Welcome to part 2 of our Track and Environment interview with Gavin Cooper and Harvey Parker. In today’s article we’ll learn more about the art direction and what Gavin and Harvey’s favourite tracks are.
Codemasters has also made the official FORUMLA ONE games. Was there much crossover between the studios?
The core of people who worked on F1 RACE STARS, despite being huge FORMULA ONE fans, have not actually worked on the FORMULA ONE games. There’s a lot of crossover in the terms of we know what they are doing, we’ve played the FORMULA ONE games and we sit in the same offices. It’s cool, but for the kind of game that F1 RACE STARS is, you kind of want to be able to divorce yourself from the sim-heavy approach. They’re having to recreate reality, it has to be perfect. And they do an amazing job. As for us we’ve had a lot more flexibility and freedom as we’re not trying to emulate reality so I think having that degree of separation has been really useful otherwise we may not have pushed it as far as we have.
Which is your favourite track and why?
I think my favourite has to be Monaco. Even if you don’t really know a lot about FORMULA ONE you’ve probably heard of Monaco. It was in Iron Man 2, it’s a really memorable part of FORMULA ONE and I think it’s been realised really well in the game. It’s probably one of the tracks in the game that’s most recognisable. It’s got the tunnel, the hairpin all the hotels, the marina. It’scome across really well and it looks amazing. More than that, it’s also really fun to drive. It’s probably one of the tracks that puts your skills to the test the most.
That’s a tough one because there’s bits of all of them that I really like and being the Art Director there are bits of all of them where I think we could have done better. I think the USA track works generally really well. The American icons and Americana lend themselves really well to the art style as we’re used to seeing American films in this sort of style. I think where we’ve pushed the extremes within the level design it lends itself well to the art style too so if you go round Japan there are beautiful scenes as you approach the balloons and you see the vista across Japan. So that’s another favourite of mine.
Any fun features that we haven’t talked about yet?
One of the ones I like quite a lot is the key shortcut. Every track has a special key object, related to the track you are on, for example the USA track has a whistle. If it’s Germany you go through a castle, so it’s a shield. You have to find where it’s hiddenon the track and once you find it and pick it up you become the world’s biggest target as everyone wants to shoot you with power-ups and make you drop it. If you can hold onto it long enough a bit further round the track there will be a gate that you will see as being ghosted out. Go through the gate and you’ll get access to this really cool shortcut. Everyone else will see the gate as being solid and can’t go through.
Yeah, we do have the secret keys on each track. To discover the key it may take you on a bit of a long cut. Then there’s a challenge to keep hold of that key. You can lose it by getting hit by a power up, people bashing into you. If you keep hold of it the key will reveal a shortcut later on, on the track. We talked about Monaco earlier and there’s a very special long cut and short cut within Monaco. You see all these wonderful old buildings, let’s just say it might be interesting to drive through some of them.
Is there anything else that you think the community would like to hear about?
I think most of the features that I find most fun are the ones that are designed to generate friendly rivalries when playing multiplayer. We have a system called gifting, in between split-screen races; whoever did best gets a gift that they can give to somebody else so they can have a little bit of a head start. Or you can choose not to give it to anybody and you will take a negative hit, like you’ll start the next race fully damaged. We have “King of the Screen”, so for every split-screen race you win you get a gold border around you screen. For every consecutive race that you win the border becomes more and more ornate. They’re little things, but I think they’re a lot of fun.