In this generation of various technological advancements, the gaming experience is getting better every day with the help of First-Person Shooter (FPS) Games, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality. Several factors make a game successful with one of the key elements being architecture or the built environment. The architects that work as the game designers provide a realistic backdrop for the game to be set in and make the gaming experience even more engaging and incorporates emotions, feelings, and sensations into the game. 

Let’s have a look at the experiences of Architects now working as game designers. 

1. Dan Van Buren 

Dan Van Buren is one of the architects that helped in the development of the game, The Witness, describes the game design experience as the most exciting highlight of his career. The game launched in 2015 is believed to be the first collaboration of game developers, architects, and landscape architects. The Witness is a game set on an island with a few structures with the majority of the landscape. Dan believes that after 5-7 years of study of design for efficient user experience, architects can conceptualize and help game developers create an immersible space to enhance the gaming experience. 

8 Architects turned game designers - Sheet1
Source: ©

2. Nicholas Lister 

Nicholas Lister designed a memory game, Imp Paired, a memory game revolving around the work and power relationships through the play. He follows his sentiments of creating meaningful structures imbibed from the architectural world and believes in creating meaningful games that ensure the player engagement loop. 

He also discusses the game Antichamber by Alexander Bruce where the game unfolds out of its own puzzle logic where the text written on walls connects the puzzle to life lessons. He believes that architects with their preconceptions and expectations to enhance the game world. 

8 Architects turned game designers - Sheet2
Source: ©

3. Maia Levinshtein 

8 Architects turned game designers - Sheet9
Source: ©

Maia Levinshtein, a former architecture student currently working as a game designer. He believes studying architecture gives him an upper hand in visualizing spaces in 3D with the knowledge of cultural history and iconography. Architectural knowledge helps him create convincing virtual worlds for the gaming experience. Maia shares how several games create a hyper-realistic gaming environment yet fail to deliver the intricate details that make the experience better. He believes that both architects and game designers could work simultaneously to create a more layered and authentic gaming atmosphere.  

4. Maria Elisa Navarro 

Maria Elisa Navarro worked as an architectural consultant for Assassin’s Creed II while getting her Ph.D. Assassin’s Creed II is a game set in the Italian Renaissance in which the player would move through cities like Florence, Venice, and San Gimignano. During her tenure for two years, she corrected the architectural details for the recreated cities. Very minutely detailed out the ornamentation details so that the main character Ezio could easily climb up these walls. She worked on a character outfit to replace the wrought-iron balcony for providing an actual gaming environment.

8 Architects turned game designers - Sheet3
Source: ©

5. You+Pee 

You+Pea is an architectural studio started by Sandra Youkhana and Luke Caspar Pearson to integrate videogame technologies into the architectural world. Their practice has sparked a conversation on how games can engage new participants in the design of cities. With a study of the architectural past, they create new forms in the form of virtual interactive games to provoke real-world conversations. They have designed games like Projectives, a 4-player multiplayer game with one player having controls over perspective, plan, elevation, and gallery of flat images. The objective is to combine their viewpoints and form a perspective representation of the room. 

8 Architects turned game designers - Sheet4
Source: ©

6. Jose Sanchez 

Los Angeles-based architect and game developer, Jose Sanchez is one of the game designers who believe that games could be used by both professionals and the public to understand the challenges faced by our modern cities. His game Block’hood is based on the concept of ecology and entropy. Gamers are given 96 interdependent blocks like apartments, shops, trees, bushes, wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, etc. The simulator gives a platform to create neighborhoods with a consideration of ancillary factors like environment, social, economics to understand the interrelationship of several city units. 

8 Architects turned game designers - Sheet5
Source: ©

7. Catrina Stewart 

London-based architect Catrina Stewart of Office S & M fame gave her directions for the 3D world, Lumino City game. This game designer designed Lumino City which is an adventure puzzle game that is set around a backdrop completely made up of paper, card, wood, miniature lights, and electric motors. She helped the creators with her guidance on laser cutting the models while providing precisions in structures while keeping the charm of handmade structures intact. 

8 Architects turned game designers - Sheet6
IMAGE 7-Source: ©

8. Yu Qi & Ziyi Yang

Yu Qi & Ziyi Yang are students of Sandra Youkhana and Luke Caspar Pearson who were awarded the Gold Prize for their Kintsugi City project amongst the graduating Urban Design students. The game is inspired by the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery that draws attention to the cracks and fissures instead of hiding them. The player travels through Tokyo reconfiguring the set of experiences adjusted by the viewer by rotating, scaling, and distorting the architectural elements. 

Source: ©

Image References 

  1. The Witness – 
  2. Assassins Creed II – 
  3. Assassins Creed II – Player Costume – 
  4. Projectives – 
  5. Block’hood – 
  6. Block’hood – 
  7. Lumino City – 
  8. Kintsugi City – 

Radhika Dube is an adaptive, hardworking and determined architect. She loves travelling, baking and reading. She believes in bringing the building and structures to life with the help of her writings. She has the confidence to learn and achieve anything around her.