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Video Game Design, Mods, and Architecture

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I am interested to know why there isn't more interest in game design, specifically environment or 'level' design among the architecture crowd. Designing levels for Half-Life and its mods was how I first got interested in architecture and have yet to meet anyone in school or now in the profession who has a similar background.

Yet, designing environments for video games is in almost every way similar to the things we consider when designing a space to be built in the real world: lighting, movement, thresholds, aesthetics, changes in section, setting a mood, visual effects, acoustics, materials (textures), etc.

What the medium lacks in the ability to touch and to smell and to wholly experience it seems to make up with an ability to be fast and reckless and disregard structural and mechanical and feasibility concerns.

The same thing can be said for set design in the movie or television industries, the difference being that a video game level can be designed from start to finish by one person (although admittedly this is becoming more difficult as the complexity of levels continues to increase as technology allows).

And that level can then be distributed around the world and be downloaded and played by thousands of people if it is well done and made for a game with a strong mod community. 

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