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Welcome to Formula 1!

Time to grab your helmets racing fans, as F1 2015 has officially released for Linux today. Our first proper F1 game is here!

It seems this is a Linux-only release by Feral Interactive, so Mac isn’t yet supported. Try not to be smug about that will you dear readers.

Note: Only Nvidia graphics cards are currently supported. You will need a minimum of a 1GB NVIDIA 640 (I tested on a 560ti below too) with a NVIDIA 970 recommended with driver version 364.19.

The online multiplayer is cross-platform with Windows, so you can now begin destroying your Windows buddies times!

Linux gameplay video
This is on Medium settings, with lowered AA/AF as any higher at recording makes it sluggish.

Sidenote: I realize how truly terrible I am, I touch on that later in the article. I could hardly turn at the end as I think the steering was damage.

I did try to do a comparison video side-by-side, but the benchmark is actually a little different each time with the car positioning. While that shouldn't affect performance much, it would make a comparison video a little odd looking so it wasn't worth it.

Benchmarks
Done using the in-built benchmark tool. The benchmark tool can be a bit iffy, as I’ve had it freeze up on me before giving me scores a few times. Not only that, but the position of each car seems to be slightly different each run. This is due to the AI running the show, so it's not a pre-made race.

Reminder: Your results will differ, these are just benchmarks and probably not what you will see yourselves.

I tested at both 4K and 1080p on various settings. No 4K benchmarks as to be frank it was unplayable due to how sluggish and stuttery it was at 4K even at Medium settings with no AA or AF. It must be the frametimings, as the FPS seemed okay in the region of 45-60FPS, but it stuttered a fair bit and you could see how slow it was going just by using your eyes.

All tests ran multiple times to be sure and the game was restarted each time to allow the settings change to properly take effect.

Note: If you click an image, you can scroll through each one as arrows will appear on hover at the sides.

Specifications:
1920x1080 resolution
Intel i7 5960x
Linux Mint 17.3 64bit
16GB RAM
Nvidia 364.19

Nvidia 980ti
All settings used SMAA + TAA Anti-aliasing plus 16x Anisotropic Filtering:
image

Zero AA/AF:
image

Nvidia 970
image

Nvidia 560ti
An older card, but the 560ti is more powerful than the 640 that is listed as the minimum, so this will give you an idea of how it runs at the lower-end.
image
Zero AA/AF:
image

For a bit of fun, here's a comparison across my three available cards:
image
Sidenote: If you want me to get more cards, do consider subscribing to me on Patreon. I am eyeing up an Nvidia 960 next to get a performance comparison for future articles across a 960/970/980ti to give you a much clearer picture for articles.

Windows 10 vs Linux average FPS, same exact settings
image
Note: On Linux the Particles setting is always at Medium unless you go down to Low, where as it changes to higher on Windows, if you’re doing any comparisons make sure the settings actually match.

The performance vs Windows 10 is certainly underwhelming and clearly shows how much better it (sadly) runs on Windows 10. I always expect a difference in performance, but the difference here is terribly big. Feral still have a fair amount of work to do to bridge that gap in performance.

As for my thoughts on how it runs on Linux: It’s playable and smooth with the FPS we are talking about. With the average always being well above 60 on both a 970 & 980ti that makes for great gameplay for me personally. Even my old 560ti was able to run it rather smoothly at 1080p on Low settings.

Like Feral Interactive’s port of Tomb Raider though, it could do with better performance and I do hope it will be worked on more over time.

I tested it with the Steam Controller, and it works perfectly. Oddly enough, I didn't even need to load it in Steam Big Picture for the Steam Controller to work, the first game I've noticed to be able to do that. It feels good, handles good and is just an all around incredibly fun experience with it, until you meet the AI.

I haven't had a single crash during my many hours of testing, so stability wise it's actually pretty good. The only issue with stability is the benchmark mode freezing as mentioned previously.

Issues
The game will at times not actually display anything after you launch it from the Feral launcher. You can see it has launched, you can hear it, but nothing is displayed. XCOM 2 also has this same issue. Restarting Steam often fixes it, but it made benchmarking a frustrating experience.

