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The Expansion of Virtual Landscape in Digital Games Classification of Virtual Landscapes Through Five principles

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This research established classification system which contains five principles and variables to classify the types of the virtual landscape in digital games. The principles of the classification are Story, Space Shape, Space and Action Dimension, User Complexity and Interaction Level. With this classification system, our research group found the most representative types of virtual landscape in the digital game market through 1996 to 2016. Although mathematically there can be 288 types of virtual landscape, only 68 types have been used in the game market in recent twenty years. Among the 68 types, we defined 3 types of virtual landscape as the most representative types based on the growth curve and a number of cases. Those three representative types of virtual landscapes are Generating / Face / 3D-3D / Single / Partial, Providing / Chain / 3D-3D / Single / Partial and Providing / Linear / 2D-2D / Single / Partial. With the result, the researchers will be able to establish the virtual landscape design framework for the future research.
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The Expansion of Virtual Landscape in Digital Games
Classification of Virtual Landscapes Through Five
principles
Ikhwan Kim, Injung Lee, Ji-Hyun Lee 1
1 Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST
iikimiss@kaist.ac.kr, edndn@kaist.ac.kr, jihyunl87@kaist.ac.kr
Abstract. This research established classification system which contains five
principles and variables to classify the types of the virtual landscape in digital
games. The principles of the classification are Story, Space Shape, Space and
Action Dimension, User Complexity and Interaction Level. With this
classification system, our research group found the most representative types of
virtual landscape in the digital game market through 1996 to 2016. Although
mathematically there can be 288 types of virtual landscape, only 68 types have
been used in the game market in recent twenty years. Among the 68 types, we
defined 3 types of virtual landscape as the most representative types based on
the growth curve and a number of cases. Those three representative types of
virtual landscapes are Generating / Face / 3D-3D / Single / Partial, Providing /
Chain / 3D-3D / Single / Partial and Providing / Linear / 2D-2D / Single /
Partial. With the result, the researchers will be able to establish the virtual
landscape design framework for the future research.
Keywords: Digital Game, Virtual Landscape, Game Design, Game
Classification
1 Introduction
Numerous terms such as virtual landscape, virtual land, cyberspace, digital landscape
and so on have been used to describe a virtually designed space or an environment.
However, those terms have been used sporadically, without enough attempts of
defining them with consensus. Therefore, instead of simply adopting the definition of
the virtual landscape from previous researches, this paper defines it by
comprehending the dictionary definition of both virtual and landscape. Following the
dictionary definitions, the word “virtual” contains ‘temporarily simulated or extended
by computer software’ in its definition, and “landscape” means ‘the land’s forms of a
region in the aggregate’ [1-2]. In a combination of those two definitions, a virtual
landscape means landforms and components of a region in aggregate, that are
temporarily simulated or extended by computer software.’ Unlike any other media
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describing an unreal space such as novel, painting and stage design, a virtual
landscape can drive interactive action to the player. Because of this unique
characteristic, designing virtual landscape requires designers to understand space.
Painting a picturesque drawing or writing an article describing utopia doesn’t require
the artists or authors to consider the interactive activity between the user and
environment. Unlike those media such as painting and so on, designing a virtual
landscape, just like designing space, asks skills to design the space considering
interactions between users and the space itself. However, yet it is impossible to find
any standard and specific methodology nor procedure to design a virtual landscape so
far. Numerous studies and researches have been covering only technical ways to
develop backgrounds of games; none of them suggested the meaningful design
method of virtual landscapes. As the virtual landscape shares its characteristic of
interactive space with the real space, it is convincing to adopt the design
methodology or procedure from real space to virtual landscape. Numerous area of
studies such as landscape architecture, architecture, and urban planning have a deep
understanding of the interactive space and retained several confirmed design
methodologies. If it is possible to adopt those methodologies successfully to the area
of virtual landscape, new and efficient way to design the virtual landscape can be rise.
