Relationship between architecture and video games



I am a fourth year student currently doing internship . Next year i have to thesis and i wanted to do it on the relationship between architecture and video games. 

The relationship i am talking about is basically spatial design. since architecture is the one thing that connects the real world and the virtual world through which we can relate. 

now this topic is theoretical. Is it possible to develop it into a architectural thesis or do I need to change the topic

any help or suggestion is appreciated.

Mar 1, 17 12:42 am

I think it would interesting to study the the ways in which they differ and why. I think focusing down on particular aspects of why they do/don't align could have solid results.

A challenge would be making it seem like an entirely serious project and not having to spend an unfortunate amount of time explaining video games. Makes me think it might be better as a non-thesis research project really, but it could be done.

Mar 1, 17 1:43 am  · 

Thanks for the feedback, I want to narrow down the topic to develop it more. i have done some research on it and yes it more non thesis research. basically how different types of games use architecture, how it changes the way designing, etc.  The topic right now it too wide and i have to make more architectural.

Mar 1, 17 2:13 am  · 

I actually got interested in architecture partly because of building my own levels for Duke Nukem 3D back in the day:

These are just random google searches, don't have my own levels any more :(

Mar 1, 17 3:49 am  · 
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I used to use a program called Game Maker, version 5 I believe, I made my own version of Doom that was based on Warhammer 40k.

Jun 25, 20 4:54 am  · 

Back in highschool my friend made map of our school for Counter Strike: Source, it was pretty cool. I still occasionally play CS:GO and always wanted to make my own map, but I'm too lazy. I also probably play it once every two months lately

Jul 16, 21 1:03 pm  · 

I've thought of something very similar in the past. Let me know if this is something you're still pursuing - I've always thought that there was a lot of overlap between level and environmental design and real life spatial design despite user and purpose being very different.

Read this particular book back in the day - may be dated but was pretty interesting read:

Sep 10, 17 3:32 pm  · 


I used to work for Rockstar games where we built city racing games(Midnight Club), where we built many cities with Maya - I figured it would be cool to use this technology to build real buildings - so I studied toward my M.Arch degree and used Maya both at Rockstar and in architecture - Then I started using Revit, which is similar to Maya at least as far as modeling approaches are concerned. after graduation - I began my architecture career at SOM, using many video game city building 3D diagram concepts to build large scale multi-building housing projects

Sep 10, 17 6:31 pm  · 
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Dude, you went from rockstar to SOM? No wonder you've gotten burnt out to such a degree. I'm not denigrating your experience, it's enviable, but man, that's some crunchy stuff.

Mar 17, 21 2:07 pm  · 
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He literally went from the Frying Pan into the Fire

Jul 19, 21 4:41 pm  · 

I think the biggest thing coming from games that is likely to affect architecture is VR where clients an walk around their proposed buildings before they are built using a model. Although some visual artists are using Unreal technology etc to do architectural animations as well.

But I cant think of how real architectural design and architecture in games is related that much otherwise. Usually in games they take real architectural buildings concepts and reuse them in games to create a city etc but speed of design, and immediate impact, plus an obvious sense of progression are key to games design. Real architecture is more about economy, buildability, and functionality.

I suppose there is a bit of a link to city building games and real city/building design but that's not worthy of a thesis.

Sep 12, 17 6:26 am  · 

Hi Varunsharma,

Did you end up doing your Thesis on this subject?

I'm currently looking at doing a research paper for my Master in Architecture on this subject and would love to build on top of your research. Perhaps explore areas which you left open but deem interesting to investigate.

Thanks for your help!


Oct 10, 18 11:29 pm  · 

Hello Varunsharma and peter-v

I am also doing my Master in Architecture and researching the same subject.

I am currently in between narrowing/focusing it down on either analyzing the interior architecture in video games and evaluate them using Gestalt, or do a basic correlation between spatial spaces video&reality kind of topic, tbh im more into second one as i can do it quickly + continue phD with a bigger subject and get this over with.

Have you guys did your thesis’ or topics about this subject so we can build up or correlate in between ?

Thanks in advance, 


Sep 5, 19 6:13 am  · 

Hello guys

I just read the whole discussion and I hope any of you pursued their thesis in this topic. I am currently in my last semester before thesis and I am very interested to do my thesis about the role of architecture in video games. I am more oriented towards the different perception of the same space in the real and digital worlds and how we can learn sustainable building through video games. Did any of you hear of the video game called block'hood which is a similar game to minecraft but explores the sustainable approach to urban design and how each decision could have a large scale effect on the whole city. I hope that any of you would give me a positive feedback. I am really keen on this subject but as an architecture student I feel like I need to think about the end product of this subject.

Thanks guys 

Nov 14, 19 11:22 pm  · 

I used to work as an environment designer for Rockstar games, see reply to varunsharm a - my thesis in arch school did incorporate what I learned in games - its now standard practice(BIM), BIM 360 Design is a game engine for architects and engineers

Nov 15, 19 11:53 am  · 

Im still writing my thesis, and plan to submit it in 20th dec.

Nov 15, 19 8:32 pm  · 

Lets keep in contact, for sharing sources and ideas about table of contents,id be most glad to help.

Nov 15, 19 8:32 pm  · 

There should be a video game called- "escape the world trade center"

Nov 15, 19 7:18 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Do you have to avoid an endless army of conspiracy wankers?

Nov 15, 19 7:28 pm  · 

Sounds like an interesting idea, are you publishing after submission/grading?

Jun 25, 20 4:45 am  · 

i'm less interested in video games (much better things to do with your time now that you're entering adulthood; leave them behind) and more so the connection between perception of virtual environments and physical ones. perhaps there's something with the architect's ability to imagine potential environments, which themselves are analogously "virtual" before they become physically manifested?

Jun 26, 20 11:24 am  · 

Check out works of Jose sanchez https://www.plethora-project.c...

He is an architect and works in game development.

Mar 17, 21 4:48 pm  · 

Look up Townscaper. It is an architect and urban designer's dream.

Mar 17, 21 6:09 pm  · 


Mar 18, 21 3:58 pm  · 

My suggestion: How and why urban and interior space in videogames and film is turning out to be more meaningful and memorable than real life space and how that will possibly affect the overall human environment in the future.

I would start by how after thousand years buildings like Hagia Sophia are still treasured to the point of creating conflict between nations, move along to the shit show of nowadays spaces, compare both, give conclusions on why that happens and then add in the videogame and film spaces and compare them to the current shit show and old buildings and finally a conclusion of what to expect in the future.

Old people might be the ones who right now remember the Beinecke Library and treasure it as a building, having memories in it or of it but those of us that grew up with videogames and computers... We are going to be a generation who will remember the day we finally got to Ice Crown Citadel, all the cold and sorrow and the end of an era instead of things like the Beinecke Library (Beinecke Library who? <-- will be the meme).

Fun fact: Old people in Asia have mistaken some videogame character's statues for gods and have prayed to them.

Mar 18, 21 9:31 pm  · 

hi everyone I read your topic actually when I searching my dissertation topic on the relationship between architecture and video games. how I tackle the problem, how I narrow it down, how to connect more architecture. pls help me asap

Jul 16, 21 4:04 am  · 
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