- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) - From his temporary bedroom at the Homestead National Monument of America, Dave Beck spins the historic Palmer-Epard Cabin on his computer screen.

The model is rough, essentially a square block with a roof and horizontal lines, vaguely reminiscent of those on the nearly 150-year-old cabin.

This won’t be the case when the Homestead’s latest artist in residence is finished designing the computer game, a feat he estimates will take another year, the Beatrice Daily Sun (https://bit.ly/1Fbh1bc ) reported.

“For the last year on and off I’ve been working on a game that I’m going to be working on for pretty much another year, and it has pretty strong elements of homesteading involved in it,” Beck explained. “It’s a historical game that is really focused on exploration.”

At the center of the game will be the cabin, which the player will routinely travel back to while making his or her way along a river.

Beck is a practicing 3D digital and new media artist, living in Wisconsin. He’s the current chair of the Department of Design at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he teaches 3D art and game design.

Beck has resided at the Homestead, studying the area and its history to draw inspiration for his game. Once complete, the game will take 15-30 minutes to play and will be available for free or at little cost online.

“This is the first time I’ve undergone such a big project,” Beck said. “Essentially, you’re navigating specific locations on a river and going through different eras of time while jumping back and forth to this cabin. Since a large part of it has to do with homesteading in America, that’s a big reason why I’m here doing this. One thing that’s helpful here is I’m hoping to recreate the cabin.”

Andrea Bornemeier, the Homestead’s chief of interpretation, said Beck’s work is a departure from what many think of as art.

“It’s totally unique because normally when you think of art you think pictures, sculptures or maybe somebody doing something with fabric,” She said. “You usually don’t think video. Doing this kind of project is really interesting and we were really excited to get him here.”

Beck can trace his interest in gaming to playing The Legend of Zelda as a child.

He was interested in sculpture as an undergraduate student and incorporated computer designs into his work - a rarity at the time.

“There was a time in my career that I realized I really wanted to (work on games),” he recalled. “I’ve always had a very strong interest in history and also the environment. This game has to do with both of those.”


Information from: Beatrice Sun, https://www.beatricedailysun.com

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