Moreover, as the complexity of virtual landscapes in video games increases, a
need for a unified design methodology rises. Rollings & Morris (2004) mentioned that
if the developing game requires a certain amount of assets, an unified design
methodology is needed [3]. Unlike the conventional design methodologies for real
space, the new virtual design methodologies differ due to diverse and various methods
of interactivity regarding the spaces. Which means, though there are several different
conditions such as weather, the height of the region, every real space shares same
condition of dimension, laws of physic and time flow. Not like those real spaces,
virtual landscapes in various digital games has their own characteristics of space.
Different gravity, various dimensions, and other natural conditions. Therefore, a
modular design methodology is required to adjust and adapt to the various types of
virtual landscapes; an effective classification system will be needed to establish such
a modular design methodology.
Furthermore, based on such classification system, the goal is to seek and verify a
proper design methodology for specific types of virtual landscape. Also, analyzing the
data in chronological order, the research will allow projecting the upcoming types of
virtual landscapes in order to establish corresponding design methodologies. For the
last, by combining the principles of virtual landscapes, designers will be able to
design virtual landscapes those have never been developed so far.
2 Methodology
In order to understand the landscape in digital games, this research extracted design
requirements of the virtual landscapes, built them as principles and verified the
principles through analyzing the landscapes of existing digital games. The first step to
do so was the establishment of the classification principles. Through the literature
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reviews of game-design books, we extracted the five mandatory principles of virtual
landscape design. On the second step, our team conducted a validity test of
established classification principles. Lastly, this paper chronologically analyzed
virtual landscapes of 385 digital games with those five principles.
2.1 Establishment of the Classification Principles
Establishing the classification principles was the first step of this paper. As we
mentioned previously, clear and accurate principles are required to figure out the
types of virtual landscapes in digital games. In order to stand those practical
principles, we tried to verify the requirements of designing digital games landscape
through literature review. Our research team thoroughly researched existing books
and papers concerning video game design to extract the mandatory elements of virtual
landscapes in digital games. Five principles were derived as the most commonly and
importantly discussed in previous researchers or designers in the field of landscape
design in digital games. In other words, the frequency of the appearance of design
requirements here called the principles represents their importance.
As these principles are the most important and considerable for the designers, at
the future research, design methodology for the landscape design will be established
based on these five elements.
2.2 Examination of Established Classification Principles
In order to verify the acquired five different principles of virtual landscapes, this
research built a database of 19,752 items. Our research team gathered those digital
games from two major platforms; 7,229 games from the PC game platform STEAM
(http://store.steampowered.com), and 12,523 games from the console game platform
Play Station 1-4 (Table 1).
Afterward, fifty games were randomly sampled from each platform, and a
classification test was conducted for the total of 100 digital games. Two researchers
were asked to categorize the virtual landscape from the games into five different
categories. The number of unable-to-be-classified games would reflect the validity of
the classification principles.
Table 1. Description of the database our experiment
Platform
Market
Number of games
PC
STEAM
7,229
Console
Play Station 1,2,3 and 4
12,523
2.3 Chronological Analyzation of the Virtual Landscape Types in Games
Based on the five verified classification principles, virtual landscapes shown in digital
games in recent 20 years, from 1996 to 2016, was tested. Digital games were
extracted from the website Game Rankings (www.gamerankings.com) where games
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are scored based on review scores from both offline and online sources. Game
Rankings, owned by CBS Interactive, has rated more than 14,500 games through the
calculation of the review sites that are determined reliable. Three hundred eighty-five
games were extracted based on the most highly rated by Game Rankings in recent 20
years and was tagged by the team member for the types of spatial conditions. The
tagging process was revised twice by our research team member, and the data was
extracted enough to be analyzed. The extracted games mean that they were popular
and received the most reviews in each era.
3 Acquisition of Five Principles
Based on the information from twelve books, there existed five different elements that
compose various forms of virtual landscapes: Story, Space shape, Space and action
dimension, User complexity, and Interaction level. Such principles can be described
as in Table 2.
