Gamification of an archaeological park: The Living Hill Project as work-in-progress
Transforming the Archaeological Record Into a Digital Playground: a Methodological Analysis of The Living Hill Project
Recommendation: posted 11 October 2023, validated 11 October 2023
Hageneuer, S. (2023) Gamification of an archaeological park: The Living Hill Project as work-in-progress. Peer Community in Archaeology, 100399. 10.24072/pci.archaeo.100399
This paper (2023) describes The Living Hill project dedicated to the archaeological park and fortress of Poggio Imperiale in Poggibonsi, Italy. The project is a collaboration between the Poggibonsi excavation and Entertainment Games App, Ltd. From the start, the project focused on the question of the intended audience rather than on the used technology. It was therefore planned to involve the audience in the creation of the game itself, which was not possible after all due to the covid pandemic. Nevertheless, the game aimed towards a visit experience as close as possible to reality to offer an educational tool through the video game, as it offers more periods than the medieval period showcased in the archaeological park itself.
The game mechanics differ from a walking simulator, or a virtual tour and the player is tasked with returning three lost objects in the virtual game. While the medieval level was based on a 3D scan of the archaeological park, the other two levels were reconstructed based on archaeological material. Currently, only a PC version is working, but the team works on a mobile version as well and teased the possibility that the source code will be made available open source. Lastly, the team also evaluated the game and its perception through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Although the surveys were only based on 21 persons, the results came back positive overall.
The paper is well-written and follows a consistent structure. The authors clearly define the goals and setting of the project and how they developed and evaluated the game. Although it has be criticized that the game is not playable yet and the size of the questionnaire is too low, the authors clearly replied to the reviews and clarified the situation on both matters. They also attended to nearly all of the reviewers demands and answered them concisely in their response. In my personal opinion, I can fully recommend this paper for publication.
For future works, it is recommended that the authors enlarge their audience for the quesstionaire in order to get more representative results. It it also recommended to make the game available as soon as possible also outside of the archaeological park. I would also like to thank the reviewers for their concise and constructive criticism to this paper as well as for their time.
Mariotti, Samanta. (2023) Transforming the Archaeological Record Into a Digital Playground: a Methodological Analysis of The Living Hill Project, Zenodo, 8302563, ver. 5 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Archaeology https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8302563
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
The research program of C.AP.I. was funded by the Tuscany Region, the University of Siena, the Foundation of the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Archeòtipo Ltd. (the private company that manages the archaeological area on the hill of Poggibonsi and the open-air museum), and Entertainment Game Apps, Ltd. (a private company specialised in the development of historical serious games). This research was carried out as part of the PhD research project of the author, funded by a scholarship of the University of Bari “Aldo Moro”.
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8302563
Version of the preprint: 1
Author's Reply, 04 Oct 2023
Decision by Sebastian Hageneuer, posted 24 Sep 2023, validated 24 Sep 2023
I agree with the reviewers, that this article is a well-written and interesting paper. Nevertheless, the reviewers offer some advice on how to improve this important work and I urge the authors to take this constructive criticism to improve their paper in the mentioned points. I also ask the authors to create a document with a list of changes made relating to the points the reviewers made and upload this within PCI Archaeology when the new revised version is ready.