How Topographical Data is Revolutionising Your Favourite Games

 Sometimes when you can’t get your audience to come to the mountain you have to bring the mountain to your audience. That’s the approach EA Sports opted for during the development of snowboarding video game SSX and it worked for them to stunning effect.


The computer game developers actually turned to NASA to help build the tracks for the 2012 edition of the snowboarding simulator. Using data from the Aster Global Digital Elevation Map, a joint project between NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade they were able to create detailed to-scale virtual representations of some of the globe’s most iconic mountains.


Transferring the topographical data alone was no mean feat as it consisted of 1.3 million hi-res satellite photos of Earth, which the developers had to download into their proprietary level-building tool, Mountain Man. That type of data transfer alone could have doubled their lead-time on the project without the right file sharing product!


But once they got it into the Mountain Man tool they were able to cut track-building time from a year to a month as it allowed designers to conjure 3D models of mountains at lightning speed by merely inputting the peak’s latitude and longitude.


The result means riders can enjoy real world maps of the greatest peaks from the Himalayas to Patagonia and the Alps. And with the game being the franchise’s most well received release with 25 review scores of 9/10 or higher, it’s no wonder the trend doesn’t look like waning any time soon.


Video games are continually taking advantage of geological statistics to make game environments as realistic as possible and the advancements in secure and fast data transfer has only made it easier to incorporate the kind of large files this involves.


Topographical data is being used in games like Minecraft to build real world maps with the Danish government recently recreating the entire country in the hit game as an educational tool for students. The model consists of about 4000 billion bricks, and takes up about 1TB (1000 Gigabyte) if you want to download the entire country.


What’s more the trend is not confined to video games alone but is also being taken up by Hollywood where geological data is used to make realistic landscapes in documentaries and movies via CGI.


Whether it’s the latest open world video game or CGI-heavy blockbuster topographical data is fast becoming a necessity in their production and has seen its stock rise in the media industry because of the capabilities of modern file sharing.


Though moving terabits of databases is still a specialist offering so finding the right cloud platform vendor is a must.


Author: Maytech provides a global cloud platform for secure and reliant data transfer for 800 organisations in 35 countries spanning 60 industries. To find out more visit


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