Categories
3D and game editors archaeology book chapter Digital Humanities

Alchemy and Archives, Swords, Spells, and Castles: Medieval-modding Skyrim

This is our proposed draft chapter (7500-9000 words) for a book on medieval modding within a game (Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim).

Erik Champion, Australian National University, University of Western Australia

Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller, Australian National University

Katrina Grant, Australian National University

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, through its rich modding possibilities, has great potential as a teaching and learning tool. The world of Skyrim, although “pseudo-medieval”,[1] can, through the use of mods, aim for a level of historical accuracy comparable to many scholarly digital 3D reconstruction projects. These types of projects are now widely accepted as a vehicle for a new way of thinking about old topics, and as a valuable prompt for engaging students. The advantage of using Skyrim is that the historically informed mods can be combined with sophisticated game mechanics to immerse and inspire students as procedural, contestable, and reconfigurable simulations. Through playful exploration, students can investigate the game world and engage with both the historically-informed and fantastical elements. But they can also become designers, and investigate historical developments through the creation of new assets, modified game mechanics, and social storytelling. Designing simulations is a further learning experience and Skyrim’s Creation Kit is thus also a pedagogical tool.

In this chapter we will explore ways in which Skyrim can be used and modified to explain, through play, three related aspects of medieval society: culture, architecture, and landscape. We will then discuss the modding capability of Skyrim, and conclude with some suggestions for how future Elder Scrolls games and game mods could be leveraged as a teaching and learning tool.


[1] von Lünen, Alexander, Katherine J Lewis, Benjamin Litherland, and Pat Cullum. 2019. Historia Ludens: The Playing Historian. Vol. 30. New York, USA: Routledge.

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Conference

Hacking Simulations, Simulacra & VR

In this essay, I review key concepts in Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation (Baudrillard, 1994), their relation to the Matrix film series, and their importance in terms of hacking, especially regards to Virtual Reality (VR)…

Ok, it is a very short abstract but 3,500 words of very condensed text. Probably should expand it back to 5,000 and seek publication. It reviews Baudrillard’s famous book in the light of the move from VR to XR, and the rise in computational creativity, cybercrime and hacking. With references to the Matrix trilogy and the film Possible Worlds.

Categories
Academic augmented reality game serious games Virtual Reality

Hacking Simulations and Simulacra in e-VR

Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory – PRECESSION OF SIMULACRA – it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire, but our own.

The desert of the real itself.

“ The Precession of Simulacra” from Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Michigan, USA: University of Michigan Press, 1994.

Aim of Essay

Update and Relate Simulations and Simulcra to the current era of Hacking and Virtual Reality.

1 Theoretical Frameworks

  • Simulacra and Simulation (primary text), link briefly to Dreyfus’ On the Internet (distance learning), and Jenkins’ Convergence Culture (hopeful solutions but also issues with walled garden social media/VR).
  • Establish key Baudrillard terms and judge their impact and usefulness.

2 Mediated reality

  • Explain links between the Matrix films, social issues, information, entertainment, and VR, under the heading “Synchronicity between film, fiction, philosophy and fact.”

3 Baudrillard’s theory-Video Games, Cybersecurity, hacking and VR

  • Focus on hacking, hacking versus cracking, and hacking versus crafting and tinkering.
  • Give examples of VR, social media companies and VR, personal and sensory data issues) and biofeedback interfaces/affective computing), and hacking issues.

4 Digital mediation, simulacra and simulation, digital artifacts in education

  • Expand on the relevance to digital humanities, teaching and learning (and research), especially in Australia (and perhaps Oceania).
  • Contextualize in terms of distance learning during the era of COVID and lockdowns.
  • Expand upon the implications for educating current and upcoming generations.

5 VR Hacking-digital paradigm, education and computer hacking

  • Does the theory/framework hold up? Can it adjust, must it be adopted wholeheartedly, is it more of a warning than a framework, has it remained relevant?
  • Implications.
  • Future possibilities, threats, strategies in education.
  • Tie all above together, explain originality.

Learning outcomes

  1. Analyse and discuss a range of theoretical frameworks for understanding our mediated ‘reality’ and the digital paradigm, and in particular the work of Jean Baudrillard.
  2. Apply the reading of Baudrillard’s propositions regarding our mediated reality to the analysis of the Matrix Trilogy to identify the degree of synchronicity between film, fiction, philosophy and fact.
  3. Critically review the value of Baudrillard’s theoretical frames for understanding video games, cyber security events in general, and computer hacking in particular.
  4. Critically evaluate the implications of Baudrillard’s propositions around digital mediation, simulacra and simulation for the use of digital artifacts in education.
  5. Communicate effectively to present a coherent and independent exposition of knowledge and ideas within and across a range of discipline areas related to the digital paradigm, education and computer hacking.
Categories
augmented reality Virtual Reality visualisation

update on immersive literacy

I received a distinction on my essay so I will extend it back to its draft length and send that either to a journal or add it to my 2022 book proposal on theoretical VR. My next essay to write is on hacking in VR and some of the issues on authenticity, reality, and linking to / critiquing Jean Baudrillard’s dystopic warnings (which I read 30 years ago, amazing to think how relevant they still are, with some caveats).

