'Tactical Landscaping': Architecture for Games

The game-related posts on architecture blog BLDGBLOG are few and far between, but generally worth waiting for. This week, Geoff Manaugh took a look at Fracture and Celestial Impact, especially in terms of the game mechanics of deforming or otherwise changing the terrain. Looking at game design elements from an architectural perspective is a fascinating one, but Manaugh goes on to ponder if architects tried their hand at designing for games:

I suppose one question here might be: what would a videogame look like as designed by Vicente Guallart? Would it look like Fracture? If Vicente Guallart and Behrokh Khoshnevis teamed up, would they have created Celestial Impact? But a more interesting, and wide-ranging, question is whether designing videogame environments is not something of a missed opportunity for today's architecture studios.

After all, how might architects relay complex ideas about space, landscape, and the design of new terrains if they were to stop using academic essays and even project renderings and turn instead to videogames?

It seems like you can take your ideas about terrain deformation and instant landscapes and nomadic geology and you can licence it to LucasArts, knowing that tens of thousands of people will soon be interacting with your ideas all over the world; or you can just pin some images up on the wall of an architecture class, make no money at all, and be forced to get a job rendering buildings for Frank Gehry.
So would more people understand Rem Koolhaas's thoughts on cities if he stopped writing 1000-page books and started designing videogames – games set in some strange quasi-Asiatic desert world of Koolhaasian urbanism?

He also muses that this is perhaps mistaking 'popularity for engaged comprehension.' Would the pay off be worth having an architect collaborate on level, terrain and building design? There are certainly enough creative landscapes and architectural styles in games to provide interesting fodder for discussion or study — would formally trained architects actually add to that in a meaningful and recognisable manner?

Tactical Landscaping and Terrain Deformation [BLDGBLOG]


Be the first to comment on this story!