Aim & Shoot

Aim & Shoot

The act of taking aim at something and then shooting at it.

One of the most natural ways of showing attention to something is to look or point at it. Real-time games usually provide some action that can be done to the game element pointed at. Generalized, this action can be described as Aim & Shoot regardless of if anything is aimed or actually shot.

Example: Shooting in all first-person shooters consists of taking aim on the opponents, with possible compensations for their movement, and shooting.

Example: In Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the player must aim and shoot a grappling hook to be able to swing Link between chasms.

Example: Pokemon Snap! gives players a camera and lets them move along a track trying to take as good pictures as possible of Pokemons.

Using the pattern

Making Aim & Shoot actions possible primarily depend on enabling players to complete Alignment goals of two points by a straight line. For First-Person Views this is trivial, as one point is the player's view point unless either of the two points is moving. Somewhat more difficult are Third-Person Views, as more movement of the player's Focus Loci is usually necessary. God Views are in most cases too difficult, as it is too hard to get the Spatial Immersion required in order to line up the two points accurately.

The difficulty of Aim & Shoot actions can be due to the Movement either of the game elements aimed at or the game element aiming. For Units or Avatars, the intentional Movement due to Traverse or Evade goals can make aiming at them more difficult. For Moveable Tiles or other game elements, the mechanical Movement due to The Show Must Go On can likewise make aiming more difficult. The aiming can be further complicated by the players' own Movement of their Focus Loci or by a swaying of the aim to simulate the difficulty of real-world aiming.

Design of the Game World that makes players have a bad overview of the game state, for example the inclusions of Obstacles, makes it difficult to prepare for shooting. This means that potential targets likely are Surprises, and any shots will not be well aimed. Similarly, other forms of Surprises likely cause Disruption of Focused Attention events and make players lose their aim. Aiming can also be made more difficult by introducing Tension, for example through Competition or Time Limits.

The possibility of Aim & Shoot actions can be restricted by requiring Tools or the use of Resources. The latter can introduce Tension to the activity and require Risk/Reward choices between shooting now or waiting for a possible better situation to shoot.

Although Combat with the goals of Capture or Eliminate is the activity that most often creates Aim & Shoot actions, other goals and reasons are possible. Delivery of game elements can be done by throwing or shooting the game elements to the receiver and Capture can be the capturing of information rather than game elements. Shooting spider webs, throwing grappling hooks, or even firing cannons with oneself inside it can give explanations for how Privileged Movement can be performed by Aim & Shoot.


Aim & Shoot is a Dexterity-Based Action that is possible in Real-Time Games. Often requiring Extended Actions and Timing from a game element's point of view, Aim & Shoot promotes Spatial Immersion.

Interestingly enough, most sports games due not make use of Aim & Shoot even though this is one of the primary activities in sports they simulate. The cause for this is probably the lack of overview of the game statethat players would have if they had perspectives that allowed Aim & Shoot.

Aim & Shoot actions from other players or Enemies naturally increase and present Evade goals.


Instantiates: Spatial Immersion, Tension, Movement, Dexterity-Based Actions, Extended Actions, Timing, Evade, Maneuvering

Modulates: Tools, Resources, Capture, Delivery

Instantiated by: Combat, Real-Time Games, Eliminate, Privileged Movement, Enemies, Alignment

Modulated by: First-Person Views, Third-Person Views, Traverse, Movement, The Show Must Go On, Moveable Tiles, Evade

Potentially conflicting with: God Views, Obstacles, Disruption of Focused Attention, Surprises