Table 2. Principles of virtual landscape design mentioned in books
Story
Space
Shape
Space and
Action
Dimension
User
Complexity
Fullerton (2003) [5]
O
O
O
O
Rogers (2014) [6]
O
O
-
O
Schell (2014) [7]
O
O
-
O
Crawford (2003) [8]
O
-
-
O
Apperley (2006) [9]
O
-
-
-
Ervin (2001) [10]
-
-
O
-
Kalay & Marx (2005) [11]
-
-
O
-
Lecky-Thompson (2003) [12]
O
-
-
-
Rollings & Morris (2003) [13]
O
O
O
O
Adams & Blandford (2003) [14]
O
O
O
O
Kim et al. (2013) [15]
O
-
-
O
Jang (2015) [16]
-
-
O
-
Each reference described the importance of each principles to design the virtual
landscape. Numerous authors of the books considering game design have been
continuously mentioning and emphasizing the importance of a story in game design.
For example, Fullerton mentioned the story is one of the most important resources
one should consider before designing the digital game and its environment [5].
Rogers, Schell, Crawford, Lecky-Thompson, and Apperley also made the same
statement that story requires the deepest consideration when one try to design the
terrain at the digital games [6-8], [9], [12]. Rollings & Morris mentioned that at the
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very early time in video game industry, the game designers were separated into two
factions [13]. One insisted the game story is the most important in digital game design
and the other insisted the opinion that story never effects to the player and it is not
needed at all. However, with the success of game titled ‘DOOM (1993)’, designers
realized that story is the key elements in a digital game design [13]. Also, Schell
pointed out if one can design the story of the game with a structure of ludology by
using the plot point, the quality of games will be raised [8]. Adam & Blandford and
Kim also described the story is a counter resource to consider at game design [14-15].
Space shape was also one of the key factors when designing a virtual landscape.
Fullerton used the term of ‘edge’ to classify the shape of spaces [5]. By reading the
edge of space, they can be classified as linear, agent, or network (p.177). Rogers
simply classified the shape of a 3D game to corridor and island (p.267). Schell
classified shape of space in five conditions, linear, grid, web, spot and face [7].
Rollings & Morris spared a lot of pages on space shapes. They questioned whether the
typical side-scroll game is linear because of the degree of freedom to the players [13].
They mentioned sports games are good examples for the spot typed space (p.380).
Also, they suggested several design tips design the linear space in a digital game
more efficiently.
Space and action dimension was also described essentially in those books.
Fullerton tried to classify the dimension of the game by the types of viewpoints [5,
p.307]. Ervin, who approaches the realistic 3D simulation games in his writing,
mentioned that the dimension in games is crucial when designing digital games.
Kalay & Marx wrote the importance of dimension in digital games and tried to
classify them with their style and flexibility [11]. Rolling & Morris classified the
space in digital games with dimension,' edges and axis and the time flow [13].
Jang (2015) also described the importance of dimension in digital game numerous
times. As this principle decides the movement of the character and the viewpoint and
effects to the whole design process, one should consider deep enough before start
designing (p.29).
Fullerton, Crawford, and Rogers tried to classify the user complexity with the
behavior of the user. Rodger classified those behaviors to competition and
cooperation [6]. Also, he mentioned that if one game contains a certain amount of
players in one place, the designer should consider about the housing and the habitat
space (p.467). Schell suggested designing the social community and its territory space
based on the sociology and anthropology from the real world [7].
For the interaction level, Roger mentioned that the medium video game had been
developed its interaction level from an island to sandbox as a metaphor [6]. Apperley
described the interaction level between the environment and the user in detail [9]. He
tried to classify the interaction level of the virtual landscape in three levels. At the
first level, the user remains as an observer to the world and can’t cause any
interactions. Second, like labyrinth and maze, users are trapped in the sealed space
and only can interact with limited level. For the last level, users can interact with
space freely [9]. He also mentioned that a virtual landscape is a scheme to manipulate
the user with interaction (p. 168).
