Enter, if you dare! Off the Map returns with a trip into Gothic horror
Videogame students are being given something to get their teeth into with the launch of a competition inspired by vampires, graveyards and Gothic horror.
The Off the Map competition is a unique collaboration between Crytek, the British Library and Nottingham Trent University’s annual GameCity festival.
It has been inspired by material linked with the British Library’s major autumn exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination and will challenge degree-level computer programmers and game designers from across the UK to develop videogame-based entries using Crytek’s state-of-the-art CRYENGINE technology.
Participants can use content from the following themes, which are connected with the British Library’s exhibition:
- Engravings and drawings of Whitby, North Yorkshire – used by Bram Stoker as a setting in his classic horror story of Dracula
- Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 gothic short story, The Masque of the Red Death
- Fonthill Abbey – the once stunning 18th century country house in Wiltshire, of which only a fragment remains today.
GameCity director Iain Simons said: “Possibilities for competition entries are endless, really. They might follow a traditional format of adventure or shoot ’em up, or come up with a three-dimensional fly-through simulation.
“Judges will be looking for the most innovative and interesting ways to interpret the British Library exhibits. Once inspired, students can go in any direction they wish, but only if they are brave enough!”
Crytek’s director of global business development, Carl Jones, was thoroughly impressed by last year’s results.
“We watched the students’ projects develop from mere ideas to amazing game structures and final entries. It was very impressive to see participants develop a deep and clear understanding of our Cryengine and general game development.
“Now that Off the Map returns for a second year, we are even more excited to see what everyone’s talent and dedication brings.”
Initial submissions must be made by 5pm on Monday August 4 and the winners will be revealed during the GameCity9 festival in Nottingham in October.
Tim Pye, curator of English and Drama at the British Library and of the exhibition, said: “It is always exciting to see researchers using our collections in new and often surprising ways, and Off the Map is a great example of this.
“From Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, to Stoker and Whitby, the British Library’s Gothic collections are all extremely evocative, and will provide rich pickings for games designers. We can’t wait to see the results.”
The competition follows the success of the first Off the Map challenge, won by students from Leicester’s De Montfort University after they developed a stunning recreation of 17th century London inspired by the British Library’s map collections, using the cutting-edge three-dimensional Cryengine technology from Crytek.
To find out more about the challenge, please visit the GameCity/Off the Map website at http://offthemap.gamecity.org
GameCity is a Nottingham Trent University project run by its School of Arts and Humanities to bring together public and private sector organisations to pioneer innovative thinking and to deliver major research and inclusion projects.
Going beyond simply playing games, GameCity offers new ways to interact with videogame culture.
To contact GameCity email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 07887633751 or write to GameCity, Antenna, 9 Beck Street, Nottingham, NG1 1EQ.
About the British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world-class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.
About GameCity Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University
As well as the festival, GameCity organises a series of events throughout the year and across the UK. Projects aim to contextualise videogames as accessible, important, cultural, visionary and enduring pieces of work made by creative people with diverse skills, ambitions and imaginations.
Nottingham Trent University has courses across its schools of Arts and Humanities, Science and Technology and Art and Design for anyone with an interest in videogaming.
It also supports graduates with an interest in videogames and digital culture who wish to pursue doctoral research. For more information please contact Professor Nahem Yousaf, academic team leader in the school of Arts and Humanities.
Crytek GmbH (“Crytek”) is an independent company at the forefront of the interactive entertainment industry, and is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of gaming by creating standout experiences for consoles, PC, mobile devices and games-as-service using their cutting-edge 3D-Game-Technology, CRYENGINE®.
The company’s headquarters are in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). Crytek also has studios in Kiev (Ukraine), Budapest (Hungary), Sofia (Bulgaria), Seoul (South Korea), Nottingham (UK), Shanghai (China), Istanbul (Turkey) and Austin (USA).
Since its foundation in 1999, Crytek has consistently been recognized for excellence in its field, earning accolades such as the 2011 Develop Award for Best Independent Studio, and two Red Dot Design Awards (in 2010 and 2013). Its multi-award winning games include Far Cry®, Crysis® (awarded best PC Game of E3 2007 and Best Technology at the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards), Crysis Warhead® (awarded Best Graphics Technology at IGN Best of 2008 Awards), Crysis® 2 (awarded Best Shooter of E3 2010 and Gamescom 2010), Crysis® 3 and Warface (awarded Best Social/Casual/Online Game of Gamescom 2012). For more information, please visit www.crytek.com