But I also have some book proofing sessions to undergo.

Ideally, all my major writing will be finished this week as next week, lockdown lifts pending, I hope to travel (sadly, not for a holiday).

Categories
3D and game editors augmented reality Digital Humanities Virtual Reality visualisation

From Digital Literacy to Immersive Literacy: Learning Experiences with XR Frameworks For Serious Game Workshops

The below is an essay for a digital learning futures class. If the paper receives good feedback and interest I may try to develop it for a journal (or subsection of a book I am planning on critical virtual reality).

Abstract

This essay suggests a modification of theoretical digital literacy frameworks to ensure they are suitable for designing educational (serious) games for the GLAM sector (using libraries as my initial focus). While not a librarian, I train people to create game prototypes for more engaging ways of communicating history, heritage, and digital collections (often found in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums-the GLAM sector).

I wish to develop a framework for game design to better assess what is learnt by end-users (game prototype participants) and game prototype designers (in this case, librarians). My concept of immersive digital literacies is discussed and applied to a review of software tools for the development of serious game prototypes.

Categories
publication

3 chapters to go

With 2 books in press, an edited book in the preview chapter- due-a-few-months-away stage, am now trying to clear my desk and have the two, no, three, below book chapters to finish (in dark red). Then, hopefully, can start a new manuscript for a major academic press (who I have not written a book for, yet, but they do seem interested).

Books and edited books in press or under review

  1. Champion, E. (2021: in press). Rethinking Virtual Places. Indiana University Press, Spatial Humanities series.
  2. Champion, E. (Ed). (2021: in press). Virtual Heritage: A Guide. Ubiquity Press, London.
  3. Lee, C. & Champion, E. (Ed). (2022: pending). Screen Tourism and Affective Landscapes.
  4. Champion, E., & Hiriart, J. (Eds.). (2022 (in press)). Assassin’s Creed in the Classroom, Museum, and Gallery: De Gruyter: Video games and the Humanities series, 18 chapters, 25 international authors.

Book Chapters in press

  1. Champion, E., Nurmikko-Fuller, T., & Grant, K. (2022: pending, invited). Blue Sky Skyrim VR: Immersive Techniques to Engage with Medieval History. In R. Houghton (Ed.), Games for Teaching, Impact, and Research UK: De Gruyter. Abstract accepted, full chapter due March 2021.
  2. Champion, E. (2022). Reflective Experiences with Immersive Heritage: A Theoretical Design-Based Framework. In A. Benardou & A. M. Droumpouki (Eds.), Difficult Pasts and Immersive Experiences. London, UK: Routledge.
  3. Champion, E. (2022). Swords Sandals and Selfies: The Videogame Tourist Landscape. For Lee, C. & Champion, E. (Ed). (2022: pending). Screen Tourism and Affective Landscapes.
  4. Champion, E. (2021: pending). Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity: Virtual opportunities. In E. Wandl-Vogt (Ed.), Biodiversity in connection with Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. Vienna, Austria.
  5. Champion, E. (2021: under review). Not Quite Virtual: Techné between Text and World” In Texts & Technology: Inventing the Future of the Humanities, edited by Anastasia Salter and Barry Mauer, University of Central Florida, Orlando Florida USA. Chapter.
  6. Champion, E. (2021: under review). Workshopping Game Prototypes for History and Heritage. In Digital Humanities book, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Aracne Publishing Company. Chapter.
  7. Champion, E., & Hiriart, J. (2021: pending). Workshopping Board Games for Space Place and Culture. In C. Randl & M. Lasansky (Eds.), Playing Place: Board Games, Architecture, Space, and Heritage.
Categories
Academic Announcements infrastructure Journal virtual heritage Virtual Reality visualisation

Paper and Proceedings Published

EuroMed2020 conference proceedings have been published by Springer.

Ioannides, M., Fink, E., Cantoni, L., Champion, E. (Eds.). Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation, and Protection. 8th International Conference, EuroMed 2020, Virtual Event, November 2–5, 2020, Revised Selected Papers. Springer.

