<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-converters.html>Converters</a>


Converter produces different types of game elements from other game elements, typically from other resources. In essence, a Converter transforms game elements into other game elements.

Converters often appear in strategy games as factories, cities, or special units, which can produce more units, such as tanks and fighter planes, from more basic resources. Some of the more complex games even have several levels of resource refinement. Converters, however, can also appear in games where there are no resource flows to be managed as in the case of Chess.

Example: real-time strategy game StarCraft has factories, which require basic resources, metal, energy etc. to build units for the player.

Example: the opposing end of the Chess board is a Converter that converts pawns to queens.

Using the pattern

As the Converter is a direct application of Producer-Consumer, the Converter in fact being both a Consumer and a Producer, the principles of these patterns also apply to using Converter. Converters are used to create Producer-Consumer chains that create more complex resource flows within the game and can thereby be used to modulate the Right Level of Complexity in games. In these cases the Converters are usually associated with a Container to store the intermediate resources before actual use. The use of Converters to provide Renewable Resources allows the availability of the renewed Resource to be limited by the availability of the consumed Resource.

In games with a Game Worlds the Converter is often represented as a game element of its own such as a Tool or a Resource Generator, or as a place through a Strategic Location. Converter, however, can also appear as an abstract rule based entity in the game without being instantiated by specific game elements; Bidding and the act of playing Cards are examples of such abstract Converters.


Physical Converters create entities in Game Worlds that act as Consumers of one type of Resources and Producers of another, thereby making the produced Resource into a form of Renewable Resource. The introduction of a Converter into a game almost inevitably increases the complexity of the game play and in most cases also creates subgoals and alternative strategies for players, thus promoting Varied Gameplay. If players have a way to control the Converter, this leads to Empowerment and an enhanced Freedom of Choice and at the same time allow more complex strategies. Further, players may have to make Tradeoffs and this can encourage Stimulated Planning.


Instantiates: Producer-Consumer, Stimulated Planning, Varied Gameplay, Empowerment, Freedom of Choice, Tradeoffs

Modulates: Cards, Resource Management, Game World, Renewable Resources, Tools, Right Level of Complexity

Instantiated by: Bidding

Modulated by: Container

Potentially conflicting with: