Secrets of the Past: Dion

The game concept was formed by Culturplay, an Athens-based game studio, in collaboration with the archaeologists engaged in the Excavations at Dion. The general idea was to develop a simulation/management narrative and an archaeological exhibition seen from the perspective of the Director of Excavations.

For the game design, the studio undertook further research into sources and guides provided by the archaeologists, as well as two trips at the archaeological site of Dion. For the development, the studio engaged a team of eight: two senior developers of whom the one was the game designer, a concept artist, a 3D artist, two photogrammetry experts, a musician and a storyteller. The development lasted 5 months and the first version of the game was published in the appstores in May 2016.

Night at the Museum: The development team was given the opportunity to stay one whole night in Dion Museum to make photogrammetric captures of the 22 ancient artefacts used within the game. These ‘scans’ were then digitally processed to produce digital surrogates of high-resolution 3D models, ready to be used as assets in the video game. The decision to use digital 3D models within the game was part of the larger vision of the archaeologists to broaden access to and encourage the creative reuse of cultural artefacts that are otherwise unavailable to the public due to their fragility or remote location.

The Game Engine used for this game was Unity3D, which enabled not only fast (playable) results, but also the design of the code in a way that allows for its reusability. So, if the developers were in the future to build a game about the excavation of another archaeological site, the same code base would be used along with a new excavation area and new artefacts.

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