A digital artist recreates the ruins of a 4,500-year-old Bronze Age city in Unreal Engine 5, scanning photographs into fully exportable 3D space.

Unreal Engine 5 is the latest and most advanced engine from Epic Games. Revealed in 2020 and officially launched in April, it is designed to allow developers to create highly detailed, photorealistic environments without a massive investment of time, money and manpower.

Various hobbyists have taken advantage of this by using Unreal Engine 5 to create unique digital environments based on real locations. One example is Reddit user walhargohar, who recently uploaded a video showing his digitization of the nearly 5,000-year-old ruins of Mohenjo-daro in modern-day Pakistan.

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The video uploaded to Reddit opens with an aerial view of the location, followed by a clip of one of Unreal 5’s robotic avatars walking around the site’s central structure. The video then showcases the simulation’s real-time lighting before ending with clips of the avatar examining the site’s Great Bath and overlooking the city from the highest point of the ruin.

Although difficult in places and Walhargohar not modeling any of the surrounding landscapes, the impressive Unreal Engine 5 environment is fully explorable and seems to encompass most of the remaining structures. They also indicated that they intended to continue working and improving their project and that they were open to the idea of ​​doing a “rebuilt” version of it based on the appearance of the city when it was still inhabited.

For anyone curious, Mohenjo-daro, meaning “Mound of Dead Men”, are the ruins of a Bronze Age city built along the Indus River in Pakistan around 2500 BC. Abandoned around 1900 BC. BC, archaeologists rediscovered the site at the beginning of the 20th century. Despite its relative obscurity, the site is notable for its size, having an area of ​​over 1.2 square miles and an estimated population of around 40,000 people.

Walhargohar captured the location using Metashape software, which allows users to create precise 3D images based on photographs of real objects. Originally released in 2010, the developers used Metashape in games such as Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Halo 4, Cyberpunk 2077, The Talos Principle, Ryse son of Rome, and more. The software is also used by various film and television studios and is popular with archaeologists. It is perhaps for this last reason that Walhargohar chose to use Metashape for this project.

Walhargohar isn’t the only digital artist doing impressive work in Unreal Engine 5. In May, an artist showed off his photorealistic recreation of Etchu-Daimon Station in Imizu, Japan. More recently, a Avatar: The Last Airbender fan created a highly detailed version of the Western Air Temple from the series in Unreal Engine 5.

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