Open Sourcing History: Using Historians in Games Development

Presented by Claire Manning
Monday 10:50 a.m.–11:10 a.m. in Medium Lecture Theatre CB11.00.401
Target audience: Developer

Abstract

When you’re working in a game that is open source, you’re likely to be working with people of various ethnicities, races and genders, and it’s important to keep their backgrounds in mind. This is particularly important for historical games, where avoiding stereotypes and aiming for authenticity is crucial. Aiming for accuracy not only makes the game more authentic, but also helps develop and expand the player’s understanding of history. We all know that history can complement video games by creating an interesting setting that the audience is usually at least vaguely familiar with. When you set a game within a historical setting, you get a pre-built rich environment, and you also save time on explaining the player’s surroundings. This talk will be looking at the Assassins Creed franchise and Horizon: Zero Dawn, which both reached out to historians and anthropologists. Both games have extremely different settings, and worked in very different ways to effectively create a feel of authenticity. I will further be discussing how historical and anthropological experts are more than happy to share their knowledge for the sake of historical accuracy, with many believing it to be the future of historical education.

Presented by

Claire Manning

Claire is a Melbourne-based historian and gamer, who specialises in Ptolemaic Egypt and Rome's Late Republic. She has a passion for how history is represented through games, and hopes to assist in further establishing the platform as a valid method of education.