Games and virtual reality
As Co-Principal Investigators for the European REVEAL project, Simon Andrews and Jake Habgood have led research at Sheffield Hallam University in developing new technology and tools to provide an infrastructure for creating novel educational VR experiences and to generate new business opportunities outside of traditional gaming activities on the PlayStation platform.
The project created inclusive narrative-driven VR experiences aiming to improve the social and physical accessibility of European cultural heritage and contribute to the digital preservation of historical sites. As part of the research, studies were carried out to find the most appropriate method of VR locomotion to minimise sides effects in the user.
Two VR games were produced and published on the Sony PlayStation network.
The Chantry centres around the life of physician and scientist Edward Jenner who saved millions of lives from the threat of smallpox, through his pioneering work on the world's first vaccine. The game was created by the Computing Department’s in-house games studio, Steel Minions, in collaboration with The Jenner Trust. The game incorporates scanned 3D reconstructions of Edward Jenner’s Georgian house and gardens along with extracts from contemporary texts telling his story.
A Night in The Forum
In collaboration with game developers VRTRON in Malta and the National Research Council of Italy, the project also produced A Night in The Forum, set in Caesar Augustus’s Imperial Forum in Rome. The virtual reality setting was based on a reconstruction of ruins at the archaeological site and several contemporary items preserved at the Imperial Forum Museum.
The game’s novel educational environmental narrative involves the player stepping into the shoes of a guard inside The Roman Forum to carry out various night-time tasks and, in so doing, learn stories of Augustus and his life and political achievements as well as those about the life and times of the Roman citizens living under his rule.