hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13

Put your body into it: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 on Kinect

1:30 PM on 02.23.2012 // Samit Sarkar

Most core gamers saw Microsoft’s Kinect sensor and scoffed, dismissing out of hand its potential for use in anything but kids’ games and casual experiences. The people at EA Tiburon, however -- having already implemented precise motion controls for their Tiger Woods PGA Tour titles with Wii MotionPlus and PlayStation Move -- saw a chance to make their golf videogame more realistic than ever before.

I discussed Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13s Kinect support with executive producer Brent Nielsen at a recent EA press event in New York. Kinect’s cameras are able to track an entire body, and that gave Tiburon an idea: “Instead of just simulating the swing of a club [...] we thought, ‘You know what? We actually have an opportunity to simulate the full golf swing.’ Because the golf swing is not just about the club in your hand; it’s your hips turn[ing], your shoulders, it’s the [swing] plane, and how your hands come through.”

Tighten up your swing, amateurs. You wouldn’t want to look silly in front of Kinect.

1

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3)
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Release: March 27, 2012 (NA) / March 30, 2012 (worldwide)


Tiburon has been contemplating Kinect support for Tiger Woods PGA Tour since before the peripheral’s debut in November 2010. But a couple of important considerations prevented them from implementing it until this year. For one thing, the studio “wanted to make sure that Microsoft was far enough along in advancing their [Kinect] libraries,” Nielsen explained, referring to the software side of Kinect upon which developers build their games.

In addition, Tiburon had to work with a compressed development period for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters; EA had moved up its ship date from the series’ traditional mid-summer release to the end of March, so it would coincide with the Masters Tournament. “We wanted to make sure that we had the full cycle to do the proper R&D, to investigate the different types of things that we wanted to do to capture that golf swing. And we’ve spent basically this entire year working on that,” said Nielsen.

2

The fruits of their labors are impressive: PGA Tour 13 boasts full Kinect support, and in-game voice functionality to boot. The only thing you can’t do without a controller is aim the club’s sweet spot at a specific point on the ball. Otherwise, the whole game is Kinect-enabled, with gestures that mimic a golfer’s actions in ways that I occasionally even found amusing. Unlike the setup on Wii or PlayStation Move, you don’t swing toward your TV; since Kinect has to track your entire body, you stand with your feet pointing ahead, and swing across the screen from right to left (or left to right, if you’re a lefty).

Here’s how you might play a hole on Kinect. Before taking your tee shot, you say “aim shot” out loud, then hold your left hand to your brow -- as if to block the sun’s rays while you squint into the distance -- to zoom the camera to the general landing zone. Here, you hold out your open left hand, then close it into a fist to drag the aiming reticle around. Once you’re satisfied with the location, you clasp your hands together around your invisible golf club and swing away. (Psst... If it’s more comfortable, you can actually play the game with a real club in your hands. Microsoft won’t tell you that, since their marketing for Kinect hinges on the device obviating the need for any extra peripherals, but don’t let them stop you.)

After your drive lands safely on the fairway, you look to switch to an iron for the approach shot. “Change club, 5-iron,” you tell the game, and proceed to send the ball flying toward the back of the green. But the pin’s near the front, so you point your fist at the bottom of the screen to put backspin on the ball in mid-air. Once the ball’s on the green, you crouch in front of your TV to check the lie of the green. Now you’re ready to putt -- but everything’s riding on a birdie here, so you ask the game for a “putt preview” to check the ball’s path before proceeding. With a smooth, controlled motion, you sink the putt; your only regret is that Kinect doesn’t render your triumphant fist-pump in the game.

3

I found the experience’s fidelity remarkable. On the higher difficulty levels, Kinect translates your entire body’s movement to your on-screen golfer’s swing. Rotating your hips and arms too far will send the ball off course; overextending your backswing or swinging too quickly will add too much power to your swing when you might have been looking for some touch; a herky-jerky, stuttering motion will provide less reliable results than one with a smooth cadence. As you swing, you’ll see the same trail that shows up when you play PGA Tour 13 with a controller -- a visual cue that offers feedback on your motion.

The motion controls gave me very little trouble. After a quick tutorial from Nielsen, I followed the copious on-screen prompts and managed to birdie the first hole I played. The aiming mode sometimes held on too long, failing to detect when I had opened my fist to signify that I’d finished moving the cursor. Other than that, the game never felt unresponsive or did anything I didn’t want it to do.

