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The Golf Club Executive Producer Talks Social Gaming

/ Jul 25th, 2014 No Comments

The Golf Club Interview

If you haven’t heard of The Golf Club, you’re likely not alone. After all, the game from the relatively small HB Studios is a golf sim. However, The Golf Club is much more than a replacement to EA Sports’ popular golf franchise, which is ditching the Tiger Woods branding and taking a year off. It is an important title that could change the future of multiplayer gaming.

At E3 2014, Gaming Illustrated’s Ryan Bloom got a chance to talk to with The Golf Club executive producer Peter Garcin to discuss the social aspects of the game and how HB Studios is building a social game for hardcore gamers.

Ryan Bloom (Gaming Illustrated): We are talking about The Golf Club and the thing I noticed about playing here at E3 is that it’s a very social experience. Can you talk to me a bit about that?

Peter Garcin: It definitely is very social and we built it to be social from the ground up. We’ve got a lot of social elements. You can always play against ghosts, your friends’ ghost’s balls, that’s their recorded best rounds and any time you go into the game, you are going to be playing against a ghost, if you want to.

You can also play live against people. Any time your friends are online, you can join them with one button press. You’ll get alerts about what your friends are doing–if they beat your best score, if they favorite a course, if they discover something new, if they complete a round. You’re going to get alerted to that stuff to help you find content.
 

course sharing in The Golf Club

Course sharing is a major component of The Golf Club.

Then, of course, the biggest social element that we have is course sharing. You create your courses and share them online with your friends. Your friends can rate them and the top rated stuff will find its way to the top. That really is the core of the thing; user created courses and sharing those online for your friends to play and compete.

You can also create your own tours and tournaments that are built up off user generated courses. Those are like playlists of the best courses or a particular theme or difficulty. Those also can be shared online and they can also be rated. There’s also a way of surfacing content and curating the best content within the game

Gaming Illustrated: Why is it such a social based game? Is that something that you came up with from playing other golf games? Why is that so important to you guys?

Peter Garcin: I think because it is such a user generated content game, that makes it really important because it relies on the users to generate the courses for everybody to play. You need to make it so that it’s easy for people to find and so that people want to use that content and easily get engaged with the game and stay engaged.

The other thing is we wanted to streamline the online experience and make it really easy to join. We wanted to do away with the cumbersome lobby system and having to wait around for people to join and make it so that you can just one click, be playing. If you want to add a friend mid-game, you can; if you want to switch to turn-based play mid-game, you can. It’s so easy. It’s all built in a way that makes it super accessible to add and play with friends, compete against friends, and also go at your own pace.

Gaming Illustrated: The thing that I got from playing it here is it’s very seamless, as far as the experience from creating the courses and playing them and playing with your friends.

Peter Garcin: It is. That was another thing that we wanted to be very seamless. That’s why we’ve been saying for a long time that we have no loading times. We wanted players to be able to go in and out of the game in between holes. There’s not a lot of waiting in between things.
 

The Golf Club graphics

Despite impressive graphics, The Golf Club has no load times.

As soon as you finish a hole, boom you’re on a next one; if you want to go in from the editor and test your hole, you can play it from any point in the course. Play from here, boom, I’m playing it right there. I can jump back into the editor, make some edits and play again. It’s the same for jumping into games; one button press to join a game. It was really important for us for the game to be seamless and have no loading times, no waiting.

Gaming Illustrated: Another thing we noticed playing it here on Xbox One at E3 is the course creator. I thought it was going to be a cumbersome experience, but it’s very innovative and intuitive.

Peter Garcin: It was really important for us from the beginning to always make the course creator playable on a gamepad. We knew that if it was only playable with a mouse or it was really cumbersome, it would require a lot of specialized skill to use and people wouldn’t use it. It had to be fun to make a course and it had to be relatively easy. We designed it almost from the ground up to work on a gamepad, to be functional with a gamepad, and for it to be fun so that you don’t have to use a mouse and keyboard to be able to actually create a course.

Gaming Illustrated: Can you tell me a little bit about the controls and how the game controls?

Peter Garcin: The game is a little bit different from other golf games you’ve seen. It’s based on feel and a lot of the controls are based on the amount of backswing and forward momentum that you put into your swing. If you pull the stick back further, you’re going to get more power. The faster you push it forward, the more power you’re going to realize of that back-wing. It was really important for us to get away from just being able to line up a meter; we wanted to base it on feel. Once you get the hang of it and you understand the ranges and how the clubs work and the sensitivity, it’s really intuitive. Swing hard and it’s going to go far. Swing lightly and it’s not going to go far. Same with putting, it’s a finesse game.
 

controls in The Golf Club

Controls in The Golf Club are based on feel.

What it does is helps people focus on the decisions around making their shots. Club selection, managing your shots, and where you take them, and making strategic decisions out on the course is a major part of the game, rather than just mindlessly going through and lining up a meter.

Gaming Illustrated: Before I let you go, I just wanted to ask you is there anything you’d like to add or is there anything you want everyone to know about The Golf Club?

Peter Garcin: We just want everybody to know that it’s coming really, really soon to consoles. It will be out this summer on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Gaming Illustrated: Great, thank you.

Peter Garcin: Thanks a lot.

 

Ryan Bloom

Ryan Bloom

Chief Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ryan Bloom is a writer and avid gamer from Orange County. He received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @BloomsTweets.
Ryan Bloom

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