Dracula’s Whitby to become virtual reality

Historic versions of Whitby are set to be recreated by videogame students taking part in a national competition.

In just its second year, the Off the Map competition is inspired by vampires, graveyards and Gothic and its organisers have chosen 19th Century Whitby as one of the major themes.

Whitby - Yorkshire

Whitby - Yorkshire

The competition is a collaboration between the British Library and Nottingham Trent University and will see students create a virtual version of the town which greeted Dracula as his ship crashed onto Tate Hill Sands.

Iain Simons is director of GameCity, the university’s annual videogame festival, and he 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.”

The competition has been inspired by material linked with the British Library’s 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 state-of-the-art technology.

18th Century image of Whitby's coastline

18th Century image of Whitby's coastline

Participants can use content from three themes connected with the British Library’s exhibition. There are engravings and drawings of Whitby, as well as Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death and the ruins of Fonthill Abbey.

Exhibition curator Tim Pye 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. We can’t wait to see the results.”

Initial submissions must be made by 5pm on Monday August 4 and the winners will be revealed during the GameCity festival in Nottingham in October.