Our paper: Champion, E., Kerr, R., McMeekin, D., & Rahaman, H. (2020, 29 October-3 November). Time-Layered Gamic Interaction with a Virtual Museum Template. Paper presented at the EuroMed 2020 Conference, Nicosia, Cyprus (online).

Categories
augmented reality Virtual Reality

Promoting Smart Tourism Recovery via Virtual Reality

Part 7 of the ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Webinar Series on “Promoting Smart Tourism Recovery via Virtual Reality” slide presentations and the webinar recording are now available on the ADB Knowledge Events page.

The event was held March 2, 2021. My Cultural Tourism XR slides are also available on slideshare.net

Categories
Announcements augmented reality Digital Humanities UNESCO Chair

Free access: paper on AR-ph app talking flower guide

Limited free paper on AR that speaks native names of flora back to you, “Audio-augmented arboreality: wildflowers and language”, published in Digital Creativity, Volume 32 Issue 1. First 50 copies are free.

Audio-augmented arboreality: wildflowers and language (2021). Digital Creativity: Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 22-37.tandfonline.com

(Image by Dr Hafizur Rahaman).

Categories
Conference

Upcoming virtual talks

2 March 1PM (AWST Perth time): Promoting Tourism Sector Recovery Via Smart Virtual Reality, ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund – AASCTF AASCTF on ADB.org. Invited speaker for webinar.

23 March 10-4PM NSW time. Virtual heritage and communities. NSW Local Studies Librarians group via zoom.

?? March to Aberdeen [Scotland] Academic Forum.

Categories
book chapter

Book Chapters on the way (provisionally)

  1. Champion, E. (2021: pending). Biodiversity and Cultural Diversity: Virtual opportunities. In E. Wandl-Vogt (Ed.), Biodiversity in connection with Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. Vienna, Austria. Written.
  2. Champion, E. (2021: under review). Not Quite Virtual: Techné between Text and World” In Texts & Technology: Inventing the Future of the Humanities, edited by Anastasia Salter and Barry Mauer, University of Central Florida, Orlando Florida USA. Written.
  3. Champion, E. (2021: under review). Workshopping Game Prototypes for History and Heritage. In Digital Humanities book, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Aracne Publishing Company. Written.
  4. Champion, E., & Hiriart, J. (2021: pending). Workshopping Board Games for Space Place and Culture. In C. Randl & M. Lasansky (Eds.), Playing Place: Board Games, Architecture, Space, and Heritage. Written. Publisher being negotiated.
  5. Champion, E. (2021). Reflective Experiences with Immersive Heritage: A Theoretical Design-Based Framework. In A. Benardou & A. M. Droumpouki (Eds.), Difficult Pasts and Immersive Experiences. London, UK: Routledge. Abstract accepted.
  6. Champion, E., Nurmikko-Fuller, T., & Grant, K. (2021: pending, invited). Blue Sky Skyrim VR: Immersive Techniques to Engage with Medieval History. In R. Houghton (Ed.), Games for Teaching, Impact, and Research UK: De Gruyter. Abstract accepted, full chapter due March 2021.
  7. Champion, E. (2022: pending). Swords, Sandals and Selfies: A Tour You’d Kill For. In C. Lee & E. Champion (Eds.), Screen Tourism and Affective Landscapes Publisher to be confirmed.
Categories
3D and game editors Academic Announcements Digital Humanities Open Access publication virtual heritage

Books on the way (I think)..

Books to be on the way

  1. Champion, E. (2021: in press). Rethinking Virtual Places. Indiana University Press, Spatial Humanities series. In a week they should be sending me the first proof.
  2. Champion, E. (Ed). (2021: in press). Virtual Heritage: A Guide. Ubiquity Press, London. All the chapters have been sent to the publisher and they go to print very quickly, in my experience. Open Access.
  3. Lee, C. & Champion, E. (Ed). (2022: pending). Screen Tourism and Affective Landscapes. This is still under consideration but some authors have already sent complete chapters so I think it is just a case of helping out my overloaded co-editor. Oh and overcoming field trips stopped by Covid.
  4. Champion, E., & Hiriart, J. (Eds.). (2022 (needs to be submited to academic review)). Assassin’s Creed in the Classroom, Museum, and Gallery: De Gruyter: Video games and the Humanities series. This is to be submitted but have very enthusiastic editor and series editors to help us complete it. For some reason I will particularly look forward to the reviews. 25 authors, 19 chapters, about 90,000 words and no grayscale image limits. We may have abstracts available in foreign languages. Ubisoft people may help us out as well, they have been very supportive so far.

