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Big Reality: A Chat with 'Big Game' Designer Frank Lantz
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Big Reality: A Chat with 'Big Game' Designer Frank Lantz

August 10, 2006 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

GS: Why does area/code work in primarily urban space? How is it related to game space?

FL: Well, cities are where you find the most people! But we don’t see ourselves as limited to urban settings necessarily. We’re currently in the early design phase of a game that includes cities in it but goes much further, and will be completely global. The relationship between cities and games is complex and fascinating, you can look at the recent evolution of cities in games (Orgrimmar and Ironforge) and cities as games (Sim City, but also San Andreas and Las Venturas). There is a lot of weird and interesting crossover between what architects and urban planners do and what game designers do – structuring experience through systems of geometry and space. We take a lot of inspiration from how skateboarders appropriate urban space for play, and how they look at the city from a totally different perspective. We want to make games that flip players’ perspectives in a similar way.

GS: What influences, either in the game or art world, have impacted your work at area/code?

FL: German boardgames; role-playing games; sports; social gaming (like Werewolf/Mafia style party games); MMORPGs; GTA-style digital urban gaming; Geocaching; reality gameshows like Survivor and The Amazing Race; CCGs, physical-computing games like DDA and Eye Toy; ARGs; LARPing, Military Re-enactment, and other forms of site-based nerd culture; happenings; earthworks; Situationism; Christo; Serra; Andrew Goldsworthy; and many others!

2004's ConQwest

GS: Where does technology fit into the art of "big games"? What new technologies do you foresee working with/are excited to work with?

FL: A lot of what we do is discovering the gameplay possibilities of all these new location-aware technologies that are just now emerging, and creating games that take advantage of the fact that a lot of us are now living with one foot in the real world and one foot in Wonderland at all times. We spend a lot of time “shopping” around for new technologies, many of which are super interesting but are not yet clear about their practical utility. Games are great at inventing utility, at creating problems. We love to take something that does some weird, cool physical world / information space crossover and build a game around it.

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