From the very beginning of this project, our idea was to involve the Lake of the Ozarks community as much as possible. Using the game to promote Lake of the Ozarks nationwide – and ultimately worldwide – won't work if we don't involve people who live Lake of the Ozarks day-by-day.
Because of that, what happened recently blew our minds...
A few months ago, we got contacted by one of our Facebook followers, Kyle Kruidenier. From the get-go, he loved the idea of our game and that began an ongoing discussion where we got a few cool ideas from Kyle regarding some of the game’s features. Since his dad Kurt was a local marine repair and custom shop owner, life-time boater, and owner of one amazing classic speedboat, Kyle naturally shared game ideas with him as well and got him excited about our game.
Before we continue, we want to express our deepest condolences and regret for Kurt's passing, and since we have all had similar experiences, we understand how difficult it can be to move on and defeat that crushing sorrow... One thing that helps is to do what Kyle and his family are doing: not mourning Kurt's passing, but celebrating his life!
Kurt, you rest in peace, but you will continue to live on in these amazing people who loved you and are celebrating you!
A few weeks after Kurt's passing, Kyle got back to us with an idea; he was planning a commemorative event for his dad that would gather friends and family, but he also wanted to do something a bit different for his dad/ He asked us if we could put his dad’s boat in our game .
Without hesitation, we agreed! Unfortunately, we never got the chance to meet Kurt in person, but all this energy, love and compassion that his family and friends have for him makes us want to share that energy with others and keep that small bit of his memory alive in our game.
Kurt Kruidenier was a man who gave his all to anything he did. From projects at home to the work he performed on his customers’ boats, and everything in between, Kurt wanted you to love the outcome. Not only did we lose our father, husband, brother, and friend, but the world lost one of the greatest fathers, one of the greatest husbands, brothers, and friends. More than just honoring his talents and Kreations , it's important to remember that we keep his spirit alive by being good and honest men and women and loving our families as they should be loved.
The Kruideniers and family are very touched to be given such an amazing way to honor Kurt by including his trademark Excalibur boat in Boat Life: Lake of the Ozarks. I don't think he could have imagined being featured like this and we couldn't dream of a more fitting way for him to be remembered than to be forever boating on the Lake of the Ozarks.
Kurt’s pride and joy was his 1979 Wellcraft Excalibur 31 OS, which he modified and decorated in a custom paint job. It's an amazing vintage speedboat that provided Kurt with years and years of joy, not only when he drove it on the lake, but also when he worked on it until he realized his dream.
That's why it was important to make sure we made a digital replica of this boat as precisely as possible. But that wasn't easy – the age of the original boat meant there weren’t any precise drawings or plans. So we had to rely solely on photo references, and that method is not 100% precise as using drawings.
Luckily, Kyle provided us with tons of reference photos of his dad's boat with exact measurements of some key parts that helped keep things in proportion, However we went through a lot of testing and revisions to get to the point where we all were happy with our digital version of this amazing boat.
We learned a lot by making this 3D model, especially about these vintage boats, their construction, designs, and shapes. These types of boats have a special feel and look that makes them stand out even now, 40+ years after they were built. So, in that sense, we also hope to keep just a bit of this boating legacy in our game for future generations.