topical media & game development

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<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-connection.html>Connection</a>


Linking or spatially positioning game elements to each other so that they have a physical relation.

Connection is the goal to form a relationship between game elements through proximity or by a common link to a fixture in the game world or a third game element. Board games using Connection are Hex by Piet Hein and TwixT by Alex Randolph where in both cases the main goal is to connect the opposing sides of the board with an unbroken line of pieces.

Example: In Hex the Connection is made by placing pieces on a hexagonal board in such a way that there is an unbroken sequence of hexes next to each other from the target side to the goal side.

Example: The gameplay in TwixT is slightly different as the played pieces are not directly next to each other but placed in "knights move" apart and connected by a line which may not be in Contact with the opposing player's lines.

Using the pattern

The requirement of game elements to be connected can be fulfilled by physically connecting the game elements with another type of element, as in TwixT, or by just specifying the nature of connectedness in the rules so that the presence of "virtual" Connection can be detected. A good example of the latter is the chaining of the support zones in strategy games so that an area far into an enemy territory can have support by tracing a route to a support point in a player's home territory. The goal of Enclosure can be defined as when the starting point of a Connection goal is the same as the end point, assuming that some other part of the game world is also part of the connection.

Connection and Alignment are closely related to each other. The crucial differences is that whereas Connection does not require linear Alignment but requires that the elements are next to each other or otherwise connected, Alignment can allow more empty space between the aligned game pieces without becoming difficult to recognize.


Connection makes use of the gestalt law of good continuation, and as such provides strong visual closures, and Hovering Closures, for players. If the distance between two game elements are in direct proportion to the difficulty of making them achieve Connection, the game elements are direct Progress Indicators of the goal.


Instantiates: Configuration, Progress Indicators

Modulates: Capture, Alignment

Instantiated by: Enclosure

Modulated by:

Potentially conflicting with:

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(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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