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Google is using Maps to turn every video game into an earth-sized epic

Video games are about to look a lot more like the real world. If you’ve enjoyed the thrill of driving through GTA V and spying out Los Angeles landmarks, then that’s a sentiment you’re probably going to start feeling a lot more often while you play video games.

Google is making its Maps API play nice with video game designers, giving them access to the real world’s geography and geometry, throwing 100 million 3D buildings, landmarks and more into developer’s design repertoires. Game studios will be able to use these maps to serve as the basis of their digital environments with all of the models turned into GameObjects in the Unity game engine that are ready to be tweaked and have new textures applied to them.

In practice, that means developers could easily turn New York City into a medieval metropolis, or switch up some textures and change up everything again into some vast alien world. The gaming flavor of Maps API takes a lot of work away from developers that are building vast empires.