The Drax Files 33: visiting the past through Second Life

Hauptmann Weydert (aka Cyberpiper
Hauptmann Weydert (aka Cyberpiper Roelefs in SL and Pit Vinandy in the physical world), the driving force behind the virtual Luxembourg work, sharing time in-world at Fort Thüngen with his daughter (image: The Drax Files World Makers)

I admit to having something of a personal bias towards The Drax Files World Makers episode #33, which premiered on Friday, October 30th, as it focuses on the work of Hauptmann Weydert (Weydert – also known as Cyberpiper Roelefs within Second Life and Pit Vinandy in the physical world) and his team and their work with the 1867 Project, which recreations elements of the City of Luxembourg as they were at a pivotal point in its history in the 19th century.

I had the pleasure of visiting Fort Thüngen, which forms a part of the project, and then touring  The Virtual Pfaffenthal alongside Hauptmann Weydert (looking resplendent in his period uniform), as we discussed the project in July 2015  – see my article Luxembourg 1867: exploring virtual history in Second Life. So to witness almost first hand through this video just how faithful a reproduction the 1867 Project presents, and gain a greater insight into the Project’s collaboration with Luxembourg City History Museum, comes as an absolute pleasure.

The Virtual Pfaffenthal; Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrThe Virtual Pfaffenthal, (Flickr)

Second Life and environments like it have always been recognised as having a powerful role to play in both education and historical recreation, and this is once again brought home in this segment of the World Maker’s series. In it, viewers are invited to explore the immersive, educational and creative powers inherent in the platform and to catch a glimpse of a fascinating period in European history as well, one which is in turn being shared with the general public in that city through the collaboration with City History Museum.

The immersive power of the platform is marvellously presented through footage filmed in the physical world which has been carefully matched with footage filmed in-world. These differing scenes are then beautifully transitioned between, carrying the viewer seamlessly from one to the other, visually conveying the richness of content and opportunity within the virtual in a manner no amount of narrative could convey. Kudos to Drax for both the filming in Luxembourg and the editing.

The creative power of the platform is beautifully encompassed in just 25 seconds starting at the 1:50 mark, when Pit provides a simple description of the various options for design and building, both in-world and through external tools, as he works on a part of the fort in-world.

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