Categories
3D and game editors game serious games

Unreal on a Curved Screen

Google reminded me of a 2017-18 summer student intern project I supervised 3 years ago. I asked Corbin Yap to calibrate Unreal to larger screens (as with the French intern hybrid reality project I have not written this up although Corbin wrote an excellent report on how to do this).

The screen is 3 metres high and 8 metres in diameter, forming a near half-circle of approx 179 degrees, designed by Paul Bourke in 2013. It can also handle stereo (which Corbin did not have time to adjust the display for). Funding by Curtin Institue for Computation. Corbin was hosted in the library makerspace, great people to work with. Presentation was, I believe, 16 February 2018. Yes I wanted to port my Palenque models but the then-new version of Unreal would require a complete rebuild.

If I have the chance to teach game design again I would greatly appreciated having access to a similar environment that is accessible and immediate for game content. I have many ideas for this.

Image
Categories
Conference

National and International grants

For the below I have written grants and delivered presentations but some are still to be be completed:

NoLevelCommencementCompletionGrant details 
1National22-Oct-1921-Oct-20ARC LIEF LE190100019: Time-layered cultural map of Australia. $420,000. Concludes: 21 October 2020. (Was extended to end of year). Team paper, Euromed 2020 paper (to be published). AUD     420,000.00
2National01-Jan-2031-Dec-20ARC LIEF LE200100123: The Digitisation Centre of Western Australia (Phase 1). $1,100,000. Concludes: 31 December 2020. (Extended to midyear). Survey paper in Virtual Archaeology Review 2020 (paper of the year). AUD  1,100,000.00
3National28-Jan-2027-Jan-23ARC Linkage LP180100284: Photogrammetric Reconstruction for Underwater Virtual Heritage Experiences. $461,783.00. Concludes 27 January 2023.  AUD     461,783.00
4National01-Jan-2131-Dec-21ARC LIEF Grant LE210100021. “Australian Cultural Data Engine for Research, Industry and Government.” 2021. To be formally signed but joining as Curtin Chief Investigator. AUD     440,000.00
5National20212021Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) platforms grant: Time-Layered Cultural Map of Australia 2.0 $100,000. 25/11/2020. https://ardc.edu.au/news/new-data-projects-will-help-transform-australian-research/ AUD     100,000.00
7International201820182018 Pelagios (Mellon Foundation) grant. Primary CI. Invited to Linked Pasts, Mafkereseb presented. AUD         7,250.00
  CommencementCompletionNamed Expert Advisor AUD 2,529,033.00
8National01-Jan-2031-Dec-24ARC Indigenous Discovery Grant GA68708. “Healing Land Healing People: Novel Nyungar Perspectives.” Expert key advisor: 5-year. No publications expected as advisor only. AUD  1,100,000.00

Categories
3D and game editors Academic Book book chapter publication

Assassin’s Creed in the Classroom Book Project

I have started an 18 chapter 25 author edited book project with De Gruyter (Video Games and the Humanities series) and Dr Juan Hiriart as co-editor. I hope to publish it in 2022. Confirmed authors are from Canada, USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. The aim is to explain how the Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed Series can and has and could be used in the classroom, museum, or gallery (or as escape space). De Gruyter and Ubisoft historians  have been very encouraging. I’d love contributions from the Caribbean or Middle East but very happy with what we have going forward.

There is some possibility of related online learning materials being made available.

Assassin’s Creed in the Classroom, Museum and Gallery

Alternative title:  Assassin’s Creed: History’s Playground or a Stab in the Dark?

NB This is not the final chapter order.

  1. Ubisoft’s Archaeology And History-Making: From The Inside
  2. Using The Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tours In The Classroom: A Tutorial
  3. Creation Of Teacher Curriculum Guides For The Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour Games To Improve Teachers’ TPCK And TAM
  4. Gaming The Classroom: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey As A Learning Tool For First Year Undergraduates
  5. Understanding Problems Of Historical Writing Through Historical Videogame Design  
  6. Preparing High School Students For An Academic Trip To Greek Archaeological Sites By Using The Ubisoft Discovery Tour On Ancient Greece    
  7. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey And Its Use In The Context Of The Archaeological Museum In Muenster (Germany)  
  8. Viking Life: Using Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Settlements To Teach Social History And Everyday Life In School Classrooms          
  9. Living Through The Animus: Conceptualizing Playful Time Travel In The Classroom     
  10. Christian Vikings Storming Templar Castles: Anachronism As A Teaching Tool 
  11. The Discovery Tour And Historical Characters In Ancient Greece
  12. An Unholy Alliance? Ubisoft And The Future Of Archaeological (Re)Animation
  13. Classical Creations In A Modern Medium
  14. Discovering The Past As A Virtual Foreign Country: Assassin’s Creed As Historical Tourism
  15. Assassin’s Creed @ The Carlos: Merging Videogames And Education At The Michael C. Carlos Museum
  16. Learning The Past By Walking Through Biomes
  17. Historical Video Games And Teachers Practices In French-Speaking Secondary Schools In The Montreal Metropolitan Area      
  18. Religion Is History: Teaching Religion To Postsecular Audiences         
Categories
Academic Book digital heritage Digital Humanities game Open Access publication serious games virtual heritage

Virtual Heritage: A Guide

I am not sure this will be the final title but just finished (I hope) my editing for the following open access 10 chapter book: Virtual Heritage: A Guide, Ubiquity Press 2021.

