Memorable Worlds - City Representation and Planning in Video Games

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Volume Title
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Bachelor's thesis
Date
2021
Department
Major/Subject
Arkkitehtuuri
Mcode
Degree programme
Taiteiden ja suunnittelun kandidaattiohjelma
Language
en
Pages
40
Series
Abstract
This bachelor’s thesis examines the representation of cities in open world video games. It explores the many techniques and practices for creating immersive game city environments, and the unique planning criteria that they employ. The subjects for analysis are open world video games and their inhabited cities. Firstly, the vital importance of immersion to designing game worlds is defined and highlighted, and the scarcity of academic work on the topic is established. Secondly, literature regarding game cities and immersion are discussed and presented as part of the framework for the following analysis phase. The best practices establish three significant game cities from the 2010s to present; under observation are their means of achieving a memorable and believable city image and techniques to produce immersion. Finally, the Findings-chapter relays the observations from the best practices and analyzes them in regards to the literature. This study discovers that game cities heavily emphasize visual imagery and rely on strong narratives in creating tone and immersion. Elements such as social dimension and city image take up new meaning and weight in game cities. It is reasoned that games have their own criteria and techniques to aid immersion. Furthermore, this thesis also facilitates the separation of virtual planning from traditional planning criteria - immersion is presented to occur when game city elements occupy the intended tone and narrative.
Description
Supervisor
Hewidy, Hossam
Thesis advisor
Tervo, Anne
Keywords
game cities, virtual planning, city image, urban narrative, immersion, urban planning
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