Role of real-world architecture in video games guide

Role of real-world architecture in video games, Dynamic player environments, Virtual building design

The Role of Real-World Architecture in Video Games

14 March 2024

Role of real-world architecture in video games

At the intersection of architecture and video games, the physical and digital worlds blur. Real-world architectural style and architectural design principles significantly inform video game design, allowing for more dynamic environments that situate the player within a world with which they can interact. This bridging of architectural realism with the imaginative, creative potential of video game design results in an expanding universe with multiple ways players can experience and understand real architectural works.

This article looks at how real-world architecture informs video game design.

The Foundations of Virtual Worlds

Developing convincing virtual worlds in video games often requires designers to employ real-world architectural principles. Doing so ensures renderings are more believable and helps craft more engaging environments. Games like Assassin’s Creed and The Last of Us illustrate how authentic architectural styles from the physical world make the transition to games and subsequently enhance gameplay and plot.

Assassin’s Creed lets players loose in meticulously rendered real-world historical settings, where architectural form and function inform much of the game’s storytelling and player mechanics. In contrast, The Last of Us takes advantage of a post-apocalyptic setting of buildings and landscapes to reinforce the emotional heft and combat challenges the characters wrestle with. Together, they demonstrate how the realism of the architecture can elevate a video game to an incredible and layered storytelling environment that speaks to the players on multiple levels.

Online Casinos

The grandeur of brick-and-mortar casino architecture often inspires online casino design. Just like their real-world counterparts, online casinos are replete with key elements in a bid to replicate the luxury and opulence of traditional gaming. Games like blackjack often give the perfect glimpse of this, evoking a similar sense of sophistication and ambiance that fans of high-end casinos may find familiar. Specific applications vary, but the ultimate aim is to create an online environment as realistic and immersive as possible. Real-world architectural principles go a long way in doing both. The design principles borrowed from real-world architecture play a crucial role in achieving an attractive online gaming platform, enhancing the overall appeal of online casinos.

Architectural Realism in Open-World Games

Role of real-world architecture in video games

Open-world games offer a unique platform for architectural realism, where players can explore vast spaces that bring a simulated city and landscape closer and closer to the complexity and diversity of a real one. Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 have given us an increasingly realistic treatment of real-world locations and landmarks. The former offers a satirical yet impressively detailed treatment of Los Angeles, and the latter showcases the diverse architectural palette of the American frontier. These games don’t just transport us to other places. They allow us to meaningfully engage and interact with environments that come ever closer to the real-world architecture they represent.

Fantasy and Architecture: Building Beyond Reality

Architectural diversity offers a vital means of enriching both player exploration and interaction within video games: from historically accurate to wildly imaginative, video game environments often rely on a spectrum of architectural styles. Games set in fantasy worlds, such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, ground their settings in familiar reality by leveraging real-world architectural elements but then enhance them with imaginative design and engaging game environments. This, in turn, entices the player to explore the world around them entirely. This interplay between realism and fantasy in architectural design and representation does more than simply add to a game’s visual appeal but instead deepens the player’s engagement with a vast array of interactive and exploratory possibilities.

Architecture as Gameplay Element

In many video games, architecture goes beyond just scenery to become an essential gameplay element. Just like in real-world architecture, technology plays an important role. Game-world designs affect puzzles, exploration strategy, and even the game’s story in games like Portal and Monument Valley. These are games where the architecture defines the experience, and titles that challenge players to think spatially to progress and navigate complex environments. This type of design keeps players engaged as they interact with the game world’s architectural elements.

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