Pixel Pasts: A Resource for Exploring Cultural Heritage in Videogame Worlds

Pixel Pasts Homepage ScreenshotMy Pixel Pasts project has been in development for over a year now but I am very pleased to announce that I have made the website live!

The project is an online database which acts as a catalogue of real-world art, architecture, places and people recreated in videogame environments. The aim of the catalogue is to be a starting search point for those wanting to begin their research in historical visualisation in games. The catalogue is ever-growing, and one day will include images. If you want to suggest any database entries please let me know via the Pixel Pasts website!

Visitors will be able to search via game title, developer, publisher, historical asset name and type (architecture, art, person, place etc), period, style and location. In addition to the general search bar I am currently working on a more advanced search tool for the “Discover” page.

There will also be an articles feature if anyone interested in videogames and historical visualisation would like to contribute?

There is still a long way to go and lots of coding tweaks to make, however the basic functions of the database are in place- please bear with me whilst I make the site more user friendly!

The idea for the project came about back in early 2014 when I was writing my MSc dissertation on the pedagogic potential of using videogame technologies for exploring architectural history. One thing which would have made my research a lot easier would have been a catalogue of historical buildings recreated in videogames, both accurately or implied by the Developers. So then I started developing Pixel Pasts as a response to both my own research need and a love for historical visualisation in videogames.

My thanks in particular go out to Simon Stamp of Block for his coding expertise and assistance with the database. Look out for updates and I hope that the site will be of use to those interested in historical visualisation.

www.pixelpasts.com   —  Twitter: @PixelPasts


Level Up! MSc Done!

Its been awhile since I last posted and logged in (sorry for late comment replies!), I had to concentrate on completing my dissertation, which FINALLY has been handed in!

My topic was “Exploring the Pedagogical Possibilities of Applying Gaming Theory and Technologies to Historic Architectural Visualisation”. My main case study was my St Mary’s Abbey model which I’ve been blogging about on here for a while now. In my first part of my dissertation I looked at the theory of place, authenticity, “edutainment”, narrative and gamification with regards to pedagogical methods and how this is utilised by museums, Serious Games and commercial games with an architectural history focus. In the second part I used all of the theory I discussed in part one to propose an educational game (planned as a first-person RPG) based on my model of St Mary’s Abbey. I may decide to upload this paper once I’ve officially graduated (July)…if you’re into computer games and heritage you may enjoy it!

Now I’ve finished my MSc I’ve been thinking about where to head next… I’ve been working on my own website, built from scratch (thanks to my web dev module at uni, and my partner Si Stamp for helping me with the PHP! ). The address is www.hannahbethrice.com and on here I’ll upload my 3D work. Now university is over I will be looking out for projects to work on and promote on my website. I’ll also be transferring this blog across at some point, and possibly adding a shop section. I will also start doing more game reviews- particularly on the topics of environments, architecture and history, and how they are portrayed in games.

I really enjoyed my time at the University of York. My thanks in particular go out to Sara Perry for her informative lectures on Cultural Heritage Management and support, and Anthony Masinton for his knowledge on gaming and historic visualisation, and also introducing me to Blender!

From my MSc I’ve learned how to create a website from scratch (that fully validates with W3C!), developed my database design skills, discovered new 3D modelling software that I am now obsessed with, learned how to survey historic buildings and also increased my knowledge in the management of cultural heritage. I would really recommend studying at York (I was there for 5 years!) if you’re wanting to study anything historical. Having experienced studying both in the History of Art and Archaeology departments, the staff really are the specialists in their fields, and the campus is also a nice, green space (full of ducks!).