| IT | | DE |
| IT | | DE |

Lagazuoi: Echoes of The Great War
is the first 3D VR visor game created by a museum


The First World War as no one has ever seen it before.
The 3D-scanned network of military tunnels inside Mount Lagazuoi becomes the backdrop for a war game created by the Open-Air Museum of the First World War on Mount Lagazuoi in collaboration with the young start-up company Realverse under the official patronage of the Italian Alpini mountain troops (A.N.A.) and the headquartes of the Alpini troops in Bolzano.

For the first time, history becomes "wearable" like a helmet. Or rather, like the hat of the Italian mountain troops. The open-air museum of the First World War on Mount Lagazuoi is the first in Italy to launch a VR 3D video game, which can be purchased from the Meta Quest Store at this link >>>. With a VR visor and a joystick in each hand, anyone can travel back to 1917 and fight in a labyrinth of tunnels dug into the mountain, exactly where the front line between Italy and Austria-Hungary ran more than a century ago. This innovation is the result of a collaboration with the "humanistic-informatics" start-up Realverse, which was founded by Julian Palmarin, Leonardo Vaia and, at the initial phase, Sebastian Cavada. A young, highly motivated trio from Trentino and South Tyrol.

With "Lagazuoi: Echoes of The Great War", which is available in stores just in time for Christmas, the communication of historical knowledge enters the era of virtual representation. And it does so with the 'blessing' of the “Penne Nere” (The Black Feathers), as the Alpini call themselves because of the traditional black feather on their uniform hat: both the National Alpini Association and the Alpine Troops Headquarters of Bolzano have given their patronage to this project.

​It originates from a pact between the generations. "We have brought together two worlds that are far away from each other, not least for reasons of age: the Alpini who did their military service - which was abolished almost twenty years ago - and young reservists," says engineer Stefano Illing, inventor of the open-air museum and promoter of the project.
"And it worked: in-service and retired Alpini are excited to tell the story with more modern means, while the Realverse team is fascinated by the idea of telling a story with new technologies and presenting a spectacular, high-quality product.

Shovel and pickaxe on the one hand, three-dimensional virtual reality on the other. For 25 years, the Alpini - first the ANA sections Cadore and Belluno and the Brigata Alpina Tridentina, then the many volunteers of the many groups of the ANA Treviso section, joined by Alpini from the ANA sections of Valdobbiadene, Brescia, Parma, Bergamo, Conegliano, Palmanova, Pordenone, Salò and Verona under the leadership of Sergio Furlanetto and placed within the Cengia Martini-Lagazuoi Committee – have kept alive the memory of "their" comrades, who came from all over Italy, shouldered their muskets and fought in the Dolomites. From the late 1990s to the present day, hundreds of Alpini volunteers have cleared the tunnels of debris, built stairs and restored barracks and trenches. Their immense work has made it possible to open the tunnels to the hundreds of visitors who descend into the interior of the Lagazuoi mountain every summer with torches and helmets to explore this fortress of earth and rock. This 3D-scanned network of tunnels can now be "navigated" online and is the actual setting for the game.

The video game
It is a realistic and accurate game, an educational tool that is also captivating, with a storyline and various concrete challenges to overcome.

With a VR visor, the player is transported to a barrack furnished like a small museum, with pictures, historical photos and objects created using scans of original artefacts: For a more accurate historical representation, the start-up consulted official collections dedicated to the First World War and the Dolomite front, such as the Museo Nazionale Storico degli Alpini in Trento, which collaborated on this project thanks to the support of the Headquarters of the Alpini Troops in Bolzano, the Museo Storico della Grande Guerra in Rovereto and the Museo della Battaglia di Vittorio Veneto. Two hands appear, which are operated with joysticks and allow you to interact with the scenery, open descriptions, admire a 3D map of the front between the Lagazuoi, Sasso di Stria and Valparola mountains and choose the game level by moving effortlessly thanks to the teleportation function.

Tunnels, barracks and play areas have been faithfully recreated to reflect the interior of the Lagazuoi, which was restored by the Alpini and then scanned. In this setting, in which every single object can be touched and examined virtually in an interactive way, the player hears the stories of the Alpini, reads the letters they left to their families, but above all is encouraged to actively participate by accomplishing various tasks. The hand-cranked telephone, cableway and hammer drill, the tunnel blasting with dynamite, cannon fire: you are constantly immersed in a flow of sounds and images that recount everyday life, but also of historical events and facts.

In a short time and without any advertising, the "beta" version of the game was downloaded by no less than two thousand players, developers and programmers who were looking for bugs to report before the official launch. Their comments were very positive.


One museum, three ways to explore it
During the First World War, Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers dug shelters for men and weapons in the Lagazuoi and turned it into a fortress. Following extensive restoration work by the Alpini, now you can visit the tunnels, trenches and restored cannon and machine gun emplacements of the WW1 open-air museum and get a deep insight into the background of the first war fought at high altitude in the history of man.

Since summer 2023, the museum visit has become even more interesting: The ANA's Alpini troops have placed 130 weatherproof stainless steel panels along the tour routes and on the tunnels. These are labelled with a numerical code and linked to an app that allows visitors to download texts, images, audio and video recordings along the route, providing an insight into the lesser-known aspects of the First World War. The content is also accessible offline, for example inside the mountain where there is no network signal.

Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti_In 2018, the top station of the Lagazuoi cable car at an altitude of 2732 metres was transformed into an art gallery, a high-tech exhibition centre and a laboratory of ideas for the mountains, as well as a model for soft and sustainable tourism. Lagazuoi EXPO Dolomiti is a place of cultural valorisation that also generates curatorial content, such as the Lagazuoi Winning Ideas Mountain Awards, a competition that highlights materials, technologies, apps and high-tech solutions related to the high mountains, and the Lagazuoi Photo Award, which aims to create an original visual language about the mountains. The barrier-free and energy-independent building houses exhibition rooms, a hall for events and conferences, and a bar with a terrace making it an ideal venue for events.

Realverse_ A humanistic informatics startup founded in 2021 with the aim of spreading history and culture through future technologies. The company, whose core expertise is virtual reality but which is equally skilled in everything related to history, is dedicated to cultural and IT innovation and offers spectacular high-quality products to educational institutions and teachers. Realverse is a company specialising in the reconstruction of historical scenarios and uses 3D scans to recreate museum exhibits. These are adapted to the gaming world and integrated into the environment using gamification elements.  
In this world of experience, the objects come to life, break through the glass behind which they are often hidden in museums and appear in the hands of the players. The players begin to play with the historical object and learn how it works;  the historical background and information can only be conveyed through its utilisation.The focus is on history and the use of technology and video games as a means of communication. realversevr.it