My latest Game Design of Everyday Things column is now up at Kill Screen. It’s about the relevance of landscape gardening to game design.

We talk a lot about the influence of architecture on game design. Indeed, it’s something Kill Screen asked me about in the original formulations for this column. We can all see the influence on games of a medium in which geometric form and structure is used to influence behavior and manipulate the movement of people through space. It feels like there’s an obvious comparison between architecture and the design of three-dimensional game levels.

But I think landscape gardening is perhaps a much more interesting comparison point for the structure of game spaces, and one that is oft-neglected.

Landscape architecture shapes the behavior and intent of its observers without walls or markers. Instead, it focuses on surprise and delight: as your eye follows the gentle slope of a path down to a lake, it should feel like you discovered this. It feels like a coincidence of marvellous proportions, a secret that you discovered, that the eye is led so gracefully. In fact, it’s a carefully designed experience.

Also, it’s been illustrated by Trip Carroll with an illustration of John Marston in front of Broadway Tower, which is really quite something.

Anyhow: rather pleased with this. You can read the full column at Kill Screen.