For just over a week, students from the HSAD Games Design BA (Hons) have been exhibiting work at Hull’s History Centre, along with students from the BA (Hons) Fashion as part of the city’s commemoration of the centenary of the start of the First World War.
“Paragon’s Past“ is a client related heritage project undertaken by the second year Games design students of Hull School of Art and Design. Charged with the task of creating an interactive environment centred on Hull’s Paragon Station and the surrounding area during the early stages/the lead up to WW1.
“Our goal for Paragon’s Past has been to create an accurate and “immersive” environment which is a recreation of Paragon Station and the surrounding area in the year of 1914. We achieved this by creating a 3D simulated environment using the programs such as; 3DS Max (3D Studio Max) used for producing 3D models, Photoshop for “texturing” and UDK (Unreal
Development Kit) as a game engine for building the environment. Our aim was to immerse the audience in the environment which we created to be as historically accurate as possible whilst incorporating the interactivity and immersion so important to contemporary media.
We are also experimenting with the Oculus Rift which is a virtual reality headset which will place the user into the actual scene, and this functionality will be available to be experienced by the public in the up coming exhibitions and showcases. This headset also has the ability to remove the need for a monitor or TV and reduce the amount of space required for the display.
We also have several other ideas on how we can display the final product, a fly through which will be playing along side the headset on a large flatscreen.
The fly through can have different variations that can be shown at different times for different audiences, for example an educational fly through in which supplementary text is added throughout the fly through giving a more informational experience on the history of the area to the viewer.
This would all be supported by booths with historical information and visuals of our design process; as well as other supporting material online.”
Hull School of Art & Design BA (Hons) Games Design students:
Adam Brown; Alex Shevchenko; Barrie Briggs; Christopher Greaves;
Craig Overton; Ethan Douglas; James Cook; Jamie Fitzgerald; Mark
Shaw; Matt Lane; Nathan Ritchie; Reece Harrison; Ryan Glover;
Sam Grannon; Scott Beach and Tim Lumb.
All of the above project work falls in line with our current Research areas, with student as producer or co-researchers, in particular we are looking at:
Engaging digital media students in deeper research through social and industrial heritage interpretation.
We have observed a perceptible cultural shift away from library research and deeper reading from print-based media, particularly with students on courses serving technology oriented industries (web, games, graphics and 3D design etc) who can rely heavily on search engine results.
With the aim of engaging students in a full range of deep and more speculative research methods, our team has looked to the use of live heritage oriented projects at level 5 as a means of extending and enriching research skills, resulting in historical reconstructions of local city spaces and connected historical environments.
The students were encouraged to use more traditional investigative processes (on which most information technology is modelled) as source for their interpretations, in combination with Games development technology.
Working within Hull’s library and museums service, undertaking field trips and observational recording, the students gained a deeper understanding of how an holistic approach to research and development activity can be applied across their studio practice.
- G. Sleightholme – HSAD Arts Faculty Research Journal, Spring 2014
Our projects to date have included:
(Hull Museum’s Connect/Create exhibition, Ferens Art Gallery)
- Iron Age sword The journey of an from a Celtic Forge, via a Victorian antiquities collector’s study, to the “stacks” behind the East Riding museum
(Hull Museum’s Connect/Create exhibition, Ferens Art Gallery)
- Roman oil lamp The journey of a from the potter’s wheel to the ship that brought it to Britain
(Precious Cargo, Westminster, London – selected as part of the national exhibition, and the Cultural Olympiad)
All of which can be found covered in more detail HERE:
- Holy Trinity Church – A virtual model of as it might have looked during its expansion in the medieval period (shown inside Trinity as a digital altar piece during their celebrated beer festival)
- Hull’s Paragon Station, interpretation – summer 1914. In response to the national commemoration of the outbreak of WWI, and City of Culture engagement currently highlighted in the city.
“The outward facing nature of the work (online and ‘pop up’ exhibitions at the sites) have brought additional value to the experience, allowing students to witnessing first-hand how audiences engage and respond. Their reflections have led them to propose future developments, such as the use of ‘Oculus Rift’ virtual experience software to allow the pubic to fully immerse themselves in a heritage oriented digital environment.
The students have developed an awareness of the transferable skills they are learning, which can prepare them for a wealth of possible future paths.”
– G. Sleightholme (Lecturer in Games & Animation, HSAD)
Staff and students from the Hull School of Art & Design‘s New Media Dept, have been involved in experimental Games Technology exhibits like this for quite some time, showcasing their original heritage fly-through at an early HumberMUD event (an event organised in partnership with HSAD, and whose steering group was made up of several HSAD staff at one point).
HumberMUD were a technology and creative arts discussion forum, and the precursor to focus groups and organisations such as Hull Digital (now known for their recent C4DI incubator project) and PlatformExpos and their recent development of a new focus (along side the Humber LEP) on digital creativity as a major area ripe for exploitation in the wider region.
The staff and students continue to try and engage the public through research of this type, and look to build upon current partnerships to bring their work to a wider audience still.
If you or your client has any questions about this type of project we would be happy to help, or if you would be interested in students helping you create a virtual heritage environment for your museum or visitor experience contact us via the Hull School of Art reception.
The visitor times for the extended exhibition at the History Centre, Hull can be found on the History Center website.
ADDITIONAL INFO: OPENING NIGHT – 4th Sept 2014
The opening night on the 4th September was excellent. A great number of members of the public and special guests turned up to see the work presented by the students;
…with a excellent speech from Martin Taylor the City Archivist (and one of the managers of the History Centre) that captured the spirit of the original creative briefs perfectly.
“In the year we commemorate the outbreak of the First World War we’re delighted to be showcasing the work of students of Hull School of Art and Design
Both groups of students undertook research here at the History Centre and it’s great to see that research bearing such amazing fruit…
…On 28 June 1914 a lady in a hat very like some of those on display here, and her husband in an even more extravagant hat were assassinated in Sarajevo. A little over a month later hundreds of young men in Hull volunteered to fight and die, probably with no very clear idea as to why other than a deep sense of patriotism. They left the city from a Paragon Station much as it looks in the 3D simulated environment you can see tonight. As a nation we have spent a lot of time recently remembering them.
It might seem a bit of a leap from Sarajevo in 1914 to Hull in 2014. But the five years conflict which was sparked by the deaths of Sophie and Franz Ferdinand changed the world utterly and set in train other momentous events which have left us where we are today. The past continues to shape us all.”
Graham Towse, Principle of Hull College was also one of the exhibition guests to try his hand at the Oculus Rift, virtual reality headset on show at the opening (this will be on show again during the three day heritage open days later in the month).
Overall the entire exhibition seemed very well received, with the work by all the students from both Fashion and Games Design being praised for their work and their involvement with setting up the exhibition.
Interested in Games Design – Why not enquire about our BA (Hons) in Games Design, we take students for the current academic year up to the beginning of October!
Like MineCraft? Interested in Hull’s history? Check out this HullCraft.
Hull, City of Culture 2017.