Building on the success of the critically acclaimed ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007, O-Games and developer Gusto Games have been developing ProStroke for its debut on the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles featuring world famous PGA golfer, John “The Lion” Daly. ICGamers have interviewed Matt Molloy, Producer at Gusto Games regarding the development process for ‘John Daly’s ProStroke Golf’ which is set to be released this October.
How has next-gen console technology enabled Gusto Games to improve on the ‘ProStroke Golf’ games from previous versions?
Wow where to start. Apart from mentioning the obvious polygon count, we’ve gone from a single hole being loaded for the game to a full 18 hole environment. These environments use SpeedTree to give realistic and animated trees with up to 3000 on a single course. Additionally we exploit GPU performance with up to 12 high-res textures combined across the entire terrain and have also implemented atmospheric scattering lighting simulation to calculate both the sky colour and its influence on the terrains look and feel (unlike normal fogging which is view dependant). For ProStroke we use multiple high-resolution, real time rendered shadow maps to give dynamic soft shadows across the entire environment and this is all combined with post-processing HDR lighting effects to control bloom and exposure.
Have you considered the use of Microsoft Kinect / Sony MOVE Technology for this or possible future ProStroke Golf games?
Yes – John Daly’s ProStroke Golf will be one of the first games to use Sony’s new MOVE technology. Feedback from E3 has been outstanding regarding the playability and overall feel of our MOVE features and this is getting better by the day. Today we are implementing new OSD elements to give the golfer all the feedback and information needed – from spin applied to the ball to draw, fade and swing direction. Once all of these elements come together it will be pretty impressive, intuitive to use and ultimately offer a fun and gratifying golfing control system as yet unseen in the genre. With regards to Kinect, it would seem like the natural thing to do and we are in the early stages of investigating support for this.
Early Build Screen - Click to Enlarge
Will the Course and Tournament creator return, allowing players to design and develop their own courses?
The course and tournament creator has evolved into quite a powerful beast. We may now construct an entire course within a huge expanse of land as opposed to a hole by hole system seen in most other golf games. The editor allows for custom lighting, models and effects for each course as well as a host of other features such as TV style cameras and flybys. The editor is not optimised for an end user experience however and is quite technical to use. It is something we hope to include in future iterations of the game and it would great to see players sharing their designs and setting up challenges online at some point in the future.
What sets John Daly’s ProStroke Golf apart from the competition of other golf games?
John Daly’s ProStroke is all about the control, using the ProStroke control with the pad or with the move controller, players can experience greater control over their shots than in any other golf game. All shots types are possible using ProStroke control without the need to select extra options, and when using the Sony Move, the shots you can make are very realistic shots just like real golf. What’s also great about ProStroke Control is it caters for all abilities from non golfers to pro’s and from kids to adults.
During development, has there been any difficult challenges or frustrating moments that you can share?
Apart from the challenge of staying thin - from Derek (one of the course designers) constantly feeding us donuts, cakes and Pringles - the project to date has gone quite smoothly and I would not say there has been a frustrating moment. I would however say that nailing the gameplay has been quite a challenge. It’s quite amazing the amount of varying opinions there are involved in the game of golf and how a golf ball should spin, react and move using various stances and swings. It really does change from one expert to the next having a different opinion and then a golf physics book will tell you something completely different. All in all – getting this right and getting the right user experience has proven to be quite a challenge. But then we have the Sony Move features, which allow players to attempt all manner of shots just like in real golf.
Early Build PS3 Screen - Click to Enlarge
Will John Daly’s ProStroke Golf make use of the Xbox360 Avatar Awards System.
The Avatar Awards system is something we will look at for future iterations of the game…we simply have to if it means my avatar can wield a golf club whilst donning a pair of John Daly’s loudmouth pants.
Will it be possible to obtain Achievements / Trophies in Online Multiplayer ?
ProStroke will use the Gamerscore (G) achievement system and has 1000 gamerscore points to achieve with their LIVE profile from hitting your first drive to beating John Daly in a one on one. This is similarly reflected with the PS3 trophies for Sony.
Will there be any brand new licensed Golfing Pro’s & courses that hasn’t yet been played in any other ProStroke Golf games?
This game is all about the big man, John Daly – so he is the sole Golfing Pro in this title and forms the heart of the game really. We do however feature some famous courses designed by golfing legends – such as Woosnam, Faldo and Ballesteros and includes a nice array of challenging courses from Mystic Rock in the US to the Belfry in the UK.
Click Thumbnails to Enlarge
Do any of the developers play golf in real life to make comparisons against the development of the video game or use professional golf experts?
Mark Mainey the Game Designer thinks he can play in real life but he keeps hitting the sheep in the next field at our local driving range. There are quite a few golfers on the team actually and we‘ve all had our say on the game – but ultimately we have to bow to the rules of golf and advice from the pros. For previous golf games we actually made use of a system which scanned and evaluated your swing and we had allot of advice from golfing experts. You could say this game considers both sides – how as gamers we think the game should feel as well as catering for those more serious and hard-line golfers.
After release will there be any plans to expand the game content with downloadable content packages?
Yes we have plans for additional DLC - initially by supplying new courses and golfers to our fans, but this could potentially include new licensed golfers and tournaments as well. Depending on how things develop, the DLC content for ProStroke could be quite rich and diverse.
ICGamers would like to thank Matt Molloy, Producer at Gusto Games for taking time out to answer our questions.