Thursday, 26 May 2011


Very excited by the arrival of our new Educational License for the CryENGINE 3 SDK from CryTek.

Some work to do in setting up a license server for our research community here at Birmingham, but personally I'm looking forward to exploring the incredible potential of this software for landscape rendering, and the technical potential of outputting standalone content for web deployment and stereoscopic 3D - particularly on our Mechdyne  PowerWall.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Tale of Tales

Recently I have been enjoying two wonderfully evocative games produced by the duo Auriea Harvey and Michaƫl Samyn, aka Tale of Tales.

The Graveyard is a simple visual meditation on approaching death, you guide an old woman in her short walk across a graveyard to a seat by the chapel, where in a scripted scene, she reflects on life, death and those she has seen buried.


This rather lovely little game, bravely rendered in monochrome, is both thought provoking and visually delightful. It pays replaying simply to enjoy the visual richness of the landscape.

Rather different, but equally attractive, is The Endless Forest.  In this unworldly game, set in a forest familiar in visual style to players of The Path, players adopt the avatar of a deer, and wander through an endless richly detailed forest, encountering avatars of other internet players.

The open ended game play is absorbing, you are drawn into a world in which you move freely in all directions, encountering landscape, architecture, artifacts and other players with little guidance as to how to act.  Game play is an experience of learning to live the game world, guided by simple image icons that change dynamically to access appropriate actions.  I am still learning to enjoy and explore the world of the Forest, and the game system rewards long-term play with a developing avatar and new action options.

So, it strikes me that these simple, open games, embody much of what I would like to see in the adoption of game technology for engaging with heritage.  Imagine freedom from the scripted path of traditional games, a freedom to explore and encounter.  Perhaps even a stripping of the strict rules of linear time, so that one encounters echoes of the entire past in a rendering of the present landscape.  I see such games as released from the requirements of strict historical accuracy, more a fusion of history, drama and art in which a combination of game play, visual richness and evocative content draw players to explore place, time and space and in so doing create their own meanings.