Watch: Stunning Blade Runner VR Fan Project is Nearly Done, But There’s a Hitch

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We check back in with Blade Runner 9732, a stunningly detailed fan developed VR recreation of Deckard’s iconic flat from the original film. The project was recently updated showing some incredible progress, but despite its near final status, there’s one snag which is holding up its completion.

It’s been a little while since we last checked in on Blade Runner 9732, a one-man project that started as a technical exercise and blossomed into a quest to recreate one of sci-fi’s most iconic movie locations. With the sequel to the 1982 original, Blade Runner 2049, now confirmed for release this year, we thought we’d check in on a project we first covered over 2 years ago.

Blade Runner (1982) director Ridley Scott’s obsessive attention to detail when it came to set dressing made for dense, layered scenes littered with carefully placed, hand picked objects which may only appear fleetingly (if at all) in the movie, but were instrumental in bringing to life his vision of a dystopian future. It also means the film is rich pickings for those wishing to go about recreating that world. In Creative Software Engineer Quentin Lengele‘s case, Blade Runner 9732 began as an exercise in sharpening his 3D modelling skills, specifically 3DS Max height maps, even more specifically wall tiles found in Blade Runner protagonist Deckard’s apartment. “It was just a height map test on wall tiles in 3D Studio Max. It quickly turns into a modelling challenge to reproduce all the assets of Deckard’s apartment and a view on Los Angeles streets,” said Lengele of the project’s origins.

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We originally wrote about the project back in 2014, with the project already showing huge promise, demonstrating as it did the sort of attention to detail that virtual reality fans crave. Now, over 2 years on, the project is looking better than ever. In a new dev blog Lengele gives us a real-time video look at the project (see embedded video at the top of this page). Here’s a list of the latest builds improvements:

  • New lighting setup. No more Direction Specular Ligh[t]map, only Directional.
  • New Reflection Probes setup. Less probe instances, high quality only when needed.
  • New Post-Processing beta4 implementation
  • Finetune particle systems
  • City mod & texturing enhancement (Substance Painter)
  • New Police Spinner animation & textures
  • Better Global Fog settings
  • Finetune Lens Flares
  • Reduce Volumetric Lights quality
  • Move all assets into Resources folder
  • Reduce scales in lightmaps on several objects
  • Finetune glass rendering
  • Finetune some PBR materials
  • Fix apartment walls, floors and roof meshes
  • Add new unmounted Blaster gun

After years of painstaking work, it now appears Lengele is approaching completion of the project. In a response to a comment on his dev blog, the developer says he’s very nearly there. “I have 3 things to do before releasing this experience: 1. Improve the bathroom
2. Add a few more details on buffets.” But one crucial step may have to wait, the final up to date VR port of the experience. Sadly Lengele doesn’t possess a current generation VR headset, just a now obsolete Oculus Rift DK1.

blade-runner-9732Considering the potential for this incredible digital homage to a bonafide sci-fi movie classic, surely there’s someone out there who can help Lengele get his hands on the latest VR hardware? To be clear, Lengele has never asked for a hand out, but if Oculus, HTC or Valve are reading this, can you throw some hardware at this guy? From my perspective, projects like these (and we’ve seen a few over the years) present an opportunity to highlight forms of creativity which VR can truly bring to life. Lets see if someone can help make it happen!

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