Endless course possibilities makes Infinite Minigolf stand out.
You probably know Zen Studios from the sheer number of pinball games they’ve created throughout the years. And while the developer has experience with minigolf as evident in Planet Minigolf (2010), Infinite Minigolf takes that to a whole new level. Supporting VR headsets like PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and currently in Early Access for PC, Infinite Minigolf allows players to create their own courses and share them with others.
Thus far, this approach has worked well and GamingBolt had a chance to speak to Zen Studios’ Desiree Frost to learn more about Infinite Minigolf’s future.
"It is so exciting to see the community build and share their own course creations, we discover a new favorite course almost daily and the possibilities are endless!"
What inspired the concept of Infinite Mini Golf? Did you expect the community to get involved to such an extent?
In 2010, Zen Studios released Planet Minigolf on PlayStation Network, which players love and are still playing today! Infinite Minigolf was greatly inspired by those fans! Zen received such inspired ideas and feedback from Planet Minigolf players that we were captivated with the idea of creating the long-awaited follow-up minigolf experience. We love when Zen’s community gets involved the way that they do, we welcome it!
What was the initial reaction to the game’s mechanics and how did players start building upon it?
We are seeing a strong positive reaction from Infinite Minigolf players! There have been some really great Minigolf games over the years so we had to ask ourselves “why make another one” and the answer was simple: there is not yet a Minigolf game that really allows players to drive content creation, so this is what we set out to accomplish. Players are fascinated with the simplicity of building their most intuitive creations with a few simple commands, and already there are over 550 player created courses to explore!
What are some of your favourite courses thus far?
Picking a favorite course is nearly impossible! It is so exciting to see the community build and share their own course creations, we discover a new favorite course almost daily and the possibilities are endless! Some or our early favorites are “One Bumpy Road” by Taric the Gemknight which is playable in Giant Home, and “Up or Down” by Paganisis, playable on Nightmare Mansion.
What future additions will the course editor see? How difficult was it to create an editor that was easy to use but still offered a ton of power for course designers?
The course editor may continue to evolve based on player feedback. We have a ton of ideas for additional objects for each theme, as well as new tile sets and pieces for players to use when building their own courses. Developing the editor was much easier this time around, as we had a lot of input from the community regarding the challenges they encountered in Planet Minigolf.
"Zen has been developing for both console and PC for nearly a decade. For us there are not really pros and cons, it’s just the nature of development."
How easy is it for players to find the best courses to play? Do you create curated playlists or throw in your creations from time to time?
We have implemented a course curation tool called the “Course Browser” that allows players to search for courses that best match their interests! For example, if a player is in search of the most challenging, or maybe the most creatively designed courses, they have access to them. In all, we have provided 5 different searches based on various criteria so players can play the courses they want.
The game’s mechanics seem extremely simplified but with a reliance on accurate physics. How has this approach appealed to the majority of players?
I would not say the game mechanics have been simplified, but they have been streamlined to accelerate the pace of play. Zen is no stranger to realistic gameplay, we have been making physics based games for nearly a decade so for us the approach is natural. We found success with realistic physics in Planet Minigolf, so we kept our focus here, while working to improve the core gameplay experience.
Can you tell us about development for the PS4 and PS VR? What pros and cons have you seen when developing for the console versus PC?
Zen has been developing for both console and PC for nearly a decade. For us there are not really pros and cons, it’s just the nature of development. Including VR functionality seemed natural. We have quite a bit of VR experience already, and we thought that Infinite Minigolf could provide meaningful VR interactions so we decided to do it.
What has your approach been to VR? Considering how niche the market is right now, what prompted you to focus on PlayStation VR only (as of now, at least)?
Zen has been an early believer in VR, although our initial approach was to retrofit previously developed titles to include VR mode. This worked well, but the next step was to develop natively in VR, which is what we have done with Infinite Minigolf. The market is growing and players who have spent on VR devices are buying lots of games. The game is not just for PSVR, we also support HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on Steam.
"Being multiplatform means we need to take new hardware releases very seriously."
Infinite Mini Golf is currently in early access on Steam. What kind of timeframe are you looking at for a full release?
Zen is always looking to get our games into the hands of players as soon as we can so we can start getting early feedback! We also highly value the quality of our games as full release, so we never want to release a game too early. At this time, the release date is not available but the full release will be day in day with the console release.
For that matter, given Sony’s stance on early access games, when can we expect it to arrive on PS4 and PlayStation VR? Infinite Minigolf will release on PS4 and PSVR day in date with the full Steam release.
I am sure you must be following up on the iterative consoles…the PS4 Pro and Xbox One Scorpio, specially the latter which has over 12GB of memory. Do you think the latter will impact PC games in anyway (i.e. will 12GB of Scorpio will also increase memory PC requirements for games in the future)?
Being multiplatform means we need to take new hardware releases very seriously. Zen releases games which continue to be serviced well after release and there will be no exception here. Improvements to hardware always challenge developers, usually in good ways! Increases in memory is a good thing, and usually other competing performance platforms catch up quickly so I am sure we will see PC go the same route.
What is the planned resolution and frame rate for the same?
On PS4 Pro we are rendering 1440p@60fps.
What is your target frame rate and resolution on the base PS4 and Xbox One?
Both the PS4 and Xbox One versions are running at 1080p@60fps.
"Whenever we get the chance, we want to say THANK YOU to the players who have been supporting Zen for so long!"
Is there anything else you want to tell us before we let you go?
Whenever we get the chance, we want to say thank you to the players who have been supporting Zen for so long! Your support allows us to keep on making new games and we are lucky to have been doing this for over a decade now!