by Joshua Curry
The battlements of Fort Moultrie have been raised to their former glory recently. This time it was done with pixels instead of bricks and mortar.
Canadian company Battlefields in Motion have launched an interactive website that faithfully recreates the fort using 3D modeling software. Using a combination of modern satellite imagery from Google and historic photos and written accounts, a richly detailed map has been constructed. One of the first uses can be seen in the flyover video used as an introduction to the project.
Because of the detail and number of elements in the construct, that flyover took nearly two weeks to render in various stages. Plans are in place for "spin-dioramas" that will feature real-time exploration of various parts of the map. An early example of that is an interactive cannon model that allows views from nearly any angle. It was recreated using 19th-Century US Artillery manuals.
The website is still in its early stages and the Ontario based company plans on working on the additional cannons with 32-pounder cannons coming next. For now, only the 24-pounder model is live. They estimate another year before the bulk of the site is completed.
The Fort Moultrie project is the company's first independent project after completing an 18th century Quebec City reconstruction. According to Technical Director Pat Dufault, they have many more planned, "So far, we've been contacted by two other organizations in Charleston, plus one each in Florida, Texas, and Tennessee, inquiring about the possibility of producing similar recreations and videos for their own subjects."
In addition to the 3D work, they've also converted a variety of stereoscopic images into animated gifs that loop the dual views, giving the illusion of movement.
No word on whether they'll be releasing the 3D data to the Call of Duty map modders anytime soon.