Saturday, September 02, 2006

Architectural Recreation in Half Life

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, an architectural masterpiece that has been voted the best all-time work of American architecture, has been recreated in Half Life (from Blues News). It was finished in 1939 for the Kaufmann family and molds itself around a natural waterfall. You can view a video walkthrough of the project (at Videosift), or download the map and see it for yourself (at Cstrike Planet).

A few things spring immediately to mind. One, this is a great way for the world to view architectural masterpieces in a far more intimate way than merely flipping through a coffee table book or looking at postcards. Increasingly there are examples of these recreations in places like Second Life and having the world's great buildings, museums, and archaeological sites available in this way is a great use of virtual resources. Two, although recreating real world sites in virtua is fine, how about creating new forms of architecture and design? I suspect this is already happening but is anyone documenting this? Three, I can see machinima picking up on this and having documentaries, either entirely in-game, or via a combination of in-game and real world video. We've seen recreations of ancient battles using the Creative Assembly's Total War series on the History Channel's Decisive Battles. Is it only a matter of time before we see the "World's Great Architects", or "Masterpiece Buildings from the Ancients" using game engines like Half Life or Second Life? Four, with a proper tour guide in place it would be like a real world visit (hey, you could use Half Life's in-game voice icons to add speech similar to how some museum displays are designed!). Take in the Louvre, The Guggenheim, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art all without leaving your desk. Plus, you could have entire events recreated at any time. Miss out on that display of Egyptian art treasures that came to town for only two weeks? You could just choose to see that version of the museum or art gallery.

Are there any museums or galleries doing this now?

No comments: