It was quite an honor to witness my Uncle David Brouchoud exploring a virtual recreation of the USS Helena CA-75, a Navy heavy cruiser he served on more than 60 years ago. Using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, he was able to walk the decks of the ship again, even though it was scrapped in 1974. For the past 60 years, he’s has carefully studied the ship’s history, collecting and cataloging everything he can find on his website USSHelena.org
With the new Oculus Rift application, veterans, historians and anyone interested in the ship’s history can visit the ship virtually, through an application set to be publicly available later in 2014. Future versions will become increasingly accurate and detailed, eventually including historical reenactments of specific events, such as helicopter and life raft search and rescue missions and more.
The model was built in equal parts Autodesk Maya and 3DS, then brought into the Unity3D game engine where the Oculus Rift application was published.
Many special thanks to Mike Lenzi, Michael Chen, Alexis List, Joseph Caddell and RJ Kikuchoyo for their generous contributions to the Virtual USS Helena CA-75 project.