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Road To The IGF: Golf?'s Alex Austin and Luke Hetherington

Continuing Gamasutra’s ‘Road to the IGF’ feature, which profiles and interviews Independent Games Festival 2007 entrants, we talk to Luke Hetherington and Gish co-creator Alex Austin on their innovative 'first perso
Continuing Gamasutra’s ‘Road to the IGF’ feature, which profiles and interviews Independent Games Festival 2007 entrants, today’s interview is with Luke Hetherington and Alex Austin, ostensibly of the Luke Hetherington Company, developers of Golf?. Austin founded Chronic Logic back in late 2000, and has previously had IGF success with Audience Award winner Pontifex 2 (aka Bridge Building Game) in 2003, and Seumas McNally Grand Prize and Innovation in Game Design award winner Gish in 2005. Golf? has been developed over a period of three years by Hetherington and Austin, in cooperation with Andrew Laing and Chronic Logic owner Josiah Pisciotta. Hetherington and Austin describe the game as “a first person multiplayer golf game with carts” and “a not very fun computer golf game for jerks”, and note that it features “a story better than Hollywood movies” and “graphics better than the ocean”. Gamasutra contacted Hetherington and Austin via email to ask about the game, their company, and their entry in the IGF. What is your background in the games industry? Austin: I've been doing programming and design for games since 2001. Games I worked on include Gish and Bridge Building Game. When was Luke Hetherington Company formed, and what previous titles have you released? Hetherington: That's just a late night meth typo. The game is being developed by myself, Alex Austin, Josiah Pisciotta and Andrew Laing. What inspired Golf?, and why did you decide to make it? Hetherington: The inspiration for Golf? is real golf you play outside. Austin: $5,000. Where did the game's distinctive look come from? Hetherington: I tried to make the graphics not hurt the game as much as possible. For the first person navigation aspect of the game I just tried to think of what [Little Nemo illustrator] Windsor McCay would do if he had to make static objects you run around and stare at. What were your expectations from your game, and do you feel the end product lives up to those expectations? Austin: The product exceeds my original expectations. What do you think the most interesting thing about your game is? Austin: The multiplayer golf aspects of the game. What was the development process like? Austin: Chaotic mostly. Hetherington: I have to say making this game isn’t very fun. You get so bored of looking at the same graphics every day. Each passing day is the worst yet but then you delete everything you previously made and start over. What do you think of the state of independent development, and how do you think independent games fit into the industry? Austin: I think independent games are in a pretty good state right now, there's lots of opportunities and development is easier for the most part. Independent games don't really fit into the industry, that's why they're independent. Have you checked out any of the other IGF games? Austin: I played Toribash, pretty cool idea. What recent indie games do you admire, and what recent mainstream titles do you admire, and why? Austin: I liked Darwinia, and Defcon looks pretty cool. The only mainstream game I've played lately is Civ 4, they did a good job on that. Hetherington: I don’t really play games but I do read the online forums and they say most games aren't very fun. Do you have any messages for your fellow contestants or fans of the IGF? Austin: Keep it real.

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