Serious Gaming for Virtual Archaeoastronomy


Many cultures worldwide have left traces of sacred architecture and monuments which often show correlation to astronomical events like solstitial sunrises. Virtual archaeology can be used to explore such orientation patterns using digital reconstructions and positions of celestial objects computed from modern astronomical models. Most 3D editing systems used to build virtual reconstructions of such monuments however fail to provide astronomically accurate solar illumination models which can recreate the slightly different solar positions of antiquity or even prehistory, and even worse, any usable representation of the night sky. In recent years, two systems created independently by the authors of this study have been utilized for investigations into the orientation of architecture with respect to celestial processes. Both had their advantages and shortcomings compared to each other. One extended a dedicated open-source desktop astronomy program with a 3D rendering engine where such monuments can be investigated in the first-person perspective by interactive walkthrough. The other system uses a game engine and external online resources which provides only solar or planetary positions, but no star data. This study presents ways of connecting both systems in an attempt to take advantage of the best of both approaches.

Studies in Digital Heritage
Georg Zotti
Georg Zotti