There is a Great Wall in your WeChat, which can not only be climbed but also repaired

Since the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, many rulers have built the Great Wall, which bears too much history. Smack was wrapped in the corpse of the battlefield, the feudal empire settled the fields and immigrants, and there was an endless stream of envoys and business trips.

When the beacon fires and gunpowder smoke dissipated, the Great Wall, as a symbol of greatness, is not only the most well-known Xiongguan such as Shanhaiguan and Badaling.

These small and long wounds should be seen by us.

It's not just about the protection of heritage by professionals, it's about each of us. In the physical and digital actions to protect the Great Wall, we can all use the power of technology to have a more direct, subtle and deeper connection with the Great Wall.

Respect history, respect the Great Wall

The Great Wall was built during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. The name of the Great Wall of Ten Thousand Miles began in Qin Dynasty.

From 215 BC to 213 BC, the first emperor of Qin sent Meng Tian to lead 300,000 people to attack the Xiongnu in the north. Yuli".

The existing Great Wall relics are mainly the Ming Great Wall built in the 14th century, from Jiayuguan in the west to Hushan Great Wall in the east.

In 2012, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage completed the identification of the Great Wall resources in 6 years: China's Great Wall resources are distributed in 15 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) in various eras, with a total of 43,721 remains of various types of Great Wall resources, and the total length of the remains of walls and trenches exceeds 21,000 kilometers . .

Time takes away the wolf smoke and camel bell of the Great Wall, leaving traces for a long time. Earthquakes and lightning strikes may endanger lives, rain, snow, wind and sand slowly devour and weather it, and man-made damages such as building factories, building roads, expanding development zones, and renovating cities make it beyond recognition.

▲ Niangziguan. Image from: Photographer Yang Dong/TuCong Creative

Around 2002, the survey results of the Great Wall Society of China showed: "One third of the Great Wall is basically intact, one third is broken, and one third no longer exists."

In 2016, Guangming Daily reported that less than 10% of the 6,259.6-kilometer artificial walls of the Ming Great Wall were well preserved, about 20% were well preserved, about 40% were poorly preserved, and about 30% disappeared. The Ming Great Wall is still like this, and other Great Walls are even less optimistic.

Another type of damage to the Great Wall is over-repair and destructive repair. Fortunately, through years of practice, a modern renovation concept has gradually formed.

The "Guiding Opinions on the Protection and Maintenance of the Great Wall" compiled by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage states:

The protection and maintenance of the Great Wall must comply with the principles of not changing the original state of cultural relics and minimal intervention. Properly protect the authenticity and integrity of the remains of the Great Wall, as well as the vicissitudes of life and the quaint historical features… The protection and maintenance of the Great Wall must maintain the original shape and structure of the Great Wall, and give priority to the use of raw materials and original craftsmanship.

Minimal intervention and adapting measures to local conditions is a difficult and necessary thing to do.

In 2016, Tencent Charity Foundation joined hands with China Cultural Relics Conservation Foundation, cooperated with Peking University School of Archaeology and Museology and Tianjin University Great Wall Research Team, donated 25 million yuan successively, and spent 5 years supporting the repair of arrow buttons and Xifengkou Great Wall.

▲ Jiankou Great Wall. Picture from: Xinhua News Agency

Among them, the Xipanjiakou section of the Great Wall at Xifengkou was built during the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty. Due to the construction of the Panjiakou Reservoir, the Panjiakou Guancheng and part of the Great Wall were submerged underwater .

What the repairers need to do is to follow the principles of "Four Originals" and "Five Follows": abide by the original shape, original method, original material, and original craftsmanship, and at the same time ensure that it follows the layers, slopes, bends, olds, and disabilities. .

First, weeds that grow wildly are cleaned up, which not only prevents the structural stability of the Great Wall from being damaged, but also allows the Great Wall to reveal its true colors, and adjust the repair plan in a targeted manner.

The second is to perform "minimally invasive surgery" on the Great Wall, using the bricks and stones that fell off the ancient city wall as much as possible, and the repair method follows the most traditional method of mixing white ash and water to prepare mortar. In the position where local structural reinforcement is required, the blue bricks made with the original craftsmanship are selected.

▲ Back transporting masonry. Picture from: Hebei Daily

Because the Xipanjiakou section of the Xifengkou section of the Great Wall is not connected by land, the engineering materials are transported to the wharf by car, then transported to the construction site by boat, and finally manually transported. Back 2 yuan and walk up to 12 times a day.

This section of the 1,005-meter Great Wall has been renovated for 4 years, and the main body of the wall has finally been renovated by the end of October 2021.

▲ Comparison before and after the repair of the Great Wall in Xipanjiakou section of Xifengkou.

"A man is better off fighting to his death, so why can't he build the Great Wall?" The garrisoned army, the forced expropriation of the people, and the prisoners sent into the army, these ancient ordinary working people built majestic fortresses with their strength and flesh and blood.

