Tree-mendous progress! A look at F1 2017’s Research and Development system



August 7, 2017

Last week, we showcased our Career Trailer and revealed F1 2017’s Research and Development. Missed it? Check it out below:

To find out more, we spoke to Experienced Games Designer, Steven Embling, about the games industry, F1 2017 and how in-depth Research and Development really is.

How long have you worked at Codemasters, and how did you get into the gaming industry?

I’ve been at Codemasters for a little over 5 years now. I had a background in competitive gaming, where I competed in racing games in various tournaments. I have been fortunate enough to win some fantastic prizes along the way, and for a while even had a fully professional salaried position for a Championship Gaming Series team back in the 2007/8 period. I also studied a Master’s degree in Computer Games Design at Staffordshire University so joining a racing studio in a design role seemed like the obvious destination. There were some short term temporary positions between university and entering my current role, including a short stint in our very own QA department.

As an Experienced Games Designer on F1 2017, what elements of the game are you responsible for?

As with all the F1 titles my role is roughly 50% vehicle handling and 50% game design. A primary focus for me this year is the massive expansion to the R&D system. I feel like this feature is almost tailor-made for my specific skill-set as it involves lots of car handling work to ensure the performance traits give the intended effect as the cars upgrade, but also plenty of balancing considerations including all the factors that translate to player progression rates.


So, tell us more about R&D. It was a big part of F1 2016, so what’s changing?

It’s a huge expansion on what we did for 2016 in pretty much every way. The first consideration was “how do we increase the lifespan of the feature but maintain the player’s interest and interaction?” Crucially, the key is LOTS more upgrades (approximately four times the amount of 2016), a non-linear progression structure, which encourages players to think carefully about their short and long term goals, and much more detailed information about your own team’s performance status and how that relates to the rest of the field.

And what will this mean for the player?

There’ll be a massive wow factor when the player is introduced to the R&D tree for the first time. They’ll also notice there are four distinct departments: Powertrain, Chassis, Aerodynamics and Durability – each with their own sets of upgrades. Depending on the team, the priority is likely to be different, but for those who don’t want to think about it too much there is a ‘recommend upgrade’ button to get a suggestion based on the team’s existing attributes.


There is an interesting strategic element also, as many of these departments have competencies that can be enhanced through use of the same pool of currency (Resource Points). A player can chose to enhance the Efficiency of a department’s facilities and all future upgrades from that department will cost less Resource Points to develop. Players can also choose to improve the Quality Control to lower the chance of upgrade failures, which when these occur would cost the player more Resource Points and time as the upgrade needs sending back for some final tweaks before it can be fitted to the car. The trade off being that upgrading these department competencies will set the team up well going forward, but may lose some ground in the development race during that season.


And finally, what are you most excited for the community to see in F1 2017?

Due to the scale of the new R&D system I’m very much looking forward to hearing people’s reactions, not just straight off, but when players are several seasons into their careers as well. I also think the classic content provides some additional variety, which is always exciting. We have some truly amazing and heavily requested cars in our line up!


We can’t wait to get stuck in to F1 2017’s Career Mode, and fortunately there isn’t too much longer to wait until you can get your hands on it as well!

F1 2017 releases onto PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Windows PC (DVD and via Steam) worldwide on August 25th. You can pre-order here:
PlayStation EU
PlayStation US
Xbox One

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About Jenny

Social Media Manager for the F1 games. Loves F1 and PC gaming far too much to be healthy.

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