A postgraduate student has created a new computer game designed to support Nottinghamshire's bid to regenerate Sherwood Forest into a world-class tourist destination. Adam Duncan designed the game, Outlaws of Sherwood, as part of his MSc Multimedia Games Engineering course at Nottingham Trent University.
Outlaws of Sherwood will be officially launched by a Robin Hood-lookalike and Heritage Ranger Ade Andrews on Thursday, October 25 in Nottingham's Market Square. The event is being staged and hosted by Nottingham's GameCity festival, a week-long celebration of the modern culture of videogames. Nottingham Trent University is the lead partner for the festival, which features an extraordinary array of gaming events and aims to explore videogames in new and exciting ways.
The game will also form part of a drive to secure £50m investment from the Big Lottery Fund to transform Sherwood Forest into a top sustainable destination and inspirational community resource. The longstanding vision - Sherwood: the Living Legend - is being backed by a consortium of stakeholders and is shortlisted for the funding along with five other major projects nationwide. Shorlisted projects will go to a public vote in December.
Outlaws of Sherwood, which can be accessed via Sherwood: The Living Legend website ( www.robinhood.co.uk), features four stages which gamers need to guide their hero through to support and protect the forest. These include avoiding various obstacles while collecting gold, picking out the Sheriff's knights with a bow and arrow, and seeing how far you can throw a nobleman.
People who visit the website and play Outlaws of Sherwood will be encouraged to pledge their support to vote for the project. This can be done by registering at www.robinhood.co.uk or texting robin to 81025.
Adam said: "Outlaws of Sherwood was designed with the intention of appealing to as large an audience as possible. Using a game for the purposes of promotion gives the project the potential to draw people in who might not otherwise find out about the bid; it also shows how games can be used as tools to support worthy causes."
He added: "I'm proud to have had the opportunity to be involved in a project that helps the local community and I hope that the game goes on to contribute towards a successful bid."
James Lewis, Adam's tutor and Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, said: "Adam's done a great job. This project highlights the high standards achieved by students on Nottingham Trent University's computer games courses. We hope to demonstrate that computer games can be used as an effective campaigning tool. I'm delighted that the university has been able to help spread word about the Sherwood Forest project in such an innovative way."
If the Sherwood Forest bid is successful, the money would be used to pay for a range of improvements. These include creating an environmentally-friendly visitor complex in the form of a 100ft-high tree, giving visitors amazing views of the Sherwood landscape from a treetop viewing gallery; doubling in size the core of the ancient Oak Forest; and creating a 250km network of walking, cycling and horse riding paths.
Finally, at least 50 Nottinghamshire communities would be given the opportunity to enhance the place where they live by choosing a scheme to improve their local environment and illustrate their unique connection to Sherwood. Ideas could involve interpretation boards for important natural or historical features, new community designed village signs, creating nature trails or historical walks, or tree, hedge and wildflower planting.
Notes for editors: The event in Nottingham's Market Square will begin at 10.30am on Thursday 25th October.
For more about the Sherwood: The Living Legend project visit www.robinhood.co.uk. For the Big Lottery Fund visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk and GameCity www.gamecity.org
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