The world of Ancient Mayas in VR

The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 250 in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, northern Belize and western Honduras. Building on the inherited inventions and ideas of earlier civilizations, the Maya developed astronomy, calendrical systems and hieroglyphic writing.

The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. This ancient civilization has captured the imagination of millions and one web3D builder named Ladin who decided to recreate elements of this culture to share with the 3D web.

Ladin has built an incredible website The World of Ancient Maya in Virtual Reality. This site is a great mixture of 2D and 3D information and the way more websites should be. One can navigate the 2D site like any other with the option to explore various 3D scenes in Adobe Atmosphere and the web3D open standards. The content is rich, informative, and well organized. There are plenty of scenes to explore and even an animated avatar of a Mayan monarch that can be downloaded. I got the opportunity to ask Ladin a few questions.

Please share a little about yourself and your experience with web3D.
"I'm sorry my English language is very primitive. I live in Czech republic EU. I began to gain my first experience with the web 3D six years ago."

What made you design the 3D world of ancient Mayans?
"I am interested in ancient cultures of pre-Columbian America. I study it for twenty years."

Where did you get the information for the scene?
"I found on the web some Mayan buildings. It was created by Virtus Studio. It was very primitive but I was impressed by that. I tried to make my first objects by different VRML editors. My first 3D world was made with Adobe Atmosphere, but I reverted to the VRML standard. Now I use Vizx 3d tool, VRMLpad, and text editor. Cinema4D I use for a rendering. Usually I want to make only one structure. I must collect a lot of photographs this building from the various viewpoints. I gather information written by authority. I must use my experience, when I can't find any information about some detail. Sometimes I must rely on my fantasy. Then I expand to the surrounding area when is the building made. That's why my worlds is never finished."

What other work have you done with the 3D web open standards VRML and/or X3D?
"I have done the project of my house in 3D. I made the Russian space station "MIR"

How do you see 3D web technologies enhancing our exploration of history and ancient cultures?
"I think my web 3D worlds don't show any news,but maybe evoke a feeling of real visitor or ancient inhabitant."

I really enjoyed the interactive scene of Uaxactun. It shows how the sun rose at different times of year over three temples in the area. Websites that focus on educating about ancient cultures and civilizations could really learn a lot from this site on how to make learning more engaging. Thanks Ladin for this awesome site and I recommend everyone take sometime to hang at the pyramids of Chichen Itza.


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