Archive for the ‘Game Development’ Category

Visiting the past

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

The Grey Alien team (aka Jake and Helen) have been on tour around the South West of England taking in some of our favourite historical spots.

As well as staying in some lovely Georgian hotels in Bath and hanging out in the Pump Room in honour of our friends from Regency Solitaire, we also went out into the Cotswold countryside in search of Regency landmarks.

We rocked up at this amazing hunting lodge, part of the Duke of Beaufort’s historic estate in Gloucestershire. It’s not in any way obviously “open to the public,” but a kind lady opened the gates and told us she lives there – actually in the monument – and offered to show us around! Click the image below to see our photo from earlier this week, alongside the Regency Picnic scene from our game.

Of course we hadn’t expected this…what an amazing building. The hunting lodge, designed by William Kent, is known as the Worcester Lodge, and was built as a hunting pavilion for the Duke to entertain his guests who preferred to observe the hunt from a distance, from the salon on the second floor. Kent’s work on the facade of the grand house, and on the hunting lodge, was done in the 1740s.

From the window there is a very long view (several miles) to the massive grand residence at the end of the long grass gallops.

Since it’s so far away, here’s a closer look:

Not too shabby…

Finally here I am imagining I’ve been invited to a Regency picnic in the shade of the lodge…

Regency Solitaire is available direct from us for PC/Mac, and is also available on PC from Steam.

Skimpy dresses for Regency belles

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The dress Regency Solitaire heroine Bella acquires en route to her dream ball would have been the height of fashion in 1812. Even if it was a little impractical for hanging around draughty stately homes or braving the British weather, this floaty, transparent garment, usually in a pale colour, was standard attire for any well-bred young woman attending an important society function.

The trend for thin dresses inspired by classical Greek and Roman goddesses was already in full swing. Georgian caricature artists were already poking fun at the kind of wardrobe malfunctions that happen when a girl in a skimpy dress goes out in all weathers:

damp ladies

Joking aside, the style was actually pretty, simple and wearable – and a breath of fresh air if you consider the various extreme corsets, bustles, panniers, wigs and all the rest that came both before and after this era in ladies’ fashion in Europe.

Because Bella’s outfit is transparent, she has to have a nice petticoat underneath:

Machine-made net fabric was a novelty in the early nineteenth century. Whereas previously all lace had been hand-made and was a costly luxury, John Heathcoat’s bobbin-net machine, patented in 1808, paved the way for gauzy, lace-effect trimmings or entire coverings for dresses. His invention was so successful that even high-ranking society ladies (who could afford hand-made lace if they wanted it) wore machine-net dresses once the craze took off. The machine nets were plain, and had to be hand-embroidered.

Above is an example of a mesh dress, dated 1807-11. It was worn with a silk under-dress.

This type of elaborate dress was saved for balls and other special occasions. In her book Nineteenth-century fashion in detail, fashion historian Lucy Johnstone says that: “the thin, gauzy materials created a dreamy look, and gold thread or sparkling beads and spangles glittered in the artificial light of the dancing room. These light materials also prevented the wearer from getting too hot in stuffy, overcrowded places.”

Let’s hope that Bella can play it cool in the ballroom, and that her prized ball gown makes the right impression!

I hope you find these details interesting. I’ll be adding more Regency background in future posts…

Helen

Regency Solitaire is a product of the GamesLab South West programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and led by Creative England.

Regency Locations

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Because we wanted to make Regency Solitaire as historically accurate as possible, we spent a lot of time researching every element – from character costumes to interior decor. I thought it might be fun to share a few examples.

For instance, here we are on Brighton beach, a popular location during the English Regency. The town started out as a sleepy fishing village, but by the 1780s it had become a fashionable resort town. The Prince Regent (future George IV) was a frequent visitor, and he constructed the Royal Pavillion there, which can still be visited today.

Take a look at the pier. Our image shows the Royal Suspension Chain Pier on the horizon. This was originally meant as a landing area for boats traveling from France, but it also had a few attractions for visitors, such as a camera obscura. This is one landmark that you can’t visit in Brighton today – heavily damaged by storms, it was dismantled in 1896. We based our image on a number of contemporary paintings of the pier.

Here’s another location, Netley Abbey, not far from Southampton. Jane Austen lived in Southampton from 1807-1809. As well as taking long walks in the surrounding countryside, we know that she visited the gothic ruins of Netley Abbey. Our game is set just three years later, and when I was looking for locations that our heroine Bella could visit as she made her way across the South coast of England, I imagined that she and her sister Charlotte might also enjoy a visit to the romantic ruins at Netley.

I hope you find these details interesting. I’ll be adding more in future posts about other Regency details, including costumes and room decor!

Helen

Regency Solitaire is a product of the GamesLab South West programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and led by Creative England.