Watch this recently unveiled demo of the Outerra Engine, which makes photo-realistic virtual worlds from real world data. The effect is pretty amazing:
Click here to download and try this tech demo for yourself -- it's available for PC, if you have the graphics power to play it. According to the developer, it's already being used for an upcoming MMO called Anteworld, "a world-building game on a massive true-to-life scale of our planet." As for how Outerra uses real world data, the overall idea sounds pretty brilliant. According to Make Magazine:
The large scale structures of mountains, rivers, and oceans use height-map data dynamically downloaded as you explore, while the ground-level detail is procedurally generated, leaving you free to view the world as close or as far away as you desire (presumably within the limits of your processor).
In other words, up close you get Minecraft-style procedural generation, while in the distance, real world-level fidelity -- the best of both approaches, seems like. But again, click here to try the tech demo yourself, to see how much the promise matches the reality.
Hat tip: Rusalka Writer, who notes, "As SL pokes along, other rendering systems leave us behind— and they know it."Tweet