Florida, America, July 2009. Data Design Interactive– a successful video games publisher and games developer– following the successful launch at E3 show 2009 for‘My Personal Golf Trainer: with IMG Academies and David Leadbetter’ the Art Director behind the development taken time out of his schedule to provide an insight into the game’s ongoing development. Below, Rob Dorney talks about some of the main aspects of the game.
Q: Since the games Launched at E3 where it received glowing reports from the media and since, can you explain what has been added the game since then
RD: We’ve been delighted, but not surprised, with the feedback we’ve received so far from both the video game and golfing worlds- it seems like this is a product that every golf lover is very enthused by and we’re delighted to be working on the project.
RD: Since E3, we’ve been concentrating on honing the real heart of the project; David Leadbetter’s feedback. Before actually writing any lines of code, we did a considerable amount of market research in the golfing world and the one thing that golfers REALLY wanted out of a personal training product was to see if there was any way David Leadbetter himself could actually train them and improve their game. Well, we’ve been focusing all our attention on making sure the training experience is as personal as possible. David Leadbetter will be a very interactive part of the title, giving comment and feedback on all aspects of the player’s swing, address, posture and balance.
RD: This is the first of a whole range of personal trainer titles, so another major focus for us was to push the limits and make this first title, the very best in the market, with the most advanced, accurate and complete player feedback possible. The Motionplus provides an amazing amount of detail, but some movement and player motions could not be recorded so we decided to go a step further and also incorporate Balance Board support and with this additional information on a players position and movement, this unquestionably the most advanced product available. We saw other companies use of Motionplus at E3 and their products are still very basic compared to our complete movement system. This is the most accurate 1:1 tuition you can get in the home, and with such accurate input, and expert advice we are sure golfers will be able to improve their game.
Q: How are you going about fine turning the experience for different abilities
RD: The game is undergoing a great deal of QA testing at the moment both from game players and golfers of all levels. We are providing a simple 5 star report for beginners which can be expanded into a detailed 0-100% accuracy feedback for experts wanting to gain that last 5% improvement. There are 80 million active golfers and we want a happy balance so players of all skill levels can take something positive from the product. Ironically our current problem is that our amateur golfers in the QA team have become so good from playing the game we are having to source new amateurs !!!
Q: The Wii motion has made this type of genre available to office or home players who want to improve their golfing swing, but does the game follow your improvements as Wii fit does and have improved on that system
RD: Very much so- one thing not seen in the E3 build of the title, but were implementing now, is the 'Skill Tracker'. This is a section of the title where the player can check any aspect of their swing, balance or posture over time, allowing them to see their progress on a month-by-month, week-by-week basis. David Leadbetter then gives the player some feedback to let them know at a glance how they’re doing, recommending specific training drills to go through if the player needs specific help with a particular aspect of their game. It really is a very interactive experience and one which the player can really drill down to the finer aspects of their game and see how they are improving.
‘My Personal Golf Trainer: with IMG Academies and David Leadbetter’ is one of the first titles to take advantage of the new Wii MotionPlus™ Accessory, which enhances the fun with its highly accurate gyroscope based, controller extension.
Rather than just playing a game we have created an exciting new genre in computer sports, the personal trainer.
Sports trainers cost thousands to hire and require tens of thousands for the equipment. Only now with the release of new technology, such as the MotionPlus and Balance Board, has this range of titles been a possibility for home use. This is a ground breaking product, with appeal to game players, sports specialists and the biggest growth area of non-game players. Where Wii-Fit has introduced millions of moms to buy a Wii, every sports player, will see this as a‘must have’ product.
For the range we are working with the best of the best in training, to give detailed, useful and accurate individual feedback on everything you need to know to play a better game.
For our first title Golf, the IMG academies with 22 sites around the world, are the largest and best training facilities in the World. While in the game individual direction is given by David Leadbetter who over the past 30 years has published more training manuals than any other golfer in the world.
He will personally tell you how to stand, how to move, and how to swing in his famous 7 steps to a better golf swing. You will be shown common mistakes and how to correct them. As a non interactive DVD this information would sell for hundreds of dollars, but utilizing the MotionPlus we can give individual feedback on your own personal swing and then direct you how to correct and improve your shot.
Are you are positioned at the right angle, is the club rotated, are you holding it too high or low, forwards or too far behind, with the Balance board David will tell you exactly how you are positioned, leaning to the side or back to far, as you swing we record the speed and direction in 3D space and compare your actions against an ideal swing. This is real golf, with a world class expert available 24/7 in your own home. This will improve your golf swing, on the real course but you can also see your improvement at home as we include a full game of 18 hole golf.