How the F1 Manager 2022 team raided the archives to make their races realistic RaceFans

Later this month, Frontier Developments will release the first officially licensed Formula 1 management game in over two decades with F1 Manager 2022.

The first in an annual franchise of games set to reappear in 2023 and 2024, F1 Manager will offer players a unique opportunity to fulfill their own virtual F1 fantasies as a team manager, rather than a driver.

With this, the developers at Frontier were in an unusual position to create a Formula 1 game where they didn’t have to worry about physics, handling or necessarily creating the most realistic car models and the most detailed. Instead, game presentation has been a major focus from the start, to ensure that the complex math simulation engine that underpins F1 Manager’s gameplay can be enjoyed in the most immersive and authentic way possible.

While graphics are naturally the most important part of a game’s presentation, audio has been a crucial point for the developers of F1 Manager. RaceFans spoke to Frontier’s lead audio designer, Tim Bartlett, ahead of the game’s release to find out more about how F1 Manager’s sound design is so important in creating the feeling that the player himself is on. the pit wall.

The game’s radio messages are taken from real races

The first thing to notice about sound effects in F1 Manager is that instead of synthetically recreating in-game engine sounds like every popular racing game you might think of, Frontier took advantage of unprecedented access to own Formula 1 broadcast archives to use real recorded sounds. from on-board footage, TV cameras and real team radio clips between pilots and engineers.

“All of our in-game team radio is from previous race weekends,” says Bartlett. “We wanted it to be an authentic experience for F1 fans, and so part of that is making sure our system is as close to the real thing as possible.

“When we started defining our plans for the F1 Manager series, we knew we wanted to create an audio experience that mirrors TV broadcast as much as possible,” he continues. “The majority of people identify the sounds of F1 as what they hear when watching TV, so that was really our starting point.

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“Using real audio has given us a much wider range of content to capture and ensures that every car sounds as it does on broadcast coverage. Our engines, for example, are created using audio samples from each car throughout the practice sessions, so we get a real mix of driving behaviors to replicate then in-game, from the bottom of the rev range all the way up when the cars are at full throttle.”

You will hear the real racing engineers from the drivers in the game

Getting authentic team radio clips to cover every possible scenario for each driver and each specific race engineer presented challenges trying to find suitable examples that could be used in-game, Bartlett says.

“It’s a great feature to implement, but team radio messages are often not the clearest,” he explains. “You have a whole mix of background engine noise, and it can take a few listens to fully decipher a radio message, so we had to identify radio messages where all the information can be digested on the first try.

“We are fortunate to have a great relationship with F1, who have kindly provided us with hours and hours of audio for us to sort through. This has allowed us to create bespoke conversations that reflect the goings -feedback between the race engineer and the driver Moreover, these conversations still circulate even if the driver and engineer couples change.

Bartlett and his team at Frontier received over 50,000 individual Formula 1 audio files, having to sift through and manually categorize each clip to find which ones could be included in the game. telling Peter Bonnington that his tires won’t last the distance or Will Joseph asking Lando Norris to set his ERS to recharge mode, you’ll hear the actual voice of the engineer giving the command to the driver, who will respond naturally.

“We use the real voices of the 20 F1 race engineers in the game, who have their own style of communicating with their driver.

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“In the real world, when engineers speak in code, everyone listening is trying to figure out what it means, and those codes can change many times over the course of a season. In F1 Manager 2022, we’ve tried to make those Easy-to-understand radio messages in a split second, while keeping each engineer’s communication style front and center, so you can focus on what’s happening elsewhere.

Audio was also captured from Formula 2 and Formula 3

While Frontier intends to play F1 Manager 2022 over multiple seasons with current drivers aging, retiring and replaced by promising young talent, Bartlett says the audio team has also captured radio clips for drivers from Formula 2 and Formula 3 ready for them. to make their inevitable way into your chosen team.

“As with our F1 team radio files, we also accessed a wealth of F2 and F3 team radios,” says Bartlett. “So players can expect to hear the voices of many stars from these series” if the player chooses to enter them on the F1 grid.

On a practical level, the team radio serves as a means by which you, the player, relays your commands as team manager to your pilots. With no direct control over the two drivers tasked with getting your multimillion-pound racing prototype under the checkered flag, you can give them little direction.

“Using the Driver Controls Panel, you can instruct your drivers to be more aggressive in how they use their tires, how they manage their fuel delta or use their Energy Recovery System (ERS)” , explains Bartlett. “We’ve also included commands such as Avoid Curbs to preserve tire life, and Don’t Fight Teammate, to allow fine-tuning of team strategy on the fly.”

As realistic as it might be to include, Bartlett says team radio outages won’t be simulated in-game. “Part of developing a unique team radio system is you really want the people hear it,” he said.

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“Team communication is an important mechanic in the game, and while it could make for some interesting post-race interviews in the real world, it just wouldn’t make sense not to be able to train your drivers in F1 Manager 2022.”

F1 Manager 22 car development screenshot (XBOX)
Preview: A real successor to Grand Prix Manager? Practice with F1 Manager 22

While Codemasters used microphones to allow players of the official F1 racing game to issue commands to their race director using voice commands, Bartlett says a similar capability will not be featured in the game. However, he’s excited to see how players react to the audio in F1 Manager 2022 when the game releases at the end of the month.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished with this system, and loved seeing the hype around team radios and in-game audio in general.”

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