GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 155-9
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


CHO, Youngwoo, Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, 108 Hilbun Hall, P.O. Box 5448, Mississippi State, MS 39762 and CLARY, Renee M., Geosciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762

Virtual Field Trips (VFTs) have proven very useful in previewing and reviewing actual field trips. The advancement of 3D technology has made it possible to create an immersive and photorealistic environment for VFTs. By utilizing these technologies, we aimed to give Mississippi State University’s geology students more immersive and realistic experiences for previewing and reviewing their field trips to Saguache County, Colorado, as a part of their Summer Geology Field Camp.

We have expanded our Virtual Geology Learning Toolbox (VGLTx) by creating a role-playing game, The Lizard of Prosser, with Unity3D game engine and C# programming. It is based on an adventure scenario with which the player is asked to achieve specific missions. The player is provided with a set of quests that they will need to solve while they are exploring the area. The terrain in the game was created from the real-world digital elevation models. We used the photorealistic 3D rendering and animation of the natural environment to give the player a more immersive experience. We created geologic game objects such as 3D models of rocks, fossils, and structures through photogrammetric and 3D rendering procedures and put them in the game environment.

Students who participated in the Summer Geology Field Camp were asked to use The Lizard of Prosser to review their field trip experiences. Like other tools in VGLTx we have developed and tested, the general feedback on this game was quite encouraging. Student feedback also offered constructive suggestions for improvements.