Gameplay Thoughts
The game did not get the most favourable of reviews for an array of different reasons. The main complaint seems to be the AI of the other drivers and people comparing it to previous games. We don’t have any of the previous games to compare to so I'm throwing that out, but the AI is something I took a good look at while playing it.

Do not expect anything like the previous racing game Grid Autosport that Feral Interactive also ported to Linux, as it's far more realistic. Handling is different, you have to watch your fuel, your choice of tyres and so on. I suggest turning off a few of the driving assists to give you an authentic experience, but it is a difficult game.

The lack of a career mode I can see annoying people, as you're forced to play as an already known and named driver instead of yourself. Not a massive issue for people who just like racing games, but if you wanted something a bit deeper then it will be a bit disappointing.

I have to admit my excitement went through the roof when it started introducing the track with the commentators talking, giving me a little background on the track and the teams. As someone who has watched F1 for years, it was almost unbelievable that I'm now playing this on Linux. I was almost giddy with excitement.

I chose to be Lewis Hamilton, as a Brit myself I decided that since I can't create my own avatar that will be as close as I will get. I am far less handsome and far poorer, but right now, he is me.

Before starting you're sat in your car and you can change your tyres and the general set up. When doing so a member of your team walks on over with a tablet for you to peruse over. So far, so good. It certainly sets itself up to look like a proper racing simulator.

I am so completely bollocks at driving an F1 car it's quite hilarious, but—I'm in a bloody F1 car on Linux, this feels awesome!

When you're in the Pit-lane you get two options: Exit yourself or do a flying lap. I decided to exit the Pit-lane myself which sends you into autopilot until you get out, this has been bringing back fond memories of the last F1 game I played which was on the Amiga (Yes it has been that long, and how old do I sound right now?!). The flying lap option puts you into an already moving car on the track directly to take over.

As expected, I am truly terrible. The cars are insanely fast and getting a handle on them has been mission impossible for me! My mission was to take at least 3rd place in practice, care to guess what I managed to get? Seventeenth. Yup, this is only on Medium difficulty too. In the actual qualifying it decided to rain, so I did even worse. I was skidding all over the place, bouncing off of even the smallest of raindrops.

I do have to echo what I've seen others say about the AI, it will bump you for no good reason at times and it can end up being frustrating when you're on a straight and they just slam right into the back or the side of you for no good reason. I love racing simulators, but the AI is shocking.

Getting penalties as a result of the poor AI smashing into you is constantly infuriating, it's just not good.

I should note that the AI issues are nothing to do with the port, one glance at the reviews anywhere will tell you the original Windows version was just as bad.

I love the voice-over work in the game with your team giving you updates in your headset. You get updates to know how you're doing for fuel, how worn your tyres are and if your brakes are too cold you will be told to do some hard breaking on the next few corners. The actual simulation behind the game is fantastic and makes it feel quite real.

Exiting the Pit-lane is another point that I don't like as it's quite confusing. There's no real visual cue as to when control is returned to you, since you don't control the exit yourself. This has messed me up multiple times, especially when the exit is right by a corner.

As for the online gameplay: One thing I am truly not a fan of is when you're racing sometimes you can simply pass through another car, but other times you will bounce off them. You never know when this will happen either. I went to overtake a car in one session, but another AI car passed right through it taking over both of us. There seems to be no option to turn this off, and it ruins it for me.

It has confirmed a very real fact to me, it's pretty safe to say Mercedes will never employ me. I'm pretty much a danger to anyone on the track.

Playing it online without any AI is going to be incredibly fun and I am seriously looking forward to that. We had a silly amount of fun in regular games of Grid, so I hope we can get the same going for F1 2015.

Overall, I think it's great to get more games like this and I certainly appreciate the effort for our platform, but the game as a whole is rather underwhelming. Mainly due to the AI, if the AI wasn't so suicidal and annoying it would get a much more favourable outlook from me.

It is a first for Linux to have an officially licensed F1 game, so let's hope it has paved the way for future titles.

You can find F1 2015 on Steam and the Feral Store. Prepare to open your wallets a bit as it will cost around $54.99/£39.99/€49.99.

