WHAT does the future of computer games look like? Medieval Aberdeen of course – or so a university hopes.

Researchers in Aberdeen are exploring ways in which the city's Burgh Records, which date back to 1398, could provide a "new visions" for digital developers.

The Unesco-recognised registers run until 1511 and, according to Aberdeen University, are "one of the great reservoirs of historical knowledge on urban and regional life anywhere in northern Europe".

Led by historian Dr William Hepburn, the Playing in the Archives project will see experts examine new ways to use the documents, working alongside video game experts.

Hepburn said: “The influence of the medieval period more than almost any other period in time can be seen in the gaming world. Its close relationship to Lord of the Rings has been formative in fantasy fiction and that in turn has influenced digital media.

“You can see the impact of the medieval theme in character development and game aesthetics, even when they are not directly based in this era. Here in Aberdeen we have a truly magnificent resource documenting medieval life and so I am delighted to be working to see what this treasure of our city can offer the wider world of game development.”

He went on: “Aberdeen’s medieval records are filled with detail about buildings, tools, foodstuffs, animals and more. They reveal interesting details about the interaction of humans and animals in the day-to-day life of the town. Local laws were made to prevent pigs running loose on the streets and the town government employed pig catchers. This is the kind of detail that features in the many rich worlds games offer for players to explore.”