Game Worlds Space in Computer Games. Miguel Sicart Computer Game Theory Spring 2005. Space issues. Games in Virtual Environments? What is Game Space? How can we define game spaces?. Games in virtual environments.
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Game WorldsSpace in Computer Games • Miguel Sicart • Computer Game Theory • Spring 2005
Spaceissues • Games in Virtual Environments? • What is Game Space? • How can we define game spaces?
Games in virtual environments • Games are “about” space: about a ludic activity that takes place in the specific space of the game, • in a game world. • Games and space are closely linked
SpatialDiscourse • Communicative situations that are dominated by the production or exploration of a topography, ideally in order to dominate or master the representation and its rules. • games, maps, sea charts, gps, blueprints, ...
“Labyrinths” • Topological spaces • Multicursal • Discrete • Tendency to abstraction
“Charts”/“Maps” • Geometrical spaces • Continuous • Number of combinations with a tendency to infinite • “Realistic”
The Production of Space(s) • Henri Lefebvre: • The space is produced as a social practice: “spatial practice” • Difference between: • Logical system of relations (which would correlate with the labyrinth/map dychotomy) • Symbolic and fictional space (which could be the space as we experience it) • What kind of spaces can we find in computer games? How do they relate?
Space is not Place is not Space is not Place • We live between • Spaces: natural (and 3D) • Places: socially constructed • There is only one space, but many places • How does this affect our understanding of games? (if it does) • (suggestion: space is the game world, where things “take place”: narrative, etc ...)
Let’s go on a tripExercise: classification of these games’ space
Game World/Spacevs.Storytelling Space • Space and Storytelling/Narrative differ structurally in their contruction of space and time • Narrative is based on time • Games are based in space • Space in narrative is subordinate to time • Time in games is subordinate to space (or, better, to the experience of space: gameplay)
Singleplayervs. MultiplayerSpace • What is the difference between both? • How many places can a place have? • Instantiation • Multiplayer space: • Simetric (everybody experineces the same space) • Divided in sectors (for navigation/experience purposes) • Created/managed by/as communities
Pervasive Gaming(aka alternative reality games) • Breaking the boundaries of the game world and the “real life” world • Making the game space ubicuous thanks to digital technology • Breaks the notion of “game world” • Extremely demanding, probably unsuccessful: we are not homo ludens • The Beast, Majestic are the 2 classic titles • www.argn.com
Location Based Games • Using technological devices, a game world is imprinted over (or in parallel) the real world • Within boundaries, but still with an alternative relation to space (mediated through a screen) • Hide and Seek with PDAs, but some moght think it’s the future • (obs! It might be the future for other services that include a location based game technique: dating systems)
Augmented Reality Games • Two types: a hybrid between pervasive and mobile games, and (more interesting), peripheral based games • Disembodied machines - the interface vanishes, and “we” are the controllers (dance mats, Eye Toy). • There is no more a “window” problem, but other problems
Virtual Reality • The future ... • if you think Star Trek is the (desirable) future
In digital games ... • Virtual worlds: The Matrix Online, WoW, Anarchy Online ... • It is difficoult to foresee how this is going to evolve: for sure there will be better graphics, but will we witness innovation in game styles/mechanics?
Why studying space? • Space conditions game mechanics • Understanding the spatial nature of games provides useful insights about what games are and can become • For game critics, the way a space is constructed should be a major focus point (not only visually, but also gameplay wise) • For game designers, creating a feasible, interesting, entertaining space might mean more than half of the production process
Exercise:in groups of 2, think about the relations between space and strategy in Battlefield (or any FPS) & Age of Empires (or any RTS)
Exercise (homework):Pick up a game, analyse the way the space relates to the game mechanicsWe’ll discuss your results next week