We will try to do a livestream tonight on the official GOL Twitch, so keep an eye out. Let me know in the comments if you would like to join in. You can have up to 16 people in a game, so let's have a good one! Remember, you can use Livestreamer to show our Twitch video in your desktop video application instead of watching it in the browser.
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wojtek88 26 May 2016 at 3:53 pm UTC
Benchmark scares me a lot. It was the same with Tomb Raider 2013. How can Valve bring users to SteamOS running console if all the games run so much worse then on Windows or on other consoles? (Steam machines are consoles. Period.)
Sony does great job currently - they do great deals for most of the games that have SteamOS version. On each sale you can buy Alien: Isolation cheaper than it ever was on Steam official store. F1 2015 was available on last sale below 20 euro. Saints Row IV is on sale below 10 euro on each sale as well.

I wait for a moment when I will completly switch to Linux, leaving PS4 behind. But ports have to be golden. 50% of performance is not good.
If OpenGL is a problem then port to Vulkan. If there are problems while porting rendering algorithms - invest time/money. Just please stop giving us not finished products.


Last edited by wojtek88 at 26 May 2016 at 3:54 pm UTC
sigz 26 May 2016 at 3:59 pm UTC
At least if the game reaches 60fps, it's enought to be played.
Mountain Man 26 May 2016 at 4:07 pm UTC
Really disappointed to see the huge disparity between Linux and Windows. I mean, it still hits the magic 60FPS which is where most monitors top out anyway, but as others have noted, this isn't going to convince anybody but dedicated Linux fans to choose Linux over Windows.

Really hoping Vulkan can bring some parity to the situation.
Homepcgamer 26 May 2016 at 4:08 pm UTC
It looks pretty fun!!

The AI is suicide!... takes you out as soon as they can!

Anyway... cant wait to have a good race with Toro Rosso

@wojtek88:
I know that windows vs Linux comparisons are ugly, but the fact is that the games are developed for Windows, and ported to Linux later. We dont know the future, but by now linux gamers are a really little niche and the market is very young. It isn't in any way mature and optimized, and the developers have to realise how to program and port yet.

This is the question. We have a port. It's better than have nothing at all. It's better a 50% of perf and be playable than nothing at all. It's not perfect, but it helps to make things grow.

Linux gaming is a baby that just starts to give the first steps.

Keep going!
leillo1975 26 May 2016 at 4:14 pm UTC
I don't judge a game by his fps, I only see if the game is playable with a certain quality. If the game don't have 100fps, but it runs at 50-60 is perfect to me. Really I don't feel the difference (and normally I use V-sync). If I don't have to switch to Windows to play (like GTAV), I'm happy. Now, all I have to do is save some money (or wait for a discount) ....


Last edited by leillo1975 at 26 May 2016 at 5:45 pm UTC
fabry92 26 May 2016 at 4:27 pm UTC
just wait vulkan games for good performance... Look talos of the principle in beta is better than windows directx for me
GustyGhost 26 May 2016 at 4:33 pm UTC
fabry92talos of the principle

Is this the Brightspark knockoff?
wojtek88 26 May 2016 at 4:34 pm UTC
@Homepcgamer @leillo1975 let be honest - currently Linux gaming completly relies on Valve. Alienware Steam machines are powered by Nvidia 860m gpu. Syber Steam machines use Nvidia GTX750/960/980. I would love to see those cards in benchmarks, including CPU that they are shipped with. Just to see what should gamers that decide to pick Steam machine expect. All other cards with mention of cpu should still be there. Comparison to Windows should still be there as well.

In console you know your title will run and it will be fluent. I would like to know what should expect people that consider console that runs SteamOS.
If on those machines it would be fluent - that's fine.
minj 26 May 2016 at 4:55 pm UTC
Seeing the weird benchmarks on higher end card seems like the CPU is the actual bottle-neck?

In theory this game is just begging for Vulkan.
Homepcgamer 26 May 2016 at 4:59 pm UTC
Quote@Homepcgamer @leillo1975 let be honest - currently Linux gaming completly relies on Valve.
I agree with you. So I bet that all the Linux/SteamOS developments, and I mean ALL are developed thinking in the Steam Machines. Only because Valve is behind. Maybe the lowers spec Steam Machines only can run the games in low, but I'm confident that are playable.

I don't say that Windows comparison haven't to be there. It's only a reference, but as you say, if it's playable in Linux then it's ok.
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