After the F1 2001 “MIPmapping flop”, EA games quickly released
it’s successor named F1 2002 based on the same engine. Overall it’s
a beautiful game but there’s a lot of texture aliasing/shimmering occurring
especially in the far clipping distance that even the highest antialiasing
and/or texture filtering modes in the highest resolution aren’t entirely
able to cure those side-effects adequately. To be frank it went from bad to
a lot better in F1 2002, yet it’s still there to some degree.
Other than that I’ve had countless of hours of fun in the past two years
or so with the specific game and I’m still occasionally playing a couple
of rounds, especially recently since it was F1 season again.
F1 2002 is the first racing game I’ll test in this review; since none
of them have any benchmark demos, performance is being measured with the aid
of FRAPS. Some caution should be taken when reading those or following results,
since neither 100% accuracy is guaranteed with that application, nor are my
testing conditions 100% reproducible either. Therefore please consider my results
as indicative and as such only.
One more thing is that I tested all racing games with cockpit or “inside” cameras,
just because it’s harder (at least for me) to race properly. Of course
are there also performance differences, yet not to the degree that playability
of each game would rely upon whether camera A or B is being used.
I used maximum in game settings for F1 2002, the cockpit camera (mirrors on)
and 1600*1200*32 with 4xRGMS + 16x AF. One round tested in each circuit, from
start to finish line.
Frames: 6597 - Time: 103703ms - Avg: 63.614 - Min: 49 - Max: 74
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Frames: 6143 - Time: 100516ms - Avg: 61.114 - Min: 41 - Max: 80
Frames: 6253 - Time: 115454ms - Avg: 54.160 - Min: 34 - Max: 69
Apparently one of the worst-case scenarios is the Malaysian circuit. Let’s
see how it fairs if we set weather conditions exclusively to “rain”:
Frames: 6338 - Time: 135234ms - Avg: 46.866 - Min: 27 - Max: 63
Performance drops, yet nothing that could be considered as unplayable.
And here finally Italy Monza again, this time though with the Swingman camera
Italy Monza (Swingman)
Frames: 6466 - Time: 106750ms - Avg: 60.571 - Min: 43 - Max: 73
Performance might seem more than acceptable in all of the so far investigated
occasions, yet that doesn’t mean that the resulting image quality is
100% satisfactory either for that particular game and here it’s in
my opinion rather the ISVs fault and less the used graphics accelerator.
Nowadays it’s rather unacceptable that a game with the potential of
F1 2002 comes along with nasty aliasing/shimmering effects of that degree.
EA games uses the same engine for a variety of games and either the engine
itself needs some severe “surgery” or a new game engine should
start getting used for future offerings.
It’s not that the game is bad or that I don’t have fun with it.
It’s just that that particular quirk kills a bit of my personal fun factor,
especially in racing games. I’ll re-test F1 2002 later on with hybrid
Super-/Multisampling modes and Anisotropic filtering, in order to see if it
gets any better and how performance looks like with those.