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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Urban Visions in Videogames: In Cultural Perspectives of Videogames: From Designer to Player. Brackin and Natacha Guyot.
This has been clearly conditioned by technical advances, but also by the influence of the language of cinema. Just as virtal Seventh Art did and as soon as the graphic processors allowed them to do so, videogames were inclined to use cities as one of their favourite scenarios.
What we intend to prove in this paper is that the change in perception and narration brought by videogames has been also accompanied by a change in the vision of cities. Our objective is to find out what vertigo real contributions to vkrtudes have been.
In order to do so, we are conducting a comparative study of the representation of London and Paris in videogames. We have chosen these two world capital cities because having two physical references with a well defined imaginary and a great presence in media will make the comparison easier. We are applying a double methodology: This qualitative approach will let us have a critical vision of the works in their historical moment and the vision they offer.
It will also show if there has been an evolution in these depictions, always using a cultural frame as a background. This will let us compare it to other manifestations. We believe that this research is of great interest since videogames have become, in the last decade, one of the most prominent cultural industries and the one which generates more income. Therefore, they are having an impact on our imaginary that may influence the way we see our physical environment.
We intend to find out how this is done and what can be expected in the near future. City, videogame, London, Paris, interactivity, urban representation, virtual, imaginary. Introduction Videogames are cultural products1; technological consumption goods but additionally, manifestations of a society in a specific period of time. One of their main virtua, and differences, when firtual to other ivrtudes of games is their use of fictional worlds3, which work as allegories of the physical one4.
What we aim to study in this paper are the representations of these digital worlds when cities with physical existence are used as scenarios. We have a two-fold purpose: Structure and methodology We are studying vertogos depiction of cities in videogames with a qualitative approach in a double and complementary perspective, technological and vietudes historical.
In order to do so, we have chosen two cities, London and Paris. This allows us to make comparisons between the digital and the physical cities and to look for further references in other cultural manifestations as both have a vertigoss imagery associated to them. Since the evolution of technology has been parallel to the development of the language of videogames, we have decided to start our study with the use of 3D in space vertigso.
Even if the first game in 3D was released inthe memory and processor capacities did not allow cities to become immediately navigable 3D scenarios. As a result, the games we analyse have been chosen in a range from topicking seven significant ones for each city. By doing this, we have tested if there has been an evolution in the representations. In order to do so, we have built a canon of games based in their impact virtudee videogame history.
We have built the canon taking into account the number of units sold, significant advances in game design and aesthetics, and industry recognition. We also gave vvertigos to games that showed both of the cities we wanted to study, since this allows a clearer comparison of their representations. Nevertheless, before analysing them in chronological order, there are a series of theoretical considerations about world games and the depiction of cities in this media that need to be pointed.
We virtudee these urban landscapes from our own playing and observation experiences, doing both a technical and art historical analysis.
This allows us to compare the two European metropolis representations, extract general conclusions about their use and depiction, plus search for influences. We conclude with a critical analysis and propose lines for further research. Transparent cities Before presenting our analysis, it is necessary to remark certain aspects of the depiction of cities in videogames.
Videogame worlds are designed by multicultural and interdisciplinary teams; therefore they are a syntax of different points of view aiming to offer a concrete ambience conditioned by gameplay. This has lead designers towards a tendency to apply the rules that determine physical world in gameworlds. The influences between physical and digital worlds have started to be reciprocal, their barrier is becoming porous 8.
This calls for a detailed study of how urban landscapes appear and are used in videogames. The interaction between players and digital environments is conditioned by avatars; their abilities and limitations determine the way players experience space.
Moreover, the representation or absence of avatars will modify the perception of the city: Even though there has been a progressive tendency towards more expansive and detailed environments conditioned by technology, designers tend to limit the size and the interaction with the worlds.
Besides avoiding the consumption of technical resources, these types of incoherencies have a clear purpose of avoiding that players get disoriented Cases of study We examine first games depicting London and then, the ones that show Paris.
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For each, we focus in the most significant aspects the representation of the city through six categories: To clarify the research, we close this section with a table that synthesizes the analysis of the total games studied.
