Disruption of Focused Attention

Disruption of Focused Attention

That players' attention is forcefully moved from one aspect of the game to another.

Players can often choose on what part of the game play in a game they want to focus their attention. When this focus is disrupted by events in the game, this is an event in itself called a Disruption of Focused Attention.

Example: being shot in first-person shooters is usually indicated by parts of the player's view being tinted red.

Example: the effect of activating buttons in adventure games or first-person shooters can be shown by short cut scenes. They can show areas currently not observed by the players and can thereby focus their attention on areas that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Using the pattern

Designed Disruption of Focused Attention events are primarily used in games to increase Game State Overview or affect the Right Level of Difficulty.

Cut Scenes, Surprises, Alarms, and multiple Enemies are typical ways of designing Disruption of Focused Attention events. Game State Overviews can not only be the effect of Disruption of Focused Attention events as designed overviews can increases that events in the game create emergent Disruption of Focused Attention events while Red Herrings can be used to not only create these events but to make players have their attention focused on other parts of the game for a prolonged period of time.


Disruption of Focused Attention creates Attention Swapping, possibly several times if players chose to refocus their attention of what they originally focused upon. If the events which cause the disruption are located within the Game World they can increase Spatial Immersion but Disruption of Focused Attention events in general affect Cognitive Immersion and Sensory-Motoric Immersion negatively. However, some Real-Time Games use Disruption of Focused Attention as an integral part of the challenge of the gameplay.

Dexterity-Based Actions, Aim & Shoot in particular, are difficult to perform when exposed to Disruption of Focused Attention events.


Instantiates: Attention Swapping, Spatial Immersion, Game State Overview

Modulates: Right Level of Difficulty

Instantiated by: Red Herrings, Enemies, Game State Overview, Cut Scenes, Surprises, Alarms

Modulated by: Real-Time Games

Potentially conflicting with: Aim & Shoot, Immersion, Sensory-Motoric Immersion, Cognitive Immersion, Dexterity-Based Actions