About Us

Our Philosophy

The Open Virtual Worlds (OVW) group works closely with experts and communities alike in the creation of historic scenes. We believe that the communities whose history we are rendering should have a strong involvement in, and a sense of ownership over, the creation of the model. We use the simplicity of OVWs’ editing pipeline to present experts with alternatives for areas of the subject where no concrete answer is known. This allows the expert to use our modelling process to test hypotheses and to deepen understanding of the topic as a whole.

It is our belief that the ease of content creation and the flexibility of an OVW-based deployment make them an ideal platform for cultural heritage. We also believe that the decoupled architecture of existing OVW solutions is in effect a concrete implementation of the ideas which underpin the 3D Web. We are interested in ongoing research to investigate both these hypotheses.

Our philosophy is that by using OVW technology we can achieve a beneficial separation of content from presentation. By creating and storing our content via OVWs, everything we create is available on any client which supports the protocols of the server on which the content is stored. Because of this, any improvements in client software will directly benefit all our pre existing content. Similarly, every new model we create will be accessible for use with all possible clients and can take advantage of any advancements previously made.

Because we use OVW platforms, all content we create can immediately be shared for free online. Furthermore, the open nature of OVW platforms means that the systems are extensible. As new technology or ideas emerge, the community at large is likely to integrate them into existing platforms. If there are features that are not supplied by the community, we are able to create them ourselves and share them with others. Using these features of OVWs all our models are able to promptly support new technological developments. We have seen this so far with the increasing power of tablet computers, the launch of the Microsoft Kinect and the impending launch of the Oculus Rift. Using the properties of OVWs we are also able to deploy OVW-based content into novel scenarios. So far we have developed mechanisms for deploying OVW-based content into classrooms, museums, live demos and presentations. Lastly, OVW servers either are open source or can be written from scratch based on a protocol. This allows us to make server side modifications to extend functionality as necessary.

Definitions
Virtual Worlds
We define Virtual Worlds as a platform where content creation and the ability to script that content is inbuilt into its core functionality and intended as one of the primary purposes. Virtual Worlds must also be networked and allow multiple concurrent users.

Open Virtual Worlds
We define Open Virtual Worlds as Virtual World technology where the server side software is available to be run as required and the communication protocol is open source. Ideally Open Virtual World platforms will have open source implementations of both the client and the server.

Domain Experts include:
Richard Fawcett, OBE, FRSE, FSA, Professor of Art History
Julian Luxford, FSA, FRHistS, Reader, Art History
Rebecca Sweetman, Senior Lecturer, Archaeology and Classics
Eleanor Burt, Senior Lecturer, Management
Alisdair Gordon-Gibson, Visiting Scholar, Management
Daryl Green, Special Collections, University Library
Tom Dawson, Research Fellow, School of History
Joanna Hambly, Research Fellow, School of History
David Caldwell, Archaeologist, Historian, Museum Curator
 Janie Brooks, Teaching Staff ELT

Computer Science researchers include:
Colin Allison, Reader, 2007 –
Alan Miller, Lecturer, 2007 –
Iain Oliver, Research Fellow 2007 –
Sarah Kennedy, Research Assistant, 3D Modeling 2007-
John McCaffery, EPSRC Research Fellow, 2010 –
Ross Nicoll, Research Associate, 2007 – 2010
Lisa Dow, Teaching Fellow, 2009 –
Anne Campbell, Teaching Fellow, 2009 –
Chris Davies, EPSRC postgraduate, 2011 – 2009
Adeola Fabola, SICSA Postgraduate, 2014 –
Indika Perera, SICSA and Commonwealth postgraduate, 2009 –
Ishbel Duncan, Lecturer
Kris Getchell, EPSRC postgraduate, 2004 – 2009
Thomas Sturgeon, EPSRC postgraduate, 2005 – 2010
Nils Koesters, ongoing project work, 2012 –

 

Summer Internships 2012
Chris Thornton
Julian Petford

 

MSc Student Projects
MSc Student Contributions 2012 – Debbie Wright, Indushree Benerjee, Joydeep Choudhury, Jingxian Hao, Qian Tong, Cen Shen
MSc Student Contributions 2011 – Arjun Ponnusamy, Rong Gu, Tian Yu, Olatokunbo Ajinomoh, Hussein Bakri
MSc Student Contributions 2010 – Zhe Liu, Soukhya Somanath, Laxansh Adesara, Rucha Anjaria, Jingling Huang, Sandip Balaraj, Karthik Mani