After finishing up Cybertexts I found myself going back to a concept my colleague G. Christopher Williams had written about extensively in a manuscript he e-mailed me. A couple of different people have discussed the idea of approaching a game as a conceptual place but initially looking at it purely from an architectural perspective seemed flat to me. It's big 3-D building, so what?
What Aarseth argued, very successfully in my mind, was engaging with the various elements of a game as a sum total. He uses the word ergodics, which is greek for something or another, to mean a kind of textual landscape. One that you literally move around in. The concept started to click for me when I was thinking about System Shock 2 and then more extensively when I fired up Hitman: Blood Money. It's not just a 3-D building, it's the way you tuck away details into the space and how you coordinate that with the design.
This post technically represents the latest paper while I was thinking about this approach. The other is a long, wordy breakdown of psychological spaces and then one that describes this elements from purely a game design perspective. I'm probably just going to post them on here when I get around to editing them again or maybe turn into a Moving Pixels post. I figured starting off with a simple example of the concept and then expanding out to the larger points would work a lot better than just repeating my own fumblings with the idea.
Also, Hitman: Blood Money is badass and you should play it if you haven't already.