3D scanning in gaming- new way of creating a virtual world
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Traditional and modern techniques combined to create a scenery of the newest video game
Creating computer games challenging task, requiring a lot of complicated processes- starting with building the entire story and the whole new world for it, ending with transferring it to a digital version.
As emphasized by Daniel Zduńczyk, creator of the game Wild West Dynasty, „the key to achieving cool effects is the ability to combine many techniques, both manual and digital”. For this reason, when creating a map for the Virtual Magic Games new project, many innovative ideas and solutions were applied, including the newest 3D scanning technologies.
When starting the project, the team responsible for creating the game map went back to the time of their childhood. Climbing to the heights of creativity, they prepared a preview mock-up of the entire game using Lego bricks. Aside from the conceptual and creative effort they have put in, it was a lot of fun for them. This approach to the topic allowed the entire team silmpified and speed up the process of modification the bacis ideas, until reaching a collectively accepted perfection.
After the conceptual mock-up of the map was created, it had to be transferred to the game engine. For this purpose, one of the modern imaging techniques was used: photogrammetry, to create a rough digital model based on photos.
After testing the first version of the digital game map, it was possible to make corrections already in the digital environment. However, the creators came upon some challenges with creating the diversity of the landscape and to picture it as realistically as possible. A decision was made to return to physical form with the help of 3D printers to overcome those opstacles
The entire map model has been divided into parts and 3D printed so artists could let their imagination run wild and- with the use of Play Doh, apply various forms of landscape details to the printed map model. Thanks to its plastic characteristics, Play Doh turned out to be a perfect solution for creative needs of the project.
Forming, shaping, structuring, and sculpting gave the extraordinary effect that the creators wanted to achieve. The next and the most important step was to put the re-created, perfected map into the game engine. In this case, photogrammetry proved to be an insufficiently accurate technique and it was necessary to find another solution.
This is where 3D scanners cam in handy. SMARTTECH was selected to provide the 3D scanning service, offering equipment that ensures the required balance between the speed of data acquisition and high resolution. After a detailed discussion about the expected effects, a decision was made to select the appropriate scanning head- the chosen one was MICRON3D green stereo 20 Mpix. That is a scanner with the highest resolution available on the market.
The scanning head displayed stripes of green light on the physical map. The data obtained in the 3D scanning process was processed in the proprietary control and editing software, SMARTTECH 3Dmeasure.
After aligning the scans taken from each side of the map, the software displayed the result in a form of a point cloud containing spatial XYZ information. The software is not only intuitive, quick and easy to use but also has functions of automatization the measurement.
The high resolution of the scanner ensured excellent, precise reproduction of even the smallest details created by artists. Thanks to the fast function of the device it was possible to obtain a full digital map in just a few hours.
In addition, some 3D scanners have the ability to acquire color information about the scanned object, which was not necessary in this case. However, this option gives great opportunities when we want to transfer 100% real objects to the digital world. By scanning a character, costume, or any real object, it is possible to easily create a virtual model. This significantly reduces the working time of a computer graphic artist, and thus reduces labor costs, at the same time increasing the artistic value of the game design. 3D scanning can not only support, but even replace the modeling process.
The last stage of finishing the map was to add elements of the scenery in digital form. Appropriate colors were added to the 3D model of the entire base, depending on the type of surface, and then elements such as trees, shrubs, tall grass or buildings were placed in it.
In this way, thanks to the combination of both manual and digital techniques, the digital world of one of the most anticipated game in 2022 was created.
The premiere of the game is coming soon, more details: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1329880/Wild_West_Dynasty/
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