DEVELOPING AN EDUCATIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE 3D PUZZLE IN A VIRTUAL REALITY ENVIRONMENT
Keywords: Photogrammetry, Serious Games, Virtual Reality, Cultural Heritage, 3D Puzzle, Unity Game Engine
Abstract. The ways our cultural heritage reserve is preserved and disseminated to the public have changed significantly, with the use of immersive technologies, such as virtual reality environments, and serious games. Nowadays, these technologies are also exploited for developing interactive informative applications, to support historical education and enhance museum visits, physical or virtual, especially to younger generations. The field of edutainment, educational entertainment, has been rapidly developing during the last 10 or 15 years. The main goal of this research is to develop an educational 3D puzzle-like serious game which can operate within a virtual reality environment while aiming towards the dissemination of cultural heritage content to the younger public, i.e., students, children etc., through a pleasant gamification process. The cultural heritage objects used are an ancient Greek temple and a statue of the Roman era, whose high-resolution fully textured 3D models were available from previous projects. The game application was developed in Unity game engine with suitable coding to enable the smooth execution of the 3D puzzle solution. The application verified that it is more interesting to learn about cultural assets through a game than in the conventional ways, and even more when it is implemented within a Virtual Reality environment, where the contact with the assets appears to be more direct and realistic. The same application can also be utilized in different educational areas and can be expanded by the inclusion of other digital assets.