University of Oulu

Architecture in virtual game worlds

Saved in:
Author: Ristikankare, Iiro1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Oulu School of Architecture
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.1 MB)
Pages: 72
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : I. Ristikankare, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-04-08
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Herneoja, Aulikki
Luusua, Aale
Reviewer: Hentilä, Helka-Liisa


Developments in digital technology and information networks have changed our perception of distance, scale, and location. Interconnected devices, such as computers and smartphones, allow us to communicate and access media anywhere, anytime. Physical and virtual have become inseparable, which has also changed the way space is experienced. A person can be physically present and at the same time immersed in the digital world.

Digital spaces have become an integral part of everyday life and virtual games are one of their most popular manifestations. Essentially, virtual games are a form of interactive media where interaction occurs in a representational space. Virtual worlds seem infinite as they are not bound by any real-world limitations. However, games are created for a very precise purpose, namely play, and game environments are meant to support that purpose.

The purpose of the thesis is to discuss the similarities and differences between architecture and virtual game worlds. Like stage props and film sets, game worlds draw on the built environment, but they serve a different function than real buildings. Unlike theater and cinema, however, games give the audience the freedom to explore and wander in a fictional space.

While the spatiality of virtual games is most evident in the three-dimensional environments they represent, it also encompasses the social structures of the player communities and the physical spaces in which the games are played. In the end, both buildings and virtual worlds can be thought of as spatial structures that organize and shape human activity.

see all

Copyright information: © Iiro Ristikankare, 2022. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.