University of Nottingham Dept. Archaeology /Norfolk Archaeological Trust
Having successfully recreated Caistor Roman Town on the landscape with augmented reality (Caistor AR app), the team from the Archaeology department at Nottingham University wanted to explore ways of making the experience more interactive and immersive to give visitors an even greater insight into every-day Roman life
We created an interactive augmented reality (AR) quest game set within the virtually recreated forum of the town. The game allows visitors to walk around the forum, meeting and questioning characters as they explore, to discover the origins of a set of artefacts that have been previously excavated from the site.
We worked closely with the team at Nottingham University to determine the most appropriate artefacts and characters to incorporate, what languages they might have spoken and how the forum should be recreated and populated with props, animals etc.
Our game artists created the environment, artefacts and characters in 3D, optimising them to run smoothly with the more limited processing power of a mobile device, while still looking good; Characters were modelled, rigged and animated. Our developers programmed the augmented reality allowing six degrees of freedom (ie the ability to move all around the scene and characters), AI and interactivity, together with analytics to enable accurate evaluation of the user experience.
The experience was intuitive, visitors simply walked to wherever they wanted to be within the virtual world; As they approached a character, the character would react to them and begin speaking in a way that enabled the story to develop and for the player to understand the environment they were in. AI within the game knew which character had already been encountered and therefore knew which way to react to them, directing visitors only to characters that they hadn’t already encountered.
User feedback of the app has been extremely positive, with visitors to the site saying that they have gained a greater understanding of what life was like within a Romano-British settlement.
‘Jam would also always go the extra-mile to ensure deadlines were met and demonstration models were produced in time for key milestone events in the project. I would willingly work with them in any project and indeed hope to do so again in the future.’ Dr Will Bowden