Dedicated Game Facilitators

Dedicated Game Facilitators

Games that have machines or people who perform actions and provide choices so that players can play a game.

Many games require actions and evaluations be done which do not offer any choices for players and are not supposed to be influenced by players. To enable better gameplay, and in some cases to enable gameplay at all, these games use Dedicated Game Facilitators which are machines, computers, or humans that are not players. Especially common reasons for use of Dedicated Game Facilitators are evaluation of complex and interconnected evaluation functions, improvising to allow greater player freedom, or to ensure impartial judgment.

Example: computer programs running games are all Dedicated Game Facilitators that allow gameplay whenever players want to play, and can simulate opponents or provide access to opponents through network connections.

Example: the croupiers or dealers in casinos are Dedicated Game Facilitators that support gameplay for the players without playing the game themselves.

Example: game masters in tabletop roleplaying games are examples of people who can be considered both Dedicated Game Facilitators and players. Game Masters in tabletop war games provide similar functions as their counterparts in roleplaying games, but usually do not control game elements and are thus not considered players.

Using the pattern

Dedicated Game Facilitators can either be humans or automats in the form of machines or computers. All of these can enforce a number of functions in the game: enacting Agents, controlling the timing of the unfolding of Narrative Structures and adjust it to players' Characters, or creating Never Ending Stories; enforcing Turn Taking although some type of facilitators can also make Turn Taking optional or unnecessary; providing Unknown Goals so players can have Imperfect Information about what to do in the game and can experience Surprises; enabling Communication Channels which can be private, restricted, faulty, or leaky; or initiating Balancing Effects during gameplay due to differences in players' positions in the game. The option to using Dedicated Game Facilitators is to have Self-Facilitated Games.

Although Dedicated Game Facilitators can be used to provide Public Information about certain aspects of the game state, such as Highscore Lists, one of the most common uses of Dedicated Game Facilitators is to avoid having the complete game state as Public Information.

Common human game facilitatorsare Game Masters, but dealers in various Betting games are examples of games where a human game facilitator is needed for other tasks than maintaining and enacting a Game World. Game Masters allow Smooth Learning Curves as they can mentor the players until they have mastered certain levels of skill in the game. Judgescan be Dedicated Game Facilitators but may also be players that are temporarily appointed to judge a certain event. Due to problems with splitting ones attention, humans performing as game facilitators require some form of Turn Taking.

Computers as Dedicated Game Facilitators allow Real-Time Games where The Show Must Go On. They can smoothly integrate Storytelling such as Cut Scenes in the unfolding Narrative Structure. Having the game state completely in computer memory makes saving and Save-Load Cycles easy, and through them Smooth Learning Curves and Experimenting. Since they are impartial to repetitious activities, computers allow Replayability of games even with strong Narrative Structures as long as it is in the players' interest. For computer operated Synchronous Games and Tick-Based Games, no perceivable Turn Taking needs to be present, unless it is an integral part of the game design, and players can be geographically distributed all over the world.

Machines are primarily used as Dedicated Game Facilitators in novelty games to allow players use physical abilities.


Dedicated Game Facilitators ensure the game state of the game and control that it is updated correctly. They thereby can enforce Ultra-Powerful Events and allow Asynchronous Games as they can maintain the game state between players' play sessions. In the case of games with Game Worlds, this allows for Persistent Game World s where the actions players take can continue to affect the game world after the players have stopped playing. Dedicated Game Facilitators also allow the possibility for players to have Enemies without causing Conflict with other players in Multiplayer Games, or to have Enemies in Single-Player Games.

Evaluation functions, where many parameters influence the outcome, or the results cause chain reactions, require computers as Dedicated Game Facilitators in order to avoid Downtime. Examples of such evaluations functions are Combat resolutions in Turn-Based Games such as Hearts of Iron or physics engines in 3D game worlds such as Deus Ex: Invisible War.


Instantiates: Surprises, Tick-Based Games, Unknown Goals, Smooth Learning Curves, Ultra-Powerful Events, Narrative Structures, Imperfect Information, Asynchronous Games, Persistent Game Worlds, Communication Channels, Balancing Effects, Cut Scenes, Turn Taking, The Show Must Go On, Save-Load Cycles, Enemies, Storytelling, Agents

Modulates: Conflict, Combat, Turn-Based Games, Never Ending Stories, Multiplayer Games, Real-Time Games, Experimenting, Downtime, Game World, Synchronous Games, Betting, Characters, Single-Player Games, Replayability

Instantiated by: Game Masters

Modulated by:

Potentially conflicting with: Downtime, Self-Facilitated Games, Public Information