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Abstract of a Paper given at the Computer Applications in Archaeology Conference, 2007

Putting the “Reality” in Virtual Reality: New Advances through
Game Engine Technology
-- Michael Anderson

Four years ago, I presented a critical evaluation of the use of computer game engines in 3D reconstruction, revealing the potentials of this technology for a ‘poor man’s virtual reality.’ Since that time, a number of projects have begun to realise the cost-effectiveness of using software and hardware designed for the purposes of the computer game industry in production of academically acceptable and archaeologically accurate 3D virtual realities. However, we have not yet scratched the surface of the significant advantages presented by the use of these tools in academic research. The virtual realities created by computer games are enhanced by sound, changing daylight conditions and most importantly are populated by inhabitants of every kind; from computer controlled entities to the avatars of other humans simultaneously experiencing
the same virtual world via the Internet. This paper argues that archaeological virtual reality production must continue to follow in the footsteps of game designers. We must take advantage of the unique opportunities presented by game engines and continue to integrate those features which increase the immersive e?ect and functional utility of our own reconstructions. To this
end, I will present the results of my continued work in the reconstruction of ancient daily life through the recreation of a single house from the ancient city of Pompeii. Rather than focusing on the cost effectiveness and technological requirements of game engines however, this paper showcases the unique advantages presented by these tools for the creation of Internet-based
immersive virtual realities.


Michael Anderson
San Francisco State University
Department: Classics



Copyright 2006