A Simple Guide For Video Game Environment Design

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A Simple Guide For Video Game Environment Design

Designing video game environments can be a fun and challenging task. It’s important to create believable and effective spaces that players will enjoy exploring. In this guide, we’ll discuss the different elements of video game environment design, and offer tips for creating interesting and varied spaces. We’ll also provide examples of great video game environment design. Let’s get started!

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1. The Different Elements Of Video Game Environment Design

The environment of a video game can take many different forms, from the gritty urban landscapes of Grand Theft Auto to the idyllic countryside of Animal Crossing. However, all video game environments share one common goal: to immerse the player in the game world and provide them with a believable and compelling setting. To achieve this goal, game designers must carefully consider all aspects of environment design, from the overall layout of the world to the small details that bring it to life.

  • One of the most important elements of environment design is the choice of setting. The setting must be meticulously designed to create a believable and compelling world for the player to explore. In addition, the setting must be appropriate for the game’s genre and tone. For example, a realistic military shooter would not work well in a whimsical fantasy world.
  • Once the setting has been decided upon, game designers must populate it with a variety of different elements, such as buildings, vehicles, and wildlife. These elements must be carefully placed to create a balanced and interesting environment.
  • Finally, designers must fine-tune the visual appearance of the environment to create a cohesive and visually appealing world.

Creating truly immersive and believable video game environments requires a significant investment of time and money. However, the rewards of this investment can be seen in both the critical and commercial success of the game. Players are more emotionally attached to games that feature believable and well-realized worlds, and they are also more likely to continue playing a game that features environments that they find visually appealing. In addition, well-designed video game environments can provide players with a sense of discovery, as they explore the world and uncover its secrets. By investing in the creation of amazing video game environments, developers can create games that will stand out from the crowd and engage players for hours on end.

2. How To Create Believable And Effective Video Game Environments

In video game environment design, there are several different elements that can be used to create a believable and immersive world. These elements include lighting, textures, geometry, and sound. Each of these elements can be used to create a unique aesthetic and contribute to the overall feeling of the game world. For example, lighting can be used to set the mood of a scene, or to highlight important objects. Textures can be used to add realism and depth, while geometry can be used to create interesting gameplay environments. Sound is also an important element in game design, as it can help to create immersion and set the tone of the game world.

In addition, in order to create believable and effective video game environments, developers need to consider a variety of factors. The game’s setting should be carefully designed to create a sense of place, and the game’s characters should be given distinct personalities and motivations. In addition, the game’s mechanics should be tuned to create a balance between challenging gameplay and player enjoyment.

Overall, in any video game, the environment is key to setting the tone and providing the player with a sense of immersion. This is especially true for games that take place in fantastical or imaginary worlds. By including intricate details and Easter eggs, game developers can create environments that feel truly believable and make players feel like they are part of the game world. For example, the open-world game “Breath of the Wild” features a number of small details that help to bring the world to life, from grass swaying in the wind to the way birds fly overhead. These details might seem inconsequential, but they help players feel like they are exploring a real and living world. Including such immersive details is essential for creating a captivating game environment.

3. Tips For Creating Interesting And Varied Video Game Environments

A well-designed video game environment can be the difference between a player becoming fully immersed in the world of the game or becoming bored and detached. Here are ten tips for creating interesting and varied video game environments:

  1. Use a variety of textures and materials to create visual interest.
  2. Incorporate light and dark areas to create a sense of depth and mystery.
  3. Use a mix of natural and artificial elements to create contrast and variety.
  4. Add unexpected details to surprise and delight players.
  5. Use color to create mood and atmosphere.
  6. Create a sense of scale by using large and small elements in equilibrium.
  7. Use both open and enclosed spaces to give players a sense of freedom while still providing structure.
  8. Incorporate sounds, smells, and other sensory details to intensify the experience.
  9. Connect different areas of the environment with paths, tunnels, or other means of travel.
  10. Make sure the environment is populated with interesting characters, monsters, plants, and objects.

4. Examples Of Great And Not-So-Great Video Game Environment Design

In any video game, the environment is key to setting the tone and mood for the player. A well-designed environment can envelop the player and draw them into the game world. There are many elements to take into consideration when designing a video game environment, but some games do it better than others. One example of great environment design is in the game Journey. The developers carefully crafted each area to match the tone of the game. From the vibrant and colorful desert to the dark and mysterious underground caverns, each area is distinct and evocative. Another example of great environment design is in the game Shadow of the Colossus. The developers created a vast and empty world, which amplifies the feelings of loneliness and despair that are central to the game’s story. These are just a few examples of how environment design can make a video game truly special.

Unfortunately, there are many examples of poor environment design that can break immersion and disrupt the gaming experience. One common issue is overly-bright or ‘loud’ colors that can jar the player and make it difficult to focus on the game itself. Another problem is chaotic or ‘cluttered’ environments that are difficult to navigate and make it hard to appreciate the game’s aesthetic. Finally, ’empty’ environments can also be problematic, as they can make the game feel lifeless and uninteresting. While there are many factors that contribute to environment design, it is important for developers to consider how their choices will affect players’ immersion and enjoyment of the game.


Video game environments are an important part of the gaming experience, and developers need to carefully consider a variety of factors when creating these spaces. The tone of the game, the setting, the characters, and the mechanics should all be considered in order to create a well-rounded and believable environment. While there are many examples of great video game design, it is important for developers to avoid common pitfalls like overly bright colors or chaotic environments. By following these tips and considering how their choices will affect players’ immersion and enjoyment, developers can create truly special video game environments.

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