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British Library maps are the inspiration for a winning videogame concept
Pudding Lane Productions, Crytek Off The Map.


LONDON.- A team of students have won a prestigious competition after using videogame technology to turn historic maps and engravings from the British Library into a stunning 3D environment.

Pudding Lane Productions, a team of six second-year students from De Montfort University, Leicester, scooped first prize in the Off the Map challenge – a nationwide initiative sponsored by game developer Crytek and run in conjunction with the British Library and GameCity.

Their success was announced during a special event to showcase the best of the Off the Map entries as part of GameCity8, the annual festival of videogame culture currently being held in Nottingham (October 19 to October 26).

GameCity, a Nottingham Trent University project, is holding a series of special events, presentations and debates during the week, celebrating videogames and videogame culture.

The Pudding Lane Productions team’s three-dimensional fly-through of 17th century London impressed the judges with its realism and attention to detail, showing the tightly packed streets and lanes of the capital city.

Students from the universities and colleges were given few rules to follow, granting them the creative freedom they needed to adapt the maps from the British Library with Crytek's CRYENGINE.

The primary objective of the competition was to inspire innovation among students and merge rich visual sources from the past with industry-leading technology.

Carl Jones, Crytek's director of business development, said: "Off the Map has given students in the UK a chance to discover the power of CRYENGINE first-hand. The winning entry points to a bright future for the industry and underscores the fact that the engine is not only setting new standards for blockbuster games, but is also accessible and intuitive for those taking their first steps into development."

Tom Harper, panel judge and curator of cartographic materials at the British Library, 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.”

GameCity director Iain Simons said: “The Pudding Lane team’s entry was brilliant, using historic artifacts and cutting-edge technology to help show both in a new light.

“Videogaming is a massive part of our culture and the arts and entertainment sector, so this kind of technology and know-how is moving very much into the mainstream.

“Now we have our first winners we hope to make collaborations like Off the Map a regular fixture of GameCity festivals.”

The winning team members are Joe Dempsey, Dominic Bell, Luc Fontenoy, Daniel Hargreaves, Daniel Peacock and Chelsea Lindsay. Speaking after being presented with the award, team member Chelsea Lindsey said she and her fellow students were delighted that they had risen to the challenge.

“It’s great that our hard work has paid off and we were successful in getting our concepts across. CRYENGINE is a great medium for projecting our creative ideas,” she said.

Teams had a choice of maps and drawings based on London in the 17th Century, Stonehenge and the Pyramids at Gizeh in Egypt.






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