architectural and video game design

The Intriguing Overlap Between Architectural and Video Game Design

Architectural design and video game design share some similarities in terms of their creative processes, as both involve designing environments for people to interact with. While the end goals of architecture and video game design may be different, both fields involve designing environments that engage and inspire users in different ways.

Creating Physical and Virtual Environments

Both architectural and video game design involves creating spaces that are visually appealing, functional, and engaging for the people who will use them. In both cases, the designer must consider factors such as traffic flow, accessibility, and the user’s experience of the space. Environmental graphic designs have a huge impact on both architectural design and video game design.

The Design Process

The design process for video games and architecture shares some similarities, although there are also significant differences due to the unique challenges and goals of each field. Video game design and architecture both involve a process of developing concepts and ideas for the final product. In both cases, designers must identify the goals of the project, define the audience or users, and brainstorm ideas for how to achieve the desired outcomes. This is called a design build.

Both video game design and architecture often involve sketching and prototyping to explore and refine ideas. This may involve creating rough sketches or using digital tools to create 2D or 3D models that can be tested and refined over time. Video game design and architecture both often involve an iterative design process, where designers create multiple versions or iterations of the design and test each one to see what works best. This process may involve testing different features, layouts, or visual elements to determine what is most effective.

Both video game design and architecture often involve user testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the design. This may involve testing different prototypes with users or creating focus groups to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement. Video game design and architecture both often involve collaboration among different stakeholders, including designers, developers, engineers, and clients or stakeholders. Effective communication and collaboration are essential for achieving the desired outcome and ensuring that everyone is aligned around the same goals.

Consider the Space in Between

Video game designers and architects both consider the landscape in their design process, although their approaches may differ depending on the specific goals and constraints of the project. In architecture, landscape design is an important consideration for site planning and building placement. Architects must consider factors such as topography, climate, soil conditions, and natural features when designing a building or development. They may also need to work within zoning regulations, environmental restrictions, and other legal requirements. Architects may also incorporate elements of the landscape into the design of the building itself, such as using local materials or designing the building to blend in with the surrounding environment. In some cases, architects may also work with landscape architects or environmental consultants to ensure that the design is environmentally sustainable and minimizes the impact on the surrounding ecosystem.

In video game design, the landscape plays a crucial role in creating an immersive and engaging game world. Video game designers must consider factors such as terrain, climate, vegetation, and water features when designing the game world. They may also need to work within technical constraints, such as the capabilities of the game engine or limitations on memory and processing power. Video game designers may also use the landscape to create a sense of narrative and atmosphere in the game. For example, a game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland might use a barren and desolate landscape to create a sense of desolation and despair. Conversely, a game set in a lush jungle might use dense vegetation and water features to create a sense of mystery and adventure.

Don’t Forget the Graphics

Graphics play a significant role in both video game design and architectural design. In video game design, graphics are a key aspect of creating an immersive and engaging experience for players. High-quality graphics can help to bring game worlds to life, creating a sense of realism and enhancing player immersion. On the other hand, low-quality graphics or poorly designed visual elements can detract from the overall experience and make it difficult for players to connect with the game. In architectural design, graphics play a crucial role in communicating the design vision to clients, stakeholders, and other members of the design team. High-quality renderings, visualizations, and other graphics can help to convey the look and feel of the final design, allowing clients and stakeholders to visualize the space and provide feedback. Both video game design and architectural designs might also need to think about logo design within their projects.

Work With the Supplies at Hand

Building supply is a huge factor in virtual and tangible designs. Both fields must consider technical constraints, such as the limitations of the materials and tools available. In architecture, this might mean designing a building that can withstand earthquakes or extreme weather conditions. In video game design, it might mean optimizing graphics and gameplay to ensure that the game runs smoothly on different devices.

