I compete in a league for Codemasters F1 2011 and have done since F1 2010 came out. It's generally good fun and run with a bunch of internet mates. Sadly I think the time has come to pull the plug. For good this time. And I blame codemasters shoddy netcode.
It seems I get to around this time each season and spit the dummy, withdrawing for a few races. I did the same last season, missing the Hungarian GP and a few of my other favouries. This time, I was "forced" to miss it, so I could celebrate my wife's birthday with her (my preferred activity - not exactly forced). Now I've missed a race I think I'll keep on missing them. Unfortuantely I also develop and maintain the website for the competition, so that means all the continuing competitors, of which there are an ever decreasing amount, will be missing out.
The problem with the competition is the platform. F1 2011 internet code leaves a lot to be desired. Patch 1.2 introduced a network performance meter and supposedly improved network code but it's still goddamn awful, especially when Windows Life For Games is used as the ingame speech mechanism. We found, since switching to F1 2011, that when the competitors on slower connections talk, everyones game suffers. I've got a decent connection and when someone with a slow connection talks, my in game FPS drops to around 5. I'm not the only one.
There's also a lot blinking cars. The cars for bad connections blink a lot and move unknown around the track. There's been a few times where I've been punted into a wall by a car blinking into me, one second 10 metres away, the next it's right beside me, turning into me. That's very annoying when you practice for hours each week for a 90 minute quali/race event that happens once a week. Again, this happens to others too, not just me.
There seems to be a disconnect between the race events from different perspectives. Many of the competitors in our league record the races and on a number of occasions, the competitors on slower connections seem to have completely different races, racing in positions that no one else seems them in. They also effect other peoples races and when the recordings are used to adjudicate over ontrack issues, it's clear the slow-connected competitor is not to blame, yet on the effected persons replay, they clearly crash into them.
Because of these problems a number of competitors are dropping out and the league field is thinning. Back in early season 3 we had sometimes only 4 or 5 racers per race and it was dead boring. There was no field spread. If a driver made a small mistake the others would leave them behind and the rest of th race would be run in solitude. In Season 4 until now at least, with a 13+ car field, there's always a driver a few seconds down the road in either direction. We've had 4 formal retirements so far, 2 top line drivers and 2 midfielders and I think it'll only get worse. There's already talk of running championships on different platforms.
My biggest contention point is iRacing. I pay a monthly subscription to iRacing and have invested a fair whack of money in tracks and cars, and frankly it's a much better racing experience. The physics of this simulator are much more accurate than the "sim" game that is F1 2011, and while there are a few blinking players every now and then, it's pretty darn rare. This last week I've been back into iRacing and I'm really enjoying it but I can't play both series because of time constraints and well, the physics of one don't translate smoothly to the other. It took me a good couple of days (a few hours of track time) to get back into iRacing.
It's looking likely that I'll be bidding goodbye to atomicf1 officially very soon.