May 24, 2002
Architecture and Game Design

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Written not by an academic but by a gamer, so it is hardly as nuanced as a piece of architecture criticism -- hey, who says that's a bad thing? It does show an attempt by the Geek to apply concepts that architects know intuitively to a world that demands different things from its architecture (tension, artfully placed barriers and obstacles, vertigo, deception). I love the idea of looking at architecture as "potential event containers".

The author proves capable of some insight: "Levels are becoming more like movie-sets; highly detailed and subject to re-use." And "Level design is often only considered in plan, but New York is also an opportunity to consider it in section."

"At a more global scale, the highway system provides another study example. New York's complex network of express and parkways is a framework that can be sampled and abstracted for design purposes. The curves and overpasses could be used as a racing track at full scale, but also the diagram for a level at reduced size.

The many bridges and tunnels that cross between islands provide dramatic structures and are key nodes for player activity. The fact that many locations are under repair or construction is also occasion for game events."

This is very revealing in that it shows how much game designers view architecture in the same way that skateboarders do: as ramps for physical movement, the City as an extreme surface meant to be hurtled over at greater and greater speeds. The Architecture of Adrenaline.

Posted by tmonkey at May 24, 2002 12:25 AM
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