Realistic Simulation of Cultural Heritage

Realistic Simulation of Cultural Heritage

Chairi Kiourt, George Pavlidis, Anestis Koutsoudis, Dimitris Kalles
DOI: 10.4018/IJCMHS.2017010102
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One of the most challenging problems in the simulation of real environments is to generate worlds that appear realistic and more attractive. It becomes increasingly challenging when the simulated environment focuses on minors (students), because the young generation has high demands on simulation systems due to their experience in computer gaming. Virtual museums are among the most important simulation environments, which present cultural and educational content for everyone. Their purpose is to enrich the users experience by allowing an intuitive interaction with the museum artifacts and to offer knowledge with the most pleasant ways. This paper focuses on the aspects of realistic simulations in the development of virtual 3D environments for Cultural Heritage applications. This study includes aspects regarding some of the most high-tech image effects, applicable artificial intelligence methods, powerful game engines, how real object can be reconstructed realistically and how all those features may be combined to produce realistic, pleasant, productive and educative environments.
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In realistic simulations of Cultural Heritage, virtual museums have a prominent role. Virtual museums are virtual environments that host virtual exhibitions created to tell the stories of the real museum artifacts to their visitors, just like in real museums, in a richer context and a wider range of possibilities. In the context of a real museum, this is achieved by combining exhibits and information in a carefully designed order and presentation style (Lepouras & Vassilakis, 2004). In the creation of virtual museums, contemporary IT technologies, such as multimedia, 3D computer graphics, spatial sound and virtual reality, can be used to enhance the presentation (the virtual presence), offering a more vivid and enjoyable experience. Although each of the different technological innovations involved pushes towards their own respective, there are two main goals that are universal in such systems: realism and speed. In addition, the continuous development of Web services and computer infrastructures complemented by the increasing availability of computer game development platforms (also known as game engines), contribute towards a continuous release of serious games in diverse fields including entertainment, cultural heritage, education, artificial intelligence, sociology, military and health systems (Breuer & Bente, 2010). In a sense, serious games can be considered as an efficient approach for blending domain specific activities, like in cultural heritage and education, with gaming. By utilizing contemporary visualization and simulation technologies, serious games enhance the user’s experience through photorealistic interactive environments (Van Eck, 2006). This form of stimulation is considered to be one of the primary factors for successful user engagement, in which playing, assumes the role of the driving force that promotes concentration in the activity process and user encouragement for further self-improvement. Stimulation is largely considered by the scientific community as a desired mechanism to achieve the desired results (Rogers, 1996).

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