In the latest example of the line between virtual and reality, a gamer has created a race circuit out of their own local roads for use in Assetto Corsa, using a technique known as photogrammetry.
Photogrammetry is essentially a method of gathering spatial information about an object by recording it, using sophisticated technology to interpret how the various samples relate to each other. The most common application is the generation of three-dimensional objects from photographs, generally requiring a large quantity of images from different angles; Google uses photogrammetry to create 3D models of buildings in Google Earth.
That’s precisely what was used here. The gamer, known as ISavic on YouTube, rode a bike around the streets — of what appears to be Knjazevac in Serbia — with a GoPro attached to film their journey, recording forward, backward, and to both sides.
Rather than using the full video, ISavic extracted one frame in ten — making for around 4,000 images of this short course — and, using photogrammetry program Reality Capture, converted the roads into 3D models.
ISavic states that the full conversion took around five days, building the environment in parts and manually inserting reference points so that Assetto Corsa could deal with the pathway, before combining it into a single track.
The result is pretty impressive, and the video above shows the real layout and the in-game version together (at equalized speeds). Of course the technique isn’t perfect and some of the surroundings look a little like a drive through the Animus in Assassin’s Creed, the road surface itself seems to be pretty authentic, right down to the elevation changes.
It’s a great proof of concept, and ultimately means that anyone, anywhere, can create a fantasy road circuit from any streets they want — although it requires more than a little bit of skill! We can’t wait to see more.