Medieval Europe in computer games: vernacular architecture

Hauer, Marina (2008) Medieval Europe in computer games: vernacular architecture. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    With the ever growing popularity and consequent influence of computer games on children and young people, in-game architecture arguably educates or deceives people about the true nature of historic environments. The following paper therefore offers a synoptic view and assessment of the quality of European medieval vernacular buildings represented in 20 international computer games. In-game screenshot material was collected and compared to actual historic examples and specific literature on the basis of parameters like visual appearance, construction and used materials. Additionally, members of the game industry were asked about game design processes and the relative importance of in-game architecture for their projects. While games with authentic intentions as well as fantastic games employ recognizable historic building concepts such as timber-framing, the constructional quality of these buildings is largely deficient. Further, a general trend towards clean, modernised and immoderately rich environments can be observed. Questionnaire responses demonstrate that although the game industry commonly encourages project-preliminary research, this research is often rather insubstantial while architectural features are generally conceded little importance in an overall game project. Our modern society’s misconception of medieval environments might partly be due to a strong scientific focus on ’high style’ architecture in opposition to the study of vernacular architecture forms, thus flaunting a unilateral medieval picture in literature. Raised awareness about these issues could lead to a better representation of historic environments in computer games, which would consequently enhance people’s understanding of the Middle Ages.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: ?? EDAM ??
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15

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