Environment re-creation methods for virtual heritage using a game engine with discernment of visual learning cues
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This thesis presents an analysis of visual cues and environmental hints gathered from computer games and cinematic theory. These cues can help users of interactive virtual worlds to navigate and understand them in a comprehensive context, in an integrated manner. This can be applied to most interactive virtual environments. It is also viewed in a perspective of virtual heritage; reconstructions of historical locations.There is currently not much research documenting such cues. Here, the sampled cues are split into visual, environmental and interface categories. The techniques are analyzed both from a general standpoint and for potential use in virtual heritage. Most of the cues' analyses indicate that they could be very useful in virtual heritage or similar applications.One such application, a high-fidelity re-creation of the medieval city of Nidaros, is made using the Unreal Engine 3 graphics- and game-engine. Construction of the environment mimics the needs of a comprehensive virtual heritage project, and provides an easily extensible test case. Many technical aspects of the construction are described in detail.Selected cues and design techniques are successfully applied to the re-created interactive environment. Users of the program are able to walk freely in the city. A discussion of the results is provided, and many ideas for further expansion are suggested.The results suggest that the presented combination of techniques constitute a new and promising perspective to any type of virtual environment. The use of a game engine could also help cut production costs and provide a fully interactive, high quality learning experience.