Digital Recreation of Ancient Balinese Temple in Unreal Engine 5

Producing Creative CG & 3D Art
As a Creative Director, I took part in a non-commercial volunteer initiative to digitize the antiquities of Bali Island.
In 2022, I briefly joined a team of passionate startup pioneers with a mission to digitally preserve Bali's historical heritage. The project aimed to create a virtual replica of the island by digitizing its cultural landmarks, natural wonders, and artistic expressions. The end goal was to leverage these digital assets to eventually garner public and governmental support for developing a video game that celebrates the culture and history of the Island of the Gods...

3D Location Overview

The project's mission was to preserve a digital copy of the Pura Gede Luhur Batu Ngaus temple, akin to the renowned Pura Tanah Lot, yet distinguished by its tranquil surroundings. The temple's primary altar, erected in 1643 BC, was originally referred to as Pura Penataran Agung Hening, noted for its sanctity and purpose. This temple, now known as Samenur or the Mengening area, boasts a variety of sanctuaries, including the Taman Beji Agung shrines, designated for purification ceremonies and spiritual healing. It's believed that prayers offered at Pura Gede Luhur Batu Ngaus bless individuals with progeny. Within its precincts stand shrines dedicated to deities of prosperity, Ida Bathara Sri, and Ida Manik Galih.

Adjacent to this sacred site is the Pasar Agung shrine, where merchants seek blessings for business success. The Pelinggih Ida Bhatara Dalem Ped, Nusa Penida, is revered for enhancing spiritual strength, alongside the shrine of Ida Ratu Pantai Selatan, the sovereign of the South Ocean. The temple's architecture includes wells that, during high tide, emit a distinctive aquatic sound. A sizeable cave-like opening beneath the temple serves as a venue for gamelan music performances during significant rituals, accessible only when tide levels recede.

Level Prototype (Early Gameplay)

My role in the project

In this project, my role was pivotal in conceptualizing and executing the vision.

I managed project planning, devised technology workflows, led a team of artists, and personally conducted photogrammetric scans of the sites. I also modeled preliminary assets, compiled photo references, and undertook producer responsibilities, including negotiating with temple authorities for permissions and participating in all required ceremonies to comply with the strictures of traditional Balinese religious customs.
I engaged in all these activities on a volunteer basis, driven by my passion for learning about Bali's rich history and culture.

The Process

To replicate the temple, we captured several thousand aerial drone shots, which were then stitched together to create a colossal photogrammetric map. This served as the foundational prototype for the environment artists.
Here's an engaging tidbit: Before our drone took to the skies, we conducted a 30-minute drone blessing ceremony to sanctify its flight over the temple.

By merging a chain of location scans, I was able to chart the course for the team's further expedition. During this phase, we leveraged photogrammetry to scan all the key statues and altars of the temple. Additionally, we captured about 100 reference frames using a 360-degree camera.
These comprehensive datasets were subsequently handed off to the modelers and level designers, serving as a pivotal reference point for their manual craftsmanship.
To ensure the success of this ambitious and expansive material gathering project for 3D modeling, completed within the tranquil hours of early morning before the temple's daily influx of devotees, I meticulously engineered a comprehensive action plan for my team.

In anticipation of our venture, I pre-visited the location alone several days prior, diligently itemizing each asset for imminent scanning and methodically delineating the temple's landscape into manageable zones, pinpointing every site of interest with utmost detail. Subsequently, I organized the team into specialized units, each responsible for collecting data within their allocated sections.
Our exhaustive pre-planning paid off, enabling us to finish the data collection swiftly, clocking in at just two and a half hours.

Examples of my rough photogrammetric scans.

This project was an incredible feat in scope and workmanship, enriching me not just culturally, but also in understanding how to craft vast video game environments that mirror the real world with remarkable precision.
This portfolio page isn't finished yet; I think I'll update it in the coming weeks with more interesting materials about this project.