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allowing users to view different versions of the castle and to move walls.The model will
be used for educational purposes, presenting the traditional architecture from the period
to students who would then be able to play with and modify the presentation.The team,
which includes historians, archaeologists and a computer scientist, decided to use VRML
for building the model, to facilitate its eventual placement on the Web.
The castle was built in the 16th century and demolished 300 years later. Excavations
performed in recent decades have led to a clear floor plan being drawn up. Detailed stud-
ies are made of the fragments of building materials which could be compared with other
buildings from the same period which remain standing. Other sources of information are
utilised, including several dozen drawings and textual descriptions of the castle from
across its lifespan.These lead to different accounts of the actual shape and physical make-
up of the castle, all of which will have to be incorporated into the model. A set of ques-
tions, for example what was the initial shape, what rebuilding was done, had the castle
been partially destroyed and then rebuilt, can thus be plausibly modelled and answered.
Since the interior of the castle did not survive, this was not included in the model,
although there is much historical evidence regarding the typical interior objects and
designs.This could be implemented at a future stage of the project, if time and resources
allow.The virtual reality reconstruction allows the user maximum freedom to move
debateable elements, such as walls, towers and gates.The result allows specialists to check
their theories against visual representations.The work is made available to teachers in his-
tory who can lead their students around the virtual and real sites, providing an excellent
way to add context to their study of local history.
B e n e f i t s a n d R i s k s
Summary
The most widely discussed benefits and risks of games relate to the health and overall
well-being of regular and/or excessive users.The following are among the potential ben-
efits of games for personal development:
- Certain genres like `god' games and simulation games can help to develop thinking
and problem-solving skills, while action games are widely promoted as improving
reflexes and co-ordination;
- Role Playing Games help develop critical thinking and reasoning ability. Games
based on historical content may develop historical interest, together with accompa-
nying literary and cultural references.These references are not always accurate in
commercial products; cultural heritage institutions can provide valuable support in
redressing this shortcoming.To cope with all sorts of floor plans, maps, mazes, puzzles
and placement of objects within 3D environments the memory skills of users are
often enhanced. Spatial reasoning is necessary in order to succeed in many such
games;
- Some games incorporate foreign languages or are played by young people who are
not native speakers of the language of the game. Games can contribute to developing
vocabulary and literacy.They can be used to offer users vivid real-world geographical
Games Technology
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