This post is by Matthew Fendt, PhD, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Armstrong Browning Library Teaching Fellow 2015
The Armstrong Browning Library is a beautiful building found on Baylor campus. It is world-renowned and believed to house the largest collection of secular stained glass in the world. Yet many students spend their time at Baylor without ever learning what the library has to offer. We at the Computer Science department wanted to change that by creating a video game to teach about the Armstrong Browning Library and get people excited to visit it. The game, called Time Historian, allows the player to go back in time and relive important moments in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett’s courtship.
Time Historian was developed in 2015 by Baylor Computer Science students. It is a 3D interactive video game that takes about 20-30 minutes to play where the player explores the courtship of Robert and Elizabeth. They do this through the stained glass windows that the library houses which depicts the stages of their relationship. After completing a level in the game, the damaged stained glass window is restored. The game is fully voice-acted and the player hears excerpts of the Brownings’ letters and poetry. In the game, the player must help initiate the Brownings’ courtship, aid Robert in constructing a love letter to Elizabeth, send Elizabeth a gift to have her reconsider her initial rejection of Robert, and finally help Elizabeth elope with Robert. Time Historian allows for the player to understand the relationship of Robert and Elizabeth that is so key to understanding their poetry.
In 2017, I published a paper about the results of our research on Time Historian, comparing it to the existing publicity material for the Armstrong Browning Library: their old website and a self-guided tour packet. It was found that people that played the game had a greater increase of knowledge about the Brownings and a greater interest in learning about nineteenth-century poetry. The paper is available here: https://aaai.org/ocs/index.php/FLAIRS/FLAIRS17/paper/view/15409/14975″.
Next time you would like to visit the lovely Armstrong Browning Library, why don’t you first consider trying out our game? We hope that it enhances your visit and that it helps you to love the library as much as we do!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DOWNLOADING, INSTALLING AND PLAYING TIME HISTORIAN
Travel back in time to make sure Elizabeth Barrett receives the famous letter from Robert Browning that begins one of history’s most romantic journeys!
The Armstrong Browning Library, in coordination with the School of Engineering and Computer Science, proudly present Time Historian. This adventure game challenges players to complete a number of tasks that not only saves the romance of the Brownings, but also ensures that their poetic legacy endures!
To play, simply download Time Historian and run the installer. The installer will create a file called TimeHistorian. Double-click on the TimeHistorian application in that folder and the adventure will begin!
Time Historian is only available for Windows-based systems and runs on the Unreal game engine. The installer includes all of the components necessary to run the game. Time Historian requires that DirectX is enabled and a video card capable of rendering 3D graphics.
Time Historian grew out of a student project at Baylor University. While the game has been tested in several local environments, we cannot guarantee it will work on every computer system. If you have any technical questions or feedback please email Matthew_Fendt@baylor.edu.
Dr. Matthew Fendt is a lecturer of Computer Science here at Baylor. His research area of interest is in the creation of serious and educational video games.