Following a brief developed by Dr Eike Falk Anderson of the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) in cooperation with Tom Cousins of BU Maritime Archaeology, and on the basis of the 3D scans of the sunk tanks, a group of undergraduate students of the NCCA created the “Exercise Smash” virtual heritage experience, leveraging modern video games infrastructure (in this case the Unreal Engine 4). Blending a historical serious game with a virtual dive trail, in a snapshot in time, users live the past and try to land an amphibious tank while taking part in “Exercise Smash”, and then return to the present to explore the tank wrecks in Studland Bay during a virtual dive. The project was conducted as part of the 2nd year Group Project unit (led by Susan Sloan) by students from three of the NCCA’s undergraduate programmes, BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art and Design (Arran Bidwell, Alexander Lechev and Manuella Nagiel), BA (Hons) Computer Animation Technical Arts (Joseph Adams and Dawid Kupinski) and BSc (Hons) Software Development for Animation, Games and Effects (Radu Rosca).
The work, which was based on Bianca’s Innovations Project unit results extends and improves existing methods for procedurally simulating decaying fruit for use in computer graphics and visual effects, focusing on artist directability and visual fidelity. As the resulting visuals are quite impressive, this project was also one of the ten submissions featured in the SIGGRAPH’18 posters preview video.
Of the 74 posters presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference, 16 submitted posters, including Bianca’s contribution (poster 74), were invited to the first round of the prestigious ACM Student Research Competition (SRC) sponsored by Microsoft. Bianca’s submission was one of only four European semi-finalists and of those the only one from a UK institution. After presenting the work to a panel of experts, the submission made it into the second round and after the ACM Student Research Competition Final Presentation it won first place in the undergraduate category.