The Crew‘s map is enormous compared to the standards of a game, but just how close are we to reproducing realistic distances? Turns out we’re really pretty far, as we experimented with the PS4 beta.
We set a waypoint from Central Park in New York to Los Angeles (Long Beach, to be precise) in the game, and then tried to reproduce the same route on Google Maps, passing through the same cities. Of course there’s a degree of approximation, since the cities in the game aren’t exactly in the same place as those in the real world.
As you can see below, 2,807 miles got compressed into 72, as clocked by the game’s GPS.
We also repeated the experiment going from the Space Needle (or Seattle Rocket, as it’s renamed in The Crew) in Seattle to the extreme south-eastern point of Miami. This time 3,893 Miles Became 93.
This means that the travel distance between Seattle and Miami in the game is about 2.4% of the real distance. Will technology ever evolve to a point in which we’ll have games reproducing realistically enormous distance faithfully?
That’s probably unlikely, at least on the short period, even because it’s not just a matter of technology. Short of using procedural generation like No Man’s Sky does, the man-hours required to create the assets necessary to reproduce the United States would be mind-boggling, and way beyond the budget of even the richest AAA game.
Maybe it could become possible with the development of advanced 3D scanning technologies able to create assets like Google does for the street view of its Maps, but with largely improved fidelity. For the moment, we’re probably talking about science fiction.
The question remains on whether we really want realistic distances. Traveling From Seattle to Miami took me about 100 minutes in the game. Do we really want to have to drive through often boring environments for 56 hours?