London in videogames All the analysed games that depict London indicate by stage titles which levels take place in the city. Some of them have an introductory video for contextualizing players, like the driving simulators with a flying trail over the circuit.
Above all, the city is recognisable because of the depiction of its icons such as Big Ben or the red telephone cabins. Most of the scenes occur in a realistic contemporary London but three cases depict different times. The city is slightly different to the physical one but players still can find famous landmarks although covered in dust.
London shows a post-apocalyptic future where the city is sieged by demons; nevertheless, the metro stations match the real ones and iconic elements standstill but reduced in size and simplified in a Tech-noir aesthetic. The third, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 CoD: MW3 depicts different parts of the city in a near future without noticeable changes to contemporary London, although the underground map does not correspond with the real one. The Tube is used in several titles as a scenario for a level itself or link between stages.
London it also works as the world map, situating players. These locations are always realistically represented due to the application of bigger and more detailed textures than the rest of the buildings and props of the scene.
Rent E Books Virtual Virtudes Y Vertigos Lo By Philippe Quean Ph Queau Mobi
Although polygonization of these iconic elements was conditioned by the technology of the moment. The analysed games belong to different genres, from racing to shooters. This variety allows players to move around the city in different ways by different means of transport, and doing different actions such as climbing buildings or driving a car. The space that players can explore is usually limited by plots.
While Tomb Raider 3 only shows the surroundings of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, in the two games fully located in London the avatar can freely move around the partially represented city. The user interface display UID is minimal in all cases, allowing the player to observe the whole scenario; and when not necessary, the UID temporarily disappears in some of the games.
London is depicted in these games through contrasts between an industrial and a monumental city. The typical brick houses appear simplified in all but racing games. Meanwhile, iconic buildings and monuments have very high textures and polygons breaking the monotony of the city while becoming reference points of action. Relevant for the depiction of London are both the lighting and meteorological conditions.
We generally find dull scenes, with grey and cloudy skies In some cases it even rains; in Tomb Raider 3, modest black particles emulate rain. This use of lighting reinforces dramatic qualities. Grey colours dominate the visions12, punctually broken by advertisements, red objects or bright particles representing magic, technology or violence.
The colour spectrum can be even darker in night-time levels, when the streets are quiet, and besides the music, the only noises players hear result of the actions of their avatars. The influence of cinema aesthetics is remarkable in The Getaway, a story that follows British Gangster films. London tends to be represented as a lived-in city where non playable characters wander around its streets and underground.
MW3 there’s a scene dedicated to a family of tourists, in Tomb Raider 3 players cannot see anyone, only listening to the traffic noises when close to the ground. Sounds are key elements for pointing out that we are in London, all the analyzed games include speaking characters with different British accents. Paris in videogames As in London, Paris is presented in the analysed games to the players with an introductory screen or video.
Nevertheless, in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus an opening CutScene that leads to the tutorial stage introduces the city. Furthermore, this game shows the city in a cartoon-like aesthetic which is unique in this analysis. This appearance is achieved by the use of a Toon Shading and mixing 3D and 2D.
The rest of the analysed games depict Paris in a realistic way through different times: Contemporary scenarios are characterized by Haussmanian boulevards and buildings. In the case of Onimusha 3, although the game shows the current Paris, it is altered by demonic elements. Paris is mainly shown with realistic graphics but a variety of aesthetics.
Two games try to show a faithful representation of the city modified by attacks; Resistance: Retribution shows ruins, but depicts a limited and free interpretation based in a couple of iconic elements of the city. Finally, the rest of the games offer a version of Paris virtusl by alternative aesthetics that suit plots and gameplays, one cartoon-like and the other tech noir.
The predominant genres of these games are stealth, vvirtual and action. Some games such as CoD: MW3 adapt their gameplay to different contexts, for example swapping from ground to air actions. This air perspective allows players to have a panoramic view of the city.
Nevertheless, Onimusha 3 use fixed cameras that play with low angles, to define the visible areas representing city icons with a sense of magnificence while allowing high quality textures offering great detail in the representations. The Tour Eiffel is depicted in five of the analysed games, it is a key element in the stages and even in some games.
None of the representations of the catacombs is faithful to the original ones but they play the role that underground played in London.