We bring you closer to the past

We bring you closer to the past

Tourism NI: Carrickfergus Castle

Our photorealistic augmented reality castle experience brought Carrickfergus Castle visitors closer to the realities of life in a Northern Ireland Norman Castle by combining augmented reality with pre-recorded 360 renders and CGI to create an immersive reconstruction.

Our experimental AR Saxon castle opened restricted areas of the site to visitors, providing X-ray views of the castle to reveal its inhabitants, and reinstated architectural features like a long-destroyed wooden pier.

augmented reality for museums

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Unique experiences

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Years

3000

CGI stills

Partners

We teamed up with leading VFX studio Moonraker to undertake an experiment bringing pre-rendered 360 content into an immersive reconstruction app for Tourism Northern Ireland.

Bringing Saxon life into the 21st century

Despite being one of the most complete examples of Norman architecture in Northern Ireland and one of the most complete castles of its type in Britain or Ireland, Carrickfergus Castle receives far less visitors than traditional ‘honeypot’ sites like the Giant’s Causeway or well known Game of Thrones locations. Tourism Northern Ireland challenged us to create an interactive app that would entice tourists off the beaten track, and help them discover more about traditional life at Carrickfergus Castle.

This augmented reality castle project was part of a wider programme to explore the potential of immersive technologies to disrupt the tourism sector in Northern Ireland and incentivise trips to undervalued and overlooked sites by enhancing them with new, digital experiences.

Designing an augmented reality castle

To give visitors a more interactive experience, without needing to enter Carrickfergus Castle, we teamed up with VFX experts Moonraker to pioneer a new approach: blending Hollywood quality, pre-rendered video with the dynamism of AR to create our first augmented reality castle.

With the goal of bringing the heritage site to life in photorealistic quality, we crafted awe-inspiring scenes allowing tourists to fire a cannon, reveal the medieval inhabitants of the Keep, and walk along a wooden pier which is no longer there.

Visitors simply line up the outline of these objects on their device screen with the real-world items to trigger an augmented sequence which plays as you physically move forwards.

For example, focussing the app on the cannon and moving towards it causes an augmented period vessel to appear in the water below the AR Saxon castle and causes the cannon to fire. This interactive and realistic augmented moment adds a new level of immersion to a Carrickfergus visit.

For those used to a digital world, experiencing a heritage site simply as it is today is, often, no longer enough. Visitors expect more, and by using cutting edge visual effects, the visitor experience can be taken to a totally new level.

Emma Kolasinska, Executive Producer for Moonraker

For those used to a digital world, experiencing a heritage site simply as it is today is, often, no longer enough. Visitors expect more, and by using cutting edge visual effects, the visitor experience can be taken to a totally new level.

Emma Kolasinska, Executive Producer for Moonraker

Exploring Carrickfergus Castle in AR

Through the augmented reality castle in the app, visitors gain a more authentic experience of Carrickfergus Castle in its heyday.

Our augmented reality castle inhabitants reinstate a level of lived experience to the site, whilst rebuilding the lost pier gives visitors a better understanding of the Castle’s original geography and allows them to envisage the Castle at different points in time.

By discovering these aspects and interacting with objects like the canon using the app, visitors are able to take on an active role in their learning about Carrickfergus thereby encouraging a deeper level of engagement. What was once a site with fairly little physical interpretation and limited interior access is now much more accessible through the AR Saxon castle.

The high quality of the augmented reality castle and graphics means that using the app doesn’t feel too disruptive or otherworldly, as the unique digital experience blends seamlessly with the real world.

The app creates the powerful illusion that the monuments around you come to life as you discover them, as if you’ve peeled back a layer in time to find the everyday Saxon world existing alongside your own!

This innovative technological solution is a perfect example of how the visitor experience can be enhanced with immersive reconstruction technologies. Get in touch to discuss making your own augmented reality castle or to find out how you could use photorealistic AR experiences in your work.

We give people new perspectives

Curio offers a solution which combines the best of analogue and digital. Our Virtual and Augmented Reality Binoculars allow our clients to capitalise on the existing understanding and excitement for old-school binoculars, whilst also introducing the thrill and insight of digital visuals.

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