Fostering Engagement with Cultural Heritage Through Immersive VR and Gamification




Journal Title

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Springer, Cham


Book chapter

Peer reviewed



Digital games provide a recognised means of engagement and education when addressing challenges in educating and immersing individuals in their own heritages, and those of other cultures. Similarly, gamification techniques, commonly expressed as the addition of game elements to an existing process, have been successfully applied to augment existing resources and programmes. The many examples of gamification or serious games focusing on cultural heritage also highlight the potential benefits of using these principles for the purposes of supporting preservation and learning. In this chapter, we present I-Ulysses, a virtual-reality game designed to engage based around the notable work Ulysses by Irish author James Joyce. The rationale for the selection of Ulysses as a basis for the game’s content and design was two-fold; firstly because of its cultural impact within Ireland, and secondly as its content appeared well-suited to exploration as a virtual reality experience. Facets of gamification are explored in I-Ulysses through key mechanics, including a focus towards virtual worlds and crowd intelligence based on real-world data, to highlight how these principles can be employed for cultural heritage preservation and knowledge transfer. Through feedback obtained from focus groups interacting with I-Ulysses, it can be seen that the gamified mechanics presented through the lens of virtual reality provide an informative and educational guide to Ulysses that would engage and appeal to a wide audience.


Research on the I-Ulysses project was undertaken as part of the Digital Arts Humanities program between 2011 and 2015. An industrial/academic placement also took place in the third year, with the Computer Graphics Department (GV-2) at Trinity College Dublin, with Professor John Dingliana. During this placement, the author was given access to assets in Ogre from the Inside Joycean Dublin Project, a sister-project, and was tasked with gamifying them. The project was involved in a commercialisation spinout fast track (CFTD-1), with Enterprise Ireland’s Kevin Burke, in the third year, and the involvement of the Inagh Valley Trust.


Serious Games, Virtual Reality, Cultural Heritage, Research Subject Categories::TECHNOLOGY


O’Connor, S., Colreavy-Donnelly, S. and Dunwell, I. (2020) Fostering Engagement with Cultural Heritage Through Immersive VR and Gamification. In: Visual Computing for Cultural Heritage,. Springer, Cham. pp. 301-321


Research Institute

Cyber Technology Institute (CTI)