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29-October 2013

Turning 400-year-old maps into 3D VIDEO GAMES:

Students use British Library archive to create 17th century virtual worlds

The game (pictured) was based on a historic map showing the layout of London in the 17th century, allowing the students to make the geography of their game as accurate as possible

Students have transformed historic maps into a 3D video game environments.

A number of teams battled it out to win a national initiative that invited them to use maps and engravings from the British Library's archives to craft a video game.

Pudding Lane Productions, a team of six second-year students from De Montfort University, Leicester, scooped first prize in the Off the Map challenge with their game set in 17th century London.

The winning entry lets users fly through London in 3D and impressed the judged with its level of realism and attention to detail - from the rickety looking buildings and packed streets, to hanging pigs.

The game was based on a historic map showing the layout of the capital at the time, allowing the students to make the geography of their game as accurate as possible.


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

The winning entry lets users fly through London in 3D and impressed the judged with its level of realism and attention to detail - from the rickety looking buildings and packed streets, to hanging pigs

Students drew inspiration from a map in the British Library's archives that shows the City of London after it was ravaged by the Great Fire, which started in Pudding Lane on September 5, 1666

Pudding Lane Productions was declared the winners at GameCity8, an annual festival of video game culture being held in Nottingham.

The competition was sponsored by game developer Crytek and run in conjunction with the British Library and GameCity.

Tom Harper, panel judge and curator of cartographic materials at the British Library, said: 'Some of these vistas (seen in the game of the winning entry) would not look at all out of place as special effects in a Hollywood studio production.

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

Pudding Lane Productions was declared the winners at GameCity8, an annual festival of video game culture being held in Nottingham. The team was inspired by old maps of London, including the one pictured


'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 re purpose 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 teamís entry was brilliant, using historic artifacts and cutting-edge technology to help show both in a new light.

Mystical Wings, a runner up in the competition from the University of South Wales, drew inspiration from historical etchings of Stonehenge to create their game


Teams had a choice of maps and drawings based on London in the 17th Century, Stonehenge (pictured) and the Pyramids at Giza in Egypt, from which to create their virtual worlds


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