Setting Forza Horizon 3 in Australia, Playground Games really wanted to stay loyal to such a particular location for Forza Horizon 3, and it apparently managed to do it thanks to a very innovative and seemingly expensive technology called Photogrammetry.
Photogrammetry basically allowed the development team to have HD photos and videos executed by devs sent over Australia, and then turning those source materials directly into game assets they could use on the fly. Wow.
“They drove the roads, filming in HD everywhere they went, and they stopped to photograph everything we’d need to build the game: road surfaces, buildings, fences, trees, rocks, everything. We use a cutting-edge technique called ‘photogrammetry’, which allows us to turn hi-def photos of objects into game-ready 3D models, and that’s how the rocks and tree trunks, among other things, look so realistic in our game,” Playground Games’ Ralph Fulton said.
Interestingly, the same degree of care and passion and effort was put into making Australian skies believable.
“We also created an entirely new technique for capturing authentic Australian skies, using a custom-built 12K HDR camera rig, and we camped for the entire summer in a field capturing everything the sky did during that time. These images were brought back to the studio and fed through a custom process that streams the data into our system, producing the most dynamic, evolving skyscapes ever seen in a game.
We have video screens in our studio which, throughout development, constantly played the videos we recorded driving all over Australia. That way, even the members of the team who weren’t able to visit Australia felt completely immersed in the world we were building.”
Forza Horizon 3 is releasing on September 15 for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. It’s also part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, which means you can have it on both the platforms without any additional costs if you buy it digital.