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With those researches, we could verify those five principles are the most
important principles when one is designing the virtual landscape in digital games.
However, those references only suggested principles very ambiguously, and it is
needed to be organized with more precise details. Therefore we arranged the design
variables of each principle (Table 3).
Table 3. The five principles and their variables
Principle
Story
Space Shape
Space and
Action
Dimension
User
Complexity
Interaction
Level
Variable
Representing
Generating
Spot
Linea r
Chain
Face
2D-2D
2D-3D
3D-2D
3D-3D
Single
Group
Massive
None
Partial
All
First, “Story” is a component of a virtual landscape that provides a story to a character
in a narrative manner. Stories in digital games can be categorized into two types:
representing and generating. Representing story means that the developer actively
provides the designed story to the users, while a generating story only provides an
environment to the user, and the user has to generate stories by their own. Depending
on rather the game contains the fixed ending or not; it can be classified as a
Representing or Generating story. As the Representing contains a strong story line, it
has a fixed ending with it. However, the Generating doesn’t have any certain ending
nor fixed one. For example, until the end of the game player can’t know how the
sports game ends.
“Space Shape” means structures of implemented virtual landscape. The structures
can be divided into spot, linear, chain and face. This later determines the overall
structure and masterplan of the form while designing the virtual landscape. Each
condition can be determined by the edge of the space and the flexibility of player’s
direction. Spot contains fixed edge of the space and free movement of the players. It
means that the game players can move freely in the limited area. A Linear shaped
space contains fixed edge of the space with forced movement to the players. Players
are forced to move in certain directions in a limited space. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
is a case with linear space type. The player only can manipulate the character in a
fixed direction, left to right. A Chain-shaped space is a combination between Spot and
Linear; players can run both activities of spot and linear in order. Technically, a Face
shaped space has a boundary of the game playing space. However, players cannot
recognize the boundaries that limit the game space. Also, players do not have any
forced direction in a Face-featured space.
“Space Dimension” and “Action Dimension” means corresponding implemented
dimensions and movement dimensions required for the user to control the character
within the space. It can be divided into four types: 2D-2D, 2D-3D, 3D-2D, 3D-3D.
These elements determine the vertical resource factor for the future design
methodology implementations. If the environment at the game requires two axes
(XY) for the designer to build and requires 2 axes (XY) for the players to play, it will
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be categorized as 2D-2D. If the game contains more than 2 layers of 2 axes filed
together and requires 2 axes for the players (XY), that game can be categorized as
2D-3D. The game with 3 axes (XYZ) for the designers to build the game and 2 axes
(XY) for the players to manipulate will be categorized as 3D-2D. For the last, the
game with 3 axes (XYZ) for the design and 3 axes (XYZ) for the manipulation will be
defined as 3D-3D.
“User Complexity” means the simultaneous occupancy of the users within the
space. This can be separated into single, group and massive, and will determine the
feasibility of the public space within the virtual landscape design. The Single game
runs with single player only and doesn’t need designers to consider about applying
any community or public space. If the game holds more than two players sharing
same or facing goals, it can be categorized as Group. In this case, designers should
consider how to apply public and community space in the design. The game runs by
more than two groups of players and holding various goals in the game is Massive. As
the Massive contains a large number of players at one time, designers need to consider
about community, public and even habitat space to design.
Lastly, the “interaction level” means the rate of interaction between the virtual
landscape and the user. Classified into none, partial, and all, this element forms the
interaction layer for future design methodology. None is a type player can’t cause any
interaction with environment resources. In this type, the environment resources are
covered with so-called the ‘invisible wall’ and only works as a boundary of void
space. If the player can interact with only designed resources, is Partial. To design
this type of game, designers need to consider about the characteristic and depth of
interaction on each environment resources. Players can interact with every
environment resources in type All. In this case, the game is built in particle level
which means the world is based on unified units and designers are building the
environment by filing them. In this case, designers need to consider the condition and
spread of particles in the world.
