Creative Students Encouraged to Go 'Off the Map'
January 18, 2013

Creative Students Encouraged to Go 'Off the Map'

A unique project aims to discover future talent through interactive environments.

LONDON – A project encouraging students to create ground-breaking interactive environments launched recently as part of a joint venture between Crytek, The British Library and Nottingham’s GameCity festival.

The Off the Map challenge invites students from participating colleges and universities to draw inspiration from British Library maps and then turn that inspiration into interactive environments using Crytek’s state-of-the-art CryENGINE technology. Later this year, a panel of judges will select stand-out Off the Map projects to be showcased at Nottingham’s GameCity 8 festival and beyond.

Maps for the competition will be carefully selected from the British Library’s world-famous cartographic collections, and could depict anything from London in the aftermath of the Great Fire to some of literature’s best-known fantasy worlds. Students will be encouraged to respond to their allocated map by developing an interactive environment that places a special emphasis on imagination and pushes the boundaries of traditional game design.

Tom Harper, curator of Cartographic Materials at the British Library, said: “The prospect of seeing some of the British Library’s historic maps used to create a virtual gaming environment is a genuinely exciting one, and it is perfectly appropriate when you consider that maps have been created as working models of reality for many centuries. The results of this innovative competition will be another important stage in our evolving understanding of these places.”

Iain Simons, director of GameCity, added: “GameCity is about creating conversations between videogames and the rest of the culture — I can’t think of any better partners in that aim than Crytek and the British Library. This is a unique invitation to explore the world’s knowledge with cutting edge-technology.”

Crytek’s Director of Global Business Development, Carl Jones, believes Off the Map’s emphasis on creativity will lead to intriguing results. “The Off the Map challenge will give some of the UKs brightest talent the chance to become familiar with CryENGINE and discover the lpotential it offers for bringing their ideas to life. We look forward to seeing how participants are inspired by these unique assets.”

Off the Map was officially launched at London’s British Library by Iain Livingstone CBE, Life President of Eidos: “I'm delighted to see the launch of this new project, bringing together the heritage and esteem of the British Library's collection with the bleeding edge technology. Once again, GameCity are starting new conversations about videogames and pointing to the future for this most vibrant of art forms."

To find out more about the challenge, visit or