DEV DIARY - AN AWARD WINNING START TO THE NEW YEAR
I’m finally back in the office this week after a few weeks recharging back in the UK. I spent a bit of it on the golf course, so not as relaxing as I’d hoped. The highlight of the break for me was definitely the Operation Sports awards, managing to get 3 Gold’s for Best Indie/Arcade Game, Readers Best Indie/Arcade game and Best New Feature was amazing. The readers’ one especially as it meant that the sports gaming public really understood what we were trying to do with the game. Thanks for the votes guys and thanks OperationSports.com for the support over the last year and really gives us new impetus going into 2015.
The Handicap system has been out for a few weeks now. As mentioned in last weeks Dev Diary, we do have a patch ready to go, PC users are already seeing it, with a few tweaks to the system. Fundamentally the game hasn’t changed, it’s just the score that you’re seeing primarily. This is what people were most concerned about, so we’ve added an option for that and tweaked formulas.
I had a great game with one of the most prolific posters on the forums, JohnEric8, over the holidays. He’s a lot better player than me but finally with the Handicap system in place I could finally compete with him in a fun round. Something I’d avoided until then. It was neck and neck going up the 18th fairway but his nerve held and he won by a stroke. Pre handicap system he’d have beaten me by the 9th. He played extremely well, as did I and his skill won out, which is what the system is all about. So I’m hoping with the few tweaks that we’ve made, and the tweaks we’ll continue to make over the coming months, that the system will start to be loved by the non-believers and continued to be loved by the current believers. Once you’ve played your 20 rounds and your handicap is a lot more stable then it really starts to come into its own.
The last update also introduced the Countryside Theme. We’ve been noticing that quite a few of you designers out there are placing a lot of trees within this theme, which is really killing frame rate for people, especially on low end PC’s and console. The inspiration for the theme is the English countryside which has been populated and cultivated over thousands of years. There are few trees and the trees that are there are very old oaks, willows, etc. You can see this when you set the tree coverage to maximum. Compare that to other themes at maximum tree coverage and there is a big difference. We wanted to have a reasonably sparse tree population as they’re big, old trees. We don’t want to limit your creativity but we just want to make you are aware that these tree types are higher detail and, thus, really eat up frame rate if there are too many of them. If you want other players to have the best experience on your course it’s better to not plant excessive amounts. Use the maximum tree cover on any theme as a guide to what the frame rate can handle.
While I’m on themes, The Winter courses we created over Christmas seemed to go down a storm. So we were wondering if you’d like us to open that theme up to you. It’ll be a few days work for us to do but if it’s something you’d like, come over to the forum and vote for it. I’ll set up a thread later today for you to leave a comment. So I look forward to hearing your feedback.
That’s about it for this week but next week I’ll let you know where we are with our plan for the first few months of 2015.