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“Computer space is also aggregate yet in another sense. As I already noted, using the example of Doom, traditionally the world of a computer game is not a continuous space but a set of discrete levels. In addition, each level is also discrete–it is the sum of rooms, corridors, and arenas built by the designers. Thus rather than conceiving space as a totality, one is dealing with a set of separate places.” – Lev Manovich

While many games still follow the traditional “levels” model that Manovich describes, technological advances have enabled game designers to construct virtual spaces that increasingly leave the player with a sense of the game world as self-contained and complete. Faster processors allow for on-the-fly rendering of the game world and eliminate the need for loading screens; increasingly powerful design tools enable developers to create larger and more detailed worlds; randomized events and encounters with other in-game characters make the world feel more dynamic, more alive. There are many “open world” games available now that abandon the “levels” model in favor of a massive, continuous game space.

This sort of modern game world doesn’t really fit under Manovich’s blanket description of computer-generated virtual worlds. The space of such a modern world is full of objects and environments with which the player can interact, and is far closer to a “totality” than the spaces that Manovich describes. These modern virtual worlds can provide a surprisingly rich illusion of reality, and their ability to do so will likely improve even more in the coming years.