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These Free Steam Games Let You Roam Realistic Locations with a Camera

Australian indie game developer Matt Newell has released a new free Steam game called Castle Rock Beach, West Australia. It allows you to freely explore a realistic recreation of Australia’s southwest coast with a camera.

Just check out these screenshots for a taste of how beautiful and photorealistic the immersive world is:

Here’s a 2-minute video showing what gameplay looks like:

The game allows you to explore the world at your own pace while completing casual photography objectives with the in-game DSLR camera.

What’s impressive is that Newell is a full-time engineering student at university who’s doing this game development in his free time. Newell shares that he had experience in photography and color before he started learning to build with Unreal Engine in February 2018.

Newell built the game over 9 months (again, in his free time) by bringing in photoscanned models (of things like plants, rocks, trees), working on lighting/color, and adding interactive elements.

This latest game joins a growing list of locations Newell has released already.

In May 2020, Newell released Wakamarina Valley, New Zealand, which is set in the idyllic forested landscape of the Wakamarina Valley, located near Queen Charlotte Sound on New Zealand’s South Island.

In March 2020, Newell released Mýrdalssandur, Iceland, which focuses on Iceland’s southern coast.

Newell’s first release was in October 2019. Titled Explore Fushimi Inari, the game is a realistic recreation of the renowned Japanese shrine, Fushimi Inari Taisha.

All four games are available on Steam and have VR headset compatibility (though compatibility may cost you a little money). The basic West Australia, Iceland, and Japan games are free, while the New Zealand game costs $4.

Samyang’s New Lens Simulator Shows How Settings Affect Photos

Samyang has just launched a new Lens Simulator that lets you play with sensor sizes and lens settings to see how they affect the look of resulting photos.

The interactive web app features a dynamic photo on the left and controls on the right for adjusting the image. You can choose the background image, sensor crop factor, focal length (from 10mm to 300mm), aperture (from f/1.2 to f/36), and subject distance.

As you make changes to the settings, the dynamic photo changes to reflect the new look, and app tells you your depth of field as well. Here’s a 3-minute video that introduces the simulator and shows how it works:

While the app is intelligent in some ways (e.g. it will automatically zoom in on the subject’s face as you increase the focal length) it’s less intelligent in others — you can make the subject look like she’s the size of Tinker Bell by placing her farther away, for example.

If you find a combination of settings you want to use in the real world, there’s also a handy Search button that returns all the current Samyang lenses that are capable of making the same photo.

If you’re just getting started in photography, this could be a simple way to better wrap your mind around how lenses work and what settings do. Head on over to the Samyang Lens Simulator if you’d like to try it out for yourself.

(via Samyang via DIYP)