Buzludzha Monument Reimagined with the Aid of Virtual Reality
The Buzludzha Monument located in central Bulgaria was a symbol of power. That power was at the hands of Bulgaria’s communist party. The megastructure was opened in 1981 but was discarded after the lifting of the iron curtain. It is now in ruins and in a great state of decay. The grand mosaics of leaders that were on the walls have faded and the domed ceiling is equally in ruins. Nothing more than metal framework exists of the domed ceiling. A lot of people have wished for the renovation of the monument and many especially the young generation can’t imagine how the building would look like if renovated. How would the monument look like if renovated?
The Buzludzha Monument Gets ‘Renovated’ Using Virtual Reality
Buzludzha Monument VR is making a great attempt to show how the monument would look if it were renovated. They reimagined the monument in virtual reality and it is now available for the HTC Vive headset and PC desktop monitors.
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The VR shows an amazing unbelievable view of what the monument looked like in its heydays. The deck was left untouched; it shows a range of the beautiful Central Balkan Mountains. The rotten interior decoration of the Buzludzha Monument was replaced, and the ragged frescoes showing the struggles of the masses with framed photos of the country’s landmarks were restored and were looking beautiful in the VR.
The whole monument was restyled with an earth-tone minimalism. A major touch added was a piano sitting in the center of the monument. The piano is playable with the HTC Vive’s hand controls. When viewed with the VR it doesn’t look much different the addition of the piano makes the monument look like an exquisite concert hall.
The VR is a self-guided tour of the monument and there are question marks around various parts of the monument. These question marks translate the written Bulgarian and include short audio clips on the history of the Buzludzha Monument. The VR was created in Unreal Engine 4. AutoDesk Maya and Substance Designer were used to create object modeling and textures. The VR experience is awesome looking, and a lot of details were painstakingly recreated.
A very powerful graphics card is needed to run the VR on the Vive. The creators of the VR recommend a minimum of the Nvidia Geforce GTX 980 or better. But a less powerful graphics card can be used to view most areas of the building.
The creators’, Todor Rusanov and Rafal Czarnowski, main reason for making Buzludzha VR was to instead “raise awareness about the monument and suggest a new purpose for the abandoned mega structure.”
In an interview with Bulgarian TV program Nova, the developers paid a visit to the Buzludzha Monument to take measurements and reference photos. They worked on the project for about five months before submitting it as a Digital Media Honours Degree Project at the Edinburgh Napier University.
It is hoped that the creators are well rewarded for their efforts.