Under my supervision, junior animation students from Monmouth University created a first version of Jockey Hollow VR. Almost all assets were created by the students, I helped putting it together in Unity and took care of the programming.
During the brutal winter of 1779/1780, General Washington’s Continental Army faced many hardships in the Jockey Hollow winter encampment. It is currently part of the Morristown National Historical Park.
Prof. Veit, Professor of History and Antropology at Monmouth University, has been conducting archeological investigations in the park with his students. Last Fall the idea was developed to virtually recreate one of the historical sites Prof. Veit has been working on, as a class project for Animation students taking AR 394, 3D Environments and Effects, in Spring 2019. Because of its location and potential, we decided to create a Virtual Reality Experience based on the Jockey Hollow Revolutionary War winter encampment.
A powerpoint presentation supplied by Prof. Veit about the Field School in 2018 provided valuable information and visuals to get the group project started. At the beginning of Spring semester, we conducted a field trip to the National Historic Park in Morristown, NJ. Not only did that give us a better sense of the place, we also brought equipment to gather data.
This included a Structure 3D Scanner, and a Samsung Gear 360 degree camera. A number of photo cameras were used to capture references and texture images. The photographic references turned out to be most useful in reconstructing the site. We did also find, in the Jockey Hollow Visitors Center, a picture of contemporaneous construction drawing that was a good reference for reconstructing the hut.
As a group, the students taking AR 394 came up with an ambitious plan for a VR experience based on the Jockey Hollow site. The user will be a newly enlisted soldier who is welcomed by another soldier and given a number of tasks, including chopping wood. The task will lead to exploration of the camp.
The students had little or no prior experience with VR, so the learning curve was pretty steep. Getting the scale and proportions right turned out to be challenging. A first version of the resulting VR experience was presented to the public during the opening of the All Student Show on Sunday, on April 28, 2019
There are plans to continue work on this project.
Participating Animation Students: Jonathan Cohen, Chasity Concepcion, Michael Orlando, Brent Pearlman, Roxanne Quow, Nicole Tuohy.