DEV DIARY - FOUR SEASONS IN ONE WEEK
The season mode we’ve been working on for the past little while is starting to fall into place. This stage of development is always one of the most enjoyable because you’re playing the game and seeing changes and improvements happening quickly. The season game loop is in place already and we’ve started to play through the seasons, tuning the experience and tightening the flow as we go.
I’ve played through 4 seasons this week and the difference in gameplay from the first play-through and the one I had this morning is huge. The screens are more informative and the difficulty feels a little more balanced.
One of the main things we wanted to get right for the single-player season mode is for the challenge to grow in difficulty organically season by season. It’s important that the first few rounds aren’t daunting to new users of the game but that the experience as a whole is challenging to players of all skill levels.
In our first iteration, we had what seemed like a simple 9-hole par 3 course as an opener, but with high winds and difficult greens we found that it wasn’t a particularly warm welcome to the mode so we have swapped it out for something a bit gentler to begin with. We’ve also been experimenting with pacing inside the seasons by changing the order and duration of events. We don’t want the player to feel like the season is a grind, but we do need them to feel that they need to play great golf consistently in order to win.
Adding in AI players has also brought in a nice bit of competition and pressure into the season mode. You will need to finish in a certain position in the season’s leaderboard to unlock additional seasons and this really puts pressure on you as you’re playing through – especially as you won’t be able to save and restart if you have a few bad holes! Even if you fail in the last round of the last tournament you’ll have to play the whole season again to get another crack at the trophy – just like real life! There’s no “Press X to mourn” in The Golf Club – you’ll actually feel genuine pain and sorrow when you miss out on that hardware.
That’s all for this week, now back to my quest for silverware!