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I've been watching a few of the World War II series on the National Geographic channel lately and they have a series called WW II Greatest raids.

In this series they provide CGI reenactments of the battles, sometimes even from a first person perspective, (examples can be seen here). The CGI looks to me almost like a PC video game.

I want to know if they had actually used a PC video game to reenact the battles or was it just purely CGI created in video software?

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Technically speaking video games are a form of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). For WW II Greatest Raids National Geographic worked together with Antimatter Games to create the six hours of animation. They used the Red Orchestra 2/Rising Storm game which is based on the Unreal 3 engine for creating the graphics.

Advantages of using a game enigne:

  • Decent images without much effort
    • Lighting is done by the engine
    • Animations are done by the engine (think about characters walking)
    • Many models are available so you don't have to model many things any more
    • Physics are done by the engine
  • Fast cycle time (game engines are designed to perform in real time, so you can check out the final result/render really fast)
  • A game engine has a relatively cheap license (some are even free depending on the type of license)

Disadvantages of using a game engine:

  • Due to the real time behavior you cannot expect high quality renderings
  • Your animations are fixed to what the engine is capable of, think of limitations on the number of characters for example
  • Might involve some programming, which you don't want to bother an animator with
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    Excellent find! I knew it looked like they used a video game engine :) – Jared Oct 6 '14 at 21:22
  • And a relatively old one even... – invalid_id Oct 7 '14 at 5:33

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