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This Teardown modder wants to help you smash up the real world

How often do I get to drive a truck into the office?

Outside of Teardown, most of us will never know the thrill of bombing industrial lots or driving a dump-truck into a billionaire's mansion. But while I won't be taking a sledgehammer to my office anytime soon, I can rest easy in the knowledge that I may soon be breaking it down on my desktop - with one programmer showing off a delightfully destructive montage of real-world wreckage inside Tuxedo Labs' digital smashing yards.

See, Teardown lets you easily import new maps straight from voxel modelling software MagicaVoxel, a fairly simple piece of software for making blocky little dioramas. Some of these are proper impressive, too, including a fully-simulated suspension bridge. But by adding FileToVox (another plugin for the voxelling tool) to the pipeline, generative tools developer mode_vis was able to take Teardown's arsenal into a range of photogrammetry-scanned spaces.

I quite like Teardown's built-in roster of maps, but there really aren't many of them. Fortunately, if Mode_vis is to be believed, we now have a practically endless roster of new smashing grounds. Today's video showcases sleepy villages, regal castles, and run-down industrial pits that wouldn't look out of place among the game's existing maps. Teardown's quietly-impressive rendering tech also helps give a real sense of life to these scenes - its ray-traced lighting perfecting painting the warm evening glow of a Mediterranean village, the dour rain-drenched ruins of what I have to imagine is Chernobyl.

That voxellated look also helps mask a lot of the "goopiness" that comes with 3D satellite scans, though resolution tends to fall off the closer you get to any given object. You still need to get your hands dirty once the scan reaches MagicaVoxel, mind - colours need to be assigned from Teardown's various palettes (controlling what acts like wood, metal, etc), while maps also require an unbreakable bottom layer. I figure there's a whole load of smaller tweaks to really bring a space together, too.

As a shortcut to letting us plough through old apartments, however, it feels like Mode_vis has opened a very dangerous door indeed. We'll hopefully see what's on the other side of it sometime next week.

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Natalie Clayton avatar

Natalie Clayton


Writes news when everyone else is asleep, sometimes