Customize the End User’s Experience

Both architecture and video game design involve creating experiences for users. In architecture, this means creating spaces that are comfortable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing for people to use. This might include elements that are sentimental in nature such as upcycled vintage materials or a new spin on an old design. In video game design, the designer must create a game that is engaging, challenging, and fun for the player. For example, some popular video games allow users to do a custom home build. Other video games might give options to design your custom avatar so you can feel like you are truly in the video game. Video games also allow users to change the look of their teams in a video game by giving them options for different weapons, a new look to their camp, or even changing the colors of their uniforms. You may even be able to choose where you go on your missions, changing the environment around you and sometimes, even the weather.

architectural and video game design

Designs Based on Reality

While architecture is based on reality due to its tangible elements, video games also base their designs on reality. They do this in a variety of ways, depending on the goals of the game and the preferences of the designer. Many video games draw inspiration from real-world history or culture and strive to be as accurate as possible in their portrayal of these elements. This may involve extensive research into historical events, cultural practices, or architectural styles, and may require consulting with experts in these fields. Some games aim to create a highly realistic experience by creating environments that look and feel like the real world. This may involve incorporating real-world measurements, materials, and textures into the game design. Some games use real-world locations as the basis for their game worlds. This may involve creating a highly detailed, virtual version of a real-world city or landmark, or incorporating real-world features such as streets, buildings, basements, or natural landmarks into the game design.

Skillsets for Success

Building contractors and video game designers share some common skills, as both require a combination of technical expertise and creative thinking. They must be skilled project managers who can coordinate teams of people, manage timelines and budgets, and ensure that the final product meets the client’s expectations. Both professions require strong attention to detail, as even small mistakes can have significant consequences. A building contractor must ensure that every element of a building is constructed properly, while video game designers must ensure that every element of the game is designed to the highest standard.

Video game designers and architects require a range of technical skills, such as knowledge of building codes and regulations for contractors, and programming languages and software for video game designers. They require creative problem-solving skills, as building contractors and video game designers must be able to come up with innovative solutions to challenges that arise during the construction or design process. Both professions need strong communication skills, as building contractors and video game designers must be able to effectively communicate with clients, team members, and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.

architectural and video game design

Customize Physical and Virtual Models

Designing physical models and virtual models involves different processes and considerations, as they are created using different materials and tools. Physical models are typically created using physical materials such as wood, plastic, or metal, while virtual models are created using digital tools and software. Physical models require physical production, such as cutting, gluing, and shaping materials by hand, while virtual models are created using digital tools, such as 3D modeling software. It is typically easier and faster to iterate and make changes to a virtual model compared to a physical model. With a virtual model, the designer can quickly make changes and see the results in real time, while changes to a physical model may require significant time and effort. Custom fabrication shops might have to go back to edit and recreate a physical model

With a virtual model, designers can easily manipulate the scale of the model to see it from different angles and perspectives. Physical models, on the other hand, may require different models or camera angles to show different views. Creating physical models can be more expensive than creating virtual models, as it requires the purchase of materials and equipment. Virtual models can be created using relatively low-cost software and hardware. Physical models can provide a more realistic representation of a design, as they allow designers to see and touch the model in real life. Virtual models can also provide realistic representations, but they may not have the same level of physicality.

Appreciation for the Effects of Time

In architecture, the use of materials that age over time, such as stone, brick, or wood, can help convey a sense of history and timelessness. As these materials weather and change over time, they can create a sense of continuity and connection with the past. Incorporating design elements that were popular in different eras can also help to convey a sense of time. For example, the use of columns, arches, and other classical architectural features can evoke a sense of ancient Greece or Rome, while the use of Art Deco features can convey a sense of the 1920s and 1930s.

In video game design, as players progress through a video game, the environment can change to convey the passage of time. For example, a level may start in the morning and progress through the day, with changes in lighting, weather, and other environmental factors. In some games, characters may age over time, with changes to their appearance and abilities reflecting the passage of time. Video games might also feature elements that are destroyed and rebuilt later. For example, one game might have a cooling tower in the background. If there is a battle scene, the mission later might be to rebuild a cooling tower.


Both architecture and video games can tell stories through their design. In architecture, the building’s design can convey a sense of history or culture, while video games can use their environments to tell immersive stories that engage the player. In some games, the environment itself can tell a story. This may involve details in the world that suggest a backstory or history, or it may involve changes in the environment over time that reflect the story’s progression. Sound and music can be used to set the mood and atmosphere of a game, and to enhance the story. For example, dramatic music may be used during intense action sequences, while quieter music may be used during more contemplative moments.

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