The 'Culturama' game was designed and developed as an MSc Dissertation for the requirements of the Design and Digital Media masters degree, at the University of Edinburgh (2008 – 2009).
The game was created to promote cultural heritage education via entertainment, based on human-computer interaction. The aim is for the player to engage with cultural heritage artefacts from around the world and find out about historical facts and multicultural identities.
Ten Cultural sites around the world were selected from UNESCO’S list of world heritage (Easter Island Monuments - Chile, Chichen Itza - Mexico, Mesa Verde - US, Stonehenge - UK, Parthenon - Greece, Giza Pyramids - Egypt, Hatra - Iraq, Taj Mahal - India, Orkhon Valley – Mongolia and Uji-Kyoto – Japan) and recreated as 3D models. One characteristic exhibit was also designed for each, reflecting its history and cultural value. Each monument was placed on a world map and constituted a game level. An alien was designed as the main character, to function as an explorer of earth’s cultural identity.
Each level begins on the outside of the monument. The player has to read a short text about the monument’s history and the exhibit it houses. Then he goes into the interior (designed as a game level with enemies, pickups and score point systems) where he needs to find the correct exhibit corresponding to the monument he is in (among five choices), utilizing what he previously read in the introductory text. Once he finds it, he wins the level and moves to another country and the next monument. The game ends when all exhibits are collected.
All game models were designed in Blender. Textures were created in Photoshop (libraries also used). The Blender Game Engine and Logic Bricks system was utilized to develop interactions. For advanced effects Python scripting was used. Also, research was conducted for each cultural monument’s history and background information to develop the educational texts and choose exhibits. Finally the written thesis accompanying the game had a dual focus: Cultural Games and their characteristics and Computer Games’ Usability and Heuristics.
Role: Game Designer and Developer
Team: Thaleia Deniozou (Cultural Games, Technology for Heritage, Computer Simulation)
Konstantina Staikou (Usability, Heuristics, Game Mechanics)
Technology: Blender 2.49, Google Sketchup Pro, Photoshop CS4, Illustrator CS4, iMovie, Python