Forza Horizon 3 Developer Discusses Photogrammetry, The New Technique They Used To Make The Game Look Realistic

Plus, a summer spent obsessively trying to record Australian skies.

Posted By | On 09th, Aug. 2016 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

Forza horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 looks incredible- it is actually surprising just how good Playground Games have managed to make the game look on an Xbox One. But it turns out that all of this owes itself to the dedication and hard work by the team, as well as some new techniques and technologies that they adapted during the development of the game.

“[Playground Games’ studio members] 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,” Ralph Fulton of Playground Games told Redbull.

Fulton also discussed the one thing about the game that has received a lot of appreciation- which is just how great and beautiful the skies in the game look. This, again, owes itself to the sheer extents and obsessiveness exhibited by Playground in trying to recreate Australian skies in the game.

“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,” Fulton said.

Forza Horizon 3 is going to launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs later this year.

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  • Rodney Patrick

    Take notes Sony!! This is how you make game.oh but then again Sony don’t have the money or resources to do so

    • Gwyn

      Uncharted 4, God of War 4, and Days Gone would like to have a word with you.

    • Mark

      Lol, true.

    • Jose Francisco Arroyo-Velez

      I sincerely think he’s talking about photorealism and the way that they made the game. Sure, Uncharted 4 is gorgeous, God of War looks graphically good and I am deeply disgusted by Days Gone like all Zombie games disgust me but none of these are photo realistic. And he’s right about Sony’s resources. They have a lot, it’s just not all behind PlayStation or their devs, Sony has other branches. One can argue that MS has the same issue but MS has way more money and MS has research into different fields (military, aerospace, photography, etc) whereas Sony focuses on consumer products.

  • Psionicinversion

    could look quite good then. They’ve obviously realised they need to up there game seeing as its now being put on PC. those textures in FH2 is just to bad for PC

    • Mark

      Ahaha, I probably won’t get to see anything in HDR till late next year. PhotoGrammetry does look amazing tho

    • Psionicinversion

      yeah me either. i preferably want a 4K HDR monitor and there releasing next year but until full die volta there wont be a gpu capable of powering 4K max setting 60fps till then. But also depends on the cost of those monitors to. alot of people are saying like the AMD engineers that they would prefer a lower res HDR monitor over a higher res one SDR. Spose for example a 1440 HDR over a normal 4K one, and the reason is the difference between them is more noticeable, which is fair enough.

      To much technology in a short space of time…. yeah photogrammetry is good, ive asked if star citizen is going use it but for alot of it, its all in the future so i dunno spose they could do it for plant life and stuff but just never know whats going happen. Knowing the devs in SC they’ll say photogrammetry will never happen then they’ll populate a forest of trees on the procedural world with amazing, well trees… through photogrammetry most liekly as a test bed and be nuts, so yah who knows whats going happen with anything

    • Mark

      When, the f*ck, is SC dropping?! On Clinton’s second term?

    • Psionicinversion

      Soon. TM 😀 Squadron 42 may release this year but i think 1Q 2017 really just depends how there going with it. Like all games there p[retty tight lipped about it so never know, might get a better idea at citizencon 9th october. if it drops after kabylake im buying a kabylake system and 1440p 10bit monitor cus im not playing SQ42 in peasant 1080p 6bit 60hz VA colour monitor from 6+ years ago

      i want a new system for all games. actually star citizen id say commercial launch near end of 2017 if it lucky.

    • Psionicinversion

      But it will be the awesome… 😀

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  • Mr Xrat

    Using Bullshot mode to make your churned-out textures long any good, clever.


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