Virtual hill town

click on images for full-size:

Towers and mountains at Gubbio

Gubbio street scene

We constructed the virtual Italian Hill town using our 2021 Apple G17 workstation. We borrowed features from Perugia and Orvieto. You could put on 3D glasses with ear speakers, don VR gloves and slippers, and then flit around the virtual town, looking down little alleys and gazing out over the fields toward a pretty set of fractal mountains we had created (but which weren't accessible). We hadn't been able to do smells, and the touch of the stones wasn't as realistic as we would have liked, but we judged the model a success.

We had to ban some students who wanted to use the streets of the virtual town as a setting for a shoot-em game, and then we settled down to some serious testing. We walked and judged views; we measured tactile effects. We had simple visual avatars for our presence, so we could see our other explorers. We thought the surroundings were pleasant, so we tried holding a few departmental meetings in the virtual space. The meetings didn't go well, though, because people were more interested in the textures and views than the agenda. So we decided that while the virtual town was a success as a 3-d exercise, it wouldn't work as a place to "live."

(To explore a real virtual village using present-day technology, visit Arampur at Wesleyan University.)