Think the Australian sky in Forza Horizon 3 looks real? That's because it is the real sky

Developer Playground Games decided to photograph the real Australian sky to put in the upcoming open-world racing game Forza Horizon 3, with the help of a 12K HDR (High Dynamic Range) camera.

The UK-based Playground Games took that camera rig to the Australian Outback to take pictures of the real sky. The UK Microsoft blog states:

The Playground team took "hundreds of thousands" of photos of a range of weather conditions in Australia and physically shipped a terabyte of data a day back to the UK, because "you can't email files that size". Once back in the studio, the data were worked on by lighting artists and rendering engineers to stream it into the game. The results of the hi-tech operation sit alongside standard photogrammetry in the game, which makes roads, walls and trees look very realistic.

The final result is meant to give the game a sky that uses real light more realistically compared to normal skyboxes. It wasn't all relaxing and taking pictures, however. The Australian Outback was also filled with deadly spiders during this shoot:

"They camped in the Australian Outback for the summer. It was hard, because everything wanted to kill them," said Ralph Fulton, Creative Director at Playground. "Every hour they had to change the camera lenses, but that also meant 'de-spidering' the camera because there are little crevices which are perfect for spiders to hide in."

Forza Horizon 3 is out on September 27 for the Xbox One console and Windows 10 PCs. A free Xbox One demo is already available.

John Callaham