F1 2011 screenshot
F1 2011 screenshot

EA's Autolog - the competitive statistic service currently present in the Need for Speed series - is 'overstated,' according to F1 2011's chief game designer Stephen Hood.

Speaking to VideoGamer.com in Dubai, Hood said: "I think Autolog is a bit overstated at the moment - about that competition between friends and making them aware of it. It's the latest word that's going around. It's the concept of it that I like - but I think you inject into loads of different features."

"It feels a bit 'bandwagon,' the social thing. A lot of people are doing it at the moment, I think - I don't know if that has to be something we're chasing all the time."

But will F1 2011 hop on that bandwagon and include a similar feature? "Every developer is discussing that now. Yes we've talked about it. We haven't mentioned every single feature we're putting in this year's game, but yes, it's on our radar," said Hood.

"We've got some new game modes we're announcing at E3 which are a bit more around that kind of social - and everybody mentions Autolog - that competition amongst friends. We're doing that, but I don't ever see it as a focus. That's something we have to do to make the game enjoyable, but there's tonnes of areas we need to work on."

How important are social features like Autolog to the racing genre, however? "It's something we want to be involved in - because I want people, a group of friends to say 'let's play F1 this evening and play that'," commented Hood. "That's why we're doing things like the 24 cars online that's why we're going down the route of co-op championships and two-player split screen."

"We are still the new kids on the block - there's a lot that we need to do to catch up."

"Social for me is just part of making your game enjoyable anyway, so people turn it on and invite their friends to play," Hood added.

British developer Criterion introduced Autolog as one of the defining features of last year's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. VideoGamer.com's Tom Orry was impressed but not smitten: "While Autolog is excellent, and something I wish all racing games had in some shape or form, it's not quite as revolutionary as EA and Criterion seem to want us to think," he said in his 8/10 Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit review.

For more information on Codemasters' latest racer, take a look at my F1 2011 preview.

VideoGamer.com Analysis

Tom decreed Codemasters' most recent racing title worthy of a VideoGamer.com 9/10 in his DiRT 3 review. But does he think it would have been a better game with an Autolog-like feature?

Let's ask him.

"Yes, definitely," he says.

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CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ FantasyMeister

I 1000% agree with everything FM said here. I want Autolog in EVERY game, and across ALL platforms. It's just a case of reporting information to a server, I guarantee that this could be done easily enough.
Posted 12:01 on 03 June 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

Autolog is revolutionary in the way you find out instantly if someone has beaten your hi-score without having to look for the information. It's one of those things you just can't believe hasn't been thought of before because it's so simple yet brilliant.

30 years ago we had to hike 2 miles down to the local arcade to see if anyone had beaten our Space Invaders score, and if smartphones had been around (we had stupid briefcase-sized satellite phones instead) life would have been so much easier if the arcade machines just notified us via app that our score had been beaten by our arch rival.

Suddenly 'Autolog' seems to be everywhere now, I know instantly if someone's won a jackpot or won a poker tournament in Test Drive Unlimited 2 because a little message pops up, which fuels my competitive edge.

Every genre can benefit from this, surprised Activision didn't include something like it in Elite, e.g. 'Your friend just pulled off 15 headshots in a row', 'Your friend just beat your K/D ratio', 'Your friend just set a new hi-score' and so on, all stuff we want to know without having to go look for it.

Imagine the Armory in World of Warcraft letting you know if your friends have better equipment than you, more gold than you, have killed more kobolds than you, danced more times in Ironforge than you.

Now extrapolate further, sign into XBox Live or PSN and get updated on whose score has improved and by how much since your last visit, what new Achievements/Trophies they've earned.

In short, simple, but brilliant.
Posted 11:57 on 03 June 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 23/09/2011
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Genre: Racing
No. Players: 1-16
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 959 40
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