Crytek is willing to stump up £25,000 for the development of a prototype service or application that can convert street map data into virtual environments.
The initiative is part of a digital innovation contest being run by ‘IC tomorrow’, and the software must be capable of rendering entire cities using freely available street data such as that seen in Google Maps…
One of the most expensive aspects of any game’s creation is the sheer number of man hours that go into creating the landscape; environments such as Los Santos clearly aren’t just cobbled together. Crytek, the hardware-pushing developers of Crysis, believe that procedurally generated content rather than that hand-crafted by artists is both much cheaper and much more efficient to produce.
The creation of a program that could automate this creation would of course massively free up developer time to focus on other aspects of the game, allowing the creation of larger worlds at a cheaper cost. The downside of course is that this will only be applicable for real-world locations; any fantastical locations would need to be hand-authored.
Crytek go on to say that "The heart of this challenge is to progress the objective of generating CG game worlds from open street map data in a game engine. This could provide game developers with the chance to create even larger worlds more quickly, and at a lower cost. Whilst open street map data is not at all detailed enough for many gaming applications, it could provide a starting point for procedurally generated content."
The potential for it’s application is plain to see, driving games in particular could make great use of it, allowing developers to easily create real-world locations for you to burn rubber in.
Do you think that this idea has legs?
Will the new concept stunt developer creativity?