Off The Map is a year-long project that encouraged students to create interactive environments using the CRYENGINE games engine. The competition supported by Crytek the British Library and GameCity, challenged students from selected universities to draw inspiration from British Library maps and then turn that inspiration into games. Teams could choose from three different maps: The Pyramids of Giza, Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, or London around the time of the Great Fire in 1666.
The competition short-list comprised of three teams, two of which were teams from the University of South Wales’ Computer Games Design Course. As finalists they had the opportunity to visit Crytek’s studios in Nottingham for feedback about their games and to gain an insight into the companies production processes. The teams were then asked to showcase their games at the Nottingham GameCity festival to an invited audience of professional games developers.
Ian McMichael presented his team’s work entitled ‘Mystical Wings’, a fantasy world based upon Stonehenge where the player controls Liliana a 6″ tall faery.
James Macleod and Max Cutler then presented ‘Catacombs’ a game which takes the player on a journey through a fantasy landscape of underground dungeons and caves hidden beneath Stonehenge.
Computer Games Design Lecturer Adam Martin says: “The student’s professionalism during the event was excellent, they did a fantastic job of conveying a sense of the games they had created and described the technical details of their production, they impressed the seasoned games developers at Crytek. We are very proud of what they have done.”
We are now preparing for next year’s competition and see this as a great way to enable students to engage with industry in a meaningful and valuable way. The ethos of the course is to make great games, so when competitions like this arise we can integrate them as assessable coursework. We actively encourage our students to work on projects that combine academic rigour and technical expertise, both of which are highly valued by the industry partners involved with the Off The Map project.