Video game PGA Tour 2K21 has been a godsend for golfers cooped up in their own homes during lockdown.
The game, which launched in August 2020, allows players to finally realise their dreams, teeing it up at their favourite PGA Tour courses such as TPC Sawgrass and East Lake Golf Club.
At bunkered.co.uk, we caught up with Jim O’Brien, the game's art lead, at HB Studios to discover how they managed to generate in-game replicas of the famous courses.
What courses feature in the game?
"Six of the courses were carried over from the previous iteration of the game, The Golf Club 2019: TPC Boston, TPC Deere Run, TPC Sawgrass, TPC Scottsdale, TPC Southwind and TPC Summerlin. Minor changes have been made to each to ensure they play true to the current version of each course.
"The rest of the lineup is an eye-popping one for any PGA Tour fan: Atlantic Beach Country Club, site of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship; Innisbrook's Copperhead course, site of the Valspar Championship; East Lake Golf Club, site of the Tour Championship; Quail Hollow Club, site of the Wells Fargo Championship; Riviera Country Club, site of the Genesis Invitational; TPC River Highlands, site of the Travelers Championship; TPC San Antonio, site of the Valero Texas Open; and TPC Twin Cities, site of the 3M Open."
How were you able to capture the courses?
"We partner with Terra Imaging to capture and process detailed aerial drone footage of each one. The drones capture nearly every real-life detail of these intricate courses and then process the data for the developers at HB Studios to recreate in-game with their Course Creator. This process ensures that players feel every break in the green and elevated tee box that PGA TOUR professionals face in real tournaments."
How time consuming is the process?
"Just because we are using a futuristic course mapping process that provides incredibly realistic and accurate course environments in-game, each course takes several months to build and test. We obviously have 15 courses in PGA Tour 2K21, so alone it took just over 2 years to complete that process."
Did some courses take longer than other to capture?
"The actual time taken to capture the courses was pretty similar across the board. It varied slightly depending on the layout and length of the courses."
Were there any major issues, presented by the courses themselves, that were experienced in the process?
"There were no major issues with the courses themselves. Weather was the main issue that we had to battle and we were lucky in that regard to have fair conditions on the days we were visiting the courses. On one occasion though, the wind made things a little bit challenging for a while!"
So, do players experience an exact replica of the real life courses in game?
"Yes, they absolutely do. We have duplicated all of the TPC courses in-game down to 1-5cm of accuracy, so it’s as close you can get to playing the courses without actually stepping foot on them. I think all of the courses have their own unique feel to them. They all present their own challenges. It depends how you play the game and the difficulty you’re playing on."
For a full review of PGA Tour 2K21 from bunkered.co.uk click here.