It is not easy to protect the Great Wall scientifically, it is also a slow and difficult road.

Use cloud gaming technology to recreate a digital Great Wall around you

"The disappearance of cultural relics is a historical process, and cultural relics protection is to slow down this process as much as possible."

Cultural heritage protection requires not only physical restoration, but also digital preservation – before it disappears completely.

While the renovation of the Xipanjiakou section of the Great Wall at Xifengkou was completed, the Tencent technology public welfare and game team hoped to restore this section of the Great Wall with high precision and preserve it by digital means.

High-precision restoration is not the shelving of the collected data, which has nothing to do with ordinary people. The Tencent team proposed a bolder idea:

By putting the Digital Great Wall into the applet, we can freely "walk" in the Digital Great Wall anytime, anywhere and immersive, and enjoy every brick, stone, grass and tree of the Great Wall at different times from morning to evening.

▲ Picture from: Tencent Technology Public Welfare

This sounds a lot like a scene experience in a video game.

The Tencent Interactive Entertainment Public R&D and Operation System (Tencent IEG CROS) team responsible for realizing this series of ideas has comprehensively used a number of cutting-edge technologies including photo scanning modeling, real-time rendering, PCG generation, cloud games, etc.

This is also the first time that cloud gaming technology has been applied to the digital protection project of cultural heritage.

But in practice, it is much more difficult than making a game from a high-rise building on the ground.

The terrain of the Great Wall, the body of the Great Wall, and the surrounding vegetation and rivers must be restored with high precision.

To put it simply, what the Tencent CROS team did is to first collect local physical data, then complete the modeling and mapping, and then hand it over to the engine for rendering.

The nine-story platform starts from the soil. In the scanning and shooting stage, the Photogrammetry (photogrammetry) technology of the Tencent CROS team uses methods such as laser measurement, high-definition image acquisition, and drone recording to achieve accurate measurement of the Great Wall at Xifengkou. to lay the foundation for future work.

The difficulty here lies in the particularity of the Great Wall itself.

Times have changed and the Great Wall has experienced years of erosion and geological movements. Incomplete potholes, abrupt edges and corners, curved steps, and faults caused by natural subsidence are all part of it.

▲ Picture from: Tencent Technology Public Welfare

Similar to the repair concept of "minimum intervention", these details must be faithfully restored, but it also means a larger collection workload, which makes the already large amount of scanning and shooting "worse."

In the end, the CROS team collected nearly 50,000 high-definition pictures, and the entire Xifengkou environment has an accuracy of 1 billion facets. These patches record every "imperfect" bump, forming the trajectory of the Great Wall's life since it stood.

In addition, Liuhe Architecture Studio, School of Architecture, Tianjin University provided 270,000 thumbnail images covering 4,000 kilometers, as well as high-definition images and 3D data of key sections.

Based on the rich data and matching with the terrain coordinates of the terrain resource database captured by satellites, the Xifengkou Great Wall and the surrounding terrain can be more realistically restored.

With the terrain and the body of the Great Wall, the vegetation reconstruction of the mountains and plains cannot be less.

The Tencent CROS team "planted" 200,000 trees in one go, not at random.

Immersive also means being able to appreciate a tree without dead ends.

Each of the 200,000 trees has different lighting angles, light transmittances, and leaf roughness that are "seen" due to changes in viewing angles.

▲ Picture from: Tencent Technology Public Welfare

With the help of scanned images and plant illustrations in local county records, the CROS team learned the types and distribution of plants around the Xifengkou Great Wall.

On this basis, they define the size, ratio, density, and dependency of vegetation to achieve different vegetation combinations, and then set the distribution area of ​​vegetation according to different environments such as canyons, mountain peaks, cliffs, and shores, and finally combine vegetation. Corresponding to the vegetation distribution area.

These complex and careful settings are all completed by the self-developed PCG (Procedural Content Generation) tool controlled by algorithms and parameters.

When modeling and texturing are complete, all that's left is the rendering step.

Faced with the digital Great Wall with the precision of up to 1 billion facets, the Tencent CROS team used the game engine to complete the rendering, allowing real-time rendering of the picture, carrying and expressing a huge amount of ultra-high-precision models.

Game engine technology can minimize the switching times of texture precision and improve the operation efficiency of the entire scene. The intuitive effect is that we will not perceive obvious jumps during the tour of the Digital Great Wall.

▲ Picture from: Tencent Technology Public Welfare

At the same time, the game engine technology can also provide a complete and dynamic global illumination effect, realizing the lighting changes from morning to night.

▲ Picture from: Tencent Technology Public Welfare

Finally, how can such a large digital Great Wall be stuffed into the applet?

