Hovering Closures

Hovering Closures

Events that are about to occur and can clearly be observed by players.

Many events that may but have not yet occurred in games can be foreseen by players and give them experiences of Hovering Closures. These closures may be used by the players to plan their actions: players may intentionally try to increase the chances of Hovering Closures that are perceived as positive or simply allowed to occur, while closures with negative consequences may be acted against.

Example: Auctions in games are examples of Hovering Closures where one outcome is clearly perceived by the players, but this outcome can be changed by additional bids.

Example: Races nearing the finishing lines give strong Hovering Closures as the outcome is often predictable but still requires players to continue moving.

Example: Leaving an opening for specific blocks in Tetris usually create strong Hovering Closures.

Using the pattern

Designed Hovering Closures can either be Ultra-Powerful Events or Interruptible Actions depending on whether players are supposed to have Illusion of Influence and a Perceived Chance to Succeed. The most common ways to create Hovering Closures are Delayed Reciprocity, various goals based upon Symmetry or Configuration, or Extended Actions with Time Limits. Progress Indicators are explicit Hovering Closures, which are part of the game design.

Hovering Closures can either be created through the Narrative Structure or through the game state. When part of the Narrative Structure, the Hovering Closure is usually not affected by players but can give Anticipation, for example nearing the end of a Level. Regarding game state, Hovering Closures can either be due to players observing Predictable Consequences from The Show Must Go On such as Alignment or due to players soon completing actions. These actions can either be those that fulfill Continuous Goals or planned actions that cannot have been done earlier due to Turn Taking.


Hovering Closures are caused by Extended Actions and events with Delayed Effects that have Predictable Consequence s. The consequences do not have to be certain, but at least one outcome must be clearly perceivable, as for example is the case of perceiving the chance to win when Betting and also in Quick Games with single actions. Hovering Closures can create Emotional Immersion and Anticipation when the closures are related to players' success in the game or parts of the Narrative Structure. Uncommitted Alliances may be the result of the Hovering Closure of one player being close to completing a goal or action that can be perceived by other players.

Surprises, being neither Extended Actions or predictable, cannot be Hovering Closures and may destroy existing ones.


Instantiates: Emotional Immersion, Anticipation, Uncommitted Alliances

Modulates: Quick Games

Instantiated by: Continuous Goals, Extended Actions, Predictable Consequences, Symmetry, Configuration, Ultra-Powerful Events, Alignment, Levels, Turn Taking, Narrative Structures, Progress Indicators, Delayed Reciprocity, The Show Must Go On, Delayed Effects, Betting

Modulated by: Time Limits

Potentially conflicting with: Surprises