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Konstantinos Dimopoulos on the virtual city of video games

Illustration of New Orleans city planning applying computer adventure game Gabriel Knight: Father’s Sin, With a new book Virtual city, Released in November. Courtesy Maria Karikaki

In many video games, striking and dynamic settings are as essential to success as attractive characters and interesting gameplay.that is Virtual Cities: Atlas and Video Games City SurveyWritten by Konstantinos Dimopoulos, a new compilation of imaginary city planning and illustrations of 45 cities drawn from the history of the game, Maria Karikaki.. These digital spaces, emphasized by Dimopoulos, remind players that the city is a space that is constantly evolving for narrative play and imagination. Dimopoulos captures the dynamic relationship between virtual and physical space by presenting each location ethnographically and imagining each as a habitable and easy-to-understand space. Dipopoulos, who holds a PhD in geography and has designed the city of video games for nearly a decade, Big city About the initiative.

What makes digital cities so dynamic in ways that physical cities can’t?

Think about the real constraints that you must face in your actual plan. Apart from bureaucratic formalism and vested interests. In digital cities, they are not, and even the constraints of the physical reality itself. If you think about it, you can build an impossible building or a more dense community than Kowloon Walled City. Basically, you are not working as an engineer. You need to bring up illusions such as realism, engineering, planning. What you do is, in essence, art. That’s why it’s fun to explore these places. You have the freedom to change and rethink the rules and play in the way you think it is appropriate, even if it is an actual existing location or an abstraction of an existing location.

Ant attack city planning

Map of the fictional city of Antesher from the game Ant attack Courtesy Maria Karikaki

Do you think urban planners can benefit from video games that help improve the city?

We can definitely use our tools and interaction vocabulary to help people imagine real neighborhoods and real urban spaces in different ways. If you can provide an interface like SimCity and play in the environment around you, you may be able to express your needs and desires more clearly. It does not mean that anyone who is granted access to such a wide range of programs can replace a set of planning knowledge. But on the other hand, planners cannot always imagine and understand everything that residents need and demand. So this is a tool-like approach, trying to figure out how to use gaming tools to facilitate community planning.

How can I misrepresent a city in the game?

One of the things I absolutely hate is the bad naming. In a cyberpunk setting, everything must be Neo New York, New Tokyo, New London. This is not how things work! When people call their city a “city,” I hate it. It’s not imagination.

But more importantly, some games completely ignore the core features of the city. The presence of uninhabited cities makes you less immersive. Others are completely wrong in scale. For example, you are in a big city, but you are told that you have to go to a bookstore as if everyone could expect to have one bookstore in the big city.

One of the big problems is that the game can be very annoying and ironic. Too many games portray the misery of life in urban space without imagining hope. This may reflect more political concerns about how we see the situation, but we have too much of it these days.

You can also enjoy “Denmark waterfront eateries are designed for demolition”.

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