Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Architecture in Video Games

By Chase Masters

For this 8th blog I wanted to talk about one of my interests that is linked with architecture.  When I was younger there were a few video games that I played that gave me a stronger interest in pursuing a career in architecture.  There was two games in specific that made the appeal of architecture more alluring.  The Sims, a game that is about simulation of a person, a group of people, or a family; and Sim City, a game about building a city and watch it develop.
                In the game of Sims you have control of a person or group of people having them look for jobs, eat, sleep, entertain them, and have social connection.  This game is basically a simulation of life having to pay for bills, furniture, house, work, and all other life duties.  The way I looked at the game was not just to play as a person and simulate life, but to try to build a house, get a job to make more money so I can build extensions on the house and furnish the house to my liking.  Designing a small house that was affordable to start the game and then earn a good living to improve that house and transform it into a bigger more luxurious home.  This game helped me understand that I have a love for design and not only of the exterior shell of a house, but the landscape, exterior facades, interior spaces not only of each invidual room, but as a whole.  I really liked to start a new game over and over again because I enjoyed the intial design of the house with the organization of rooms, what are the relationships of one room to another.  I also enjoyed playing with the entrance of the house and the exit to the back yard.  I typically placed a pool with a patio that has uses for a grill, sitting, lighting, and a good view of plants that the sims would enjoy.  This helped me think more about buildings and I would then always study the architecture of a building anywhere I go.
                The second game Sim City is more of an urban master planning where you have to zone residential, commercial, and industrial occupancies.  You also need to provide all the necessary utilities for the city like water, power, sewage, garbage, transportation, law enforcement, fire protection, and medical.  There was also all the different specialties to gain money for the city like mining/drilling resources, tourism, casinos, developing technologies, and import/exports.  One feature of the game was the relationship of placing things next to each other, placing the civic buildings next to the residents increased their happiness and attracted more people to this lotion increasing the density.  If the industrial was close to the residential there was a chance of pollution getting the town sick and making people leave town.  I enjoyed playing with the different occupancies and trying to intermix them how they would turn out and what would be the best fit.  The three occupancies all have a link together with residential being the homes of people, commercial being the way they spend/earn their money and industrial is how they earn their money as well as provide the commercial with goods to sell.  If you have too much residential there would be people without jobs, too much commercial not enough workers or inventory, too much industrial not enough workers or too much goods that the industry will close from not making money.  The thing I struggled the most with when I was little was the money aspect of the game.  I wanted to build the city and I was impatient on waiting for things to develop to earn the money to plan to develop more.  This game I still play and I have changed the way I play the game because I mostly focus on two important things.  The first being the roads or the infrastructure of the city since traffic concerns are very vital to the game and how everything is linked and connected.  The second is the income of the city and how does the city earn its wealth to develop.  This game greatly helped me understand the relationships of a city and how one works as well as how it can fail.

                This is just two examples of how videogames started my interest in architecture and taught me some lessons along the way.  There are many other videogames that also peak my interest just because of the architecture, wither it’s the ascetics of the buildings in the game, the layout of the map in a game interior or exterior, or just how much freedom there is designing a building in video games.  In videogames the space is infinite, a space designated for a small room can be show on the exterior, but open the door and the small space can turn into a new world.  The games also don’t have to worry about the buildings structure or gravity and this means anything imaginable can happen with the design of a building, or buildings.

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