Dwelling on the architecture in modern immersive gaming environments.

Another post in the #ArchiTalks blogging series. #ArchiTalks is organized by Bob Borson at Life of an Architect. A group of architects writes blog posts around a single theme or subject and posts them all at the same time, ensuring a good range of various takes on the subject or theme. Last time we wrote a post on the theme of Tool. This time we write on the theme of Architecture and…. I chose to post about Architecture and Gaming. I hope you enjoy this as well as the other #ArchiTalks posts. Be sure to check out all the links below and search #ArchiTalks on Twitter and other social media.

Virtual Reality

I have enjoyed gaming as long as I have had a computer. My first computer, an Apple IIe, had Microsoft Flight Simulator. It was always neat to get into that virtual plane and fly around the then heavily pixelated and hardly believable environments. To follow the development history of Microsoft Flight Simulator alone, is a lesson in the astounding changes in computer graphics over the years. It has come a long way to the 3d video card I run now that, when paired with the glasses, provides quite an immersive experience in gaming and simulations. With the photo-realistic rendering capability of modern personal computers and the expanding narratives that games portray, architecture in these virtual realities has become more important. In researching this post, I have read of gamers that go into these fictional worlds simply to explore the architecture and admire the environments. The design of the worlds where games take place are now as important and substantial as the game itself, and have been at that level of immersive reality for more than a decade.

Gallery of Games

If you have played computer games, you might find this familiar. You might have visited some of the environments I am going to show you here. If not, you are in for a treat. These images are what I have found to be the some of the most impressive game architectures. I have not played all of them, but for the ones that I have, I can easily say that these two dimensional pictures, while impressive, do not come close to capturing the environments that have been built by these coders, architects, and game makers. If you ever have the opportunity to borrow someone’s avatar and move around in any of these virtual worlds, you should! I promise you will be impressed.

 

Click on any of the images to see a larger picture.

 

Virtual Cockpit View in an F-18. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004

Virtual Cockpit View in an F-18. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004

 

A Lighthouse Pavilion that I built in Second Life.

A Lighthouse Pavilion that I built in Second Life.

 

The Ages of Myst and Riven are among the game environments that exploited virtual worlds to push the physical limits of what is possible.

A scene from Myst Revalations. via www.theverge.com

A scene from Myst Revalations. via www.theverge.com

 

A scene from Riven: The Sequal to Myst. via www.mobygames.com

A scene from Riven: The Sequal to Myst. via www.mobygames.com

 

The Witness was a breakthrough game by developer Johnathan Blow. He commissioned Architect Deanna Van Buren, FORUM design studio and landscape architects at Fletcher Studio to push the quality of the design. This before and after shot shows the transformation that the architects brought to the world of the Witness, as shown at www.architectural-review.com.

The Compound in the game The Witness before and after architects and landscape architects worked on the model.

The Compound in the game The Witness before and after architects and landscape architects worked on the model.

 

This shot shows the rich material palate put together by Van Buren. Visit her blog post about game design by clicking here.

The Witness - Bell Tower with Corten Steel and Stonework (Civilization II)

The Witness – Bell Tower with Corten Steel and Stonework (Civilization II)

 

gaming-mirors-edge

The Mirrors Edge via Denna Van Burens post at www.gamasutra.com – link above

 

Gone Home via Denna Van Burens post at www.gamasutra.com - link above

Gone Home via Denna Van Burens post at www.gamasutra.com – link above

 

Chrystal Palace in Shiva’s Dreaming via www.architectural-review.com - link above

Chrystal Palace in Shiva’s Dreaming via www.architectural-review.com – link above

 

BioShock The underwater city of Rapture

BioShock The underwater city of Rapture via www.architectural-review.com – link above

 

For the best write up of gaming architecture that I have seen, go to Architizer for a great post from Daniel Carrapa.  He also has an excellent Pinterest board with a ton of great photos and videos of gaming architecture.

Renaissance Italy in Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood via Architizer, link above.

Renaissance Italy in Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood via Architizer, link above.

 

Thank you for taking this tour of architecture in gaming with me. Happy gaming.

 

Here are all the posts, in no particular order, from my bloggeratti architect friends that write for #Architalks. Check them out, tweet, share, comment, etc.

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM) Architecture and Photography

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols) Architecture and a Future Without Architects

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti) architecture and __

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC) Architecture and Travel

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent) Architecture and Storytelling

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome) architecture and m&ms

Rosa Sheng – EquitybyDesign [EQxD] (@EquityxDesign) Architecture And the Era of Connection

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel) #ArchiTalks 18: architecture and… the bigger picture

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA) Architalks 18: Architecture and Mathematics

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar) Architalks 18: Architecture and … Parenting

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX) Architecture and Yoga

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX) Architecture and Yoga

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA) Architecture and Ego

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley) Architecture and Ego / The Architect’s Unique Struggle with ‘Good’ Design

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge) Architecture and Kids

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia) Architecture and More

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept) Architecture and the Myth of the Master Builder

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum) Architecture and Interior Design

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory) Architecture and Real Estate

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch) Architecture and Wrestling

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign) Architecture + Memories

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch) [#ArchiTalks 18] Architecture and Strange Travel Etiquette

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey) Architecture and…my Generation.