(a) Map showing the location of the site of Casas del Turuñuelo (Guareña, Badajoz) and (b) aerial photograph of the burial mound at the end of the archaeological excavations in 2018.

(a) Map showing the location of the site of Casas del Turuñuelo (Guareña, Badajoz) and (b) aerial photograph of the burial mound at the end of the archaeological excavations in 2018.

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Highlights: • The use of real-time rendering with ray tracing technology as a tool for heritage virtual reconstruction is proposed. • The possibilities that the use of next-generation video game engines, specifically Unreal Engine, offer are evaluated in terms of their application in heritage virtualisation. • The first results of the virtual re...

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... site of Casas del Turuñuelo is a monumental earthen building, located in the middle Guadiana valley and dating from the fifth century BC. At the end of its existence it was burnt, abandoned and buried under an artificial earth mound that has served as a capsule, protecting the building from deterioration ( Fig. 1) (Rodríguez González, 2018). This system of concealment to which all the burial mounds of the Guadiana were subjected means that today the site of Casas del Turuñuelo is in an excellent state of conservation, being the first protohistoric building in the Western Mediterranean that still has its two floors standing. Since excavation ...
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... of the architecture. Working with real-time materials is very agile as the instant rendered visualisation makes it possible to create variations quickly, make fine adjustments to parameters and textures, and observe how they change under different lighting conditions by varying the time of day and their reaction to indoor lighting conditions (Fig. 10). With regard to GPU performance, we should bear in mind that the virtualisation project model proposed here as an example has contained dimensions, but with highresolution textures so as not to lose detail in the foreground when we are in first-person view mode. In the early stages of the project, an Nvidia RTX 2080s graphics card was ...
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... to the offline system. In this way, we have obtained realistic results using the physical cameras of Unreal Engine, which offer a behaviour very close to reality, as they are well adjusted to the physical laws of optics and do not allow forcing impossible situations with their system of lenses and sensor formats that respond like real cameras (Fig. 11). The aim is to continue working on the new phases of development with a view to creating immersive applications that will allow virtual visits, once a significant part of the virtual reconstruction has been completed, focused both on the public who have access to the site and those who wish to explore it without having to travel to it. ...
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... These virtual tours will be available in different formats that have not yet been defined. However, the quality of VR points to its full development in the near future, when both hardware and software have matured and it will be possible to design better quality experiences for the non-specialist user who does not have high-performance equipment (Fig. ...
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... hyper-realistic lighting system of immediate calculation, without tricks or pre-calculations, together with efficient management of geometry seems to be the closest thing to creating a true virtual world without limitations. But we will now explore its pros and cons and how it benefits us to apply it to virtual heritage reconstruction projects (Fig. ...
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... limits disappear. In our tests, when creating a matrix of 36 copies of the same photogrammetry (130 million polygons) the performance is not affected at all. Therefore, we could still multiply this figure by 10 and the performance would remain the same, which was an impossible task with previous versions of Unreal Engine and with most 3D software (Fig. 14). The advantages of using Unreal 5 lead us to think about the possibility of creating ultra-detailed photogrammetries in the future with which to work without the need to optimise the models or create normal textures to replace the detail lost in the simplified models. Although it will be possible to do so, this factor should not ...
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... of the hardware has improved notably by offering a more direct and robust calculation, as well as the quality of the lighting, as we now have a bounced light in interiors that is much more realistic and closer to the calculation of offline rendering engines, with more power in dark environments and with better interior/exterior transitions (Fig. ...