What if Architecture Fused with Game Design?
EXPANDING HUMAN POTENTIAL & PERFORMANCE
Is all of life a game-like journey? Or is the journey more of an experiential process with no real end-goal? Whatever life seems to be at a given moment, it is interesting to consider what physical environments would be like if they were designed with a gaming mentality.
Game design theories and principles can help designers to do more than simply integrate “reward” into an experiential journey. For example, an environment could tell a story that gives the journey a different and deeper meaning. (This would give rewards a renewed value for the receiver.) Yet, there is a critical question that remains: How can designers improve environments by integrating game creation principles? That is, how can environments use game design to evoke emotion, thought, or even behavior at just the right time? At the most basic level, one might imagine that an architectural building is a real-world game where one travels through collecting points or navigating a challenge-filled path. Yet, at more advanced levels, the point where game and architecture fuse, is the point where building occupants can use architectural-gaming interfaces to expand human potential and performance.
TYPES OF ARCHITECTURAL-GAME ENVIRONMENTS
An architectural-game environment could take on the following forms:
• ARCHITECTURE OF GOALS: This is an environment that uses interaction with occupants to help them achieve particular goals they would like to realize.
• ARCHITECTURE OF JOURNEYS: This is an environment that reveals a “story” as one experiences the built environment – whether traveling through it or simply spending time there.
• ARCHITECTURE OF BALANCE: This is an environment that strives to maintain or keep different moving metrics or parts in equilibrium.
• ARCHITECTURE OF BEAUTY: This is an environment that uses variations in behavior to create different forms of beauty through its architectural language.
• ARCHITECTURE OF INFINITY: This is an environment that nurtures its occupant to progress as high as they would like – without an “ending” that would cap their progress.
As you can see, the above examples of architectural-game environments are only the beginning. The ability to fuse gaming principles with real-world environments poses an almost endless multitude of new design opportunities and challenges. As a designer, I invite you to consider if your architectural environments use any of the above listed forms within it, or if integrating one of the latter forms could help it reach more poetic heights. The key is to create architecture that “speaks” to occupants to help them uplift relationships with themselves, with each other, and with their surrounding context.
If life can be seen as a game, then architecture can mirror this – during those vital moments when it can make all the difference.