DEV DIARY - TELEMETRY PART 1 : THE BASICS
One of the key development goals for The Golf Club team was to target and track a vast amount of telemetry about the rounds being played on the courses created. We are able to view statistics for every shot played in the game – from the accuracy of the swing to the speed of the club head to the amount of draw or fade – which will not only provide us with valuable insight as to how the game is playing or how courses are shaping up when it comes to gameplay balancing but also enables us to ultimately share this data within the game for everyone to see. Eventually you will be able to see statistics for everything to do with courses, holes and players.
If you have created a course you will be able to see high level data such as every round played but also detailed information such as heat maps for each hole showing where shots such as drives and approach shots have been landing. In theory, you could even sort this data to select certain players, certain rounds or other criteria. This will be invaluable in the course design side of things. If you are playing a course you will be able to see typical information such as how many birdies there have been on this hole, but also longest drives, average drive distance, drive accuracy, green in regulation, longest putt, the average number of putts and so on.
The only thing holding back this process is the parsing or sorting of the data and then displaying it. That will take a little time so not everything will be ready for launch. We will be tracking the data from day one but the collation and inclusion of some of it visually in the game might come a little later.
The Closed BETA has provided a fascinating amount of data for The Golf Club team over the last few weeks and also highlighted a problem for us. We have been using Google Analytics to track all the data but we quickly realised that collating the data in the complex form in which it is stored was going to be a headache and utterly inefficient. Whenever we wanted specific information we had to track down the information and then extract it in a useable form. That isn’t easy when there are thousands of shots being played. To solve this we are going to be sending that data to our own system that we have recently created where we are able to specifically say just how to store it and what we need from it.
Before we get to the basic data we should touch on one of the key reasons why this data is so useful – game difficulty – something that seems to be a very hot topic in The Golf Club forum. A primary goal set by the owner of HB to the team was that this game should be based on a level playing field. There should be no skill levels to hide behind and all players should have the skills available of a good professional level golfer (shot distance, quality of swing, etc). The players that are good will rise to the top of the leaderboards whilst the part time players would find a beautiful, fun, relaxing golf game. The variety of courses on offer would enable the less experienced players to still find places to play where they could challenge par. Of the BETA courses, Little Brook Manor is an ideal example of this. Wide fairways, flat greens and not many hazards. Any decent player should be completing that course in better than 10-under every time. That same variety of courses, in turn, would also offer a serious challenge to the best players.
Interestingly, another factor has come into play during the Closed BETA – controllers / gamepads. All Closed BETA participants were asked to use the Xbox 360 controller because no other controllers had been tested or even assessed yet. However people, being the precocious bunch we are, used other controllers such as the Dualshock 4 ( the PlayStation 4 controller) and thus, whilst it was not what we asked for, provided us with another issue to address. The Dualshock is much, much easier to play the game with than a 360 controller. There are some key differences that lead to very few directional issues with the swing. We really noticed this on the PlayStation 4 build that we polished up for GDC. This is a prime issue that we will be looking at resolving over the next couple of builds.
So, bearing all that in mind, on with some basic statistics. Below are the numbers for three courses of the seven that we requested the BETA players spend some time on after the latest update. Of the other four, one was the beginners course mentioned above whilst two did not have enough plays to be relevant and the final one was a nine hole course. More detailed statistics will be in Telemetry Part 2. Unfortunately we were not able to extract the Fairways in Regulation per individual round so this is missing. Now, before anyone shouts ‘conspiracy’ and runs around with their hair on fire let us promise you that it is the truth and we will be rectifying it over the next couple of weeks. We are able to sample it per course from Google Analytics but that wouldn’t sit cleanly with the following data which is per round. It will be in Part 2.
As a comparison, here are the current PGA Tour top tens from their website in the same data categories as of 25th March 2014:
|AVG SCORE||BEST SCORE||GIR%||FIR%||AVG TOTAL PUTTS|
|PGA TOP PLAYERS||69 (-3)||60-62 (12 to -10)||72-75%||70-75%||27-28|
WELDWOOD COUNTRY CLUB – PAR 72
|USER||SCORE||PAR SCORE||GIA%||NUM OF PUTTS|
|FRG - Frank||69||-3||67%||25|
SOMERTON PARK – PAR 72
|USER||SCORE||PAR SCORE||GIA%||NUM OF PUTTS|
|FRG - Frank||72||0||83%||32|
KNOLL DOWN GOLF CLUB – PAR 72
|USER||SCORE||PAR SCORE||GIR%||TOTAL PUTTS|
From this data, and the more detailed statistics that we will be discussing in Part 2, everyone can form their own opinions on the difficulty levels. We certainly have our’s and will be looking closely at the data after this week’s update to see how fresh tweaks have affected the gameplay. No doubt there will be more in-depth discussion on the forums. When all is said and done very few people want the same experience so that is why we will be including some gameplay sliders and toggles in the game at some point over the next couple of weeks. There won’t be anything to make the game easier, because that will adversely affect the leaderboards, but, there will be options to make the game harder should it be desired. Those settings can be set for Tournament entry enabling the person that creates a Tournament to establish the difficulty level.
Here are the figures for Fairways in Regulation across all rounds played on the three courses listed above since the BETA 2.1 update.
|WELDWOOD COUNTRY CLUB||85.1%|
|KNOLL DOWN GOLF CLUB||82.1%|