Photo is an image from a computer-generated rendering of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Working with staff from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, artists and designers from the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA) have crafted a computer-generated world that authentically simulates Buffalo Bill’s Wild West outdoor exhibition.

“The visual look and feel of the project is something we’re really proud of,” said John Fillwalk, IDIA director and senior director of the university’s Hybrid Design Technologies initiative.

He collaborated with Jeremy Johnston, curator of the center’s Buffalo Bill Museum, and Ball State historians James Connolly and Douglas Seefeldt, who provided photographs and newspaper accounts of Buffalo Bill’s 1899 stop in Muncie.

Those items, plus ones provided by the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming, let Fillwalk and his artists create beautifully rendered graphics based on data and research, distinguishing hallmarks of IDIA’s work in emergent media design.

“The attack on the Deadwood stage coach is simulated down to representing John Y. Nelson, one of America’s original Mountain Men driving the coach,” Fillwalk explained. “And Cody himself — along with his wardrobe — was painstakingly researched and re-created. His appearance was based on clothing of Cody’s in the museum.”

Those details give the video authenticity.

“What the IDIA captured for us is the experience, right down to the sound effects of horses and the stage coach running through the arena,” said Johnston.

The IDIA Lab’s next project for the center will be to develop augmented reality exhibitions featuring objects from each of the center’s five museums. Users holding electronic devices over displays will bring 3-D models of objects and dioramas to their screens.

To watch video of the Buffalo Bill simulation,
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