I Remember When... Exploring landscape, narrative and time using computer games

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Conventionally, digital presentations of heritage rely on static views, the fixed focus of pre-rendered computer animations, or relatively simple show and tell interactive experiences. The work described in this paper aims to approach the goal of "Virtual time travel" proposed by Ch'ng (2009) by using first person computer game software to generate the virtual world. In such a world users are free to explore virtual space and time, creating their own links and meanings. This paper explores the experience gained in the design of several experimental microgames: Imagining the Stones, an exploration of an idealized landscape around Stonehenge; Capture the Castle, a free-form exploration of the earthwork remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle, generated from community-led fieldwork and Now and England a game-based meditation on the landscape and text of Little Gidding, the concluding poem of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets

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I Remember When... Exploring landscape, narrative and time using computer games

  1. 1. I Remember When… Exploring landscape, narrative and time using computer games Keith Challis, IBM Vista, University of Birmingham
  2. 2. I Remember When… <ul><li>serious games? </li></ul><ul><li>an approach </li></ul><ul><li>agenda </li></ul>
  3. 3. serious games?
  4. 4. serious games? <ul><li>Bob Stone - Eugene Che’ng </li></ul><ul><li>games as mediums of training and communication </li></ul><ul><li>scientific visualisation </li></ul><ul><li>simulation </li></ul>
  5. 5. an alternative to serious games? <ul><li>the chineseroom: Dan Pinchbeck </li></ul><ul><li>games as research artifacts </li></ul><ul><li>subversion of form </li></ul><ul><li>exploration of narrative structure / made meanings </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Eddo Stern </li></ul><ul><li>fusion of games, installation art and performance </li></ul><ul><li>challenges to perception and engagement </li></ul><ul><li>breaking the medium </li></ul>an alternative to serious games?
  7. 7. an alternative to serious games? <ul><li>Igloo (Ruth Gibson & Bruno Martelli ) </li></ul><ul><li>an investigation into the experience of place, figure and landscape </li></ul><ul><li>real and invented panoramas depict the beauty and strangeness of the natural world </li></ul>Vermilion Lake
  8. 8. an alternative to serious games? <ul><li>Robert Overweg </li></ul><ul><li>games as the subject of artistic representation </li></ul>
  9. 9. an approach
  10. 10. an approach <ul><li>small areas (max 2 x 2km) </li></ul><ul><li>real terrain </li></ul><ul><li>unconstrained movement, no goals </li></ul><ul><li>programmed low-key events </li></ul><ul><li>unresolved objectives </li></ul>
  11. 11. an approach <ul><li>Imagining the Stones </li></ul><ul><li>an archaeology of landscape </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;the real work [in the study of landscape] is accomplished by the men and women with muddy boots...&quot; (WG Hoskins) </li></ul><ul><li>like Hoskins we &quot;explore England on foot&quot; </li></ul>
  12. 12. an approach
  13. 13. an approach <ul><li>Capture the Castle </li></ul><ul><li>uniting quantitative/qualitative </li></ul><ul><li>a virtual phenomenological approach? </li></ul><ul><li>quantitative data driven visualisation </li></ul><ul><li>qualitative, sensory exploration of data/meaning </li></ul>
  14. 14. an approach
  15. 15. an approach <ul><li>Now and England </li></ul><ul><li>an exploration of text </li></ul><ul><li>free exploration of text and landscape </li></ul><ul><li>relationship between scenery and ideation </li></ul><ul><li>exploration of new meanings in text </li></ul>
  16. 16. an approach
  17. 17. an approach <ul><li>PROs </li></ul><ul><li>enthusiastic engagement </li></ul><ul><li>intuitive understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Awe </li></ul><ul><li>“ that’s just like it” </li></ul><ul><li>inquisitive exploration </li></ul><ul><li>CONS </li></ul><ul><li>confusion over aims </li></ul><ul><li>sense of disorientation </li></ul><ul><li>what am I meant to do? </li></ul><ul><li>recognition of weaknesses in world fabric </li></ul>
  18. 18. agenda
  19. 19. <ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>can use of games facilitate a novel approach to visual exploration of landscape? </li></ul><ul><li>what would it mean to throw away the rules of archaeological approaches to visualisation? </li></ul><ul><li>can we create a new landscape of engagement? </li></ul>agenda
  20. 20. agenda stonehenge korsokovia esther laxton gidding now real then imagined
  21. 21. agenda <ul><li>Aims </li></ul><ul><li>fusion of digital heritage, story and artistic representation </li></ul><ul><li>abandon rules of time and linearity </li></ul><ul><li>equality of the teller and the audience </li></ul>
  22. 22. agenda
  23. 23. agenda The Path http://tale-of-tales.com/ThePath/
  24. 24. agenda <ul><li>freedom from strict adherence to historical authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>primacy of artistic and dramatic content </li></ul><ul><li>active exploration of landscape theory </li></ul><ul><li>an element of installation in presentation </li></ul>Norwich Castle Museum
  25. 25. (loose) ends <ul><li>equating games with visualisation is missing the point </li></ul><ul><li>historical fidelity is less important than drama and narrative </li></ul><ul><li>games are the theatre of the past </li></ul>www.vista.bham.ac.uk/games secondsiteresearch.blogspot.com

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