My MSc Dissertation is now Online

It’s finally online! All the 3D work I’ve been posting recently on York St Mary’s Abbey is all in this dissertation submitted for my MSc in Digital Heritage at the University of York (Department of Archaeology) 🙂

This link will take you to my page on where you can view/download the paper:

Hannah Rice (2014) ‘Exploring the Pedagogical Possibilities of applying Gaming Theory and Technologies to Historic Architectural Visualisation’.

Abstract: This paper deliberates how gaming theory and technologies can be applied to historic architectural visualisation for educational use by museums and its pedagogical potentials. It presents a proposal for a pedagogical digital game, Pilgrim’s Peril: St Mary’s Abbey, based on a qualitative survey and the discussed issues throughout the paper on Serious Games, commercial games and digital learning methods. Issues such as authenticity, gamification, edutainment, place and narrative are also considered together with the social and cultural significance of fusing gaming with historic architectural visualisation.


PROJECT: Re-Visualising pre-1539 St Mary’s Abbey, York- Part 9

161013 abbeyIt’s been awhile since I’ve last posted as its come to the time where I need to be writing 20,000 words for my dissertation to accompany this Blender3D project!

Since my last post I have added a UV sphere as a background and mapped a sky texture to the mesh. I have also crenellated the abbey precinct- most of the hand-drawn “artist impressions” of the abbey have featured crenellated walls therefore I decided to include it on mine.

I have started to develop some of the pathways using a dirt texture and used the “shrink wrap” modifier to make the mesh mould to the shape of the ground as the ground isn’t completely flat or at a level height (if anyone knows an easier way please let me know! 🙂 )

I still need to model more of the other buildings in the abbey precinct once I’ve finished researching them. I also need to finish modelling windows and doorways on the buildings already in the model as a lot of the buildings still have blank façades. I’m hoping to create more varieties of foliage too, though the architecture has priority.

PROJECT: Re-Visualising pre-1539 St Mary’s Abbey, York- Part 8

St Marys Abbey York by Hannah RiceJust a little update! After creating the medieval form of the Hospitium (see previous post) I imported the model into my main abbey file and used the same model, but slightly amended, to form the length of buildings that lay parallel to the River Ouse.

From the screenshot (a very murky day!) you can also see the beginnings of the gatehouse and St Olave’s Church to the left of the abbey. I have also started planting some trees (the sapling tool is very handy for this) and hope to populate the grounds with a lot more foliage as I finish constructing the other buildings.

PROJECT: Re-Visualising pre-1539 St Mary’s Abbey, York- Part 7

I’m taking a slight break from modelling the main St Mary’s Abbey by re-creating the Hospitium, one of the buildings in the abbey grounds (York Museum Gardens, UK). According to the History of York site “It’s not known for sure what it was originally used for, the official listing of the building suggests that it was a place for visitors to stay”.

I recreated the basic structure of the current Hospitium form in Blender using plans obtained from the University of York and researched what it would have looked like pre-Dissolution alongside the abbey. It looks slightly different to today, with a smaller upper storey.

Here is a screenshot of my progress so far!


and here my own winter photo of what the Hospitium looks like currently:

hospitium photoAs you can see I need to model what can be seen today as the two arches and research what these buildings would have been in the 15th century. I also need to research the upper doorway on the Hospitium- would this have led to another attached building or was this added at a much later date and should therefore be edited out of my model?

Once I finish this model I will then import into my main abbey model file!

Reminder to fill out my gaming & architectural history survey!

Reminder to fill out my gaming & architectural history survey!

My survey is about the use of computer games for exploring historical architecture. My current project is the visualisation of St Mary’s Abbey in York (UK) before the Dissolution of the Monasteries and I hope to eventually make an application that allows the user to “walk around” the grounds to get a sense of what St Mary’s was like pre-1539. I also hope to add interactive elements and a narrative.

Your answers to my survey are valuable to aiding the development of the game side of my project and I appreciate answers from people who have varied opinions on gaming.

Thanks 🙂

PROJECT: Re-Visualising pre-1539 St Mary’s Abbey, York- Part 6

St Mary's Abbey YorkA small update on my abbey project. I am currently in the process of modelling some of the more detailed gothic decoration of the abbey’s exterior. This is quite difficult as the abbey’s decorative plan is only speculative at this point, with hardly any archaeological evidence. As a result I am referring to the schemes of other local ecclesiastic buildings  such as the York Minster and other Benedictine abbeys. 

Another part of the model I have been working on is the River Ouse created from real grass and dirt textures and a water photo. I intend to eventually blend the edge of the riverbank model with the grass model.


I am also beginning to model portals and their doors and add stained glass texturing to the windows. After that I will start to model some of the other buildings in the complex, such as King’s Manor (Abbott’s house), the Hospitium and St Mary’s Lodge, and also make a start on populating the grounds with trees and foliage.

*screenshot author’s own.

PROJECT: Re-Visualising pre-1539 St Mary’s Abbey, York- Part 5

abbey 3 july

Some more progress on my MSc dissertation project.! After trialling out some textures, taken from, I visited York Museum Gardens to obtain photographs of the abbey which I can then use for the final texturing of the model. The above screenshot is the beginnings of my UV mapping the abbey with the real abbey textures.

When it comes to texturing the stained glass I may have to continue using the generic glass I used in my trial texturing, see previous post. Most of the content and design of the glass is unknown from archaeological excavation, therefore looking at other Benedictine abbeys may be useful for this.


Another feature I have been working on was adding the arcade in the cloister (above) and started some bump and specular mapping. Aspects to alter next would be the scale of some of the texture mapping and I also need to start thinking about adding doorways and looking at the design of 16th century kings manor!

*all screenshots author’s own.