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<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-movement.html>Movement</a>


The action of moving game elements in the Game World.

Movement of game elements is a common action in games that have a Game World or board. Movement allows players to try and move game elements into favorable positions as well as control or explore the game area.

Example: Racing games such as F-Zero GX and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! have movement as the primary activity in the game.

Example: With the exception of the value of kings and the ability of pawns to become queens, different Movement abilities are what distinguish different types of pieces in Chess.

Example: Spacewar and Asteroids both allow players to move spaceships by rotation and thrust in the spaceships' direction. However, they also allow players to escape dangerous situations by providing a limited number of hyperjumps that place the spaceship in a random location.

Using the pattern

Deciding how game elements can move depends on the Game World and the intended differences between game elements. Obstacles, Inaccessible Areas, and Deadly Traps in the Game World can all be used as basics for Privileged Movement or Movement Limitations. The easiest form of Privileged Movement for one game element compared to other game elements is the ability to move faster (or longer in Turn-Based Games). This can be used to modulate the Right Level of Difficulty in Capture and Evade goals.

The difficulty of Movement is connected to the complexity of the movement and the Freedom of Choice the player has. The more degrees of freedom of movement a player has, up to the maximum of six (three absolute and three rotational) for a single Focus Loci, the more the complexity of the Movement is increased. So, finding the Right Level of Difficulty for Movement lies in finding a balance between the Right Level of Complexity for the Movement and the intended Freedom of Choice the players should have when moving. Further complications to Movement occur through the introduction of acceleration, deceleration, momentum, dislocated centers of gravity, jointed vehicles, and vehicles with complex forms of locomotion.

Movement can be used to create Orthogonal Unit Differentiation by either giving Units some form of Privileged Movement or imposing some form of Movement Limitation on the units.

In Turn-Based Games, the typical way of instantiating Movement is through randomizing how far players can move, giving players Budgeted Action Points that can be spent (possible not only) on Movement, or a combination of both.


Movement actions are prerequisites for completing Race, Capture, Stealth, Exploration, Herd, Delivery, and Traverse goals as well as for performing the actions of Aim & Shoot or the Collecting of Pick-Ups. The Movement done to reach the Goal Points of these goals makes the game elements used act as Progress Indicators against the Game World. Evade also requires Movement but does not use a location as a goal but rather avoiding a specific location. All intentional Movement in a Game World requires Game World Navigation.

Movement does not always offer Spatial Immersion but does so in Real-Time Games, especially when First-Person Views are used. In these cases, Movement becomes actions of Maneuvering and requires skills in Dexterity-Based Actions. Turn-Based Games with Movement give rise to Puzzle Solving rather than Dexterity-Based Actions, for example, games that require players to move between many interconnected places give rise to Traveling Salesman's problems.

Movement of game elements that are not under the control of any players, usually Obstacles, can be Ultra-Powerful Events that require Movement or Maneuvering from the players in response, for example completing Aim & Shoot actions.


Instantiates: Game World Navigation, Spatial Immersion, Budgeted Action Points, Puzzle Solving, Ultra-Powerful Events, Orthogonal Unit Differentiation, Progress Indicators, Dexterity-Based Actions

Modulates: Aim & Shoot, Game World

Instantiated by: Aim & Shoot, Delivery, Herd, Exploration, Capture, Race, Traverse, Stealth, Collecting, Evade, Maneuvering

Modulated by: Deadly Traps, Movement Limitations, Inaccessible Areas, Privileged Movement, Obstacles

Potentially conflicting with:

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(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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