Virtual battlefield for Bannockburn visitor centre

VISITORS to the new Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre will be able to take part in a 3D virtual medieval battle, organisers have revealed.

The Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn.  Picture:  Ian Rutherford
The Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Battle Game will give visitors the chance to lead a division of soldiers from the armies of Robert the Bruce and Edward II who fought in 1314.

Battlemasters Ned Sampson, 48, from Kent, David Weinczok, 24, from Nova Scotia, and Amy Cassells, 24, from Glasgow will be on hand to assist at the virtual battlefield.

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The visitor attraction, developed in partnership by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, opens on March 1 ahead of the 700th anniversary of the battle on June 23-24.

Visits to the Bannockburn centre will culminate at the virtual battlefield. Picture: PA

Each visit will culminate in the Battle Game where visitors will be allocated an army division which appears on a massive 3D map of the Stirling landscape, giving a birds-eye view of the battle.

David McAllister, Battle of Bannockburn project director at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “After a visit to the new Battle of Bannockburn experience, people can walk away not just with extra knowledge, but with the experience and emotions of medieval battle.

“Visitors witness first-hand the pressure of making decisions that affect an entire army. Seeing the action play out, it will stay with you, and it can be appreciated visually the tremendous disadvantage that the Scots army had, and how the tactics of Robert the Bruce led his army to victory.”

Each experience of the Battle Game will differ depending on the tactical decisions made by the visitor using the landscape, manpower and weaponry available to their division.

Battlemasters will be on hand to provide historical details, tips and advice before declaring the successful side, summarising the results of the action with an overview of how the battle played out in 1314, and revealing the 21st-century version of the landscape and locations of conflict.

Ned Sampson has experience in combat fighting in film productions.

He said: “The mental and visual stimulation that audiences experience is as close as you can get to the real thing. You can leave the new Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre and describe the events of 1314 based on experience rather than just historical fact.

“As the Battle Game heats up and there is little time to manoeuvre, you can feel the adrenalin, pressure and fear involved in a real medieval battle.”

Interpretation designers Bright White Ltd developed the concept of the Battle Game and worked with games console company D3T Ltd as software developers.

Dr Richard Tipping of Stirling University and experts in 3D technology from the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation have also been involved in the project.