The Real World Reflected In The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter

The Real World Reflected In The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter

Video games often strive to appear “realistic” in one way or another, but the new indie horror game The Vanishing of Ethan Cartertook things a step further verisimilitude-wise: creating many of its levels by pulling from real-world photographs.

Using a nifty technique known as “photogrammetry”, Ethan Carter developer The Astronauts built the game’s spooky (and scenic) locales from real-world counterparts using countless photographs that captured their every nook and cranny. Rebuilding meatspace soundings sounds neat — especially for a horror game. But how did the photogrammetry work out at the end of the day? Well, the Polish gaming site CTSG was thoughtful enough to do a couple one-to-one comparisons.

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Neat, right?

Read our review of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter here. Spoiler alert: We liked it!

Comments

      • It’s deceptive to use the word photogammetry. Usually that refers to 3D scanning using photos. This is more like taking photos and using them to build a world…. so like every other movie or game that’s used real world locations (the STALKER series comes to mind).

        photogammetry is more about taking very precise location and point cloud data similar to Lidar, depth mapping or small scale laser scanning.

        It’s cool what they’ve done, but it’s not photogammetry.

        EDIT: the link in the article explains it better than me. Looks like they did use it a bit but since most of these screenshots are different it looks like they took the scans and altered them… or they only used it for small sections or individual buildings.

        I guess it’s just to speed things up but if you’re going to change them anyway, why bother scanning at all?

      • What guy… they claim to use a technique that makes exact digital world replicas using scanned images and yet from what i see they have just used them as ideas and taken artistic licence with the images to create their own world. A very pretty world i might add and one i wouldn’t mind exploring but it isn’t what they claim.

    • I don’t think it was an exercise in exact realism. It’s using real world locales like a film would to stand in for something else. They’ve picked and chosen what works best for their story. It’s the way a film set in New York could have scenes shot in Chicago. All sewn together to create something bigger and more cohesive.

    • Yeah, a more accurate wording of what they did (so far as I’m aware) was to use photoscanning to create a whole bunch of objects (for instance the church is very similar to the real world version), and they then placed those in their (stylised) world using the real world stuff as a basis.

    • Your missing the point. The point of this hole thing is to take real world images, then adapt them to a game setting. Obviously that church for instance was a scan, they have just put it in a new location, why? Because it fits the game better. If they just scanned in the hole area it would be crap! They are adding more interest to the game this way. Many developers will do this to blueprints etc. so as to make the object better to animate, to structure the story better, to make the environment look more aesthetically pleasing, to give a item more function etc.

      It isn’t as easy as just scanning in a object as well so don’t think this is a cake walk. Hats off to them!

  • How incredible would it be to actually go to those places and just have this sense of nostalgia or Déjà vu

  • With a update in lighting, you can make those look real world. But unfortunately the lighting engines in majority of game-engines let the image down.

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