Recreating Early - High Medieval Scarborough, Yorkshire: Indexes


There is untapped potential in using 3D technology to create detailed recreations of long gone environments. For some time now, 3D artists have created imagined worlds. But there is a world of difference between imagined and recreated worlds. Just as a tellurion (above) helps us visualize eclipses, game engines may help us visualize long lost medieval townscapes.

Scarborough: Oldborough 15 August 1264 7:00am

3D software originally served narrow purposes. Sometime it was used to create engineering or architectural blue prints, sometime to realize gaming environments. 

Recently there has been a synthesis of the capabilities of different 3D programs. Advances in computer hardware gives us the ability to create highly detailed and interactive environments in real time. It is possible for artists to use the emerging software to recreate virtual models of large cityscapes - and permit actors to move around these models. Others have used it in the painstaking capture of individual buildings of historical importance.

This series of posts describes a methodology used to recreate early/high medieval Scarborough for the forthcoming series Quodlibet, a story that follows a potion seller and healer from York. We have used a powerful 3D platform, Unreal Engine 5, to recreate the set and actors for this drama. While it is beyond the power of any software to map large chunks of reality (electronic street maps are a salient example) we have found it possible to create a passable model of the medieval world for cinematic purposes.

Our project is an attempt to interpret/recreate an environment that is long gone. At a formal level, any such attempt is bound to fail. Similarly, any street map will miss detail or misinterpret data. Here, a lot of the basic information about the medieval environment has been erased by time. However, it may also serve the purpose of synthesizing information in a way that creates a new understanding - either for historical or creative purposes.
Skardi's early medieval Scarborough: SouthSands 15 August 900 7:00am
High medieval Scarborough: Oldborough 15 August 1264 7:00am

1: Geography

Recreate any part of the world in 3D and add atmosphere, sky and a water plane.

2. Shaping the town

Research and shape a town.

3. Crucks, Siles and Forks of Yorkshire

Rediscover and build early/high medieval structures.

4. Timber Framed Buildings

Rediscover and build mid-medieval structures.

5. Surviving Medieval Structures

Using historical records, rebuild medieval structures that may still survive in part.

6. Port and Cogs - Part I

Rediscover and build early/high medieval ships such as the Cog and Knarr.

7. Lost Medieval Structures

Rebuild structures from faint historical traces.

8 Port and Cogs - various

Rediscover early/high medieval ships that might have traded with Scarborough. These parts deal with building the Knarr, the Yenikapi and look at variants (including that depicted on the Borough's seal), as well as river/bay craft such as the 'Coble'). 

9 Creating a realistic coastal environment using UE 5.1 (in preparation)

Creating coastal waves and foam.


Anonymous said…
Beautiful work. I can't imagine how much effort and time goes into it.
Peter Quinton said…
Good-health, Anonymous
These still-shots do faint justice to the set - when animated, lit by realistic skies and weather, surrounded by sounds of the town and sea, and populated by townsfolk, seafarers and fair-goers, it takes on a different life :)
I will add some animations from the movie over the next month.

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