These five elements will set-up for an overall design approach for the future
virtual landscapes. Future developing design methodology will be based on the Layer-
cake method by Ian L. McHarg from the area of landscape architecture [17]. Each of
the five principles will be adopted as layers to fabricate the masterplan. Following
Table 4 contains summarized descriptions about the principles and variables
conditions.
Table 4. Classification Conditions
Principles
Variables
Description
Story
Representing
Player follows the given story line (close ending).
Generating
Player generates a new story (open ending).
Space
Shape
Spot
Player freely moves around in a limited space that has
boundaries.
Linear
Player is guided to a move toward certain direction in a
limited space.
Chain
Combination of Spot and Linear. The player is allowed to
move freely in a spotted space, and moves to the next
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spotted space to play further.
Face
Unlimited space with player’s free movement
Space and
Action
Dimension
2D-2D
Requires two axises (XY) to build the world,
and requires two axises (XY) to the players to play the
game
2D-3D
Requires 2 axes (XY) to build the world
and requires more than 2 layers of 2 axes (XY)
to the players to play the game
3D-2D
Requires 3 axes (XYZ) to build the world
and requires 2 axes (XY) to the players to play the game
3D-3D
Requires 3 axes (XYZ) to build the world
and requires 3 axes (XYZ) to the players to play the game
User
Complexity
Single
Player is the only one in the game (a single player at a
time)
Group
More than two players play the game together, sharing
same goals.
Massive
More than two groups of numerous players play the game
simultaneously, with various goals.
Interaction
Level
None
No interaction between the player and
the environment except as the boundary of a void space
Partial
Player can interact with designed limited environment
resources in the space
All
Player can interact with every environment
resources in the space
4 Validity of the Classification Principles
The validity of the proposed classification principles can be verified according to the
result that every one-hundred-randomly-selected-games were able to be classified
without failure. The details are in Table 5.
As shown in the table, none of the cases was classified as ‘etc.’ This means every
sample the games randomly retrieved from STEAM and the series of Play Stations
was able to be classified with those five principles and their variables. This fact that
there was no exception when classifying those games with our five principles and
their variables shows the effectiveness of five principles we suggested to classify the
virtual landscape in digital games. Furthermore, these classification principles classify
digital games without any overlap, therefore it will be possible to classify digital
games without any confusions in the future research.
Table 5. Results of the classification test
Principles
Variables
Percentage (%)
Story
Generating
47
Representing
53
etc
0 *
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Space Shape
Spot
49
Linear
30
Chain
12
Face
9
etc
0 *
Space and Action
Dimension
3D-2D
41
2D-2D
41
3D-3D
18
2D-3D
0
etc
0 *
User Complexity
Single
75
Group
24
Massive
1
etc.
0 *
Interaction Level
Partial
51
None
44
All
5
etc.
0 *
* No overlap among variables of each principle
5 Chronological Analysis of Virtual Landscapes
5.1 Chronological Analysis of Five Principles
Fig. 1. shows the trend of the story in virtual landscapes represented in video games in
recent 20 years. Thanks to the technical advance, games could carry rich data, and
therefore the game industry built story-representing game intensely during 2007 to
2014. However, recently two sorts of story generating and representing are both
equally balancing together with stabilized market needs. This tells the users in digital
games are equalizing balance, and future design methodology for the virtual
landscape should be able to consider both of types together.
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Fig. 1. Story in video games
Changes in space shape from 1996 to September of 2016 are shown in Fig. 2.
Compared to stark differences of the popularity of space shapes in the 1990s, the
types of space shapes in early 2000s seem to be distributed because of a limitation of
the hardware; developers were only able to construct spot typed virtual landscape in
the early period. With technical advance, spot typed virtual landscape in decrease and
facial space has been raised. This phenomenon shows the complexity of virtual
landscape in future will be raised and will require a more systematic approach to
design them.
Fig. 2. Space Shape in video games
In terms of space and action dimension in a video game (Fig. 3.), the needs for the
3D-3D game always has been high on the market through the time. On the other hand,
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the amount of 3D-2D game has been decreased with time, and it is possible to think
those type has been evolved to 3D-3D type.
