RomeLab is a multi-disciplinary research group (led by UCLA professor of Classics Chris Johanson) whose work uses the physical and virtual city of Rome as a point of departure to study the interrelationship between historical phenomena and the spaces and places of the ancient city. RomeLab is a unique experience that integrates the research team and research lab directly into the classroom by offering undergraduate and graduate, lab-based seminars where students of diverse skill sets collaborate together, working side-by-side with faculty, to study the ancient city through the use of interactive, multi-player Virtual Worlds and video game technology.
The experiential, digital world of RomeLab is highly abstracted. Rather than a Beaux-arts reconstruction, the virtual city in RomeLab is both an inhabitable graph and a three-dimensional map. It attempts to maintain a high data-ink ratio, focusing attention on sight-lines, viewsheds, location, form, and outline. Texture, polychromy, atmospheric effects, and precise, detailed hypothetical reconstructions are not prioritized in this study. Instead, the narrative is foregrounded. The virtual world offers a means to disseminate, interrogate, and refute arguments that are necessarily space-based.
The city was recreated using procedural rules from the Roman City Ruleset.
Collaboration with Chris Johanson (UCLA)
Procedural model of the Republican Forum
Procedural model of the Republican Forum
Modeling workflow
Modeling workflow
The Roman Forum today
The Roman Forum today
Procedural modeling in process
Procedural modeling in process
Procedural reconstruction of 160 BC
Procedural reconstruction of 160 BC
Attributes visible in web model
Attributes visible in web model
Roman Forum in Unity game engine
Roman Forum in Unity game engine
First person navigation
First person navigation
Geolocated text narratives beside first-person navigation mode
Geolocated text narratives beside first-person navigation mode
Iterative modeling of different building phases
Iterative modeling of different building phases
Experiments with the location of temporary stages in the Forum
Experiments with the location of temporary stages in the Forum