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Virtual Mount Everest Will Be Climbable in 2016

Climbing the 29,029-foot Mt. Everest isn’t a feat achievable by most people, whether the expedition is cost-prohibitive or whether the physical capabilities and iron will just aren’t there. Even climbers who make it out to our planet’s highest mountain tend to succumb to the deathly cold temperatures, the lack of oxygen, or quickly descending storms.

It’s not easy, but Icelandic studio Sólfar Studios is aiming to make at least the visual aspect of the journey manageable.

“In forming this VR expeditionary force with RVX, our mission is to construct the definitive experience of what it feels like to summit Mount Everest, an epic feat that most will never attempt in the real world,” said Sólfar CEO and co-founder Kjartan Pierre Emilsson in a post on the studio’s website. “By combining incomparable visual fidelity with real player agency and interactivity, EVEREST VR will immerse you in a virtual reality that feels both real and emotionally stunning.”

So far, they have composited over 300,000 photos to create an accurate 3D representation of the area using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. By 2016, their simulated Everest will be navigable on “high-end VR platforms” like Oculus Rift and Valve’s Vive. It doesn’t appear that they will attempt to recreate the frostbite and muscle weakness the climb also provides, but that’s probably for the best.

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 has already shown off its capabilities with a slew of impressive visual demos: videos of a well-furnished home and a rocky beach scene are shockingly true to life in their realism, while elements from Pokémon, Sonic, Mario, World of Warcraft, and The Legend of Zelda have all been recreated in the engine with textures and physics far more realistic than the original games are capable of. We’re holding our breath for this Everest excursion.

HT: Kotaku

Featured image courtesy of Rdevany

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