Dissertation

For my Dissertation project, I chose to undertake developing a 3D environment in Virtual Reality in the recreation of Frankenberry Iron Age Hillfort for a 3rd part company; the 'New Forest Authority' in Dorset.

 

With the project, I created the settlement in 3D with appropriately textured static meshes for the buildings, smaller meshes such as furniture and fences & miscellaneous meshes for tools, weapons and such. As it was designed to be educational and informative to measure their effectiveness as an educational tool compared to traditional methods (which was the basis of my dissertation), the site also included signposts containing facts about the Iron Age era as well as different parts of life in that time period, such as roles, work, farming, life in a settlement like that and so on.

 

As the project entailed both 3D modeling and Level Design, it was definitely up my alley in terms of my interests; creatively and with History, and my technical skills so it was an easy choice of project for me to commit to. I chose to use Maya 2016/17 for the 3D assets and Unity3D for the engine as it is superior to UE4 in terms of Heightmap importation from the LIDAR data I had been given by the client and VR compatibility. From the NFA, I was also given images of the land to put to use as references to make sure I was being accurate and faithful to facts of the area, literally everything else: all of the modelling, texturing and mesh placement to create the settlement - I did myself from scratch.

In the finished product, that earned me a 2:1 mark, the player was given instructions at the top of the screen regarding controls, 15 different topics covered by 16 signposts dotted around the map in relevant locations. In order to make my project truly unique against all the other dissertations undertaken for the NFA at that time, I designed and created a functional minimap in the bottom-right corner of the screen to act as a navigational aid for the user/player. The minimap was complete with information icons above every signpost and an arrow icon that follows the player/user's movement and direction they're facing, as you can see in the screengrabs from the executable below.

Final Map
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Interior - General Storage
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Interior - Combat Training
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Interior - Communal Eating
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Interior - Communal Sleeping
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Interior - Tailoring
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Interior - Smithing
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Interior - Potting
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Interior - Chief
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Interior - Crop Storage
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NFA Trip Twitter Snap

Click on the images for larger size and better quality.

I was fortunate enough that on a trip to the New Forest Authority's offices in Lymington, I had a picture taken of myself and my work at that stage taken without my knowledge that ended up on the company's official Twitter page, effectively giving myself and my individual project a little free advertising.

© 2017 - Matt Archer

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