According to Nielsen, Kinect’s machine learning technology made that possible. “We [got] six-year-old kids, adults, big, small, tall -- all shapes and sizes -- and we had them record their swings, gestures, putts, chips, [and] full swings,” he told me. The developers tagged that data, and used it to teach Kinect to differentiate between golf swings and other motions. “When we first started doing it,” said Nielsen, “you could do a baseball swing, and it would hit [the ball].” That’s not the case anymore.

4

Golfing isn’t the only place where Kinect comes into play. Tiburon has redesigned the game’s menus for Kinect, taking cues from Harmonix’s Dance Central interface and the PlayStation 3’s XMB, so you almost never have to pick up a controller. You navigate tabs to the left and right, scrolling up and down through options within tabs. A right-hand swipe to the left selects, while a left-hand gesture backs out.

I had a modicum of skepticism about the Kinect functionality in PGA Tour 13, but once I played last year’s iteration with PlayStation Move, I figured Tiburon knew what they were doing. After trying Kinect with this game -- the peripheral’s first-ever sports simulation title -- I won’t soon doubt the studio again.

Photo Gallery: (7 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Samit Sarkar,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

gajknight avatargajknight
Put down the deposit for my new car, will probably be able to pick it up on the weekend. Insurance is pretty good too, sub £1000 which is excellent. Kinda. My mum tried to reverse in 5th gear. She drives an automatic. What a noob. :P
Bardley avatarBardley
We are Diamond Dogs.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I get to work to stock and STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS STREET DATE SEPT 4 OMG STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS STREET DATE SEPT 4 STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS STAR WARS TOYS WHY ISN'T IT SEPT 4?
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Still waiting by the mailbox. Tranq'd a jogger and stuffed them into a locker just for fun. I keep throwing rocks to get the attention of the neighbors and then hiding in tall grass. They look noticeably upset. Probably because I kept them up all night.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Metal Gear or Mad Max? The choice is obvious. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/obvious%20choice.jpg~original[/IMG]
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Quickpostmortem My wife´s dog died yesterday . Rest in peace Diamond Dog . [img]http://i.imgur.com/uVT3HlF.jpg[/img] Here's to you, Malu Rest forever here in our hearts The last and final moment is yours That agony is your triumph
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Xbone journey continues! I thought I would like Dead Rising 3 well enough as a huge fan of 1/2, but I must say I find it's emphasis on hard drama laughable and the game fundamentally disingenuine. Guess I'm moving on to Forza Horizon 2.
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
I dig the feature in Until Dawn where, if you have the Playstation camera, it will record you briefly during jump scares for you to watch later. It's a really neat use of an underused peripheral. Too bad I'm dead inside and never react to them.
Shinta avatarShinta
[img]http://i.imgur.com/oZ7CQJa.jpg[/img]
nanashi avatarnanashi
Fallout Shelter: Impossible to Learn, Easy to Master.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Not saying this is the case, but Kojima has gone on record as being a huge Mad Max: Fury Road fan. Konami decided to release MGSV on the same day as Mad Max TVG. They're trying piss on Kojima's lawn, man.
ooktar avatarooktar
Downloading Phantom Pain. ETA, 16 hours. Just in time for lunch tomorrow.
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
OH WOW. Talk about a complete about face. After slogging through the horrid beginning and slow ass swap sequence this game picked up exponentially. So far, I'm enjoying the hell out of it now. All if forgiven. Thank you based Kojima.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
Oh, joyful night. [youtube]https://youtu.be/6EfhAFA2yFE[/youtube]
techsupport avatartechsupport
After a summer of on-and-off casual play, I've finally reached lv. 34 in Destiny :')
nanashi avatarnanashi
also Fallout Shelter just made me utter this: "I have to get these pregnancies done.." life is trivial in this game!
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
Let it be known that Metal Gear 2 for MXS has aged horribly and is no fun to play. In the midst of a MGS marathon, looks like I'm skipping ahead to MGS.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
"Available: 31 August - This game will unlock in approximately 2 hours" HOLY SHIET! [youtube]https://youtu.be/9jK-NcRmVcw[/youtube]
nanashi avatarnanashi
-nudge nudge- hey Sony, discount Ys: I and II Chronicles and Ys: Seven on the PSP :D
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just out of curiosity, does anybody here still play Mario Kart 8 at all frequently?
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -