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Virtual Worlds Case Study:

Virtual Macbeth

Serious gaming attracts students to the Classics
This project, which involved a creative team of over 40 artists, actors, sound engineers, designers, and literature experts, was for a themed island based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.


  • Gaming style interactivity for individual users to experience on their own.
  • Media rich environment employing sound, text and animation
  • An immersive & atmospheric environment that is an artistic work in its own right.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Anyaka

Purpose: This island was to designed and developed to aid in the teaching of Macbeth to English Literature students both as a standalone experience for individual visitors, and as part of a teacher mediated experience for whole classes. It has long been established that interactive media is instantly engaging to students, and this project was designed to stimulate and provoke interest in the core subject matter and then deliver a rich and memorable experience to aid their understanding of it.

In use: The island was realised in a highly creative and atmospheric manner so upon entry the user is immediately immersed in the dark, misty world of Macbeth’s psyche. The content is presented to allow for both a highly structured linear experience as the student engages with the key scenes and themes of the work, as well presenting the opportunity for exploration, discovery, or teacher mediated experiences in which students might role play, engage in discussion or contribute their own creative interpretation of the work. Techniques from gaming were employed, utilizing problem solving and dynamic interaction with the environment, from a ride on the back of a raven, to a psychotic sword fight with Macbeth’s demons. The build also employs one of the richest soundscapes to be found anywhere in Second Life.