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Video Game Recreates St Giles' History

Wednesday June 12 2024

Stephen Preston, Deputy Head of Heritage and Culture at St Giles’Cathedral,unveils the new historical video game launched for St Giles’900th anniversary. Picture by Martin Shields


The 900-year history of St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh has been recreated in a historical video game.

In a collaboration between the iconic High Kirk, the University of Glasgow’s Games and Gaming Lab and game development studio Education Evolved, the free game will transport visitors through the Cathedral’s architectural evolution.

Stephen Preston, Deputy Head of Heritage and Culture at St Giles’ Cathedral, said: “I knew showing how the Cathedral was built had to be an interactive experience and probably digital. Thanks to Interface, who put us in touch with the future Project Lead Dr Tim Peacock and his team, we will be realising this vision.

“UofGGamesLab really is at the cutting edge of how we interpret heritage sites. It’s great for Scotland (and St Giles’) to have such institutions like the Advanced Research Centre (ARC) on our doorstep.”

Matthew Leeper, the Managing Director and spokesperson for Education Evolved, said: “Being a part of this project, and bringing the cathedral to life in a new and innovative way, designed to engage and educate people who visit St Giles’ and visit their website around the world, has been a great initiative to be a part of.”

Departing from traditional text and sign-based interpretation methods, the game will immerse players in the Cathedral's various ages through original artwork and multilayered information. As they answer questions and learn about the site's history and architecture, visitors will virtually reconstruct St Giles'.

The project represents a co-creative collaboration between academia, public bodies, charities and industry. Facilitated by Interface and engaging the innovative education technology company Education Evolved Ltd on game development, HeritAIge has explored responsibly using AI to translate heritage sites into game form.

Louise Arnold, Business Engagement Executive, Interface, said: “The challenge facing St Giles’ Cathedral is one facing many visitor attractions today – how do you attract more visitors on any given day. It's been great working with St Giles’ Cathedral connecting them to Dr Tim Peacock at University of Glasgow Games Lab, and the collaboration with Education Evolved Ltd who saw the vision to undertake a cross-disciplinary research initiative exploring AI, cultural heritage and historical data translated into a research-informed historical video game.

“It's amazing to now see the working prototype of the interactive game, enabling visitors to delve into a virtual world of history and heritage.”

Dr Tim Peacock added: “We hope this research-informed game will contribute to making the already truly remarkable historic site of St Giles’ accessible to new generations of visitors from around the world.”

You can play the game at https://www.educationevolvedltd.com/stgilescathedral


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