This three minute video faithfully rebuilds Tudor London, allowing us to experience the city in 3D.
Would you like to fly over London before the Great Fire of 1666? /
The Great Fire of London began on September 2, 1666, as a small fire in Pudding Lane, at the shop of Thomas Faynor, Charles II of England’s baker. The servant awoke in the early hours of the morning while the house was on fire. At the time, English houses were made of wood and resin that made them highly flammable. The wind spread the fire over the course of the night and within three days 80 per cent of London was reduced to ashes.
Since the city was rebuilt during Charles II’s reign, the only way to get an accurate idea of London before the fire is by reading and analysing testimonies, journals and historical maps of the time. Six students from the University of Montfort recently created a 3D representation of seventeenth century London, the appearance the city had before the great catastrophe of 1666. The three minute video presents us with a realistic animation of Tudor London, and shows the area of Pudding Lane, where the fire began, in great detail.
While most of the houses and buildings we see in the video are conjectures, the students relied on an accurate map (a combination of several maps of the time) to create their video and they included genuine hotel, shop and tavern signs, whose existence was confirmed by journals of the period. The textures of the walls and floors, and the assortment of objects found in the streets, as well as the market stalls, doors and windows were carefully studied, so that everything we see in the video is a precise representation of what the ‘city of fog’ looked like at the time.
Flying over the dark and sombre streets of London, where everything is gritty and stricken by the plague, is undeniably exciting because of the authentic beauty that each of its corners holds. The Montfort team were announced as the winners of the 2013 Off the Map Contest, organised by The British Library and videogame programmers Crytek and Gamecity. The video aims to eventually become a level in a new videogame (which is why there are no characters on the streets).
For further information on the development of the game visit the team’s blog.
Also in Sphere: Video Games as Works of ArtTagged: videogames, London, Eccentricity