Digital scholarship blog

Enabling innovative research with British Library digital collections

29 October 2013

Off The Map Winners Announced

Last Wednesday I was very pleased to attend an award ceremony at Nottingham Contemporary art gallery for the Off the Map 2013 competition, which challenged videogame design students to turn historic maps and engravings from the British Library collections into a 3D environment using Crytek's CRYENGINE software. The award event was part of GameCity8, an annual festival of videogame culture held in Nottingham. You can read more about the competition in my earlier blog post about the launch.

There were a number of brilliant entries received and of these, two noteable runners up both from the University of South Wales in Newport, where students can study Computer Games Design at one of the most established Games Design courses in the UK. These teams were called Asset Monkeys and Faery Fire; you can see flythroughs of what they created in the YouTube clips below:



Taking first place I am delighted to report that the winning team is Pudding Lane Productions, comprising of six second-year students from De Montfort University, Leicester. I blogged about their visit to the Library back in February and in addition to studying the British Library resources provided, they arranged a fieldwork outing to York, to examine, photograph and sketch the architecture of the buildings; enabling them to model authentic buildings for their virtual environment. The flythrough of their work, which you can see in the clip below, is breathtaking:


My colleague Tom Harper from the British Library's Map department was one of the judges and he said:

 “Some of these vistas would not look at all out of place as special effects in a Hollywood studio production. The haze effect lying over the city is brilliant, and great attention has been given to key features of London Bridge, the wooden structure of Queenshithe on the river, even the glittering window casements. I'm really pleased that the Pudding Lane team was able to repurpose some of the maps from the British Library's amazing map collection – a storehouse of virtual worlds – in such a considered way.”

 It has been pleasing to see that competition has been featured widely in the press; including WiredMailOnline and The Telegraph. I think that it is wonderful that the students' work is being showcased to as many people as possible. All the contestants worked hard and I am impressed with the end results, they surpassed my expectations. Personally I have enjoyed working on such an innovative and satisfying project, and I very much hope to work on future collaborations with the videogame industry.


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