The EA Sports F1 Series consists of five racing simulation games based on Formula One motorsport. The games were released annually between 2000 and 2003, stopped selling, then continued in 2006. They were developed by Image Space Incorporated (PC) and Visual Science (Console Versions).
The Formula One games have a variety of 'driving aid' options that can be tailored to the users' own tastes. Thus, in terms of car handling, the game can play either as an arcade racer or a driving simulation.
Traction Control and AutoClutch (automatic clutch) were added to the series in 2005.
F1 Challenge '99-'02
After losing the official F1 licence from Formula One Administration Ltd.
to a multi-year exclusive licencing contract between FOA and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
(publishers of the competing Formula One
series on PlayStation
), ISI developed their final release hitting stores in 2003. Showcasing four full seasons of Formula 1 from 1999 to 2002, many people thought it would be a type of compilation of all the games previously made by ISI but in fact the title turned into a cult following platform for both modders and sim racers.
Before this release ISI often tended to make mistakes at the time of modeling the tracks, cars and sounds. ISI listened to the fans and fixed almost every single aspect from previous versions, most noticeable was the sound which proved to be the most realistic to date, it was later improved in 2004 in a 3rd party mod release; Also the cars models were changed and made from scratch for this release to make them more realistic. Track versions were created specifically for each season resembling the real circuits.
The use of simple text files for track, drivers and cars physics parameters lead to gradually make F1C, as it is known, into a powerful 3D racing platform which saw from year 2003 onwards the release of mods from independent developers who posted their work for free in their web sites tuning not only cars physics but circuit physics and of course release every time track dependent liveries and 3D models for the cars.
Modifications and hacks
EA Sports F1 Series
was based around various known standards, such as text files for storing player data and an industry known format for circuit geometry. Many extra circuits were created for the series, especially F1 Challenge '99-'02
(often shortened to F1 Challenge
or even F1C
). The complete 2003 European Touring Car Championship
(ETCC) was released for free, as well as one Gran Turismo
game released commercially. There were also mods in the "RH" (Ralph Hummerich) series for the following seasons, RH2003, RH2004 and RH2005. All three were released for F1 Challenge. Another mod group which also have done f1 seasons for F1 Challenge '99-'02 is the CTDP group (Cars and Tracks Development Project.) These are the biggest "rivals" for the RH Modifications as they appear to develop the game as well as update it.
Going back in time, F1 Challenge also served as the basis for the freely available 'F1 '74 '75 Mod' developed by a modding team called CREW. It provided a simulation of the numerous F1 cars of 1974 and 1975, including the championship-winning McLaren M23 and Ferrari 312T.
F1 Challenge has remained highly popular amongst sim enthusiasts up until the release of the successor rFactor, a game self-published by ISI. As of September 2005, it remains to be seen whether F1 Challenge follows a natural decline or endures.
Recently there has been some updates to the game. Largely the 2006, 2007 and 2008 mods.
- EA Sports F1 2000, released early 2000 on PC and PS
- EA Sports F1 Championship Season 2000, released late 2000 on PC, PS, PS2, Macintosh
- EA Sports F1 2001, released late 2001 on PC, PS2 and Xbox
- EA Sports F1 2002, released mid-2002 on PC, PS2, Xbox, GameCube and GBA
- F1 Challenge '99-'02, released mid 2003 on PC. Released as F1 Career Challenge on PS2, Xbox and GameCube