Source - BBC News
The Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies in Cambridge have come up with an interesting new use for id Software's "Quake II" engine, using it as the basis for a project to recreate Cambridge University's new computer research building in digital form to allow them to show it off to sponsor Bill Gates before it is even completed. Instead of spending a small fortune on creating a virtual reality simulation of the building, they simply turned it into a Quake II level with custom textures and models. Project leader Paul Richens compared it to using a more traditional architectural virtual reality system, commenting that "we get slightly better results using a £30 game running on a £150 graphics card".
There were some problems with using Quake II as the basis for the project though - "we had to take the guns out; the head of the department didn't like that at all". And that was only the start of their problems. "If you get in [a lift] while it's upstairs, it comes down and hits you on the head, and you die. And we had to spend a lot of time putting handrails on all the landings because people kept falling off." Luckily falling off a third floor landing in Quake II is unlikely to be fatal, but it does produce a cringe-inducing sound of breaking bones...
Rumours that the design for the building has now been altered to include a combination lava pool and sauna room, and that the pavement in front of the building has been reinforced to allow students to rocket jump straight to the second floor, hence avoiding having to pick their way through the crates that have been left in the atrium, are unconfirmed at this time. And while we're on the subject, be sure to check out Electonic Arts level designer Redchurch's "If architects were really level designers", which takes a skewed look at the world of game design, featuring contributions from myself, Rogue's Rich Carlson and Epic's Warren Marshall amongst others.