F1 2019: Graphics improvements create stunning step forward

F1 2019 test footage has looked stunning, but Codemasters have gone above and beyond this year


Fans always want a reason to buy the latest version of a sports game. Is it the inclusion of the latest hot young star? A uniform or kit change for a team? Or is it a massive leap forward in gameplay and look? F1 2019 looks set to tick all those boxes as Codemasters continue to strive for excellence in their F1 series.

This years offering, hitting the shelves on 28 June 2019, will be their 10th anniversary edition, and in celebration Codemasters have gone all out in delivering the most realistic and beautiful F1 game to date.

Visual leap forward

F1 2018 was a nice improvement in terms of graphics and immersion, putting drivers in the middle of a gorgeous world that brought circuits to life. With next gen consoles not far away you could have understood a developer resting on their laurels and waiting for the new generation of machines to really blow away fans. Not Codemasters. They have thrown everything into making F1 2019 the most visually stunning game possible.

Stuart Campbell, Codemasters Art Director for F1 2019, had this to say about the improvements that have been made.

“After the big visual improvements across the board in F1® 2018, this year the art team has focussed on a number of circuits, including Monaco which is the flagship event in the F1® calendar. We have increased the building fidelity with higher resolution geometry and a lot of the previously textured elements now have a full geometry pass, which is perfectly demonstrated in turn one heading up to the casino. We’ve increased object placement and crowd density which provides more interest and realism and brings greater depth so the player gets a better sense of the atmosphere during the race weekend.”

What does all that mean? Well Codemasters have provided some like-for-like shots from F1 2018 and F1 2019 to demonstrate exactly what they can do.

Monaco Grand Prix

Ahead of this weekends glamour-filled Monaco race, Codemasters have flexed their muscles and shown us what to expect from the updated and improved building fidelity and resolution geometry, and the step up from F1 2018 is astounding.

The difference in quality is tremendous. From the trees, to the crane, to the buildings, everything in the F1 2019 shot has been improved. The depth of the background is better, even the lighting has taken a big step forward. Monaco has long been the most challenging-but-rewarding circuits to drive in F1 games, and bringing it to life like never before will make this years game stand out from the rest.

Track surface improvements

In F1 2018 you get a vague sense of a racing line from the track, along with very harsh shadows from surrounding buildings and vegetation, but little else. It’s enough to spot when to change from intermediate tyres to slicks, but it doesn’t tell the same story a real race track does. This is another aspect Codemasters have dramatically improved.

“From a surface perspective, new scan-based tarmac adds to the realism by giving better light response on the track surface. We are incredibly proud of the work the team has put in and we know our players will notice and appreciate the difference when they play F1® 2019 in a month’s time.”

How could you not notice? The wear lines on the surface are more apparent the shadows more defined, even the glare off Monaco’s fresh tarmac is improved. And are those the Formula E power boost tyre marks to the left? Or just where an unfortunate driver got too hot on the throttle? Even the fans on the yachts have received an upgrade from Codemasters this year, and all of it has served to make Monaco look more spectacular than ever. And the improvements in track surface won’t end at Monaco, they will be visible at every circuit, especially the enclosed ones like Baku, Canada, and Monza where buildings and trees can play with the lighting.

We can’t wait for F1 2019 to come out and blow us away.

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Toby Durant

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