How The Division 2 Successfully Recreates Washington DC

Triple M’s Tom and Olly chatted to Lead Environment Artist for The Division 2, Chad Chatterton about recreating a one to one version of Washington DC in the game.

T&O: How did you recreate Washington DC down to a one to one ratio?

CC: Where do you begin with that? We began with research trips that took the team to Washington DC to get familiar, to meet experts, people on the ground, street artists and particularly talking to first responders and people who would deal with a pandemic, as it’s depicted in The Division 2, so we can get some actual, believeable research back in the game.

T&O: In this game, it was obviously a huge task, could you talk about the technology used to do this?

CC: Cities have been recreated before in games. Of course, we did this with Manhattan for The Division 2. In this game, we compressed somethings and moved some things around. We avoided doing this in Washington DC. We took a footprint as it is. We’re calling on LIDAR data, which is publicly available data, practically satellite imagery, that tells us such as how old each buildings are, information about the trees and what kind they are, and other little elements that tell us about the city. We used this as a beginning foot print, that we built upon over a two year period.

T&O: Have you played the final game and how happy are you with how the environments turned out?

CC: I finally got to play the final version for the first time this week. Obviously, I’ve tested whilst I’ve played, but yesterday was the first time I go to relax and enjoy the city and see how things have come together. I was in DC a few weeks ago and the transformation is fantastic. Sometimes, you don’t realise where you are, even if you’re in DC, but then you pause and take a look around and understand where you are.

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