What do you know about 16th Century French Encampments?

Production on First Encounters at BCDM is in high gear: concept artists have fleshed out the designs for characters and encampments, 3D modeling of assets is underway, texture artists are making them pretty, research and writing keeps moving along, review board checking in making sure all our stuff is in check. So, we can definitely say “ALL GOOD!”

Yet, from a research standpoint, we’ve hit a bit of a snag in one particular area.  Let me explain.  I’ve mentioned before that for the era circa 1500, we’re basing that first encounter between the French and the Mi’kmaq on Jacques Cartier’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic in 1534.  All good. Now the main question on our minds is “What kind of encampments did Cartier and his men have on land”? Where did they sleep when they set up for the evening on shore?  Research tells us that Cartier and his men spent most nights aboard their ships on that first voyage. There is no record describing more permanent shelters ever being built during that time. To be clear, Cartier and his men did build a fort on the second voyage since they stayed for the winter of 1535-36.  The problem is, if we’re basing this particular episode of First Encounter on Cartier’s initial trip, we need to determine the appropriate French encampment to create for the game.  We’ve scoured books, websites, journals, documentaries, and talked with academics, and all seem to point to tents as the appropriate shelter. This is good, but what exactly did these tents look like?  Were they small tents? Large tents? Your average camping tent from the 1500s? Where they covered with canvas? Some other kind of cloth? What colour were they?  You can tell that there’s been just a flurry of questions that need answers if we want to get it right.  I’m confident we’ll figure it out.  A bit more research should do the trick – this info is out there somewhere. Its always all just a matter of knowing where to look. We just need to look fast to keep moving ahead!  So reader, if you’ve got any clues, drop us a line!

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