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<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-traverse.html>Traverse</a>


The goal to try and move a game element from one position in the game to another.

Board games such as Backgammon and Ludo and all sports Race s from the 100 Meter Dash to marathons to horse Races are examples of Traverse used together with Race.

Example: Moving one's pawn to the opposite end of the board is a Traverse goal in Chess.

Example: Platform games such as those in the Mario or Super Monkey Ball seriescan be defined as having Traverse goals of going from the beginning of a level to the end.

Using the pattern

The two main considerations when designing a Traverse goal are the actual game space that has to be moved through and the ways in which players can move. The game space can either only allow one specific path to be followed (having one Goal Point at the end location), as in Snake s & Ladders (players do not have a choice of how to move although the ladders and snakes provide shortcuts and returns to earlier places), or allow players to choose between different paths (having at least one Goal Point at the end location and possibly intermediate Goal Points that have to be visited). The latter allow players to make plans depending on what Strategic Location s exist as well as what Enemies and Obstacles exist, for example, letting players choose between Evade and Overcome goals.

The means of Movement players have can be linked to Risk/Reward Tradeoff s as well as provide different players with different routes to advance on by the use of Privileged Movement. The use of intermediate Goal Points can create a Hierarchy of Goals consisting of various Traverse Goals. The Goal Points can be used to support Safe Havens, and their introductionallows players to get relief from Tension and promotes Stimulated Planning for the next phase of Movement. By making the Goal Point initially an Inaccessible Area, the Traverse goal can be the main goal of a Hierarchy of Goals, where several other sorts of activity besides Movement need to be performed. When the reason for a Traverse goal is to achieve Area Control of the Goal Point, the Strategic Location of the Goal Point needs to be considered, as this will modulate the willingness of players to strive for the goal.

Common variants of Traverse include Delivery, where the goal objects to be moved are not the game elements doing the movement, and Herd, where Indirect Control and Units are used for moving the goal objects. Herd can also be a Preventing Goal of Traverse when a player's movement can be affected by other players' actions. By giving players Imperfect Information about the Game World between the starting point and the end point, Traverse goals can becomes goals of Exploration or Reconnaissance.

If some form of Limited Resource is consumed by Movement, the Right Level of Complexity of a Traverse goal is affected as choices of which terrain is traversed and what movement styles to employ become important. Racing games usually provide some form of Charger or Pick-Ups in specific Resource Locations and, in Races, force players to make Risk/Reward choices between saving time and risking not having enough Resources or losing time but having Resources.

When the player has Freedom of Choice regarding Movement in a Traverse Goal, the goal may require that players are given information about where the Goal Point is located. Game State Overview can be used to support players with this information as can Traces, which may be seen as Supporting Goals of shorter and easier Traverse goals.

Traverse goals can be used to modulate the likelihood for players to attempt different goals in Selectable Sets of Goals by having the Traverse goals as subgoals that have to be performed before individual goals.


Traverse gives players a clear goal to achieve and allows them to judge their local progress by their position in the game space. Although this may function as a Progress Indicator, it does not necessarily give a good Game State Overview, as the area that has to be traversed can be significantly greater than the player can view at any one time. Traverse as a goal requires players to perform Movement and uses the Contact goal of reaching a target object as the end condition. Traverse is very often used as the subgoal for Races and required part of Stealth goals. The presence of Save Points creates Traverse goalsthat break the Consistent Reality Logic.

As Traverse depends on players moving from one area within the Game World to the other, the completion of the goal guarantees that the player has changed environment. This can be used to set up different modes of play or explain variations in repeating goals and progress the Narrative Structure.

Trying to achieve Traverse goals makes Aim & Shoot actions more difficulty, regardless of if the players performing the Traverse goals are aware of the actions.


Instantiates: Goal Points, Progress Indicators, Movement, Contact, Area Control

Modulates: Aim & Shoot, Selectable Sets of Goals, Narrative Structures, Stealth

Instantiated by: Save Points, Delivery, Exploration, Reconnaissance, Inaccessible Areas

Modulated by: Herd, Safe Havens, Chargers, Evade, Privileged Movement, Strategic Locations, Obstacles, Traces, Enemies, Indirect Control

Potentially conflicting with:

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(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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