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Explore ancient Athens online in 3D models (hyperallergic.com)
96 points by vo2maxer 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

One thing I learned a decade ago is that ancient Greek sculpture wasn't pure white marble (or bronze), but heavily painted with colors to appear more lifelike - it often included glass insets for eyes too. From the looks of it the few statues present in the buildings are painted, so he gets bonus points for that!

I am a bit... dissapointed? to see that the article calls them fantasy cities. Those are historical recreations not just like going and building Minas Tirith. I am not sure I am making my point clear, but I think it kind of downgrades the recreations.

If you scroll down on his website you'll see that he admits to omitting or simplifying things due to technological limitations. He also says he took artistic license with the restoration of the buildings, the surrounding environments, and the representation of buildings for which there are no traces left.


That’s interesting. I would expect a historical city where most people are walking from place to place to have a much higher density of buildings.

I wonder if there is anything like an actual map of buildings that remains that includes all the wooden buildings list to fire, rot, or demolition.

Thank you for the clarification. I was a bit concerned that the article was bringing down this feat.

Not to detract from his work, but it's a shame he doesn't do serious rendering, like with ray-tracing. From the videos, it looks like he's using some lesser software that makes the light look very synthetic. There's also some Z-fighting going on in the background.

I can't imagine it would be too hard to export/import into other software that renders better.

Well reach out and help out if you can ? I know I can't even do the 1/1000th of that so I'm gmad he did. Better than nothing.

I have to think there's a market for something like this, done in a VR environment. I'd love to walk around ancient Athens, even if there was little to do except walk, visit shops, or sit in on a meal with a family.

If I ever did something like this, I'd love to reconstruct Forbes Field and watch a Pirates game there.

Same! I've dreamt about the same. Though, I've could go further. Include Ancient Rome, various Chinese empires, NYC in the 1800's, 1930's, Quebec City in the 1600's, London in the 1200's, 1500's, 1800's.

On and on and on. Bonus points for interactivity.

Those kinds of projects could be profitable, no? The hardest part might be the architectural realism—so funding that portion of the development.

While definitely much nearer to the entertainment end of the spectrum, Assassin's Creed Odyssey has a discovery mode that has virtual tours of historical locations. What it might lack in authenticity or accuracy it recoups in vividness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh4Iy-p943M

The BBC did a fantastic series a few years back where a team explored and created visualisations of some Italian cities:


There's a version for the main ancient European cities too:


Visitors to the site can browse reconstructions that date back as early as 1200 BCE, the Mycenaean period — or Bronze Age — through Classical Athens, featuring the rebuilds made necessary by the Greco-Persian War, and ages of occupation by Romans and Ottomans.

Now this is something exciting I would like to try.

I do wonder what is the best tool for this kind of expansive open world 3d construction, some perhaps would say Minecraft, but it is rather tedious and not designed for the purpose. Maybe Magica Voxel, but I think the canvas sizes are rather small.

i enjoy creating ancient worlds in opensimulator (open source second life), because the landscape can be quite large, but it s limited by the viewer's capabilities. Still more fun than building alone in Unity or other 3d editors

Yes, but it seems an online product, which isn't what I would prefer.

Props to all his hard work, although these days, I feel like you could get 80% of the way there in 20% of the time just by using modding tools from something like Skyrim to do the modeling.

What would these faster modding tools be? Aren't the modders using regular modelers like Blender, 3DMax etc to create the models?

some of the best 3d reconstructions of ancient cities are done by this youtube channel : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR68fz7QoBo

Assasin's creed athens looks also marvelous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a8cWF-29lI

Odyssey is fantastic when it comes to architectural accuracy, and the Discovery Tour is a great way to explore the region.

Game vs life comparison: https://imgur.com/a/i7g0g50

I would pay for the Italian Assassin’s Creeds all over again if they had a big discovery mode, now that I’ve been to Florence and Rome.

We associate these structures with ruins (even in historical films) and it's good to see them in their true glory.

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