Design Patterns in Games
Patterns are used by designers to solve problems using specific known solutions and that have been previously proven to work. In 1977, Christopher Alexander’s wrote the book “a pattern language” that outlined how patterns could be used in architecture to enable anyone to design buildings. Design patterns were popularised by the Gang of Four for use to solve common object oriented programming problems.
- give a general solution to common problems
- are universal to any programming language/environment / framework
- outline the reasons why the pattern is appropriate
- create a shared language and understanding
Staffan Björk & Jussi Holopainen have detailed about 300 game design patterns on their website and in their book. The website only has a basic description, an example and the relations for each pattern but it is still very useful.
Example from the website
A more powerful enemy the players have to overcome to reach certain goals in the game.
Sometimes defeating the Boss Monster can be a goal in itself, but usually Boss Monsters are used as subgoals in the game and the high-level goal is of another type of goal. Boss Monsters are almost always used to structure the progress of the game.
Instantiated by Eliminate
Modulated by Achilles’ Heels
Game Design Patterns can positively influence the design choices of game designers by enabling the games to have “authentic game experiences”. In particularly investigating the patterns for narrative structures, predictability and immersion, such as tension or planned character development, may be useful in generating ideas for your games.
Many of the patterns and descriptions may seem obvious and some of the patterns may not be applicable to Kodu Game Lab however a deeper knowledge of the design patterns in games will undoubtedly help you create better games.
In weeks 3, 4 and 5 of this course we will unpack some of these design patterns in greater detail looking at how they can be used to build the game experience.