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F1 E-Sports worthy spectator interface.

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Posted (edited)

I've already made countless posts about this but since lately Codemasters has actually started responding (Thank you @BarryBL) to sounds on the Forums i will try again. 

A lot has changed since Codemasters first started making the F1 games. Online gaming has exploded over the last decade, as has streaming and consequently e-sports. 
F1 has also jumped on the E-sports band-wagon. Using the Codemasters games as their platform to do it. 

Personally I think this is a very exciting development and a real spectator sport like F1 is perfectly suitable for competitive racing and commentated streams. Despite being called an 'arcade' game because of the handling by some (which I don't really agree with although I can, of course, see it's no iracing either) a game like this is MUCH CLOSER to the real thing than say, FIFA, or any first person shooter. We're facing a lot of the same issues as F1 drivers do and the fact that, in the end, it's very much the individual skill of someone that makes him take the win (bugs aside), makes a good league race, for me, almost as fun to watch as the real deal. (For which my compliments) 

Close as the actual racing is to the real deal however, the transition to e-sports has not seen any developments on the spectator side of things, despite being actually streamed on official channels these days. 
We're still using the same menus we did years ago (some small tweaks, of course). And after being promised 'Official Graphics' for F1 2019, my disappointment was great when we found out the graphics that are used for spectators on tv, only got used while driving in the game. (Bar the fond change, of course, which is obviously a big improvement) I don't know if this was cause of time restraints, or if you really thought spectator graphics were more suited for the drivers than for the streamers, but I decided to make a small list of things that I feel should be changed to the spectator interface, to make it easier to use for streamers, and more pleasing on the eye for viewers. 


1. Make penalties visible. 
I've lost count of the number of times I've said this but seeing as it's fallen to deaf ears up until now, I will happily say it again. 
Right now we're using the telemetry for the streamers to see the penalties, Or one of the race engineers gives a penalty update in the twitch chat every so often. 
This is just sad, and with a game that is so charitably handing out penalties, there needs to be a way to have those appear on screen while spectating, other than scouring the race director. 
For obvious reasons for a streamer, it's not done to go into the race director, and even then you'd have to click every driver individually and scroll through the laps and guess whether or not a warning was a track limit warning or just something random that won't matter in the end.  In my opinion, there should either be an extra space for penalties behind the tires, or else it should be mentioned behind the interval times (or gap to leader) And just don't forget to also add the 5-second penalties to it (Say like 3 (+5)) And then they serve it you remove the 5. That way when the end of the race is there, people won't be surprised by position jumps, or guessing whether someone has served his 5-second penalty already or not. This is an absolute no-brainer that just needs to be added. 

2. Move messages to the center of the screen. 
It is very easy to miss fastest laps, penalties, safety cars coming in or drs's being enabled/disabled when they are hidden at the bottom of the screen. 
They should in my view been moved to the (top) center of the screen, in the same way, it is shown on tv. Maybe even add the official sound effect, although I won't be too sad if that doesn't happen. 
This goes for all messages. It makes it way easier for commentators to not miss them, it would make it easier (and more exciting) to see in quali who sets the fastest laps. It just makes it cleaner on stream and easy to see, and it makes way more sense to use the spectator graphics here than to be so in your face while driving. (people driving tend to turn the hud off anyway)

3. Have us use the mouse to switch between drivers while spectating. 

I absolutely love that you gave us the track map in the lifespan of this game. It is a good improvement, actually really handy to get a quick view on how a race is developing, and the only sign you've given us that very maybe the spectating is something you ARE actually looking at. Now a small problem with the map is that on certain tracks the maps go through the menu. I understand this is hard to fit with such differently-shaped tracks, but the issue is actually that while streaming we are kinda required to keep that menu open at all times, (which takes up a big part of the screen) because we use it to scroll through the drivers. The alternative is skipping through 9 drivers just to arrive at the battle you're looking for, and that looks more trash and unprofessional than having that menu open. It goes without saying that neither option is really a keeper. A very big improvement would be if we could use our mice, useful little things as they are, to click on a driver's name and instantly select them. This would save a lot of time and will mean you can catch a bigger part of the fight (if you're reacting to a position change) AND makes it unnecessary to keep that spectator menu open all the time. (Except maybe to quickly check the fastest lap/position changes or something) 

4. Make position changes more visible. 
In the real tv feed, when a driver overtakes another driver, either in quali or in the race, their names on the left side of the screen don't just instantly switch positions. There is a very clear animation where the bottom driver's name moves over others to his new position. Now I'm not necessarily asking for the same thing, although it would also be great, but the Idea I had was to make the box around a drivers name (and info) change to red if they just lost a position, and to green if they just gained one. (say for 5 seconds) This will make it very clear when a driver has an issue and is falling down the order (it's a red namebox under a few (or a lot) green nameboxes), will make it more clear when there is a fight going on, AND has the added bonus that we can get rid of those red/green arrows, that OBSCURE the intervals, which can be crucial information to determine whether or not someone managed to retain drs on the driver in front. Anything that obscures any of the scarce information (especially intervals) we have is a bad thing in my opinion. And a more clear way to see position changes would be preferable. 

5. Timing issues. 
I will put both of these in the same heading even though they are not the same, but they are both misinformation being displayed in spectator mode. 
One of these is that sometimes the time remaining in qualifying for spectators is wrong. i made a clip of a league race from yesterday where this is happening. https://clips.twitch.tv/SwissInspiringBeaverDatSheffy
It starts as the timer runs out and ends when the first people get flagged as they cross the line.  so there is a minute disparity between the timer and the actual quali time. 

Kind of the same thing happens at the start of a race (I've always thought it has something to do with the formation lap) Where for the first lap or sometimes first few laps the interval times are just wrong (sometimes over a minute, somtimes the difference is small, but as a rule it takes a few laps before the timings to become reliable, which is messy and makes it hard to see what's going on those first few laps)

6. Make tire wear visible
Now this is one where I know not everyone might agree with, but you can easily sort out in a league if you want to make use of this option, which is the option to show the tire wear for the drivers. In the same way most telemetry applications show the wear for the worst tire (which is almost always a rear) I'd think it would be a nice addition to show the wear of the drivers behind the tire (or maybe as a % 'inside the tire picture, to save space) This would make it easier to see for the viewers what's going on on that front, who's doing well and who's doing less well, if the switch where mediums will outpace softs or hards will outpace mediums is coming up, and it's just more relevant info that will only enhance the viewer experience in my opinion. (although I see how it can be considered 'sensitive information' so the option to disable it should be there.)
These are the big things i can think of right now. Again my compliments for adding the track map which was a good addition, 
And a last request that is not really related:

Even will all those aditions our race engineers will still use telemetry software to aid their drivers. Now as of this year, for whatever reason, the drivers names are not included in the telemetry. Requiring us to enter all the names manually which is just a hassle every race (especially when you have to do it again after a restart). The names are available to us ANYWAY. so there should be absolutely no reason to not include it in the telemetry and we would love to have that revert to how it was. 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Edited by Bicarda
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Thanks @Bicarda, another comprehensive list. 

I've marked this for the developers and also passed it over to the esports team to take a look at and consider. I know (from the videos) that you run in quite a high standard of league where streamers and competition is at a high level.

Events like the Virtual GP, especially in the current global climate, are some of the few live sporting events that can be ran, and I can say we want to improve the events and the viewing experience for the new wider audience for sure

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Posted (edited)

wow at first i thought this post was going to be the same old make it like real life f1 tv graphics but i was wrong really good ideas i definitely agree that the transition to move to each cars need to be alot easier especially on console. just an idea from me they could borrow what project cars 2 did and have a broadcaster  who controls all of the camera shots like a director and have alot of information like a live map showing where everyone is and where incidents are and then have 1 or 2 other spectators for the other commentators.

Edited by Nightfire1964
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You also need to add the ability to mark time and press a key on the keyboard (so will work for console too) and replay the last 8/16/24 secs.

Look at how GT Sport implement this, surely the team here can too.

Finally allow the spectator to save replay's after the race finishes. All the virtual photography i use is from single player races and for once it would be nice to share photos from the league racing onto social media and also get clips of moments missed by the spectator/broadcaster. 

For an eSports title, it really needs priority.

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7 hours ago, Geordie09 said:

You also need to add the ability to mark time and press a key on the keyboard (so will work for console too) and replay the last 8/16/24 secs.

Look at how GT Sport implement this, surely the team here can too.

Finally allow the spectator to save replay's after the race finishes. All the virtual photography i use is from single player races and for once it would be nice to share photos from the league racing onto social media and also get clips of moments missed by the spectator/broadcaster. 

For an eSports title, it really needs priority.

A replay option for during the stream (Multiple perspectives!) and saved replays after the race would, of course, be epic. and very handy for making highlight video's/doing stewarding. (Think how Blizzard deals with the replays in overwatch these days. you can spectate everyone AND free cam, skip through the whole replay and go slow-motion and whatnot. That's what we need! 

Not the theater thing that captured that one time at the start there was marginal contact, twice you boringly driving a straight and that one nice slow motion over the kerb that, although a nice shot, isn't really race-specific and surely not worth starting the highlight video over. 

This has been such a heavily requested feature though! they know we want this. badly. 

Even when most drivers in a league stream there is no easy way to get clips/replays on the stream in obs while spectating. (tabbing out makes the screen black etc) 
If the game could provide replays on the fly or let us go back a bit during spectating that would be awesome.  

But this is advanced stuff that i don't even dare dream about... Blizzard surprised me though, maybe Codemasters will too!

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Spectator mode should definitely be taken more seriously. It's an untapped market for future sales for a start. Imagine a Codies RaceWatch app on mobile where you could choose to watch any current online race going on in the world. Admins could add rankings for certain high profile or league races so viewers could choose to watch esports or leagues or just have fun watching random races. Include multiple viewing options like viewing any drivers cockpit view or tcam and seeing relevant telemetry like fuel/tire wear /ers usage etc. It would give customers on the fence a chance to see the game in action plus players who already have the game could maybe login with a unique game ID that would give them extra stats or options. Would also need to have a much more detailed pc /Mac version so commentators could stream races with pro looking broadcast options which would build the games profile up considerably. In a time like we have now it would be incredibly successful.

I dont believe any other race game or sim has anything like this yet. What a feather in the cap it would be for Codies!

PS I expect a credit 😎

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