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Could Assassin’s Creed Help Rebuild Notre Dame?

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Could Assassin’s Creed Help Rebuild Notre Dame?

Could a video game help to rebuild a cathedral? This may seem an odd question, but it has acquired relevance since the holocaust that gutted the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on April 15.

Image result for notre dame fire images

Some well-heeled business owners have offered huge sums for the rebuilding of the cathedral, and in toto the funding drive has brought in well over a billion dollars in pledges.

But restoration will be an immensely complicated task. It’s not simply a matter of raising funds and hiring workers. To start with, full restoration will require blueprints by architects familiar with the original dimensions and appearance of every cubic inch of the destroyed areas.

The size and immense age of the building present daunting obstacles. Construction of Notre Dame began in A.D. 1163, and the first phase ended in in 1345. Church authorities could not recover the original architect’s plans for the cathedral interior- lost for hundreds of years- though they still possess detailed plans for the exterior.

Video Game Artists Weigh In

This is where video game developers come in. Their files may contain information that no one else has about the interior structure of the intact Notre Dame de Paris.

Caroline Miousse, an artist who helped develop Assassin’s Creed: Unity, has offered her services. Miousse said that she worked for more than two years on the game, almost all of her efforts devoted to creating a model of the cathedral.

“I did some other stuff in the game”, Miousse said, “but 80% of my time was spent on the Notre Dame.”

Notre Dame Rendering in Assassin's Creed Unity

For a 2014 article published in The Verge, Andrew Webster stated that Miousse “spent literally years fussing over the details of the building. She pored over photos to get the architecture just right, and worked with texture artists to make sure that each brick was as it should be. She even had historians help her figure out the exact paintings on the walls.”  

Unlike other games in the Assassin’s Creed series, Unity  is set exclusively in Paris during two historical periods. One is the Jacobin Revolution (1789-1795); the other is World War II.

Laser Mapping

Andrew Tallon, another artist, spent months aiming lasers for 3D mapping of the cathedral’s structure. For a profile of Tallon’s work, National Geographic stated, “Mounted on a tripod, the laser beam sweeps around the choir of the cathedral… and measures the distance between the scanner and every point it hits. Each measurement is represented by a colored dot, which cumulatively create a three-dimensional image of the cathedral.” 

Tallon’s scans, and Miousse’s artwork, could prove indispensable to the rebuilding effort. A video game could help save a cathedral.

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