London has been featured in many games over the years and in increasing levels of detail as game consoles and budgets increase. In the first of a more detailed look into the production of 3D cities for games we turn our eye to the forthcoming PlayStation 3 and The Getaway.
The Getaway originally appeared on the PlayStation 2 recreating a 3D rendition of London covering approximately 10 square miles (16 square kilometers ). The team produced a wire frame model based on a photographic survey of London and then projected the resulting textures onto the geometry. The game is viewed from the street level allowing some simplification of buildings. In a write up for the BBC Senior producer Peter Edward mentions that "The street sites are like a western movie. They don't have wooden slates at the back but they are just the fronts". This is the easiest (if easy is the word) way to rapidly create geometry by ignoring the overall building footprint and pasting on rectified images to create facades.
The recreation of London is impressive and gives an insight into the budget required to build realistic representations of cities in console games. The next Getaway update is scheduled for release to co-inside with the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 in November 2006. The movie below shows the model development to date, concentrating on the area around Piccadilly Circus:
The use of High Dynamic Lighting, real time traffic, pedestrian simulations, and detailed geometry is impressive. The game looks like it will represent the state of the art in city modelling.