LANCASTER, Feb 27 — Nine-year-old Dylan immersed in classic children’s book Treasure Island.
He’s the child ambassador for a British project creating 3D visualisations of books on gaming platforms.
“A lot of academic work is quite dry. It’s for a specialist audience, for the academic community and it’s not really tailored for children. We thought ‘why not adapt it using one of the most popular software resources out there — Minecraft — and bring these worlds to life?’,” Dr James Butler from Lancaster University said.
“What we’re doing in the larger project is developing an entirely new method for generating maps and visualizations out of the text itself. So we code up the text, we mark up the text with quite a sophisticated place and space....and from that we can generate a visualisation,” Sally Bushell from Lancaster University said.
Researchers focus on six types of spatial worlds — including real, imagined, and lost worlds.
“If you’re only mapping the real world you’re actually only probably mapping about 10-20 per cent of literary texts because many texts take place in different environments that don’t correspond to the real world,” Bushell said.
The research could help reluctant readers engage with literature.
“Rather than seeing the game version as, you know, the bad version of the book, what our project tries to do is to link both text and image together and to move between,” she said.
“Because it’s like a video game you get to choose what you want to do in it. So if you read a story you have to follow the rules in your heads as the story but like with a video game you don’t have to do that.”
Books such as Robinson Crusoe and Lord of the Flies are being mapped....allowing Dylan to enter the magical worlds of other classic works. — Reuters