how a video game could help rebuild the notre dame cathedral

how a video game could help rebuild the notre dame cathedral

the notre dame de paris may have been devastated by a fire on monday but the french president emmanuel macron has vowed to rebuild the famous cathedralwith total donations exceeding €600 million, money has poured in from fashion mogul’s françois-henri pinault and bernard arnault, even tech giant apple has pledged its support. now, focus turns to how exactly the centuries-old structure can be restored to its former glory and there’s one unlikely source that could prove useful.


back in 2014, the cathedral was a centerpiece of ‘assassin’s creed unity’ an action-adventure video game set in the city of paris during the french revolution. the authenticity of the game depended on level artist, caroline miousse, who spent two years poring over details of the cathedral to create an accurate depiction. originally detailed in an article written by the verge’s andrew webster, ‘she pored over photos to get the architecture just right, and worked with texture artists to make sure that each brick was as it should be.’

how a video game could help to rebuild the notre dame cathedral designboom

images © ubisoft



assassin’s creed‘ is known for its lovingly detailed re-creations of historic places. whilst miousse never saw the notre dame cathedral in person before recreating it in a digital realm, the company that made the video game had staff historians to achieve authenticity. miousse worked alongside these individuals to explore even the tiny details like where exactly paintings were hung on the walls in real life. she even had to add the cathedral’s iconic spires, in spite of the fact they didn’t exist at that point in history.

how a video game could help to rebuild the notre dame cathedral designboom



the fact is, the detailed measurements, material references, and close-to-exact representation make it a very detailed and reliable resource. although it may not trump traditional architectural planning it’s interesting to think that a video game could be a vital source in building restorations either today or some point in the future.

how a video game could help to rebuild the notre dame cathedral designboom



there is no official word from game developers as to whether they would officially release anything that could help. it is still yet to be announced what the restores structure would look like, and whether it would be an exact replica or not. most recently there have been reports of france inviting architects around the world to submit their designs for a new spire to sit atop a renovated notre dame cathedral. prime minister edouard philippe has told reporters they hoped for ‘a new spire that is adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era‘.

how a video game could help to rebuild the notre dame cathedral designboom

how a video game could help to rebuild the notre dame cathedral designboom

image via the verge

  • well no, it won’t help.
    ubisoft did an amazing job but it won’t be useful from an architectural standpoint. it’s a (great, once again) graphic art rendering.
    moreover, 3D models already exists, much more accurate.

    buzzoff says:
  • andrew tallon’s work on notre-dame will be much more helpful and accurate than this (beautiful though) graphic art rendering.

    buzzoff says:
  • buzzoff absolutely right, the game representation is just a fake which slightly reminds the original. As a restorer, I know it. And the level of architecture in games is extremely low now. Just an example last year in a ZBrush event one guy showed an example of doing a cornice with Zbrush using as reference a capital of a column….

    Dmitrii Karpovich says:

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