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The EA Sports F1 Series consists of five racing simulation games based on Formula One motorsport. The games were released annually between 2000 and 2003, stopped selling, then continued in 2006. They were developed by Image Space Incorporated (PC) and Visual Science (Console Versions).
The Formula One games have a variety of 'driving aid' options that can be tailored to the users' own tastes. Thus, in terms of car handling, the game can play either as an arcade racer or a driving simulation.
F1 Challenge '99-'02
After losing the official F1 license from Formula One Administration Ltd. to a multi-year exclusive licensing contract between FOA and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (publishers of the competing Formula One series on PlayStation/PlayStation 2), ISI developed their final release hitting stores in 2003. Showcasing four full seasons of Formula 1 from 1999 to 2002, many people thought it would be a type of compilation of all the games previously made by ISI but in fact the title turned into a cult following platform for both modders and sim racers.
Before this release ISI often tended to make mistakes at the time of modeling the tracks, cars and sounds. ISI listened to the fans and fixed almost every single aspect from previous versions, most noticeable was the sound which proved to be the most realistic to date, it was later improved in 2004 in a 3rd party mod release; Also the cars models were changed and made from scratch for this release to make them more realistic. Track versions were created specifically for each season resembling the real circuits.
The use of simple text files for track, drivers and cars physics parameters lead to gradually make F1C, as it is known, into a powerful 3D racing platform which saw from year 2003 onwards the release of mods from independent developers who posted their work for free in their web sites tuning not only cars physics but circuit physics and of course release every time track dependent liveries and 3D models for the cars.
Modifications and hacks
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EA Sports F1 Series was based around various known standards, such as text files for storing player data and an industry known format for circuit geometry. Many extra circuits were created for the series, especially F1 Challenge '99-'02 (often shortened to F1 Challenge or even F1C). The complete 2003 European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) was released for free, as well as one Gran Turismo game released commercially. There were also mods in the "RH" (Ralph Hummerich) series for the following seasons, RH2003, RH2004 and RH2005. All three were released for F1 Challenge. Another mod group which also have done f1 seasons for F1 Challenge '99-'02 is the CTDP group (Cars and Tracks Development Project.) These are the biggest "rivals" for the RH Modifications as they appear to develop the game as well as update it.
Going back in time, F1 Challenge also served as the basis for the freely available 'F1 '74 '75 Mod' developed by a modding team called CREW. It provided a simulation of the numerous F1 cars of 1974 and 1975, including the championship-winning McLaren M23 and Ferrari 312T. Other great mods are the CK mods and the 1971 carset.
In June 2010 the is another free full mod called 1987 V1.1b, it was originally released in January 2009 but the mod was initial and in May, it was released the V0.9 of this mod and in October, the V1.0. Now the mod is called 1987CL mod V1.1b
F1 Challenge has remained highly popular amongst sim enthusiasts up until the release of the successor rFactor, a game self-published by ISI. As of September 2005, it remains to be seen whether F1 Challenge follows a natural decline or endures.
A serious problem to the game is the issue of 'leeching'. Ralph Hummerich and CTDP both stopped making mods after their respective 2005 releases. While CTDP generally gives permission to most modders to use their textures and shapes for other mods, Ralph Hummerich does not give such permission. Despite this, many mods contain such textures from RH2005, such as tyres, car shapes, liveries and so on. No 'legal' 2006 or 2008 mods exist, nor does a 2010 season, although the RLSF team is currently working on a legal 2006 mod and the GA modding group is working on a legal 2010 one.
Legal F1 Challenge 99-02 Mods
- 02 Retro Mod- Author: Back In Time Development
- 1979 F1 Season- Author: Team Junior
- F1 Seven- Author: CREW
- 1986 F1 Season- Author: schumacher-180
- 1987 F1 Season- Author: showtimethemusic
- 1988 F1 Season- Author: Watchy Friends
- 1993 F1 Season- Author: Andrey Driver
- 1994 F1 Season- Author: Dalanar
- 1995 F1 Season- Author: CrashKing (CK)
- 1995 F1 Season- Author: CTDP (F12002 conversion)
- 1996 F1 Season- Author: CrashKing (CK)
- 1997 F1 Season- Author: Watchy
- 1998 F1 Season- Author: CTDP
- 1998 F1 Season- Author: Rolland Fritsch and Juergen Schumacher
- 2003 F1 Season- Author: Ralph Hummerich, Ivo Franic and Matthias Marquadt
- 2003 F1 Season- Author: CTDP
- 2004 F1 Season- Author: Ralph Hummerich, Ivo Franic and Matthias Marquadt
- 2004 F1 Season- Author: CTDP
- 2005 F1 Season- Author: Ralph Hummerich, Ivo Franic and Matthias Marquadt
- 2005 F1 Season- Author: CTDP
- 2007 F1 Season- Author: GGSF1, Emac
- 2009 F1 Season- Author: GA Modding Group
- 1995 F1 Season- Author: CTDP (F1 2002)
- 2002 F1 Season- Author: Ralph Hummerich, Ivo Franic and Matthias Marquadt (F1 2001)
- 2002 F1 Season- Author: Ralph Hummerich, Ivo Franic and Matthias Marquadt (F1 2002, includes texture updates, car shape updates)
- 2003 F1 Season- Author: Ralph Hummerich, Ivo Franic and Matthias Marquadt (F1 2002)
- 2004 F1 Season- Author: Enzor and Pro-raver (F1 2002)
- 2005 F1 Season- Author: SHEEPY2006 Friends (F1 2002)
- 2006 F1 Season- Author: Hieu and Friends (F1 2002)
- BPR Endurance GT- Author: Turbo Mod Team (F1 2002)
- BMW M3 Mod- Author: M3 Mod Team (F1 2002)
- ITC 96- Author: Spino (F1 2001)
- 1995 DTM Season: Spino (F1 2001)
- EA Sports F1 2000, released early 2000 on PC and PS
- EA Sports F1 Championship Season 2000, released late 2000 on PC, PS, PS2, Macintosh, and Game Boy Color
- EA Sports F1 2001, released late 2001 on PC, PS2 and Xbox
- EA Sports F1 2002, released mid-2002 on PC, PS2, Xbox, GameCube and GBA
- F1 Challenge '99-'02, released mid-2003 on PC. Released as F1 Career Challenge on PS2, Xbox and GameCube
- Official F1 Challenge site
- F1 series at the Open Directory Project
- 'EA Sports F1 series at MobyGames
- Source of the new F1 Game