Architecture in Video Games

Deanna Van Buren, who worked with us designing the buildings for The Witness, has a blog posting on Gamasutra about video games seen through the eyes of an architect.

You can read it here.


  1. As an architect myself I find this extremely interesting. Thank you for the link.

  2. Small story spoiler warning!
    But it’s a great read :)

  3. It looks like a really cool post, but I haven’t had time to check it out yet. Just wanted to thank you for putting it up, despite the lack of comments as of now.

  4. I found this article to be quit interesting. Now I´m eager to really pay attantion to the architecture once the game finally releases.

    This level of detail makes me feel like all the time I will put in to the game will be worthwhile. But of course I haven´t played it yet. So we will see.

    My excitement is unhealthily high. For now I´m just glad to have English Country Tune to play to tie me over. Outstanding puzzle game.

  5. Wow, great stuff. I skipped through the Witness spoilers, but the discussion around other games is really interesting. This gives me more perspective on a game that I’m surprised wasn’t discussed: Wolfenstein the New Order (and its expansion Old Blood).
    Those games I think are a masterwork in visual level design, creating spaces that are truly impressive and fantastical, but also believable and practical. Some of this is dramatically showcased in contrast to the original Wolf 3D (which cameos in the new one). There was very little reason for the hallways and corridors and little rooms you encountered. A potted plant might be the only object in a windowless room. A hallway would take two turns before coming to a dead end. It was almost assumed you’d get lost.
    Compare this to the Old Blood where every room you enter has a specific purpose, whether it’s the rows of cells in a prison block, a kitchen in a medieval castle, an archeological dig, or the canals servicing the castle. And objects are placed in meaningful ways as well. You pull a shotgun off a display in an office. You break crates to find ammunition and first aid kits. Supplies are stashed in caches in control rooms. It’s an intuitive experience; you don’t get lost because the spaces are distinctive and relatable.
    The hideout in The New Order is painstakingly thought out. Every character has their own bedroom, there are newspaper clippings on the walls, books in stacks on the ground, a workshop hidden away on the second level. The space is filled with meaningful junk. It feels like people live there.

    I wonder if they had an architect on the project…

    Looking forward to January!

  6. I have the strange feeling, since it has no day/night cycle, the witness won’t have North either xD

    I wonder how we would see that in the art design.

    • Well, if there is some kind of church structure on the island (some screenshots could fit that description), the altar will probably be on the east side. If it’s a christian church at least.
      That could be one way to show the compass direction on the island.
      And I’m sure plant growth would also be affected. Certainly if the sun has always been in the same spot.

  7. Great read! The release date is coming up fast, which is super exciting! Any chance a preorder for the PC version will show up in time for the holidays? I would think it would make a great gift!

  8. When they say the game will be released on PC, is that including Macs?

  9. First preview I’ve seen from The Witness’s showcase last week. Not too much new, but every nugget is interesting to me. Post any others that you find!

  10. Does Thekla have a webpage for jobs/internship listings?

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