Q&A with Rawson Stovall
Senior Designer at Concrete Software, Inc
Published March 31, 2022
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Rawson. We really appreciate it! With the help of players in the Irrational Guys clubhouse and, after combing through loads of posts on social media, we’ve come up with a bunch of somewhat random questions. Hopefully this addresses some of the more frequently asked things among players in the community.
Thanks for reaching out and coming up with the questions. Sorry it has taken a while to set all of this up.
First, can you tell us a bit how you got into game development and what led you to working on PGA TOUR with Concrete?
I have a more unique history than many in the game industry. When I was a ten-year old I sold pecans door-to-door and made enough money to buy an Atari 2600 and then started reviewing video games as a weekly column for my local newspaper in Texas. I kept reviewing games every week and ultimately the column was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate and ran in dozens of papers across the U.S. That column ran for ten years and during that time I published a book and appeared as a guest on tons of TV shows including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. After college I started at Activision during the Genesis / SNES era and worked on games including Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. From there I spent time at MGM Studios and Sony Pictures before working with EA on such franchises as Medal of Honor, The Godfather, The Sims, MySims, and Sims FreePlay — all before moving to Minnesota to work with Concrete Software… around eight years ago!
How many employees work at Concrete and what other projects have you guys worked on that we might be familiar with?
Concrete Software is a small company, but not a tiny one – we have around 30 people at the moment. Our biggest/longest-running game is the mobile game PBA Bowling Challenge. We also recently released My Arcade Empire, a 1980’s-themed story-based idle game. We also publish the Rapala Fishing – Daily Catch mobile game, and we also developed the Rapala Pro Series Fishing console game. There have been loads of other games over the years.
Minnesota seems like an unexpected place for a software development company to be based out of. Are you finding it easier to get a lot more work done during these frigid winter months?
I grew up in West Texas. My wife is from Tucson. We lived for years in California. We’ve never fully adapted to Minnesota winters. But the rest of the year it’s one of the best places to live! But yeah, during the winter… I find that it is a little easier to stick around the computer. But you certainly lose some time shoveling snow!
It took me a couple of days (when I first started playing TOUR) to figure out that I wasn’t actually playing against someone in real time. Can you explain how that whole player matching system works in Play mode? How recent are the replays that you’re up against? And can you confirm the theory that you’ll never face an albatross or an ace?
It’s called asynchronous multiplayer – versus real-time. We really preferred asynchronous because the list of advantages is long – there’s always a game available, the games are shorter, we can toss “trash games,” you won’t play people who stall to get you to quit or players who rage quit. We can also do better matching of opponents. We could also do things in the future like play against certain people. I can’t talk about specifics of matchmaking as that’s all programmer algorithms, but I do like a generalized matchmaking system where players usually get a game that is skills-matched to them, but not always. I think that it’s possible to face an albatross. Early on it was possible to play ace games, but wow did we get negative responses to that so they are usually filtered out. Maybe the best of the best players can still see them.