With F1® 2018’s release date getting closer and closer, it’s time to strap yourself in with one of this year’s new features: the multiplayer super licence. We got wheel-to-wheel with Senior Games Designer Luke Stephenson to find out more.
Hi Luke! Could you tell us what you do on F1® 2018?
“I’m a Senior Games Designer on the F1® team who oversees multiplayer – although I work on many areas throughout the game – and I designed the new Ranked multiplayer and Super Licence systems for F1® 2018.”
Could you tell us what the Super Licence is?
“At its heart the Super Licence is a means to keep track of three things relating to the multiplayer game: your overall skill, the cleanliness of your racecraft, and your time invested. Improvement in each of these areas is something that players can aspire to achieve, and also serves as a point of comparison against the other drivers you encounter online.
“Your ‘skill value’ goes up and down based on the skill of the opponents that you defeat or are defeated by, and this value determines your Rank.
“Next comes your Safety Rating, which evaluates how long you are able to race between incidents. Each incident you are involved in will issue you incident points based on severity, and keeping these to a minimum will improve your Safety Rating over time.
“Finally, your Level increases as you gain ‘experience’ from completing races, finishing in strong positions, and hitting various statistic milestones. This last part of the Super Licence persists across both Ranked and Unranked so that you can continue to build your Super Licence however you play, but it won’t be factored into the Ranked matchmaking process.”
What was the intention behind the Super Licence – how did it come about?
“There were two major motivations driving this. Firstly, we have had lots of feedback from our community members who, when trying to find competitive public games, are frequently put off the experience by one or two disruptive drivers. The Super Licence is our most significant step to date in regards to stamping out that problem, as those disruptive drivers will tend to be placed in different lobbies to those who give each other racing room.
“Secondly, as many will know the inaugural F1® Esports Series last year was an incredible success powered by F1® 2017, and we want to develop that area of our game further by creating an environment that could produce the next generation of esports champions. So we want our multiplayer game to have a meaningful sense of progression, to foster a culture of clean racing, and to allow new talent to emerge, regardless of whether you are dropping in for a casual few races, or trying to reach Master Rank against the best in the world.”
How will Ranks work?
“Players will be matched into the most suitable Ranked lobbies we can find with other players of a similar Skill and Safety Rating. Your Skill value is the number that you’ll see next to your Rank, and that’s what we base all our calculations off. The system will expect a player of higher Skill to beat a player with lower Skill, so if that doesn’t happen than both players will have their skill values adjusted a small amount. Every player is judged against everyone else, so when you’re in a 20 car race you can think of it like having 19 one-on-one races. The more you play, the closer you should trend to your ‘true’ skill level, and the better the racing should become.
“The Skill value is also tied to your Rank, which is the badge that you can see throughout the game. Going from 1900 to 2000 for example may promote you from Silver to Gold, so these can serve as great targets as you climb up the ranks.”
How will the Safety Rating change games?
“Fair drivers want to race against other fair drivers, and that’s what the Safety Rating system is designed to encourage. Drivers that respect their competitors will advance their Safety Rating, get matched against other respectful drivers, and then have even cleaner races. This should encourage more players to give racing room – especially down into turn 1 – and maybe think twice about those dive-bombs from 100 metres back. You don’t have to go for every gap that exists, after all!”
I’m not a fast driver – will this affect me when playing online?
“When racing against other people online, the important thing is not outright pace, but rather your relative pace to other drivers. With Ranks, we are trying to keep drivers of similar ability racing together, which should increase the chances of close, fun races regardless of your speed.
“Of course, whatever level you compete at, it’s important to ensure everyone is competing on an even field; that’s why Ranked races use equal car performance with modern cars, and Spec races are used when racing our wide selection of classic cars.”
Thanks for talking to us, Luke!
There’s still time to pre-order F1® 2018!