Stone by stone, digital artists and game developers from Mosul are rebuilding Nineveh’s heritage sites in the digital world.By looking through a virtual reality headset, a person can see the wonders of ancient Iraq. Via VR, it’s possible to fly over Nergal Gate, built 2,700 years ago, and see two winged bulls at its entrance.”Since we started the virtual reality lab, we tried to focus on Mosul’s archaeological sites,” said project co-ordinator Moyasser Nasseer. “It is an opportunity for people to discover archaeological sites that still exist as well as sites recently destroyed by Daesh (Islamic State) when they occupied Mosul.”QAF Media Lab designers want to create an immersive game, in which players solve mysteries to discover Nineveh’s heritage sites. They hope it might also draw tourists. (Reuters video screenshot)Nineveh was an Assyrian city in ancient Mesopotamia. It’s around where modern-day Mosul is located in northern Iraq.The designers want to create an immersive game in which players solve mysteries to discover Nineveh’s heritage sites. They hope it might draw tourists to an area recovering from recent conflicts, said artist Basma Qais.”First of all, we want to redefine the national identity of people living in Mosul, encourage tourism and also have people reconsider their perception of Mosul, especially those who don’t know Mosul,” she said.To build the 3-D models of Nineveh, the team from QAF Media Lab collected data from sites that still exist today. They also used archive material to rebuild sites damaged over the centuries, or more recently by Islamic State.With the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis and the boom of the online entertainment industry, the market for virtual reality games is expanding. People under lockdown enjoy being able to travel at least virtually, while students and researchers get access to the project data online, Nasseer said.

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