The secrets of Dishonored 2’s mongrel city

I first noticed it in the windows: their subtle, curving mullions that rise and fall like waves. Those curves lend a romantic lightness to the architecture they are set into. You might not notice them when you first set foot in Dishonored 2’s Karnaca, but you’ll surely feel them. Like a thousand other details that litter the streets of this imagined city, Karnaca’s arches, windows, and alcoves conspire to create a distinct sense of place. They gather to form a visual map imprinted piece-by-piece in the player’s mind, as they turn the camera this way and that, down back alleys…

Euclidean Lands

Get ready for the twisty geometry of Euclidean Lands to arrive this year

One videogame that should be on your list of ones to watch in 2017 is, without a doubt, Euclidean Lands. It’s the work of Miro Straka, a Slovenian architecture student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, who decided to make a puzzle game in his spare time. After a few years he’s coming to a close and is looking to get it out on mobile soon. You can immediately see the benefits of Straka making a videogame alongside his studies. Each level in Euclidean Lands is a diorama of shifting geometry; impossible feats of architectural complexity. A line…


The influence of Blame! on videogame architecture is rising

Blame! (1998) is getting everywhere these days. The dark, vast architectural spaces of Tsutomu Nihei’s manga series seem to be steadily rising in popularity, like sentient tower blocks growing stories at a time, casting a deeper and deeper shadow over popular culture. Next year it’ll likely hit the mainstream as an anime film adaptation is coming to Netflix. But perhaps Blame!‘s best utilization isn’t in film but in videogames. There are number of game makers who seem to think so. claustrophobic urban details One of those is Aloft Studios, who revealed last week that they’re working on a game called…


Emporium, an upcoming videogame vignette about suicide

I was expecting Tom Kitchen to be reserved when talking about his upcoming vignette game Emporium. He’s shown plenty of images on the game’s TIGSource thread but not said a lot when it comes to what it’s about, leaving me to believe he wanted to keep it secretive. So I was taken aback when he came straight out with, “overall the belly of Emporium is a conversation about suicide.” He goes on to tell me that you’ll play a young boy around the age of 12, who speaks with a much older man, both of them victims of suicide at the…


A theatrical game about the difficult art of conversation

A Ghost in the Static doesn’t tell you anything. All you know is that you’re a figurine constructed out of some sort of wire and are left to explore a dark, mysterious room. Then you encounter another character in the room with you, and that’s when something unique happens. Much of A Ghost in the Static focuses on narrative development through dialogue. What’s interesting about it is that you control both sides of the conversation—kinda like you do in Kentucky Route Zero. This allows for a number of different paths in each conversation. Some exchanges might be about the planet…

Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush 2 will have you fight huge, living cities

“Holy shit!” That’s the correct reaction to finding out that Gravity Rush 2 will have city-sized enemies. In fact, they actually are cities—the screenshot above is of a Ghost City, which “eats entire buildings, reconstructing them as limbs as it fights.” That is the coolest shit. This info comes from a bunch of new Gravity Rush 2 screenshots that PlayStation uploaded to its Facebook account yesterday. Among them, it’s revealed that Kat, the game’s gravity-defying heroine, will return to the city of the first game and have a bunch of new alternate costumes. But the biggest news is that friggin’…


Knotting into Dishonored’s decaying city

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by artist and writer Gareth Damian Martin. /// There is no such thing as a total vision of a city. Statistics, guidebooks, politicians, newspapers, tourists, maps, and surveys like to suggest otherwise, but theirs is a constricted world, an incomplete image. Those of us who live in cities know very well of their tendency to conceal and reveal themselves with unexpected rhythms, as if at random—surprising us with new configurations and revelations, shifting prism-like with the passing of time or the changing of the light. Perhaps that’s why the most…

Pattern Language

Artist uses videogame to create an “endlessly mutating death labyrinth”

The wonderful opportunity of videogames for an architect is that they allow for the creation of structures impossible to realize in the physical realm. Sure, for many years, pen and paper has offered the same deal, but not quite. Software lends itself to a virtual space that can be freely explored from different angles, and it has systems that allow for easy tweaking of any architectural arrangement—the possibility of stretching a series of buildings into infinity seems that much more plausible in virtuality. writhing with unstable animation Peter Burr, a New York-based artist with a keen interest in creating spaces…


BalanCity asks you to build the world’s most misguided city

BalanCity is a diamond in the rough. The menus and presentation of the game leave a lot to be desired, but the actual game, the act of balancing hospitals atop skyscrapers without accidentally sending your whole city into the ocean, is about as compelling as city-building gets. It’s no SimCity (2013), but no one seems to have told BalanCity that. Hence it tasks you with the typical challenges of a city-builder. You have to keep your approval rating high or people will protest in the streets of your unbalanced city. And you’ll need to keep your emergency services working to…