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Anatomy of a practice area - Golf Dev Blog - News - Articles - Perfect Parallel

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Anatomy of a practice area


I thought it might be interesting to show some of the things which went into designing and creating one of the practice areas for our game. We're trying to create a realistic golf game here and so what do most golfers do when they want to get better? They practice!
I thought it might be interesting to show some of the things which went into designing and creating one of the practice areas for our game. We're trying to create a realistic golf game here and so what do most golfers do when they want to get better? They practice!

However practice doesn't necessarily mean mashing balls into the distance mindlessly.....NO! Creating beautiful environments which mirror real world shots that you might find on the course is important. We don't have the budget constraints of real world designers in our game, we can be as grand and as lavish as we like when we're creating our courses and practice areas so here's one I designed.

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Once I'd planned it out I imported the plan into our designer and used it as a base to add the textures and then using our elevation tools I set about the landscape with my virtual bulldozer! I can't wait to start sharing some more info on how we go about things but for now all I can say is that if you're just a casual designer with an idea, it should be enough to make your own golf world which looks just as good as ours!

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We're using Unity3d to create our golf courses and so there a lot of third party developers out there for it already developing for this platform. When we add our own tools and assets on top of this it means we already have a very large library of tools, textures, objects, vegetation etc with which to build our environments. I'll be making a few tutorials soon taking you through the initial stages of learning the Unity editor to create your courses. You can download the Unity3d editor for free at: http://unity3d.com


23 Comments

Looks awesome. Almost looks like a mini par three course that gives you the option to practice any type of shot. The textures,vegetation, and shadowing all looks very impressive. Keep up the great work. The buzz for this game is spreading all over!
Jason Girard
Aug 30 2012 02:26 PM
Fantastic job Mike! I'm very much looking forward to the tutorials that you have in the works! Getting very excited!!!
Mike, I downloaded the 3.5.5 version as that is the only FREE version I could find. I hope it is the correct one as from the ability comparisons I found it has very little Features. I am a frustrated APCD designer as I was never able to get the hang of the program and I have a few IRL courses I would love to see, or design myself, available for Links. One frustration is that the programs manuals and Tutorials are all on line and not available for download. Jerry
Daz Webb (Dazmaniac)
Aug 30 2012 05:13 PM
Jerry, I think you have the right one (I have downloaded the same version). I guess the Unity 3D tool is not specifically a golf course design tool, like the APCD was, so it all seems a little alien as it doesn't come with the standard tools you expect to see in a golf course architect program. It's effectvely a 3D gaming design tool, that can be used to make golf courses, lol. But, I guess this is where MJ comes in with all the additional tools and assets that he has at his disposal, as they will hopefully be made available for designers to have a go at recreating layouts like he already has done. Looking forward to any tutorials he makes available. I can certainly see it seems to be a powerful design tool and think that the top design guys from the Links Community would be able to work miracles with it.
Unity is a complete games creation program, we only need to use a fraction of it's power to get us started with our courses before we drop our tools on top of it and that's what I'll be doing in the first tutorials. When you see how intuitive it is with a little direction you'll be happy :)
Mike, I'm also messing around with the program and are looking forward to the tutorials. Once mastered, what percentage time would you spent on a course compared to APCD? Adriaan
Hi Adriaan, thanks for the question. I'd say that from start to finish to make a decent course it could be done in a week compared to maybe 3 weeks for me in APCD. The key things I was trying to achieve through a combination of unity tools and our proprietary tools was to completely cut out a lot of a time consuming seam blending and vert moving etc. 99% of that that stuff is now automated. I also wanted to make sure that someone who didn't even know what a 'vert' was (or 'seam blending' for that matter) can go in and make a good looking course! When I first started using Unity I was a bit overwhelmed by the power of it and the amount of options available but really you only need to know a few of the things to start designing a course. If you are looking to get started on unity even before I post any tutorials, you'll want to look at creating a terrain, lets say 1500m x 1500m, and then playing with some of the elevation tools to get familiar with the way they work.
WOW looks great! Can't wait to try making a course myself! Tried in the APCD but was just way to hard. Any idea what the cost of this game will be?? Will it be a download or DVD based? When we create courses will it be like links were we can trade for free and some paid? Can't wait to play the game looks Awesome and amazing from anything that has ever been made! Keep up the great work!
Excellent! Looking forward to playing around with the software and to the tutorials as well (both basic and advanced features). Maybe one day my swamp course can be re-born and see the light one day with this (hopefully) more stable software. Thanks! --K
The program doesn't seem too difficult and is fun to use. I'm having problems to judge the scale or resolution I'm working on as the bunkers have too pixelated edges. I suppose the sharper seam bleads in your pics is created by some of your custom tools.
Yes we have tools to help with all that stuff :)
David Mackie
Sep 01 2012 10:58 AM
Hi Mike, Looking great so far, finally I might have a go at design myself. Will we be be able to record games and play against them? I play against friends in the UK and this is our preferred option currently. Cheers, Dave Dave
Peter Gemmill
Sep 01 2012 01:10 PM
Very exciting and starting to read unity tutorials already, thanks Mike. Peter
Nice practicefacility Mike... if you are intrested in further insperation from an IRL newly opened in Sweden . Here is the link : http://golfarenan.se/ If you need any help with translation send a PM at LC
Wow, I love that practice facility! Can't wait for you to build it for perfectGolf :)
This is all very exciting and I'm looking forward to the tutorial.
Chris Perry
Sep 10 2012 02:00 AM
I'm also having the same issues as Highfade. I create terrain at 2000x2000 but it doesn't seem nearly big enough to make a plot that will fit an entire course routing. The brush even at 1 pixel looks blocky and incapable of making smooth transtions with detailed areas like bunker lips. Perspective view renders very dark compared to the top. I'm guessing you need to add a light source to fix this? When I zoom in with the mouse-wheel the terrain clips out before I can get close enough to see any textures in closeup detail?
Hey Chris, unity units are metres for our purposes and you can make a terrain bigger than 2000x2000 if you want. Bear in mind that the Unity tools are just part of the process, things like the actual drawing of the detailed course shapes, textures, bunker lips etc are all part and parcel of our custom toolset. Drop a directional light into your scene so you can see what you're doing :) Try moving around your plot by holding your right mouse button down and using the w,a,s,d keys to 'mouse look' and navigate around your plot along with shift to speed your motion. This way you'll avoid having to 'Zoom' way in with the camera causing the clipping you're experiencing.
Mike, I'm keeping a keen eye on the progress and are looking forward to especially the ball physics etc. Will the course designer be limited to Unity or will other 3d apps also be compatible, and are you jumping between your own tools and Unity as you go along or is it just to start off?
Chris Perry
Sep 10 2012 02:48 PM
Thanks for the reply Mike. I will give those tips a try but it seems like it might be an exercise in futility trying to start a course without the custom tool-set you have at your disposal (not to mention the full Unity program as well). I am definitely looking forward to using this program to its full potential based on what I have seen you've created so far simply because its capable of doing things the APCD and the Links engine are not capable of. PS. Is it going to be possible to cylindar map things like sod walled pot bunkers? We haven't seen an example of that yet. ;)
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Jun 11 2013 03:27 PM
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3199E5kennetharry
Aug 27 2014 12:18 PM

i can't see anything they can't find the page

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3199E5kennetharry
Dec 19 2014 07:11 PM

where's the video???