Historical Virtual Reality - Diocletians Dream - An Interview with Declan O Rourke

An Interview we conducted with Declan O Rourke of Palace Productions


1. What inspired you to create an experience for Diocletian Palace?

It's a 2000-year-old palace and the majority of people who visit Split want to see the palace, but it’s a ruin. I was always interested in seeing how it would look. I wanted always tried visualise, even the tour guides could never really believe what it would like - Tourists & locals are now seeing what they have always had to try to imagine.

2. What attracted you to use VR technology in order to tell this story?

I had seen the potential for VR a few years ago when I read an article about creating a new virtual world to help people connect. It has to be the way of the future for people to help in so many different aspects of life.

3. What type of impact do you believe VR/AR will have on the tourism industry in the future?

From speaking with some of the Tourism people within Split now that they have this experience in their city they believe it's essential for any tourism destination who has an incredible history to unlock.

This is the future of presenting history.

4. What type of visitor did you have in mind when you came up with this idea?

We made it for local Croatian people and people visiting – Over 1 million people visit each year, but it's just as important to make people who live here proud of what we have made. What we have seen was that the locals rediscovered their history and experienced an increased sense of pride in their heritage.

5. How did you find working with Emagine?

To be honest, I was surprised how well it went, but there were moments where we learned how to communicate better and then we had Covid-19. We really loved the way the guys constantly support our vision for what we wanted to achieve.

6. How you feel now when you see the completed project?

I'm very proud of how it came out – it has already had amazing reviews. When you see a local person with goosebumps. A local girl remarked” I am so proud to live it such a beautiful place”

7. What do you consider as the measurements of success of this project?

To have something that the city is proud of and that people who come here are delighted and entertained.