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Zhang Fei Temple Digitally Remastered 108

Posted by michael
from the blinded-me-with-science dept.
gtaylor writes: "The Globe and Mail reports that the Three Gorges Zhang Fei Temple in China will be disassembled before the Three Gorges dam is completed (which will flood the area where the temple stands now), and reassembled somewhere drier. Meanwhile, the Canadian National Research Council has sent over some techs who have scanned the whole complex into super-accurate 3-D models as to be sure of rebuilding the temples precisely as they were."
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Zhang Fei Temple Digitally Remastered

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  • three gorges (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RestiffBard (110729) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @09:37AM (#2764587) Homepage
    be nice if they could just scan the whole damn and build that somewhere else.
    • Hell yes. This whole dam is just one huge stupid egotrip. I am not impressed a bit by this. It's a shame the smart people and good technology is needed to move something which shouldn't need to be moved at all. I would rather see they do something more useful with these good resources.
      • Uh, so you'd rather they didn't scan it and just pretended that nothing was wrong until the day it's under water? The reality is that China wants to build a dam (it is shitty, but at the same time I suppose it's better than a massive coal electric plant with no emissions controls), so whatever anyone can do to preserve what is going to be destroyed is heroic.

      • It's discouraging to follow this thing being built; not only is it displacing millions of people, destroying priceless cultural artifacts, and costing money that could easily be spent on something better, but it's extremely likely that it will eventually collapse, causing an incredible amount of deaths. China's dam-building record is abysmal. They've had some of the most disastrous dam collapses in history (the collapses of the Banqiao and Shamantan Dams in 1975 are estimated to have caused directly or indirectly over 200,000 deaths), but the government is so obsessed with making China appear powerful and modern to the rest of the world that they refuse to learn from their mistakes and exhibit anything remotely resembling sanity. It's frightening to find a government where having sociopathological impulses helps you achieve political power.
        • It's frightening to find a government where having sociopathological impulses helps you achieve political power.

          I hate federal politics too.

    • Re:three gorges (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Phosphor3k (542747)
      Well, the flooding DOES kill thousands of people every year. And the Dam will generate 1/9th of all the electricity used in China. Thats alot. However, the could build the dam differently so that it didnt effect so many people, and the temples, as was pointed out in the article.
  • project politics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @09:39AM (#2764590) Journal
    I suppose you could call this a momentary lucid act in an ongoing period of questionable policy. There are many folks that feel that the Three Gorges Dam Project is quite insane.

    Although they had to do something as far as their river control problem, this might not have been the best solution

  • The Three Gorges Dam sucks whether they can restore this temple or not. Millions of people have to move out of the way of the dam, and the government isn't helping them very much.

    Just like the people who cared about the Buddha statues in Afghanistan, and got the U.N. to protest at levels unheard of since the Taliban came in, the int'l community opposes the dam because of the archeological wonders, not as much the people.

    Digital aids in solutions to the problems of the Three Gorges Dam are oriented towards the preservation of a temple, rather than helping the people in the way of the dam.

    China gives more of a shit about tourism than its billions of people. It executes thousands of them a year to sell their body parts! And this is the country that we have just given permanent normal trade relations, and let into the W.T.O.
    • Or what about Suez?

      When you alter nature it has negative effects on something... its benefits just need to be weighed against the negatives.

      Millions of people may have to move, but it is obviously of some benefit or wouldn't be being built. Like moving people off an island and declaring it deserted so it can be used as a US military base, damning some other river somewhere, or knocking weeks off travel time by building a canal.. it causes big trouble for some people but benefits so many more.

      I don't see how this dam can be equated to the Taliban blowing up budhist statues.

      • When you alter nature it has negative effects on something... its benefits just need to be weighed against the negatives.

        The problem isn't just the environmental impact; it's the fact Millions of people may have to move, but it is obviously of some benefit or wouldn't be being built.

        You're thinking too rationally. The Communist leaders of China think that China's reputation is more important than the welfare of it's people, and will act accordingly. There are much better ways to control flooding than dams.
        • I have a feeling that the dam is not being built for China's reputation but rather to supply power or water to people ... silly person.
          • Well I have more than a feeling; I've read up on the subject, and one of my environmental policy professors had travelled to China to assess it. There are far, far better ways to provide both power, water, and flood control, and they'd be both a lot less environmentally destructive, and a lot safer to
            anyone living downstream of the dam.
    • Millions of people have to move out of the way of the dam

      oh yeah? 13 million [worldwatch.org] had to move out of the way of the *river* during one of the Yangtze's floods. The dam will control that - so in my opinion it's a good thing.
      • I'm trying to remember the specifics of the huge dam failure that happened many years ago. I was surprised to see it on the top ten human-made disasters of all time show on TLC a couple of months ago. (TLC's search on their site sucks) I had never heard of it (as most of the western world, it seems).

        Ah, turned up this page [hrw.org] on human rights watch [hrw.org] with google. An

        excerpt:

        China's longstanding restrictions on public access to information, debate and decision-making about large dam-construction projects have had fatal consequences in the past. An example was the catastrophic collapse in August 1975 of two large water-conservancy projects in Henan Province, the Banqiao dam and the Shimantan dam. Hitherto almost entirely unreported beyond the confines of China's top party leadership and elite hydrological circles, this event represented by far the largest known dam disaster in human history. In the resulting floods, famine and health epidemics, fatalities amounted to anywhere between 86,000 (the government's internally-released figure) and 230,000 (an estimate produced by eight senior Chinese critics of the Three Gorges project).
    • It executes thousands of them a year to sell their body parts!

      Yes, those evil Communists(TM) (R) dont even have the decency to scrawl "call 911" in lipstick on the bathroom mirror so they can save themselves when they wake up in a tub of ice...

    • I was there two summers ago, they put up big digital clocks counting down the time until the dam is built. Having spent several days on the Yangtze River, it's a shame all that beatiful scenary will soon be gone.
    • I think you are confusing a range of issues here.

      Before I begin, let me state that I am fundamentally opposed to the Three Gorges project!

      Firstly, their human rights record is atrocious, but that has nothing to do with the Three Gorges Project per se, and I don't understand why you mention it in this context (it may also pay to note that the USA executed 85 people in 2000, so its hands are hardly clean (I realise this is far below the scale of China))

      Secondly, Large damming projects have often involved moving sections of the population. This is not unique to the Three Gorges Project. in that light, the archaeological treasures (i.e. things not readily moveable) need to have a high priority placed on them (not to the exclusion of the currently living human population). What hasn't been said is what compensation the Chinese government is making to the people it is moving. Without this information, it is hard to say whether they are being unreasonable or not.

      thirdly, to say China cares more about tourisim than its billions [sic, its about 1.3 billion] of people is a little odd. Tourism is a revenue generating process (typically FOR the people). Surely by promoting tourism (ideally in a slightly more eco-friendly way than Three Gorges) they are demonstrating that they care for the economic well being of the local people?

      Regards
  • CU Research Project (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tazzy531 (456079) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @09:51AM (#2764605) Homepage
    My CS professor [columbia.edu] has been researching the same technology [columbia.edu] however, his puts the entire laser apparatus on a robotic vehicle that is completely/near-completely autonomous. He recently got a $2 million NSF grant [columbia.edu] to do the same digitization of Egypts pyramids.
  • Will they release a Quake III level based on the scan data?
    • There's a 90% architecturally accurate digital tour of Notre Dame Cathedral thats done using the Unreal engine. It's pretty cool. I'd love it if they released the map :P
  • Who Zhang Fei Was (Score:5, Informative)

    by robbyjo (315601) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @10:05AM (#2764628) Homepage

    If you want to know who Zhang Fei was in detail, click here for the story of the Three Kingdoms [threekingdoms.com].

  • by mdemeny (35326) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @10:11AM (#2764634) Homepage
    The National Research Council (NRC) spun off a few companies based upon pretty much the same technology (Arius 3D [arius3d.com], Hymark [hymarc.com], etc.)

    If you're looking for actual 3D models to view (in VRML) made using this (or similar) technology visit: The AMUSE Project [ic.gc.ca]. It contains 61 3D digital representations of various aboriginal artifacts. Very cool stuff.

    The actual scanning resolution is much higher than what you see on the web, of course. The native resolution is incredible.

    (Now assuming a certain friend of mine sees this, you'll get a better explanation since he actually worked for one of those companies...)

  • Abu Simbel (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 30, 2001 @10:31AM (#2764663)
    They did the same thing some 40 years ago in Egypt, at the temple of Abu Simbel built by Ramses the Great. When the Aswan High Dam was about to be built, engineers realized the temple would be buried under all of the water flow. So, it was moved to a higher location that would be safer. Of course, they did that without the use of supercomputers and 3D modelling, so it should be really interesting to see how China's project turns out. To see Abu Simbel is amazing. It was carved directly into the rock. They had to cut it out, divide it into pieces, move it, and put it all back together without Linux, Irix, or even some of the advanced heavy machinery we have today.
    • Re:Abu Simbel (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Krelnik (69751) <{timfarley} {at} {mindspring.com}> on Sunday December 30, 2001 @11:02AM (#2764754) Homepage Journal
      > They did the same thing some 40 years ago in Egypt, at the temple of Abu Simbel built
      > by Ramses the Great. When the Aswan High Dam was about to be built, engineers realized
      > the temple would be buried under all of the water flow. So, it was moved to a higher
      > location that would be safer. Of course, they did that without the use of
      > supercomputers and 3D modelling


      I was gonna mention that but you beat me to it. I remember being fascinated as a kid reading the National Geographic article where they showed the whole project in detail. Each block was carefully sliced out of the mountain and numbered for reassembly.

      Here's a good link with lots of pictures of Abu Simbel [sbc.edu].

    • The truly interesting use of this kind of scan would be not just to restore, but to replicate historically and archaeologically interesting sites; you have a perfect 3D model, the original is safe, build a few replicas and ship them off.

      The Temple of Dendur is located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in NYC; it was a gift from Egypt to the USA for their assistance in building the Aswan dam and handling the many sites that would have been lost to the waters. Think of the Elgin marbles in London, and the long fight between the UK and Greece over where those marbles should live; why should other important pieces or structures be denied to the countries that originally produced them?

      Build me a convincing replica, and then I won't have to deal with the Chinese air pollution anyway.
  • internet version (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mliu (85608) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @10:43AM (#2764679) Homepage
    Sure would be nice if that Canadian National Research Council could make a copy of whatever format they're storing their 3D digital copy of into something that I could browse on my computer over the Internet. Off hand, I don't know about this domain enough to suggest anything, but maybe VRML or even a Quake 3 map would work?

    I dunno, I sure don't have the time or means right now to be making a trip to the original Zhang Fei Temple in China, but it sure would neat to be able to do it virtually and walk around in the temple over the Internet on my computer.........plus this way I'd be able to see the temple in its original location like it was built, instead of moved to wherever is convenient after its reconstruction...

    (heh, and if they released a Quake 3 map or something like that, that precisely modeled and displayed the original temple, it sure would be hilarious if they served it up too, even though I can't see that actually happening. You'd have the tourists walking around to look at the temple, when campers would jump out with whatever the default weapon is in Quake 3 and start hacking away at them)

    (or how about this. They just open sourced Quake 2 right? Maybe that would make it a better medium to be releasing this on than Quake 3, seeing as it's free and all)
    • This would be the same government which charges outrageous rates for map data.
      I doubt they will release any of this.
    • If only the engine could support small detail. I've been doing some walk-throughs with the Quake engine, but it's limited to a 1" resolution, and don't even get me started on the lack of curves. A lot can be faked with texturing, but it still gets pretty tough to represent fine grained detail.

      Well, maybe when Quake 6 comes out...
  • Imagine if they had all this available online, and anyone could explore the ancient cities/structures without all the traveling and expense. It would be incredible if someone could see ancient Eygptian, Maya, Inca, Greek, etc... all though some sites on the internet...

    So it would show the current conditions of the sites, and if some archeologist(sp?) could create models of what they think it looked like in ancient times. Just like some of the books that have the clear pages that show original and current conditions of the sites.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This gotta modded up? I know this is slashdot but...

      "Imagine if they had all this available online, and anyone could explore the ancient cities/structures without all the traveling and expense."

      I hate to break this to you, but seeing a scaled down 3d Computer model of the Acroplis and Parthenon is nothing like going to Greece and seeing the thing in real life for yourself. On the computer you get no sense of scale, like when you go there in a person and see it for yourself. This will not save people money travelling. It just does not compare to see a Mayan temple on a 2d computer screen pretending to be 3d dimensional and seeing it in real life.
      • While I have to agree with you that there is nothing like seeing artifacts in context with their "natural" surroundings (that is, in their original place and formation), I have to disagree somewhat with a computer not being able to provide a sense of scale.

        The only reason for this would be because we, the users (ok, most of us, but not all) have become used to what are essentially 3D walkthroughs presented on a 2D computer screen, but in such a way as the scale is wrong, the details wrong, as well as one other important factor:

        There is no immersion...

        Now, for a game, this isn't a big issue. I would even argue that the slight bit of immersion that some players get when the dim the lights down and focus on the game, that it doesn't matter if size, etc are skewed - because it is a game, and hence, fantasy. IE - the players don't care or notice.

        But we have the technology TODAY to create a reasonable, to-scale rendering and display of any artifact desirable to be viewed - not only can we view it from the "human-standpoint", but from an ant's, to a giant's! We can view it, fully immersed, as if we were "there". It could be made richly detailed (not perfect, but damn good - even on a PC today).

        At the high end, we have CAVEs - at the "lower-end", we have HMDs (though one could easily argue that these could be high end as well - some models, indeed). Both these technologies, coupled with 3D tracking technologies and appropriate 3D sound systems - can achieve a super-high degree of immersion - placing the user "on-site", with the graphics scaled to whatever scale needed.

        With today's machines, there should be little lag to mar the performance, and LCDs and miniature CRTs are of sufficiently high-resolution to permit large FOVs in current HMDs.

        I am constantly amazed by the ohhs and ahhs over various graphics in 3D games - the speed, the number of FPS, etc - but no one, absolutely no one (outside of the lucky researchers who have CAVEs at their disposal, of course) - seems to want to make the leap of using these systems, these engines, in full immersive environments! It seems ludicrous, at best - tons of gamers willing to let a world slide by them on a window looking in, rather than buying or building HMDs to step into the worlds they play in.

        What is holding everyone back? Cost is NOT THE ISSUE ANYMORE...

        Ok, AC - that was a little over the top, and NOT aimed at you - your point is completely valid, up to a certain limit (that of your viewpoint of everybody using what amounts to "desktop-VR" systems)...
  • How long before someone ports the 3D maps to Unreal Tournament or Quake 3 Arena?
  • They must be also remastered, don't they?
  • by 3ryon (415000) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @11:33AM (#2764866)
    Meanwhile, the Canadian National Research Council has sent over some techs who have scanned the whole complex into super-accurate 3-D models as to be sure of rebuilding the temples precisely as they were.


    Quake mod coming soon.

  • Wouldn't it be cool to run around with a rail gun in a Zhen temple?
    I bet they could make some cool game levels from it. How big is it, if its big enough you could even make a whole game out of it: "Mystery of the Zheng Fei Temple"
  • 3D art scanning (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday December 30, 2001 @01:19PM (#2765192) Homepage
    Marc Levoy's group at Stanford [stanford.edu] has been making 3D scans of artwork since 1992. They've now done Michaelangelo's David sculpture, several other major Italian statutes, and some famous buildings.
  • All we need now is to have this turned into a quake 3 map (or similar first person shooter) and have a good 'ol deathmatch game.
  • Since they know exactly how this temple is shaped and how to build it, I wonder if someone will start putting up exact duplicates in other places. They could even have some materials from the original (e.g., while moving the original, replace some old parts with new copies, and use the old parts in a different building).

    It would be even more interesting to build a replica of the temple in the temple's original location with new materials, and leave it for future archeologists to find.
    • It would be even more interesting to build a replica of the temple in the temple's original location with new materials, and leave it for future archeologists to find.

      I can see it now: "How the hell did the ancient Chinese create plastic composites without the aid of electricity?" or "Why would somebody build a temple in the river?"

  • Its been done before (without the level of detail of this endeavor)... Did you know that the London Bridge [roadtripamerica.com] is now located in Arizona?
  • This is interesting, as Zhang Fei was born ~170 AD, it is interesting how a temple in his honor is more than 2000 years old?

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