While golf’s greats were still hitting the links at this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Bay Hill on Monday, video game fanatics are waiting for Tuesday morning. That’s when Tiger 14, the EA Sports video game, goes on sale and for the first time, golf legend and Central Florida great Arnold Palmer is 'in the game'.
Scott Gilbert is the modeler for Tiger 14. He made two Palmer's for gamers to choose from- a late 50s early 60s Palmer and an early 70s version of the king.
“The younger Palmer was a lot easier, he's more iconic i think,” said Gilbert, who explained that each face takes weeks to create.
First, Gilbert studied pictures of Palmer and then got to work on his computer.
“We usually start with something that looks like an average looking head, two eyes, a nose, a mouth and work in all the details,” said Gilbert, “He has a very distinctive mouth shape. The corners. The shape of his eyelids. Of course the hair shape.”
But of course, Palmer had the final say on his own likeness and his own swing.
“The hardest part for me is getting it to look like Arnold Palmer. Nobody swings that way anymore,” said Gilbert.
Dan Whiting had to recreate that.
He started by having a golf pro imitate Palmer's swing while wearing an early motion capture suit.
“He's got all the little markers on him that will capture his motion... all his little quirks... windup... swing... that unique way he pauses then brings it down,” explains Whiting who uses the information from those markers to recreate Palmer's swing.
“The reason why he has this lovely plaid outfit is so that we can see where the geometry might be twisting during some of these motions,” said Whiting.
Whiting needed three months to get Palmer's approval on the swing.
“The sort of feedback we'd get from his people ... keep his arms straight through the whole thing, bring the elbows in, more rip in the hips and bring the club down and watch it as it goes,” said Whiting.
Local 6 Sports director David Pingalore asked Palmer what the process was like for him being in the game.
“It was fun,” said Palmer, “Tiger was great ... came through with flying colors.”