After the real-time rendering is completed in the 10G cloud computer room, through the unique cloud game transmission flow control algorithm , the high-definition picture of the Digital Great Wall will be compressed and transmitted to the mobile phone through the network, presenting a 3A-level viewing effect, and a butterfly can be seen clearly. Moment of flapping wings on dead branches.

▲ Picture from: Tencent Technology Public Welfare

The above-mentioned efforts have achieved the restoration of every plant, tree, brick and tile, leaving a digital asset for the approximately 1-kilometer Great Wall at Xifengkou.

On June 11th, the mini-program of "Yunyou Great Wall" was officially launched, which coincided with the 17th "Cultural and Natural Heritage Day" in my country.

Use small programs to connect users and realize the sharing of digital assets by everyone.

From a systematic perspective, see the three-dimensional Great Wall

Enter the "Great Wall Tour" applet and start "climbing the Great Wall". The Great Wall is under your feet, surrounded by vegetation, and you can hear your own footsteps.

From time to time, there are touchable patterns of books and telescopes that tell you about the distribution of the Great Wall's drains, or where the angle is best for viewing.

When you "climb" to the front of the No. 4 enemy station, you will find that there is no way to go, but the window will drop the ladder.

The audio guide on the side tells you: "The reason why the entrance is designed to be high is that once the enemy has attacked the Great Wall, the soldiers in the enemy station can immediately put away the ladder outside."

We can intuitively feel that the Great Wall has never been an isolated city wall, but a strict system composed of a large number of buildings.

Thousands of miles of city wall marched forward among the mountains and peaks, connecting the Guancheng where "one husband is the one who controls and ten thousand people do not open", the Yandun that burned smoke during the day and set fire at night, and two enemy towers on the wall that rescued each other from the left and right.

Zhang Yukun, a research expert on the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty , pointed out more comprehensively:

In addition to the military settlement system of the Great Wall, there are also many subsystems such as the beacon information system, the station transportation system, the military field system, and the mutual market trade system. An orderly band that blends into one.

Therefore, in addition to the digital restoration of the appearance, there are more aspects of the Great Wall that need to be digitized.

In the mini-program of "Yunyou Great Wall", you have a dual identity – a tourist and a craftsman.

In your toolbox, there are special Great Wall bricks, shovels, terracotta knives, hammers and arrowheads for you to immersely participate in the cleaning, archaeology, masonry, jointing, brick wall repairing and support reinforcement that you need to experience when repairing the Great Wall. process.

▲ Picture from: Tencent Technology Public Welfare

Not only that, the "You Great Wall" applet and the "You Great Wall Pro" website contain the Great Wall encyclopedia covering more than 10 dynasties and 15 provinces and cities, as well as various Great Wall disease prevention and protection knowledge.

Geographically, you can learn about the whole line of the Great Wall, the top of the Great Wall, its architectural structure, and defense system, and appreciate the scenery of key sections of the Great Wall.

Among them, the defense system of the "Nine Frontier Towns" of the Ming Great Wall from Liaodong to Gansu is supported by the "Ming Great Wall Defense System Space-Time Database" of the Tianjin University School of Architecture team.

The team from the School of Architecture of Tianjin University has carried out research on the defense system of the Great Wall for 20 years . At present, 2 million high-overlap images have been used to cover about 5,500 kilometers of the Great Wall and its ancillary facilities such as beacon towers and fortresses.

On the “Great Wall Pro” website, based on the scientific research data of Tianjin University and Tencent maps, we can clearly see the aerial images of the Great Wall and know how the Ming Great Wall is distributed. This is a manifestation of the giant system and the belt of order.

From the perspective of history, learn the poems of the Great Wall from ancient times to the present, the memorabilia of the Great Wall of various dynasties, play fun quizzes, and discover the Great Wall you don't know.

For example, when the envoys of the Han Dynasty traveled to the Western Regions, they basically traveled along the inner side of the Great Wall of Qin and Han Dynasties, so the Silk Road and the Great Wall had many overlapping parts; it was not cost-effective for the nomads to attack the fortress, and large-scale battles rarely occurred on the Great Wall. .

The Great Wall, which originated from war, is not only used to defend against plundering, but also for agricultural purposes to develop production and commercial purposes for business travel. This is another embodiment of the giant system and order belt.

Sometimes, we may feel that the protection of the Great Wall is very necessary, but it is far away from us. The Great Wall is a legacy left to us by history and should be connected with our lives.

Therefore, it appears in the form of digitalization and gamification, allowing us to better understand each brick and the story behind it.

The miles we earn through various activities on the "Great Wall Tour" applet can also be exchanged for Tencent's public welfare "Little Red Flowers", which can then be converted into fuel packs to help protectors of the Great Wall, transforming online participation into practical offline activities. The power of public welfare.

This is a more three-dimensional Great Wall.

