realistic slipstream and DRS effects. It was asked if any real F1 drivers helped with the game's handling, and while the response was very carefully guarded in its delivery, it was noted that they got early feedback from a real driver who is also a gamer.

It is impossible to know what all of this will feel like when F1 24 is released. However, if there were areas where the series could've used some genuine focus, the handling and physics would've been high on the list. F1 24 has a release date of May 31, 2024, so we won't have long to wait before we can see how all of these changes come together.

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