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29 August 2022

Katancic's Time Machine VR

Have you ever stood in front of historic ruins or monument and closed your eyes, imagining what the scene before you would have looked like centuries ago? Thanks to virtual reality, seeing places as they were in their heyday is becoming possible. History isn’t meant to stay on the page — it comes alive through storytelling and shared experiences. The historical context of a place is a powerful conduit to cultural appreciation in the present. That's why the city of Valpovo and its Tourist board have decided to create an interesting and immersive experience that will bring the figure and works of Matija Petar Katančić and the inhabitants of Valpovo from the end of the 18th century closer to their visitors, especially the younger generations.

For the purposes of the application, we created 3D models of the main Valpovo square, the Prandau-Normann castle, medieval tower, the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the old school located next to the church, the birth house of Katančić and the Valpovo beer brewery.

Unfortunately, the only relevant pictorial source from that era that shows to some extent how Valpovo was spatially arranged is a drawing of Valpovo on a guild diploma from the beginning of the 19th century.

A drawing of Valpovo on a guild diploma from the end of the 18th century

A drawing of Valpovo on a guild diploma from the end of the 18th century

In addition to the object models, we created various 3D models of characters important for the history of Valpovo as well as a few secondary male and female characters. The users of the application will be able to meet Matija Petar Katančić, ban Ivan Morović (“ban” is a noble title from Croatia’s history) and Friedrich Stegmann, the beer brewer that was working in the historic Valpovo brewery.

Sketches of the Katančić model

Sketches of the Katancic model

Various forms of interaction have been developed for users at the locations featured in the application. On Valpovo square, users can see what crafts and service activities the townsfolk of Valpovo were engaged in or what the market looked like. They also have the opportunity to draw water from the “Đeram”, an old type of well characteristic to this area. At school, they can solve a mini knowledge quiz, while, for example, at a brewery, they will help the brewer arrange a beer order that has been reduced due to a lack of hops. In the medieval tower, the user is given a chance to solve a puzzle and help Ban Ivan Morović to find the lost sword that he needs for battle. The house where Matija Petar Katančić lived as a child gives the user an insight into the life of the inhabitants of Valpovo 200 years ago - how they lived, how their houses were decorated, what they ate and what they did for a living. In the church, the user will see the Baroque style influence present in the Valpovo church, and have the cultural value of the organ (a keyboard instrument), altar and other significant church elements thoroughly explained.

This type of solution allows the user to travel back in time and create a memorable and unique experience. It also enriches the tourist and educational experience in the city of Valpovo. It enables the town and its Tourist Board to introduce their visitors, especially younger generations, to the character of Matija Petar Katančić and the life of the inhabitants of Valpovo 200 years ago in an interesting, new and immersive way,.

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