Technology public welfare, making digital protection more sustainable

Just as the physical industry embraces digital transformation, technology has become a standard for public welfare undertakings, especially in the digital field of cultural protection.

The "You Great Wall" applet is an attempt by Tencent Technology Public Welfare to supplement the digital display and interactive platform for the Great Wall, a world-class cultural heritage.

In fact, in recent years, there have been as many "cloud tours" in the technology industry as crucian carp crossing the river.

As early as 2014, the magical H5 of "Crossing the Forbidden City to see you" launched by the Palace Museum and Tencent was swiped in the circle of friends. Ming Chengzu Zhu Di incarnates as a Rapper , wearing sunglasses, taking selfies and horse-riding dances, circles of friends and QQ Also played quite well.

Let Ming Chengzu take the lead in "doing things", it turned out to be to promote the Next Idea Tencent New Cultural and Creative Competition. The event cooperates with a number of cultural and museum units, hoping to activate traditional culture with youth creativity and modern technology. This propaganda is ingenious and has hit the mark.

On February 20, 2020, the early experience version of the WeChat mini-program "Yunyou Dunhuang" jointly created by Dunhuang Research Institute, People's Daily New Media and Tencent was launched. program .

▲ Picture from: Dunhuang Research Institute

In addition to 360-degree tours of the caves, close viewing of murals, and learning of historical, cultural and aesthetic connotations, we can also customize online themed postcards, participate in knowledge quizzes, and contribute to the "Dunhuang Digital Supporters Public Welfare Project" that has been linked with Tencent Philanthropy. , and jointly spread Dunhuang culture to the next millennium.

If you take a wider view, there is also Tencent's "One Mobile Phone Tour of Yunnan" project . On the one hand, the “Yunnan Tour” app uses technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence to provide digital solutions for “food, accommodation, travel, shopping, and entertainment”.

On the other hand, Tencent and Yunnan released the "New Cultural Tourism IP Strategic Cooperation Plan" to create the country's first provincial cultural tourism IP image "Yunnan Cloud", with "Free Yunnan" as the spiritual core, landing with Southwest Associated University, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and other related series of new cultural and creative projects.

The digital protection projects of the Great Wall have emerged in an endless stream in recent years. Google Arts & Culture has cooperated with Beijing Gubei Water Town to launch the theme page of “Seeing Micro-Knowledge and Building the Great Wall of Knowledge” , realizing the exploration of the Simatai Great Wall in the way of “360-degree live view of the Great Wall” .

▲ Simatai Great Wall in winter. Image from: Google

The form is changing, the technology is advancing, the technology industry is getting more and more involved in the digitalization of cultural preservation, and the content is getting better and better. There is self-evident meaning.

If all businesses in the future are data businesses, then all public welfare is technological public welfare.

The "You Great Wall" project will not stop at the status quo, and will explore more possibilities in the direction of "technical public welfare".

The first is capacity opening, so that each cultural heritage has the ability to produce and retain digital assets.

What has been achieved now is that the Ming Great Wall defense system, military and architectural knowledge of the Great Wall, high-definition real-shot big pictures and point cloud models (will be launched in the second phase) , Great Wall research documents, etc. ” is open to the public.

The second is decentralized open-source co-construction. The knowledge system of the “Yunyou Great Wall” applet is the “Great Wall Encyclopedia” jointly built by the government, industry, institutions, experts and even the public, which is different from the centralized content of cultural relics institutions in the past.

For example, the visualization cards such as the common knowledge about the disease of the Great Wall are based on the "Great Wall Painting" of the Imperial City Painting Studio; in the future, "Traveling the Great Wall" will also be used in research scenarios such as official academic institutions, academic forums, and museums along the Great Wall. .

▲ Picture from: Screenshot of the applet of "Yunyou Great Wall"

Mr. Luo Zhewen, "the first person on the Great Wall", pointed out in the introduction to the book "History of the Great Wall":

The dynastic society in history, with the progress of history and the development of society, has become a thing of the past and entered the history museum. The Great Wall, which rose and fell with it and shared prosperity and gratitude, has also completed its historical mission. It has turned battles into jade and silk, and transformed former battlefields into splendid rivers and mountains. It has become a very important and incomparably spectacular historical relic. The Great Wall has changed its original function, and the phoenix has reappeared brilliantly.

From the golden horse and the iron horse, to being separated from people and thinking of women, to resisting aggression and uniting as a fortress, the Great Wall has too many metaphors and images.

With the help of tools like "Traveling the Great Wall", everyone can see the Great Wall up close, participate in the protection and inheritance of the Great Wall culture, connect with the past and the future, connect with the social collective, realize the vastness of the world, and preserve the historical "" Compassion and Respect".

The Great Wall is not far, it has a living history and a more sustainable future.

Li Ruoqiushuang, to exorcise evil. Working email: [email protected]

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