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Pirate Ships, Giant Parrots and Famous Lincoln Level Crossings – The Brayford Pool Campus as You've Never Seen It Before
Published: 11th May 2020, 3:15pm
Image of the Lincoln Island 'campus' If you take a virtual trip to Lincoln's Brayford Pool today, you're sure of big surprise. From pirate ships and giant parrots to duelling university professors and dancing students, the University of Lincoln's city centre campus has been reimagined in a new and unique video game – University on Lincoln Island.

In the fantasy video game, the Brayford Pool Campus becomes Lincoln Island – a fictional pirate island, but with very familiar buildings, landmarks and people for visitors to meet.

University on Lincoln Island is the brainchild of Dr Chris Headleand, Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Lincoln's School of Computer Science. What started off as a personal project while on paternity leave is now an exciting new fantasy video game ready for public launch.

Dr Headleand has reimagined the University of Lincoln's campus, home to thousands of staff and students and a vast portfolio of state-of-the-art buildings, to give gamers and new visitors an extraordinary and immersive experience. In the game, each of the University's buildings are exactly to scale and in the correct locations, as are all paths, and even the marina, but everything has a fantasy pirate twist – for example the Sports Centre Colosseum. Gamers travel around the island, meeting people and completing exciting quests.

Dr Headleand hopes the game will help current and prospective students to visit and learn about the University of Lincoln from the comfort of their living rooms. He said: "At the moment, we are all having to self-isolate and stay at home, but for many of us the Brayford Campus feels like a part of our home and we miss being there. Many prospective students will also have hoped to visit the campus before coming here for their studies, but with the current government advice they are unable to do that.

"Through this game they can at least take a tour, get a sense of where everything is, and meet some of the people they'll be learning from and alongside!"

Lincoln Island features more than 100 non-player characters (NPCs) based on real-life University of Lincoln staff and students. From students and support staff to professors and Deputy Vice Chancellors, these people are immortalized as AI characters on Lincoln Island and are always on hand to give useful advice, deliver study tips, and provide information about themselves, the campus and the city of Lincoln, all based on their own personal opinions and experiences.  

"60 of our current Lincoln students have created their own NPC who will tell you about their experiences as a student here," Dr Headleand added. "So if you were hoping to attend an Open Day but haven't made it yet, you can still meet students and staff as virtual people and have a quick chat. I hope that by engaging with this game, students could feel less anxious about moving to Lincoln and joining our community, because they will already know their way around and they will ‘meet' some of the friendly people here to support them."

The game features Lincoln's level crossings – a familiar part of the campus experience for all students and staff – and it is also day and night synchronised, so that when it is night-time on campus it is night-time in the game. Hundreds of minute details have been recreated in this way to make the Lincoln Island experience as realistic as possible, albeit with a fantasy pirate twist!

To play the game, visit: https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/virtualclassroom/
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