<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-controllers.html>Controllers</a>


Controllers are game elements fixed in particular locations in the Game World that allow players to perform actions that would not be possible otherwise.

Example: First-person shooters, such as Quake, often have doors that have to be opened through activating Controllers.

Example: The cannons in Super Mario 64 are Controllers that allow Mario to reach areas otherwise inaccessible by shooting himself from a cannon.

Example: Abstract Controllers can be found in Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory as players can construct bridges, command centers, and towers in certain places.

Using the pattern

Controllers share many design possibilities with Tools. After choosing what Privileged Abilities the Controllers support, a game designer has to decide which Units or Avatars can use the Controller, any specific skills that are needed, and any Resources the Controller might consume. However, Controllers differ in some respects from Tools. First, they are public in the sense that they are stationary, and whoever is near it can activate it (unless specific skills or resources are needed). This means that any Gain Ownership goals related to the Controllers are linked to controlling the game area. Second, they may need Tools to be activated besides any requirements on skills and Resources. Third, as they often are presented as part of a large machine or system, they often can affect something outside the usual reach of Units' or Avatars' actions without breaking the Consistent Reality Logic of the game. The activation of Controllers can often be the completion of a goal or a Level. Further, the actions can be both Extended Actions (requiring the constant activation of a player) and Ultra-Powerful Events (for example when activating Moveable Tiles).

The archetypical type of Controller is a Button. However, Controllers do not have to be tangible game elements, but they can be areas where the construction or destruction of game elements is possible. Examples of this are boxes of construction material, which can be assembled to specific game elements, such as bridges or bases in Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.


Controllers are natural Strategic Locations since Area Control over the location gives players or teams access to actions that otherwise may not be performed. In addition, as they are an integral part of the Game World and thus linked to its structure, the actions they provide, including Ultra-Powerful Events, usually have greater effects than mere Tools.

Controllers that are Resource Generators provide a way to have Renewable Resources in games and create Resource Locations in Game Worlds. Other Controllers are simply Obstacles that allow players to perform actions to remove them.


Instantiates: Ultra-Powerful Events, Strategic Locations, Resource Locations

Modulates: Renewable Resources, Gain Ownership, Moveable Tiles, Area Control

Instantiated by: Buttons

Modulated by: Resource Generators, Tools, Helpers

Potentially conflicting with: