How could a historic site benefit from technology?
Kuaua has decided to take the leap and merge video games into the exhibit. The hope is to enhance the exhibit while providing a new educational tool for historic sites throughout New Mexico and bring a new perspective to the term “video game.”
My name is Bresdin O’Malley and I am an undergraduate student at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU). My goal is to graduate with a Bachelors in System Driven Software Design. I enjoy programming and modeling and hope to enhance my skills in this area while studying at NMHU. I believe strongly in the educational benefit of video games and hope to spend my young adult life help change the social perspective of video games while providing a service to historic sites in New Mexico.
The Coronado Historic Site has recruited the students from NMHU to help bring technology and enhancement to their exhibits. They have transformed the exhibits and helped remodel the glory of this incredible historic site with everything from new graphic posters to updated videography.
As a recruit myself, my summer Americorp internship in 2015, will be working for the Coronado Historic Site to create a flyover site map / archaeological dig detailing the pueblo as it once was found before the site was covered in dirt for preservation. This will be a learning tool for the rangers as well as a wonderful way to detail the many artifacts found on site that are too delicate or precious to be put on display.
I will use the following to complete my project:
- C# using Unity 5.0 design software
- Blender 2.7 + for modeling
- A touch screen monitor
- Coronado Artifact Pictures and Data
- CAD drawings of the pueblo
- Photos of the pueblo when discovered
- Tumblr for documentation
- Trello for iteration organization
- Google Drive for storage and sharing
The overall design of the site will give users and visitors to the site an idea of what it was like to be an archaeologist and discover different artifacts within the site. After the artifacts were extracted from the site, the walls were filled in with dirt to preserve them because an alternative method did not exist. A visit to this site will show a dirt path and the visitor must speak with a docent to learn the fascinating history. My project will provide a visual to go along with the stories. Another goal for the site will be to provide visitors who are disabled and can not traverse the site to be able to experience it without leaving the visitors center.
May 30th marked the 75th anniversary of the Coronado Historic Site and the grand opening of the students work including an Alpha (very early stage of development) version of the game. This was a very successful event with over 850 visitors to the site. I took the opportunity to observe the public interact with the game to help give me a clear understanding to reaching all generations of visitors with this project.
One young girl played the game for over an hour even though there were no objectives and the environment very limited. Her face beamed pure joy when her grandparents finally made her leave the game behind. I was so surprised to see someone enjoy my game so much, especially after I was so nervous to show off such an early version on the site.
This was incredibly inspiring to me and a great learning tool to see how children interact with a simulated world. My next goal is to create an interface that will entice all generations to be unafraid to explore and use this learning tool.
As this project progresses through the summer, I will be giving public presentations on its development and progress. Please feel free to attend and test the newest version between the months of June and July. Just ask a Coronado ranger for the details and I look forward to your curiosity and engagement into this project!