Can a game be too realistic? – first look at Unrecord

In the past few days, what appears to be video footage of the body cam of a police officer walking through a grafiti-sprayed building has been posted on the internet. Or has it? The video I am talking about here is actually a demo video for a new first person shooter named Unrecord.

Upon watching the demo I was quite shocked and had to verify if it was actually a video game I just witnessed. And counting from the YT comments i am not the only one with this impression. Compared to any other video game in the last few years, Unrecord apparently sets completly new standards when it comes to a realistic feeling and immersion into video games.

How can this be achieved?

From a technical standpoint this demo is very impressive. When comparing the video to current triple A FPS titles it is obvious that they used some new techniques here:

1. Photogrammetry

entrance to the building shown in the trailer

A key aspect to reaching this high level of realism especially in textures is photogrammetry. This is done by making a large amount of pictures from a place and evaluating these to each other with trigonometry to build a 2D or 3D model with textures from a location. In case of the old grafiti hall demonstrated in the footage this means that this building actually is somewhere and has been completly photographed and meassured. Afterward they probably put in some 3D objects making the result a mix out of actually real pictures and 3D models.

2. Motion Capture

Wikipedia Motion Capture

For the realistic reloading and the movements of both the character aswell as the enemys it is very likely that motion capture was used. With this technology one can transfer the exact motion form a person in reality by tracking the movement with cameras to the model in the game making every little movement as realistic as possible.

3. Perspective of camera

watching from the shoulder

Last but not least the perspective of the camera is responsible for a big portion of the effect. When watching you get the feeling of being on someones shoulder as it is with body cams of police officers. These type of cameras also have a subtle fish eye effect that can be seen in the video. Furthermore there also is a vignete effect that focuses the view a bit resulting in an increased attention on the visible part. The camera is also quite shaky adding to the realism factor but this also draws less attention to possible graphic bugs and conceals them.

4. Unreal Engine 5

Unreal Engine 5 is getting indistinguishable from reality

By using the upcoming new generation of game engine, the unreal engine 5.2 it is also a possible to intergrate much better 3D models than bevor. This allows for much better photorealistic textures and a wide range of new possibilities enhancing the visuals.

Should this actually be achieved?

game footage that could be from a real body cam

Now with how to do this out of the way, the question if we should actually do this seems weird. Its brand new technology with incredible photorealistic graphics who would not want someting like this? Well especially in a first person shooter like Uncoverd its starting to take on a different kind of creepy when the environment and the enemys are so realistic that it can not really be differentiated from real life.

In an extrapolated futuristic form this basically becomes the problem with not knowing if you are in a simulation or not. But even more realisticly viewed is it very likely that the discussions and arguments between people who say that video games result in real life tragedys with guns and gamers who say otherwise gets started again as it gets increasingly difficult to tell game and reality apart. Unrecord tries to avoid this discussion by blurring the faces of the enemys but it still raises question especially because this is just a demo. The publisher also released a Q and A in which they distance themself from this discussion.

Either way Unrecord shows an intersting and impressive development in video games. We will see how the final game turns out.

Take a look at Unrecord here:

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