De Montfort University using CryENGINE® 3 to go Off the Map

February 26, 2013 by Crytek

De Montfort University using CryENGINE® 3 to go Off the Map

Earlier this year, Crytek launched a creative competition for students in association with the British Library and GameCity. The Off the Map challenge invites students from participating universities and colleges to draw inspiration from a selection of British Library maps and then turn that inspiration into interactive environments using our free CryENGINE 3 SDK.

Among the participants is De Montfort University (DMU). Based in Leicester, DMU was recently listed as one of the top 10 most creative universities in the UK, and have three separate teams from their 2nd year Game Art course taking part in Off the Map.  

Senior Lecturer in 3D Visualization at DMU, Heather Williams, says the competition provides a great chance for students to broaden their horizons. “The Game Art course is very interested in using game technology for more formal visualization projects as well as generating in-game content, and the CryENGINE SDK is a wonderful tool for this because we can communicate the drama and atmosphere as well as the physical space.”

Optimistic Pessimists Off the Map

Early work by De Montfort's Optimistic Pessimists Off the Map team

Participants in Off the Map must choose between one of three maps as their source of inspiration; The Pyramids of Giza, Wiltshire’s Stonehenge or London around the time of the Great Fire in 1666. Each of DMU’s three teams agreed there was one stand-out option. “All of my teams have chosen London,” said Heather. “This one, we feel, has the potential for a huge amount of visual interest; narrow cramped twisting streets, poor sanitation, buildings made from predominantly wood and straw, the docks where the smell of spices would mingle with the stench from the Thames and local tanneries. The scope with this one is limitless! Of course, the fire has left little visual reference to use, so we’ve taken inspiration from the amazing maps and etchings in the British Library.”

For some of the students at DMU, Off the Map will give them their first opportunity to go hands-on with CryENGINE 3, but Heather says Crytek’s state-of-the-art development tool has already been capturing the imagination of other students at the university. “A small team of students used CryENGINE 3 last spring to build a real-time map of the interior of Rosslyn Chapel, including interactive elements displaying metadata. We loved the immediacy of the engine – the instant visual feedback, and the intuitive workflow. The lighting is amazing, and there’s no more thumb twiddling while the lighting builds! Many of my final year students have adopted CryENGINE for their final projects.”

Triumphant Goat Off the Map

Initial ideas from DMU Off the Map team, Triumphant Goat

De Montfort’s three separate Off the Map teams are showcasing their project work on individual blogs, so you can see in more detail what Pudding Lane Productions, Triumphant Goat and The Optimistic Pessimists have been up to. You can also check out more work from the talented students on the DMU Game Art course in our gallery below.

To find out more about our CryENGINE 3 SDK and download it for free, visit

Top image shows work by De Montfort's Pudding Lane Productions team.