The VR game that takes you to medieval Visby
14 August 2020
Using a VR helmet, you can try your hand at archery in 14th century Visby. This new VR game has been developed by the game company Disir, which was founded by a game developer and three archaeologists, of which two research at Uppsala University.
The game consists of five levels with different degrees of difficulty, inside and outside Visby’s town wall. The player draws the bow and shoots arrows using handheld controls. We find ourselves in medieval Visby with its town wall, buildings, marauding soldiers and lots of period-authentic details. Everything is based on research, to provide a correct picture of what it looked like at the time. The game is loosely based on historical events related to Valdemar Atterdag’s invasion in 1361.
“The vision was to build up medieval Visby in virtual reality and show what it looked like, both for educational and entertainment purposes,” says John Ljungkvist.
Tested at the Medieval Festival
An early version of the game was tested at Visby’s Medieval Festival last August and the final version was demoed at a medieval Christmas event in Visby at the end of the year. The game is now available to buy for the Oculus platform.
“But additional investments are needed to continue developing the game and for it to become a commercial success,” according to John Ljungkvist.
Ljungkvist and Daniel Löwenborg are researchers at the Department of Archaeology at Uppsala University. In connection with a research project in Old Uppsala, they began researching different digital solutions for visualising history.
“It grew out of research on Old Uppsala, where John had led an archaeological dig and I had worked with digital solutions in archaeology, like GIS (geographic information system) and compiling data. From the start, it was about both expanding our understanding and communicating our interpretation of history,” says Daniel Löwenborg.
Three archaeologists and a game developer
With the help of UU Innovation, they came into contact with various IT companies.
“When we started the company, we were three archaeologists and a game developer, and we do lots of the work. We primarily use existing solutions with modern game engines while incorporating an historical perspective and approach,” says Löwenborg.
The old grave field in Old Uppsala is today grass-covered mounds, but using a mobile app, visitors are aided in visualising what it looked like during Viking times. Using AR (augmented reality), you can see how the place may have looked in the past.
A VR version was later developed that can be used by museum visitors. The company has also developed an AR platform for five historical destinations in Uppsala.
“The basic principle is to use digital technology to communicate an understanding for the history linked to the research and, as much as possible, to make it historically accurate and authentic.”
Immersing yourself in history
The archery game is their first game, and it has allowed them to take another step in bringing history to life.
“Here it is less about facts and knowledge and more about communicating a sense of immersing yourself in history and integrating with it,” says Daniel Löwenborg.
John Ljungkvist sees great potential in using this type of game not only for entertainment but also for teaching. “We are communicating research and can go from playing to learning. Today, VR is used a lot within medical education, and it can also be used for history education.”
Archaeologist appointed new honorary doctor
05 oktober 2016
Archaeologist Jeremy B. Rutter, Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth College, USA, has been appointed a new honorary doctor at the Faculty of Arts.
SEK 5 million grant to art project
27 september 2016
The Swedish Research Council has selected seven art research projects to receive grants, out of a total of 51 applications. One of the grants is awarded to Katarina Pirak Sikku and the Uppsala University Centre for Gender Studies.
Augmented reality app presents Old Uppsala in a new way
24 augusti 2016
In Old Uppsala lie the remains of one of Scandinavia’s most fascinating royal estates from the Iron Age. Once there were numerous houses and other buildings here, which visitors up until now have had to imagine from sketches. A new app called ‘Aug...
Innovative games win prizes at the Swedish Game Awards
20 juni 2016
Game Design students from Uppsala University Campus Gotland won half of the prizes at the Swedish Game Awards on 11 June.
Major international meeting on cultural heritage held
16 april 2016
Uppsala University’s Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson and Professor of Building Conservation Tor Broström at Campus Gotland participated in a large international conference on cultural heritage and cultural preservation at Yale University in mid-April....
New book documents terrorism from Shakespeare's time
02 december 2015
There was no word for terrorism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but outbreaks of terrorist violence were frequent. In his new book on terrorism in history and literature, Uppsala University Professor of English Literature, Robert Appel...
Heléne Lööw to be awarded the Martin H:son Holmdahl Scholarship
10 november 2015
The Martin H:son Holmdahl Scholarship is Uppsala University’s most prestigious award for the furthering of human rights and liberty. This year, the award is being given to docent Heléne Lööw at the Department of History for her important contribut...
Faculty of Arts awards honorary doctorates
02 oktober 2015
Robert Darnton, Professor Emeritus and previously university librarian at Harvard, and Hiroshi Maruyama, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Muroran Institute of Technology, Japan, have been made honorary doctors by the Faculty of Arts, Uppsala Uni...
Uppsala University recruits Professor Don Kulick
27 januari 2015
The internationally recognised anthropologist Professor Don Kulick is being recruited by Uppsala University. He will lead a broad, multidisciplinary research programme funded by the Swedish Research Council which will allow us to better understand...