Creating an immersive ‘roaming Romans’ trail for letsARgo

Creating letsARgo's very first trail

For the launch of letsARgo, the new home of immersive trails, we partnered with North Tyneside Council to create a fun, family friendly and engaging trail for Wallsend, the home of Segedunum Roman fort.

Of course, the perfect trail for a town so steeped in Roman history was a fun and immersive Romans trail, called ‘Find the Roaming Romans’. Two Roman soldiers are playing hooky from Segedunum Roman fort. They’re at ten locations around Wallsend, having a very good time. It’s each trail visitor’s job to find them in augmented reality, get their attention and remind them they have work to do!

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Creating the Romans in 3D

We pulled references from dozens of sources to create the perfect 3D cartoon romans. We references comic books, films and television, sculpture and historical evidence to find the perfect balance between realistic armour and accessories and cartoony fun.

Our talented team of 3D modellers fused our references into the perfect pair of fun Roman characters you can’t help but want to track down in fun immersive scenes across Wallsend.

Scouting locations and setting the scene

We set out to find locations around Wallsend that would be perfect for hiding our roaming Romans. To keep things accessible and family-friendly, we looked for ‘goldilocks’ spots – ideal places that were easy to recognise, easy to find, easy to get to from public transport and not too far from each other.

Eventually, we found our ten locations around the town, each with a unique character and capable of housing a unique storytelling element for our Romans, and created a story scene for each – eating fried chicken in the middle of town, fishing in the local pond, going shopping and more.

To bring each scene to life, our 3D designers crafted a range of props and scenery for each location.

Motion capture action

Animation is a lot easier when you get actors involved, and we took this one step further using motion capture at Proto. Using mocap meant we could record the actors directly in 3D and apply it to our rigged characters, mimicking their motions with a minimum of complicated and technical clean-up in our studio.

With ten scenes to make, each including body and face capture, props and multiple test iterations, motion capture sped up the process considerably.

Ready to make your own exciting augmented reality trails?