Fig. 3. Space and Action Dimension in video games
Fig. 4. described the trend of user complexity in video games. Though with advancing
network technology through the early 2000s, still most of the digital games are in
single play. However, it is true that single games are decreasing and massive, group
games are rising. Which means in future, designers need to consider how to add the
complicated social spaces in the virtual landscape.
Fig. 4. User Complexity in video games
The interaction level shows clear evidence of technical advance (Fig. 5.). With
technical advance, interaction level keeps rising, and non-interaction leveled games
are on a consistent downtrend. However, still, it is a burden to interact with every
aspect of the virtual landscape, type all is still in low level. If the hardware of
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computer develops at a high level in future and able to describe the particle based
model, not the rendered model, it will be possible to generate all interactive virtual
landscape.
Fig. 5. Interaction Level in video games
5.2 Trend of Virtual Landscapes Types
Theoretically, based on the five classification principles, 288 spatial types of virtual
landscapes can be created in games. However, only 68 variations of those have been
appearing repetitively from the 385 games released within last twenty years. The ten
most commonly appearing combination addressed in as chronological manner are
shown in Fig. 6.
Through the figure, it is possible to read the trend of the virtual landscape through
time in the market and also to find the representative types of virtual landscape. There
have been only five to seven types of virtual landscape commonly used in the market
through the time since 1998. This phenomenon implies that the game company and
the designers prefer to use a qualified type of virtual landscape only. Also, this
implies that various types of the virtual landscape have not been introduced to the
market and there is rich potential to develop in the near future.
List on the right in Fig. 6. contains the most common types of virtual landscape in
the order. But the list only delivers the sum of all cases and needed to be analyzed
with time flow. For example, the first case; Representing/Chain/3D-3D/Single/Partial
has the largest amount of all but is decreasing dramatically since 2013. On the other
hand, Generating/Chain/3D-3D/Single/Partial type is growing its size aggressively
and indicates the potential in the near future. For the last, the case
Providing/Linear/2D-2D/Single/Partial never showed any dynamic growth but also
the demand for this type in the market never died. The condition for this type can be
said as a steady seller.
One of the most interesting part with the ratio between each type is that after 2015
the ratio is becoming stabilized to an equal amount. This movement shows the
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demand of market is bringing adhesion and need to consider those cases as
representative types of virtual landscape in the near future.
5.3 Three Representative Types
This research claims that the three representative types of virtual landscape are
Generating / Face / 3D-3D / Single / Partial,” Providing / Chain / 3D-3D / Single /
Partial,” and Providing / Linear / 2D-2D / Single / Partial”. Table 5 shows the
characteristics of those three types of virtual landscape in digital games. Because of
type 1, which is Generating / Face / 3D-3D / Single / Partial”, is showing the most
aggressive growth among the others, deserved to be a representative type. The type 2
(Providing / Chain / 3D-3D / Single / Partial), which is in a downtrend, still has the
biggest volume of all and could be a representative type. For the last, Providing /
Linear / 2D-2D / Single / Partial (type 3) has a steady need for the market and could
be one of the representative types of virtual landscape.
Fig. 6. Trend of 10 types of the virtual landscape in video games
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Table 4. Representative types of virtual landscape in digital games
Story
Space Shape
Space and
Action
Dimension
User
Complexity
Interaction
Level
Type 1
Generating
Face
3D-3D
Single
Partial
Type 2
Providing
Chain
3D-3D
Single
Partial
Type 3
Providing
Linear
2D-2D
Single
Partial
There are numerous examples of digital games in each type. For example, GTA 5
(Rockstar Games, 2013) is a good example of type 1 (Fig. 7). This game, which
became a multi-playable online game with the additional upgrade and downloadable
contents, was originally designed as a single player.
