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Martello Tower internal 2 - Virtual WW2 recreation - Digital VR - Luminous Group

Martello Tower Virtual Reconstruction

Laser scan to interactive VR experience

“The new Virtual Reality tour makes the tower accessible to anyone, transporting them back in time to see exactly what life may have been like. The reconstruction of those periods are incredible in their accuracy and function. It’s been fantastic to be able to work in partnership with Luminous Group to bring the Towers back to life in this way.”

Bill Jenman, Project Manager – Touching the Tide


Luminous were commissioned by the Suffolk Coast & Heaths as part of their Touching the Tide project to create a virtual model and interactive experience of a Martello Tower.

These small defensive forts are common across the South East coast however access to the public is limited and many don’t know the history of them.

To this end, they decided to create an informative interactive virtual experience.

Martello Tower external - Virtual WW2 recreation - Digital VR - Luminous Group
Martello Tower model breakdown - Virtual WW2 recreation - Digital VR - Luminous Group


To build the experience and make it as authentic as possible the trust decided to 3D laser scan 2 sample towers and use the data from these as the basis for the virtual model.

The brief was to create a virtual tour showing what these forts were like when they originally built in the Napoleonic era and again when repurposed for WW2.

We carried out extensive historical research to make sure that any assets and artefacts used to dress the scenes were historically correct.

360° Model

Martello Tower 3D Model

Click here to view model


We opted to create the project in the Unreal games engine. Unreal provides the highest visual fidelity and makes it easy to export content and experiences to different devices.

We built a fully interactive version that would run on the Oculus Rift DEV2 kit and 3D bubble views to be viewed on the Samsung Gear VR.

As the games engine is also a real-time rendering engine we also used it to create a detailed animated flythrough. We then added an audio narrative which told the history of these iconic structures.