Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Mapping Game Worlds onto the Real World

One of the perennial questions asked of computer games is 'How big is the map?' It is a question which can perhaps be best answered by comparing the size of a game world with a real world location.

If you ask Google 'How many square miles is GTA V? it will answer '100 square miles'. That is probably a reasonably accurate answer (accepting the philosophical leap necessary when trying to map the virtual onto the real). But how big is 100 square miles? You can use this Google Maps Area Calculator Tool to overlay 100 square miles on any area in the world. For example, here is what 100 square miles looks like overlaid on top of San Francisco.

If you know San Francisco well this will probably give you a reasonable idea of the size of Los Santos in GTA V. But manually marking out 100 square miles on an interactive map seems unnecessarily like hard work to me. If only somebody had already mapped out computer games onto the real world so that we didn't have to do it ourselves.

Step forward Video Game Maps in the Real World.... This new interactive map from Casino Kings uses a map of the UK to demonstrate the size of the game worlds in the 50 largest open world computer games. Select a game on this map and you can instantly see how big it is in comparison to  the UK. The map provides additional details such as the size of the chosen game world (in square miles) and what percentage that is in comparison to the the UK. For example, Elder Scrolls 2 is 62,934 square miles or 67% of the size of the UK.

This is of cause fantastic if you are British. If you aren't from the UK and you want to make a more local comparison then you can at least use Video Game Maps in the Real World to discover the size in square miles of the 50 largest open world video games and then use the Google Maps Area Calculator Tool to overlay that surface area on top of your own home.

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