Story
Space Shape
Space and
Action
Dimension
User
Complexity
Interaction
Level
Generating
Face
3D-3D
Single
Partial
Fig. 7. GTA 5 (2013) as an example of Type 1
The player in such condition of virtual landscape, they can make their own game story
with environments resource on the terrain freely and can access wherever they want.
In GTA 5, the player can hang freely around the virtually designed city and is capable
of doing based on the designed interactive objects and characters. With the advance of
the computer, this type of virtual landscape is evolving network based multi-playable
virtual landscape. Shortly, this type of virtual landscape will be replaced by
Generating /Face /3D-3D /Massive /Partial type.
For an example of type 2 (Providing / Chain / 3D-3D / Single / Partial), Naughty
dog designed ‘Last of us’ on 2013 with Play station 3 platform. This game carries a
deep story through the game and having typical chain shaped space with it. With
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several updates and downloadable contents this game became an online playable
multi-game, however, was originally designed for a single player. With a partially
interactive interaction, the user can only manipulate designed objects on the virtual
landscape. As this type of virtual landscape is story based and requires many props
and actors to be placed in order, a precise design methodology is needed.
Virtual landscapes of both type 1 (Generating / Face / 3D-3D / Single / Partial)
and type 2 (Providing / Chain / 3D-3D / Single / Partial) require various resources to
the designers to consider in the design process. Unlike designing a landscape
architectural plan in the real world based on the naturally existing environment, game
designers have to consider about every resource in the terrain to design these virtual
landscapes. In other words, naturally-created geographical features such as hills,
cliffs, valleys, and even the law of physics such as gravity should be planned in
designing virtual landscapes. The game designers even need to plan the brightness of
the sun, sounds of rain drops and the pattern of the constellation at the night sky. As
those kinds of works are both delicate and time-consuming, only few game design
companies with enough manpower can develop the game.
Story
Space Shape
Space and
Action
Dimension
User
Complexity
Interaction
Level
Providing
Chain
3D-3D
Single
Partial
Fig. 7. Last of us (2013) as an example of Type
Providing/Linear/2D-2D/Single/Partial (type 3) (Fig.8) is one of the oldest types of
virtual landscape in digital game history, and it has never vanished during the past 30
years. Like a steady selling books, this type of virtual landscape always had a certain
amount of market looking for it. Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo, 1985) is a good
example of this type of virtual landscape. The virtual landscape of type 3 contains a
simple combination of environment resources. Therefore, it doesn’t ask for advanced
and delicate consideration to the designers compared to type 1 and 2. However, as it is
a linear space and rhythmical flow is required, design methodology based on the
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human cognition from the field of landscape architecture can be adopted in future
research.
Through the examples of the three representative types of virtual landscape, it was
possible to find the reason to establish the virtual landscape design framework for the
future research. The three types of virtual landscapes had different design
requirements depending on their variables of each 5 principles. Therefore, this paper
suggests that the elements of each variable should be defined to form a firm design
framework as our future work. Moreover, we expect the framework that includes the
5 principles, their variables, and related landscape elements to be a concrete guideline
for game designers to plan the exhaustive virtual landscapes.
Story
Space Shape
Space and
Action
Dimension
User
Complexity
Interaction
Level
Providing
Linear
2D-2D
Single
Partial
Fig. 8. Super Mario Bros. (1985) as an example of Type 3
6 Conclusion
The interesting fact is that, during the mid-2000s, as the GPU Fill rate speed increased
and the 3D rendering technologies advanced, the advanced visual effect played the
most important role to lure the market, providing only a very specific type of spaces.
This, however, changed as time passes by; now the various types of spaces are
gradually balancing evenly. This means that each type of spaces has established
markets of their own, and is now stabilized. Such development of various types of
spaces reminisced when post-modernism was accepted by the modern art and
architecture. This raises the needs for a balanced establishment of design
methodology for future virtual landscape.
