F1 2019 Takes to the Night of Bahrain, Showing Huge Improvements
Much like last month, when Codemasters took us to Monaco to highlight the difference between 2018 and 2019, the developers are looking to highlight an even larger difference in Bahrain. In Monaco, the focus was on the improved quality of the track as well as its surroundings, from the buildings to the crowd. Here in Bahrain, well the focus is on the night, the light and the fight... for visual quality.
I got carried away there, which is a bit of a blight. Also, you can read my hands-on preview of F1 2019 over here.
More than just Bahrain, Codemasters wants to take us to Singapore as well, offering even more comparison shots but most importantly, shots with a bit more action, ones that are busier.
Looking at the images, there's an undeniable graphical and lighting improvement to be seen. Shadows are more realistic, the track is lit up as you would expect it to, with non-uniform lighting being directly sourced from the lights themselves. It should certainly help to immerse you in the experience when racing around the tracks.
Stuart Campbell, the art director for F1 2019, had this to say:
Night lighting was one of our visual update priorities for F1® 2019. We took the atmospherics system that we introduced in F1 2018 for day time lighting, and further developed this for the night tracks.
We now have full atmospheric haze on night circuits, giving a true sense of depth. There’s a lot of dust in the air on those circuits and, at night, the particles really interact with the strong trackside lighting. The atmospherics help pull the whole scene together and give a greater sense of realism. We have added volumetric lighting to the trackside lighting, which results in the cones of light falling off from the light sources – another key factor in making night lighting look more realistic. Finally, we added night time specular. This was not present at all in previous games and made the night time scenes look rather flat, and the surface materials ambiguous.
The specular additions have made a huge improvement to the quality of the track materials at night. The extra surface information provided by this allows you to see all the surface details that were lost previously. The vehicle paint in particular looks amazing on the night circuits, and picks-up highlights from all those track-side light sources making it look incredibly close to TV footage of the sport itself.
I can certainly agree that there is a level of atmosphere to be found in the game that wasn't present before, that much can be seen from the images but also something I experienced when I had a hands-on with the game. Does it look incredibly close to TV footage of the F1 GP? I'll leave that for you to decide.
On a final note, here are some direct comparison shots from F1 2018 and the upcoming F1 2019, which is set to release for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One towards the end of this month, on the 28th of June.