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Game students go Gothic for GameCity9's Off the Map competition

Bram Stoker's Dracula, Edgar Allan Poe's horror stories and the stunning architecture of Beckford’s Gothic folly Fonthill Abbey are inspiring the latest generation of videogaming students.

Bram Stoker's Dracula, Edgar Allan Poe's horror stories and the stunning architecture of Beckford's Gothic folly Fonthill Abbey are inspiring the latest generation of videogaming students.

They are rising to the challenge laid down in Nottingham Trent University's innovative videogame festival GameCity in collaboration with the British Library and gaming technology firm Crytek.

So far, 17 teams of computer game art and computer game design students from De Montfort University, the University of South Wales, Southampton Solent University, Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies and the University of Northampton have entered the Off the Map competition – based on artefacts linked to a major autumn exhibition at the British Library.

The material includes:

  • Engravings and drawings of Whitby, North Yorkshire – used by Bram Stoker as the landing point for the vampire in his classic horror story Dracula.
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 gothic short story, The Masque of the Red Death, a tale of decadence and mortality in a grand castle as a plague rages beyond its walls.
  • Fonthill Abbey – the once stunning 18th century country house in Wiltshire, of which only a fragment remains today. Built to a breath-taking scale, it was the vision of William Beckford, the author of the classic Gothic novel of 1786, Vathek.

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, will run from 3 October 2014 until 20 January 2015 at the British Library in London.

Judges will be looking for the most innovative and interesting ways to interpret the British Library artefacts using videogame technology and the competition’s winner will be revealed during GameCity9, the videogame festival held at venues across Nottingham during October.

GameCity director Iain Simons said: "The British Library material is meant to be the starting point for the videogame developers of the future. The brief is just that – brief. Entrants can use the maps, drawings and literature to go in any direction they choose."

Carl Jones, director of global business development at Crytek, the company behind the state-of-the-art Cryengine technology being used for the competition said: "Working with Cryengine gives students an opportunity to get to grips with the most cutting edge development tools available today and will ensure they're equipped to lead the industry into exciting new territory in the future."

Tim Pye, curator of English and Drama at the British Library said: "It is always exciting to see researchers using our collections in new and often surprising ways.

"The collections are all extremely evocative, and will provide rich pickings for games designers. We can't wait to see the results."

To find out more about the challenge, visit the GameCity/Off the Map website. Initial submissions must be made by 5 pm on Monday 4 August 2014.

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.

GameCity can be contacted by email, telephone 07887633751 or write to GameCity, Antenna, 9 Beck Street, Nottingham, NG1 1EQ.

To find out more visit the GameCity website, follow the team on Twitter and Facebook.

A view of the coast by Whitby, by Francis Jukes, 1811 (c) British Library Board

The interior of Fonthill Abbey, Delineations of Fonthill and its Abbey. By John Rutter, 1796-1851 (c) British Library Board

Edgar Allen Poe's the Masque of the Red Death Illustration, taken from Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a collection of short stories (C) British Library Board.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Dave Rogers, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    Images are available from the British Library’s press images site.

    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.

    About Crytek

    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 the Crytek website.

    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 - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

Game students go Gothic for GameCity9's Off the Map competition

Published on 31 March 2014
  • Category: Press office; School of Arts and Humanities

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