CAADFutures 17 - 583
The results of this research are expected to provide insights in detail to the game
designers and other researchers as follows. First of all, this classification methodology
provides the main structure for construction of systematic design method of a virtual
landscape in digital games. By combining the classification principles, game
designers will be able to clarify the detailed characteristic of a landscape in their
designing digital games. With an understanding of their landscape, they can
comprehend which design methodology is needed to run the systematic design
process. For the future research of this study, the research of adopting the design
methodology from the area of architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning
to the digital game will be run based on this classification research.
Secondly, the designers could develop digital games in diverse and novel forms by
simply making combinations of variables from our classification method. As this
research refers, even though 288 types of digital games are possible according to the
classification theory, there have been only 68 types of digital games developed since
today. In other words, we can insist that more than 200 types of games are yet
developed. This approach of systematic classification method, our research team
expect our method to expand the scope of novel digital games.
Finally, we expect our classification method, elements as variables and game
types derived from the method to be referred by further researches. According to
Apperley [9, p.154], a classification of computer games can be based on how they
represent or, perhaps, implement space. It means that the classification of space
and landscape in the digital game can directly lead us to the classification of the
digital game itself. Since now the classification of digital games has been unclear and
inconsistent by utilizing keywords without enough consideration of certain standards.
The lack of systematic approach toward elements and types of digital games has been
an obstacle to many researchers to study digital games. Therefore, this research
provides the possibility of systematic classification of digital games relatively clear
and rigorous enough to be used in diverse research of digital games.
References
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584 - CAADFutures 17
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... Design for a real-space is constrained by physical laws (Kim, Lee, and Lee, 2017). However, virtual design approaches differ from real-space design procedures. ...
... To train designers and architects to design and build virtual environments with higher efficiency, Kim et al. (2018) have suggested the Overlay methodology to design the virtual space within digital games. As both real and virtual environments have interactive space characteristics, it is persuasive to apply the design approach or procedure from real space to a virtual environment (Kim, Lee, and Lee, 2017). Therefore, the Overlay design methodology was inspired by Ian McHarg's design approach for landscape architects (Mcharg and Mumford, 1969). ...
... The steps in the Overlay methodology are as follows. After developing the game's concept, the type of its place is first defined as described in the place-making in virtual environments of classification method research (Kim, Lee, and Lee, 2017). Secondly, the recommended information is extracted from the classification methodology, and players' activity is developed as bubble diagrams, Player Activity Map (PAM). ...
Full-text available
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Anyone can master the fundamentals of game design - no technological expertise is necessary. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses shows that the same basic principles of psychology that work for board games, card games and athletic games also are the keys to making top-quality videogames. Good game design happens when you view your game from many different perspectives, or lenses. While touring through the unusual territory that is game design, this book gives the reader one hundred of these lenses - one hundred sets of insightful questions to ask yourself that will help make your game better. These lenses are gathered from fields as diverse as psychology, architecture, music, visual design, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, writing, puzzle design, and anthropology. Anyone who reads this book will be inspired to become a better game designer - and will understand how to do it.
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Digital landscape models, whether made for purposes of ‘visual inference’, or for simulating and understanding behavior or other invisible aspects of the landscape, require abstractions and simplifications. Yet for many visual purposes, ‘realistic’ depictions are desirable. The conflicts between these two demands are substantial for landscape modelers. For the basic landscape elements — terrain, vegetation, and water — some standard techniques for convincing static visual representation have been developed, but many complicating questions and obstacles remain. In addition, landscapes are essentially dynamic, and digital techniques for representation of these dynamics are still in their infancy. Surveying these techniques, complications, and possibilities leads to some generalized comments about the promises and problems of landscape modeling, and to a handful of proposed research topics to help pursue the landscape modeling agenda.
:https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/landscape: Merriam-Webster
landscape.:https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/landscape: Merriam-Webster.com, Retrieved 5 Jan 2017 (2017)
Level Up! The guide to great video game design
  • S Rogers
Rogers, S.: Level Up! The guide to great video game design. John Wiley & Sons (2014)
Chris Crawford on game design
  • C Crawford
Crawford, C.: Chris Crawford on game design. New Riders (2003)