<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-construction.html>Construction</a>


The action of introducing new game elements that are presented as intentional constructions into the Game World.

The introduction of game elements in the game can be the cause of players' actions. When the game elements introduced are perceived as something requiring organizing the environment (in technical terms, countering entropy) this can be framed as Construction.

Example: Pontifex by ChronicLogic allows players to build bridges that are tested by a physics engine that sends a train over the bridges.

Example: The Sims allows players to construct homes for their Sims, redecorating and rebuilding the houses as the needs and living conditions of the Sims change.

Example: The board game The Settlers of Catan allows players to build villages and towns at the intersections of hexes in the game, and roads between them.

Example: Massively multiplayer online roleplaying games usually allow players to construct houses by buying them and construct items through actions. Text-based multiplayer dungeons take this further by letting high-level players create new areas in the Game World and program the functionality of areas and game elements.

Using the pattern

The main design choices for supporting Construction include the design of the new game elements that are the product of the action, what Resources are needed, the possibility of succeeding, and the variations in designs that the players can create. Requiring scarce Resources for construction to occur can give rise to Exploration or Gain Ownership as well as Trading. Linking the chance of success to a Skill encourages Construction as a Competence Area. Allowing a large variation in the possible Constructions give players a Freedom of Choice and the Creative Control to Experiment and select Player Defined Goals. The possibility of failed Constructions leading to alternative Constructions also encourages Experimenting.

The amount of Construction in a game can easily be limited by making it a Privileged Ability.


Construction allows the introduction of new game elements as the effect of Producers, instead of having to rely on Spawning. As such, it can be used to explain within the Consistent Reality Logic of an Alternative Reality the appearance of artificial objects by non-automatic processes.

Construction is typically a form of Investment but is often perceived as Constructive Play since the Investment is toward creating something. When the Construction gives players sufficient Creative Control the results can be Surprises. When the players can create game elements that affect the Game World, especially in Persistent Game Worlds, Construction can enable Player Constructed Worlds. An obvious way to affect the Game World in this fashion is through Tile-Laying.

Goals to Eliminate are typically the antithesis of the intentions of Construction as may be used to create Preventing Goals and Conflict.


Instantiates: Competence Areas, Surprises, Exploration, Constructive Play, Experimenting, Player Constructed Worlds, Preventing Goals, Investments, Player Defined Goals, Freedom of Choice, Creative Control, Trading, Gain Ownership, Consistent Reality Logic

Modulates: Persistent Game Worlds, Game World, Alternative Reality

Instantiated by: Producers, Tile-Laying

Modulated by: Producers, Resources, Privileged Abilities

Potentially conflicting with: