5000 years old: The lake side settlements at Lake Zurich, Switzerland
To revive the settlement, the Office for Urbanism of the City of Zurich, Switzerland, asked vrbn to create a virtual 3d historic reconstruction of the ancient lake side settlements.
The goal described was an experience that 'lets the viewer dive into the ancient world', rather than just having only 'flat' visualizations. Virtual Reality is one of the most immersive methods for such endeavors and was proposed as the way to go.
The resulting VR demo was exhibited for a three week period in summer 2017, directly on site at the Opera House Square.
Further information about the 'Parkhaus Opéra' project can be found here (German).
Further information about the City of Zurich's efforts in Archaeology can be found here (German).
The following youtube video is a 360 degree video (click and drag the view or rotate your mobile device!), directly derived from the VR gaming experience.
Rooted in our History
One of the most precious items was an entire door made from three wooden boards. It is the second oldest door ever found, dating back to 3175 BC!
One of the best visual indicators that the settlers used their environment intensively was of course the fact that they constructed their buildings standing entirely in water at the lake shore, using a big portion of close by found trees (oak).
To feed the cattle, the settlers regularly cut down leaves and twigs off trees and bushes (meadows for grazing were invented 2000 years later!). This led to very specific growth forms that we modeled in 3d as accurately as possible.
Using Esri CityEngine, vrbn procedurally reconstructed textured 3d buildings, ready to be visualized in VR.
CityEngine rules (CGA)
Visualization: Unity Engine
One key point to the successful demo for this specific type of content was that, deliberatly, no keyboard or other means of 3d navigation was provided. Furthermore, in a comfortable sitting position, with only gentle camera animation, one can naturally 'acclimate' well to the virtual environment.
Virtual Reality IS REAL: Some of the viewers even tried to touch the virtual plants ...
- Christian Hürzeler, GIS-Kompetenzzentrum HBD, Amt für Städtebau, Stadt Zürich
- Niels Bleicher, Projektleiter Archäologie / Dendrochronologie, Amt für Städtebau, Stadt Zürich
- Cyrill Oberhänsli, game developer, free08games