Simulating the Battle of Bannockburn

Consultancy Bright White has created new exhibition design and interpretation for The Battle of Bannockburn, a visitor centre based around a 30-player 3D battle game simulation.

3D Battle Simulator
3D Battle Simulator

The  £9 million visitor centre in Stirling uses branding by The Beautiful Meme, which worked with Dalton Maag. The project was awarded the prize for identity design at last year’s Design Week awards.

The Battle of Bannockburn took place in 1314, and is seen as a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence. The redesign marks the battle’s 700th anniversary.

3D Immersive space
3D Immersive space

Bright White was appointed to the £2.5m contract to design and build the new interpretation at Bannockburn in 2010, having initially met the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, which run the project, at the Museums and Heritage show in 2009.

The interpretation is ‘completely digital’, says Bright White, using immersive spaces reliant on public participation. Visitors ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with medieval warriors and armoured knights’, according to the centre, and can experience the sights and sounds of the battle on a ‘virtual battlefield’.

Blending real and virtual
Blending real and virtual

CGI characters around the space impart ‘battle tips’ and stories to visitors, which inform their role in the battle.

Interactive CGI characters
Interactive CGI characters

Chris Walker, Bright White managing director, says, ‘It’s about switching [visitors] on – they’ve really got to listen’.

The landscape imagery was created using data about the landscape geometry captured by aircraft, and informed by the work of an archeologist, who drilled holes around the area to discover how the land was used 700 years ago.

3D Battle Map
3D Battle Map

According to Walker, there are no physical objects remaining from the Battle, so the interpretation is based on other written and handed-down records.

‘Authenticity is key – especially with clients in Scotland’, says Walker. ‘We wanted to make something that completely immerse the viewers, and that’s a key part of the story.’

The consultancy worked with the Digital Design Studio, part of Glasgow School of Art, and CDDV to create some of the 3D media. The new visitor centre building design is by Reich and Hall and Ian White Associates designed the landscape.

Prologue 3D Theatre Introducing James Douglas
Prologue 3D Theatre Introducing James Douglas

The Battle of Bannockburn project is funded by the Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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