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Application of new technology to increase access to the cultural heritage of St Albans


The result of the project was an interactive and innovative web-based game. The game promotes the cultural heritage of St Albans through 5 time zones: Roman, Saxon & Viking, Medieval, Tudor and Victorian. The game provides a highly engaging educational tool, particularly for children. Not only does the game visualise an English city through different time zones, but provides information on living conditions, transport methods, illnesses and adversaries. The game provides detailed information on historical artefacts from each time zone, each of which can be viewed at the Museums of St Albans. The game has been widely tested in schools in St Albans and was exceedingly well received by teachers and pupils alike. Learning should be fun and the game achieves this educational objective. But the game goes further than providing an educational aid to St Albans. Being a web-based game, it can be played anytime, from anywhere in the world. This will allow children globally to understand what life was like in St Albans through the ages and help them to understand the development of a City over nearly 2000 years. The game utilises the latest version of Flash technology, Macromedia Flash MX, to provide a high-impact, multimedia experience. The optimisation of the Flash files allows the game to be played over the Internet even by those on a modem of average speed. The game user-interface was thoroughly researched to allow intuitive usage even by children aged as young as 6. Significant skills development has occurred within Netcel's creative team during the project. New multimedia challenges were faced and overcome. Skills transfer was significant between members of the project team. These skills will be used on project already commissioned and will allow Netcel to tender for new projects. A significant project outcome was the development of game play technology components. This library of code and scripts is largely re-usable, allowing more rapid development of future games and allowing future games to include more complicated features by building on the current code library. The finished game will be showcased in future tender processes, and should be of interest to organisations commissioning multimedia projects, be it educational, eLearning or other interactive web-based projects. Netcel will be disseminating the project results in a number of ways: - Online: The game will be promoted through the St Albans Museums own site: As a Macromedia Authorised Partner, Netcel will be submitting the game to Macromedia to be showcased on the site. The game will also be submitted for showcasing at other sites dedicated to multimedia innovation, such as - Offline: Press releases promoting the game will be sent to the primary UK Internet and multimedia publications and magazines.
As part of the consortium, have developed a content management system designed to hold information about items within a geographical spread out site. The information is then delivered to wireless handsets in the form of description and explanation of the item and direction to get from item to another. All the information is held in a database. As such it can be easily and rapidly updated to reflect changes within a site, or re-created for implementation at another site (client). The database also supports multiple languages.