A good swing is probably the single most important component in the entire game of golf. Professional golfers spend most of their lives trying to generate the perfect motion and the biggest challenge at Gusto Games over the course of developing John Daly’s ProStroke Golf has been to translate this key mechanic into something the end user can play with.
That’s where PlayStation and the Move motion controller came in. But let’s start with a bit of background to the problem.
Video games have always had a problem translating the swing, a fluid, analog motion, into something a gamer can work with. Three-click systems create a disconnect between the player and their avatar; they’re never really taking the shot. In fact, all they’re doing is setting up what will happen BEFORE their golfer takes a swing. Using an analog stick bridged a gap, but it’s still nothing like actually swinging a club. Golf games have been crying out for a way of letting gamers actually feel like they’re swinging a club and PlayStation Move has become that solution.
From booming drives off the tee to delicate approach chips, Move has allowed us to see actual golf swings translated directly into the game. If your swing pulls to the right, that’s what will happen. If you don’t swing hard enough, you’ll drop short. The level of accuracy we can achieve just wouldn’t have been possible without the swing information we can pull from the Move. It allows a player to take direct control of the club and combining it with ‘ProStroke View’ then puts them right into the game.
‘ProStroke View’ is something that’s been around at Gusto since the original ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007. Looking down the club is just the most natural thing in the world to anyone who’s played golf before. It’s where you can see the path of the club as it swings, connects and follows through. When we first got hold of the prototype for Move, it was almost as if it had been made with the ProStroke system in mind. The two concepts were just so compatible! Of course, then we actually had to pair the software to this new hardware. We’ve worked with multiple iterations of the peripheral since then, tweaking and refining the system to get the most out of it. We’re almost there!
We’ve had plenty of positive feedback from the game’s outing to E3 this year. Gamers who picked it up loved the feeling of control it gave them and some of them even said it was the closest they’d come to feeling like they were actually swinging a club. High praise! Probably the biggest boost for us, however, was getting John himself to play with it. Having a professional golfer pick up your game and within moments being able to drive a ball 300 yards down the centre of the fairway, using the same type of motion he’d use on a real course, is pretty incredible.
Who’d have thought that in the world of golf video games it’d be a tiny white ball that solved the swing problem?