We’ve finally announced the project I’ve been working on, codenamed “Project: MyWorld” [http://playmyworld.com]. Here’s the trailer video:
An early vision for this project was what sold me on working for Realtime Worlds 6 years ago, and I’ve been working on the necessary procedural environment technology ever since, with Crackdown and APB as intermediate testing grounds for our initial ideas. Right now, you really can go anywhere in Great Britain – it’s all there – every building, road, field, hill and (most) trees.
We obviously couldn’t have artists build a world of this scale, so it’s all procedurally generated by combining a variety of digital mapping data sources with reusable art assets that give the world its high graphical quality. The digital map data is sorely missing a 3rd dimension, so we have little hope of getting the buildings exactly right, and, as you can see in the video, will allow users to edit buildings in the interests of improving the world around them.
The main geographic data source we don’t use is satellite photography, and MyWorld looks all the better for it. For one thing, satellite photos have lighting baked in and 3D objects flattened onto them, so it’s hard to imagine they could ever be used to make a good-looking 3D world. They can’t vary with time of day, for example :)
They’re also huge in size, and blurry when you get up close. But most importantly of all, MyWorld eschews any attempt at photorealism in favour of re-imagining the real world in a unique art style, heavily influenced by scale models and toys.
We should be releasing a lot more information over the coming months as we move towards a closed beta, so keep an eye on the website.