DEV DIARY - POST LAUNCH
Hello Members, Old and New,
The Golf Club has now been officially released on all platforms and throughout the world, and I have to say as a team we’re extremely proud of the game. As a developer, when you get to the point of releasing your game it is common to be a little sick of it but we can’t get enough of it here. To boot up the game at the weekend and see the rest of the team out on the course was a great moment!
As seems to be the new trend throughout the industry at the moment, we did suffer some server issues on the first day of release back on August 19th. Prior to full release we carried out a succession of stress tests on our servers but nothing prepared us for the amount of hits the server received from the early eager members on the Xbox One. We were able to react pretty quickly, though, and a lot of the connection issues were ironed out within 24hrs. The plus side was that, thanks to the PC and Xbox One versions ploughing the furrow, when we released on PS4 here was already a fix in place.
Now that The Golf Club is on the virtual shelf, we want to give you an update of what we’re doing in the short-term and mid-term. The hard work hasn’t ended, it’s really only just begun and we are very excited about being able to continue to evolve and enhance the game over the coming months.
This is the version with which we have seen the most issues and, thus, we’ve been focusing most of our efforts on it over the last couple of weeks. The big issues were mainly down to some memory leaks that were not apparent in the development environment. Leaving the game running over a period of time caused most of the problems. A hard reset of the console would get rid of these but that certainly isn’t ideal.
The other two key issues that the PS4 and PC versions don’t suffer from are with frame rate and graphical fidelity. The latter really comes to the fore when a user has their Xbox One display resolution set at 1080 whilst the game runs at 720.
We’re close to finalising a patch for submission to Microsoft now, we’re just giving a good testing before we do, this will have the following key issues resolved or improved plus some other, more minor fixes:
- Memory Leaks Fixed (Course Saving Issues, Improved Frame Rate, Audio Issues)
- Terrain Sculpting issues (Less blocky)
- Front End Improvements (V-Sync Option)
- Golfer covering the putting info
- Too Many Friends issue (Having lots of Xbox Live friends would cause frame rate issues and connection issues)
- UI hesitation when network access is poor
With this going to Microsoft early next week, we’re hoping it’ll go live within 2 weeks.
Graphically we’re still working on improvements, but with the size of the area in view we really are putting a lot of pressure on the GPU. We can’t dictate what the player is seeing because, with the course editor, people could create anything. So to keep the frame rate high, we’ve needed to drop to 720p. We will continue to work on this though and slowly push to 900p and above. It’ll just take a bit of time.
We’ve already had a first patch out for the PS4, this seemed to stop the issues that the Xbox players were seeing. We have found a few crash issues though and we’re looking into them at the moment. Once they’re done we’ll put another build into Sony with those fixes and some of the minor issues that we’ve cleaned up day to day since release.
An update went live last night boasting numerous improvements. The whole process of getting quick patches up is a lot easier on the PC and I’m hoping this patch has enhanced the experience for a lot of you. The biggest issue we’re seeing seems to be with Graphic Card temperatures at excessive resolutions. We’re still working on ironing this out completely. The big one being not actually giving people the option to crank the settings up to levels for PC’s that haven’t been invented yet. Bear with us, the work we do on this improves both the PC and console versions so it’s top of our list to sort out.
After these patches are out we’re going to be working on feature and enhancement updates. We will be aiming for roughly a 6 to 8 week cycle for these over the autumn and winter (or Spring and Summer for those in the Southern Hemisphere). The reason for 6 weeks at a minimum is primarily due to first party submission times. We need to plan for a 3 week minimum submission time (submit / fail / fix / submit) for feature updates (pure bug fixes are a little quicker at 5 to 10 days) with 3 to 5 weeks of development time beforehand.
We’ve sat down and discussed where we want the game to go and what the community has a desire to see. Gameplay-wise we seem to be in good shape. Everyone has their own little gripe but the overall feedback is very positive on this side of things although he punch shot will certainly be improved. The big challenge is providing players with a a sense of progress and improvement which, in turn, creates a long term sense of achievement. Luckily for us, we already store everything we’ll ever need to improve this so we just need to surface it and create that world that will really give the game an extra dimension. We are going to be looking at a handicap system and a country club-style clan set up plus some extended player customisation. We’ll also be putting out a few new themes, such as a tropical one, improving the depth of commentary, adding a few more play modes, improved course editing tools and some special JCauthen cameras (as we call them here). UPDATE: It was mentioned on the forums so just to confirm, optimisation work on all three platforms will be carried out throughout this period. We will be forever trying to make the game fly as fast as possible.
Over the weeks ahead I’ll be filling you in more with what the plans are but for now thanks for the feedback, together we’ve made a great, fun game that is only going to get better. Keep the suggestions and requests coming.