Design pattern approaches have long been used in diverse fields such as architecture, software engineering, and interaction design. With the emergence of game scholarship, there has been interest in applying design patterns to aspects of game design. There are many potential benefits to design pattern approaches, including exploring new ideas and providing frameworks for teaching and communicating. Furthermore, deeper understanding of the patterns implicit in their games can help designers better understand expectations of player behavior.
Our research on design patterns in games has primarily been focused on level design. Level designers use the techniques of level design to create gameplay. This includes not just the geometry of the level, but also what tiems are made available to the player and the placement and behavior of NPCs. There is little formal understanding of this process, but rather a large body of design lore and rules of thumb. As a result, there is no accepted common language for describing the building blocks of level design and the gameplay they create. The goal of our research is to identify level design patterns, primarily in first-person shooter (FPS) games, and provide cause-effect relationships between level design elements and gameplay. These patterns constitute a language for describing and teaching about level design, and provide designers a tool to explore design spaces and create more interesting and varied levels.
We have cataloged pattern collections in the following domains:
Designers and researchers interested in design patterns should also visit these sites:
Workshop on Design Patterns in Games