(Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts / IDIA Lab, Ball State University, Muncie IN, USA)

Outline: This lecture will discuss site several simulation projects by the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts at Ball State University that have employed various reconstruction methodologies in virtually interpreting these non-extant environments. Scholarly and technical approaches will be illustrated in the projects which have included sites such as the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, elements of the Lynd Middletown Studies, and Hadrian’s Villa as well as other projects. Techniques such as laser-scanning, advanced texture mapping, interactive interpretive technologies and generally leveraging the fidelity and capabilities of Blue Mars / CryEngine2 and Unity 3D in the service of simulation will also be outlined.

Abstract: This presentation will survey several cultural heritage virtual simulation projects from the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA) at Ball State University.

The goals of these simulations were to provide visitors with a remote but shared immersive experience of each recreated site. Exploration is engaged by touching interactive objects that bring up hyperlinked resources; through the use of a Flash based Heads Up Display (HUD); Non-player characters; live streaming media and through scripted greeter bots with interactive conversations.

Examples of the innovation in graphics will include advanced texture mapping techniques, custom vegetation, dynamic environments, terrain painting, cinematic effects, level of detail, model optimization, weather, particle and physics systems.

Simulations that will be discussed will include:

The 1915 San Francisco Panama – Pacific Exposition. A large scale simulation of this World’s Fair was reconstructed in Blue Mars and includes 3D laser-scanned sculptures by artist Adolph Weinman that were virtually re-contextualized with their original contexts.

Virtual Middletown, a virtual 3D immersive living museum building on the scholarship of Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd in their landmark studies Middletown (1929) and Middletown in Transition (1937). These in-depth accounts of life in Muncie, Indiana, became classic sociological studies and established the community as a barometer of social trends in the United States. IDIA has created a simulation of the non-extant Ball Glass factory from extensive research.

Byodo-In Temple site in Japan with laser-scanned Buddha.

Relic Temple – located in the Ji Le Temple complex – Nangang District in Harbin, China.

This presentation will also include our work on Dr. Bernard Frischer’s Hadrian’s Villa virtual reconstruction with contributions from an international group of scholars.

Keywords: virtual, simulation, laser-scanning