Table of contents:

 ForewordStuart Jeffrey
 Virtual Heritage: from Archives to JoysticksErik Champion
1Speculating the Past: 3D Reconstruction in ArchaeologyR. P. Barratt
2Photogrammetry: What, How and WhereHafizur Rahaman
3Animating the PastMichael Carter
4Mapping Ancient Heritage With Digital ToolsAnna Foka, David McMeekin, Kyriaki Konstantinidou, Nasrin Mostofian, Elton Barker, Cenk Demiroglu, Ethan Chiew, Brady Kiesling
5Hybrid Interactions in Museums: Why Materiality Still MattersLuigina Ciolfi
6Video Games as concepts and experiences of the pastAris Politopoulos, Angus Mol
7Mixed Reality: A Bridge or a Fusion between Two Worlds?Mafkereseb Bekele
8Getting it Right and Getting it Wrong in Digital Archaeological EthicsL. Meghan Dennis
9Evaluation in Virtual HeritagePanayiotis Koutsabasis
10Preserving Authenticity in Virtual Heritage Erik Champion
Categories
3D and game editors Academic Announcements archaeology digital heritage heritage infrastructure Journal Open Access publication respositories virtual heritage Virtual Reality visualisation

Virtual Archaeology Review’s Paper of the Year

Virtual Archaeology Review declared my and Dr Rahaman’s 2020 paper “Survey of #3D digital heritage repositories and platforms” their paper of the year.

https://twitter.com/VARjournal/status/1348357190801780738
Categories
Academic Journal

some Virtual Heritage journals

I’ve been asked advice on virtual heritage-related journals.

I’d suggest (and this is not a comprehensive list):

I am no longer a fulltime professional academic (and not on the editorial boards of the above) so caveat emptor.

Categories
Announcements augmented reality digital heritage Digital Humanities visualisation

Audio-augmented arboreality: wildflowers and language

New article

Hafizur Rahaman, Michelle Johnston & Erik Champion (2021). Audio-augmented arboreality: wildflowers and language, Digital Creativity, DOI: 10.1080/14626268.2020.1868536 free for first 50 people:

Before colonization, there were over 250 languages spoken in Australia. Today only thirteen Indigenous languages are still being taught to children). Language has an important part to play in cultural maintenance and ‘closing the gap’ in terms of First Peoples’ cultural heritage, identity, and sense of belonging. In this work, we aim to develop an engaging and easy way to teach and learn the local Indigenous names of wildflowers using a mobile device. This paper presents the development of a phone application that runs on a local machine, recognizes local wildflowers through its camera, and plays associated sounds and displays associated text in the Noongar language. The prototype mobile application has been developed with MobileNets model on the TensorFlow platform. The dataset is derived from Google searches, while the sound files are generated from label text by running an apple script. UI and interactivity have been developed by using Vuforia and the Unity game engine. Finally, the Android Studio is used to deploy the app. At this point in time, the prototype can only recognize ten local flowers, with 85%∼99% of accuracy. We are working with a larger dataset towards developing the full application.

Categories
archaeology Digital Humanities Journal Open Access publication respositories virtual heritage

Article popularity

I am impressed that the Virtual Archaeology Review Journal (@VARjournal) has a stats page with % comparing views to downloads and abstracts listed (and a 3D -model- filter!) It can help authors check their abstract is on target (i.e. catchy). Our (with Dr Hafizur Rahaman @hafi2018) 2020 article Survey of 3D digital heritage repositories and platforms was 6th most downloaded article (3rd for 2020). NB had trouble viewing, had to refresh several times.

CHAMPION, Erik; RAHAMAN, Hafizur. Survey of 3D digital heritage repositories and platforms. Virtual Archaeology Review, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 23, p. 1-15, July 2020. ISSN 1989-9947. Available at: <https://polipapers.upv.es/index.php/var/article/view/13226>. Date accessed: 04 Jan. 2021. doi:https://doi.org/10.4995/var.2020.13226.