Tracy Spaight

Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann
February 5, 2018

Affiliation: Wargaming.net

Tracy Spaight is the Director of Special Projects at Wargaming.net, a leading video game developer and publisher. Since 2012, he has developed interactive exhibits, 360 VR films, Augmented Reality Applications. Tracy’s job is ‘to do cool stuff.’ Some of his recent projects include developing an AR experience for the 100 th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland for the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the SturmTiger AR project at the Bovington Tank Museum, and a commemorative flight of WW2 aircraft along the Alaska to Siberia air route – an event attended by the U.S. and Russian Ambassadors.

Tracy has worked in the video game industry as a publisher, game developer, and media project specialist since 2005. In that year, Tracy joined Atlanta based Rapid Reality Studios, where he served as VP of Research & Development and later as Chief Operating Officer. From 2008 through 2011, he was the Executive Director of Publishing at Gamersfirst, where he evaluated online games for licensing or acquisition.

Tracy has twice been a speaker at the State of Play conference at New York Law School, the BIART Conference in Russia, Gamelab in Spain, Digital Taipei, the Integrated Media Conference in Seattle, the Yorkshire Game Festival, and VR Connects in London in 2016 and 2017. He was the keynote speaker at the IEEE conference in Cyprus in 2015. Tracy is the author of “Who Killed Miss Norway,” which first appeared in Salon, and the co-author of Alter Ego: Avatars & Their Creators.

Tracy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Santa Clara University and a Master of Arts degree in Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. He was a visiting scholar in the History of Science at Cambridge University in 1998-1999. He has held fellowships from the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst, the National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation, as well as media grants from the Texas Council for the Humanities and the Texas Commission for the Arts. Tracy is the co-founder and organizer of Cyberia, the ‘coolest place on the playa’ at Burning Man.

 Using VR and AR technology to drive engagement in military history museums

Over the past five years, video game developer and publisher Wargaming has developed several virtual reality and augmented reality experiences for military history museums around the world. We have used AR technology to bring museum exhibits out into public spaces (with the Dornier 17 project), made inaccessible areas of museums (such as the engine room of a destroyer) accessible through 360 VR, and allowed audiences to engage with historical vehicles in ways that simply aren’t possible with real vehicles (like firing the main armament). Through our museum collaborations we have helped to solve some of the outstanding challenges faced by museums today, including how to reach ‘digital natives’, who grew up in a different media environment than baby boomers. This talk explores the challenges of integrating VR and AR technology into a museum setting, the kinds of engagement these technologies make possible, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Wargaming’s museum strategy: Bringing History Alive through AR & VR technology