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'Madden' Developers Dazzled by U.S. Bank Stadium

View images as EA Sports scanned U.S. Bank Stadium to add the smallest details of the stadium to the new Madden video game.

MINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Bank Stadium continues to impress.

A pair of representatives from EA SPORTS spent two days in August digitally scanning and photographing the Vikings new venue, looking for even the smallest details to add to the popular "Madden" video game.

While the duo's focus was on enhancing the stadium in the game, they couldn't help but gawk at the impressive 1.75-million-square foot venue.

"Different people like different things, but it's one of my favorites for sure," said Jared Morton, a senior environmental modelist who has worked on the "Madden" franchise for the past eight years. "(We) were commenting on this … it looks good on the outside and the inside.

"There's a lot of stadiums that look good one or the other," he added. "With this one, they really took the care to give it a flair."

Environmental modelist Erwin Tibayan said U.S. Bank Stadium stood out like no other.

"This is the prettiest football stadium I've ever been in," Tibayan said. "The design and architecture (of the stadium) just calls to me … the truss work is really pleasing to the eye."

Both Morton and Tibayan said the stadium's clear ETFE material that covers 60 percent of the roof is a feature unlike they've worked with before. The duo spent nearly 10 hours at the stadium one day trying to get a feel for how to replicate the shadows from the roof trusses on the field.

"This is really advanced and a really unique stadium, which is something I really appreciate," Morton said. "The most unique thing, and the biggest challenge for us, is the fact that it's essentially half covered and half uncovered.

"We have stadiums that are partially covered and hybrid stadiums where the roof opens and closes," he added. "This is the only one where you have the sun coming in through the (roof) where you can see the shadows on the ground."

Morton said players and the game play garner most of the attention during the game but that the stadiums are the "stars of the show" because they're so widely seen.

Although U.S. Bank Stadium is featured in the current version of the game, Morton said the company built the stadium based off architectural renderings.

Morton digitally scanned nearly the entire stadium. He said he was documenting interior details such as the video and ribbon boards, signage and concourses as well as signature elements like the Gjallarhorn and the ETFE material.

EA SPORTS, which was in the stadium for the first time, also got images of the Delta Sky360 Club, an area players walk through as they take the field.

"There are always some changes between the architectural design and what was actually built," Morton said. "So we're picking up all that and getting a much more accurate piece of reference."

Tibayan described their roles as putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

View images of U.S. Bank Stadium from the Vikings two preseason games at the facility.

Morton estimated that he took about 80 digital scans of the interior of U.S. Bank Stadium. The 3D scanner sat on a tripod, which Morton carried every 60 feet or so to take a new scan. Each scan took two minutes and 45 seconds.

The scanner captured a 360-degree view as a laser hit a spinning mirror inside the device at a 45-degree angle. Scans captured details up to 300 meters away, meaning those taken inside the stadium on the west end could capture the surrounding cityscape outside U.S. Bank Stadium through the wall of glass.

Morton also took a more in-depth scan on the Norseman logo at midfield that took 30 minutes.

Tibayan shot thousands of photos to add even more details of the stadium. EA SPORTS used to digitally create stadiums for game play by using only photographs but started digitally scanning them a few years ago.

The duo also spent a day documenting the exterior of the stadium, including the surrounding buildings. Morton said he took 40 scans outside of the stadium and captured the first wave of buildings of the downtown Minneapolis skyline.

He said U.S. Bank Stadium will give "Madden" fans an incredible experience. Some stadium enhancements are expected to be implemented this season while all will be in place for the 2018 "Madden" game.

"We want it to feel live and real," Morton said. "Maybe not like you're in the stadium, but you're watching on TV but controlling what's happening."

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