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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.
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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. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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The comments on this article are closed.
40 comments
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lucifertdark 26 May 2016 at 4:59 pm UTC
Not much point in me buying this one at the moment, my cpu doesn't meet the minimum requirements.
Guest 26 May 2016 at 5:01 pm UTC
Holy crap that price. As much as i would love to give them $54 dollars...it's not in my budget as of right now. I will pick it up when i can. Great News!
LinuxDonald 26 May 2016 at 5:03 pm UTC
Have anyone yet tested it with mesa drivers?
burnall 26 May 2016 at 5:37 pm UTC
minjSeeing 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.

I'm sorry, but Vulkan won't change much compared to OpenGL in regard to ported games. If the ported game is not written or optimized for OpenGL from the beginning, then there's a slim chance to get comparable results, and is always going to be behind in performance. This should change in the feature (i hope so) by choosing Vulkan as primary API. You can see what is OpenGL capable of in the latest Doom if the game is made for it from the start.
manus76 26 May 2016 at 5:43 pm UTC
On the one hand of course it's playable with 60 fps and more on 970/980, on the other there are a lot of people with much slower hardware - not an easy task to convince them to ditch Windows where they could play the game on ultra/high in favour of linux where they get barely playable fps on low/medium. The performance is somewhat disappointing and there is/should be room for improvement.
MasterSleort 26 May 2016 at 5:52 pm UTC
I am disappointed about the performance. I bought the game and of course I had to play the Monaco Grand Prix track since it is going on right now!

Tested system:
Alienware Steam Machine i5 8 GB @ 1920x1080
My experience
I just took a time trial on the Monaco Circuit. On the first laps the framerate was stable around 40 fps. Not great for a precision racing game like Formula 1, but playable. However, after 4 laps and onwards the framerate was extremely unstable. Frame-drops all the time from the 40ish to around 20. On a graph it would look like a continuous sinus wave. Probably some sort of throttling on the Steam-machine.

Now you will probably say something like "lower the settings", however I was already on the very lowest setting for everything but resolution, which I kept at full HD.

My opinion
In my opinion this is terrible. Feral should at least spend some energy making it run flawlessly/near-flawlessly on the Alienware Steam-machine - it does not.

Looking at the benchmarks above there is certainly room for improvement. I get that they have to earn money, but it looks like the performance of their is turning into an evil spiral for feral.
The main problem for feral is that only a few people can actually run their games, since they require such good hardware. Therefore they have to release new games often, so that they can stay alive, which may be the reason why they don't have the time to really focus on performance.

Instead they should focus on upping their performance in games, so that more people can actually run the otherwise great games they make - I'd rather wait a little longer and then have a better performance.

In-game benchmark on Alienware Steam machine
Lowest setting @ 1080p
Max: 58fps
Min: 27fps
Avg: 42fps


Last edited by MasterSleort at 26 May 2016 at 5:57 pm UTC
bakgwailo 26 May 2016 at 6:27 pm UTC
burnall
minjSeeing 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.

I'm sorry, but Vulkan won't change much compared to OpenGL in regard to ported games. If the ported game is not written or optimized for OpenGL from the beginning, then there's a slim chance to get comparable results, and is always going to be behind in performance. This should change in the feature (i hope so) by choosing Vulkan as primary API. You can see what is OpenGL capable of in the latest Doom if the game is made for it from the start.

Simply not true. Valve did mostly wrappers and gets near equal performance (or better in the early days). Even the Eon wrapper can get near Windows performance in some titles now. Hell, Wine can, too. All of Feral's ports seem to suffer from 50% performance loss including Shadow of Mordor, Tomb Raider, this, etc - it seems like they need to spend more time optimizing their process/wrapper that they use. Of course, the really older games do work great, and I would say Empire works better on Linux that I ever got it to work on Windows
Mountain Man 26 May 2016 at 6:59 pm UTC
leillo1975I 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) ....
That is, of course, the sensible position, but when fans of Linux are trying to plead their case, it doesn't help that Windows users can smugly point to benchmarks like this. Of course you and I know there is no reason why Linux can't perform at least equal to Windows and that games designed for DirectX simply translate poorly to OpenGL, but try convincing someone who is just looking for the most bang for his buck and doesn't care about the privacy, security, and other concerns that plague Windows.
Mountain Man 26 May 2016 at 7:04 pm UTC
bakgwailoValve did mostly wrappers and gets near equal performance (or better in the early days). Even the Eon wrapper can get near Windows performance in some titles now. Hell, Wine can, too. All of Feral's ports seem to suffer from 50% performance loss including Shadow of Mordor, Tomb Raider, this, etc - it seems like they need to spend more time optimizing their process/wrapper that they use. Of course, the really older games do work great, and I would say Empire works better on Linux that I ever got it to work on Windows
But then you have XCOM 2 which actually runs slightly better in Linux than it does in Windows, but the difference there is that Firaxis brought Feral into the development process very early on so they were able to develop the Linux version right alongside the Windows version which highlights the advantages of developing for cross platform from the start.

View video on youtube.com


Last edited by Mountain Man at 26 May 2016 at 7:05 pm UTC
Beamboom 26 May 2016 at 7:10 pm UTC
Speaking of Feral, I've got a Feral t-shirt in size 3XL that's way too large for me. I won it at a Facebook competition Feral held a few weeks back. They didn't have any XL left so they sent this one.

If it's the right size for you and you want it I'll post it to you if you PM me your address!
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