Author: Agencia Catalana del Patrimoni Cultural (ACdPC)

Theories of Presence in Virtual Reality

In Virtual Reality one of the key concepts is Presence. Much theoretical research has been done around the immersion that the virtual environments can produce, and usually focus the attention in perceptual issues. But different approaches are emerging in the last months. For instance, Dustin Chertoff has published a new, more holistic theory about presence that analyses cognition and emotion too.

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Ullastret, 250 B.C. A virtual reconstruction of an Iron Age Town

Today’s latest game engines and virtual reality devices make it possible to recreate ancient worlds and build experiences with a new aim in mind, not just to see the buildings in an ancient town, but feel as if you were back then.

During the last two years we have been working to process the archaeological information of the Iberian ancient town of Ullastret to a complete 3D model of the city that can be experienced in Virtual Reality.

A team of archaeologists, designers and programmers has translated all that data to a 3D complete model built with Unreal Engine, a videogame creation software that allows new immersive outputs like 360º videos and VR environments.

The script contains key elements from the Iberian culture: their totemic animals, the social prevalence of warriors… The users are immersed in the dream of a member of the Iberian elite, who returns to the town and remembers the first time he saw the great walls, the children playing in the streets, the courtyard where he learned to fight…

The HTC Vive kit allow us to literally teleport the visitors to those town of 2200 years ago. They can physically move in a 3x3m area, where they can wander by the streets, enter a room and take a close look to the amphoras… The project can be seen too in an immersive room suited for little groups in the archaeological site where they are sorrounded by screens showing the same story but adapted to this media.

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