The city of Uruk: teaching ancient history in a virtual world

Anton Bogdanovych, Kiran Ijaz, Simeon Simoff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we show how 3D Virtual Worlds can be utilised for teaching ancient history. Our goal is to build an accurate replica of one of humanity’s first cities in a 3D Virtual World and provide history students with facilities to explore the virtual city and learn about its past in the simulated 3D environment. Unlike the majority of similar historical reconstructions, an important feature of our approach is having virtual agents that are capable of simulating everyday life of ancient inhabitants, which includes common tasks like eating, sleeping, working and communicating with one another. In order to offer educational value the agents act as autonomous tutors and are capable of sensing the students through their avatars and interact with them both in terms of performing joint actions and through verbal communication. We show how such virtual environments can be built, explain the technology behind its artificial intelligence controlled population and highlight the corresponding educational benefits. To validate the impact of using the 3D environment and virtual agents in history education we conducted a case study that confirmed the beneficial educational aspects of our approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntelligent Virtual Agents
Subtitle of host publication12th International Conference, IVA 2012. Proceedings
EditorsYukiko Nakano, Michael Neff, Ana Paiva, Marilyn Walker
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9783642331978
ISBN (Print)9783642331961
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event12th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2012 - Santa Cruz, United States
Duration: 12 Sept 201214 Sept 2012

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference12th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySanta Cruz


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