Attention Demanding Gameplay

From gdp3
Jump to: navigation, search

Gameplay where players can easily suffer bad consequences for being inattentive at any given point.

Many games are designed with the intent to make people be interesting in them while playing but this can take different forms. They can be said to have Attention Demanding Gameplay when they put players in risk of losing or being penalized for being inattentive at any time, something that also often occurs in naturally evolve games.


Sports which are playing against other people, e.g. Soccer, Ice Hockey, or Tennis, have Attention Demanding Gameplay since players need to keep continuous track of what other players are doing at all time (besides the ball or puck).

Pinball Games such as Pinball Dreams and Star Trek: The Next Generation show how mechanical or computer-based games can have Attention Demanding Gameplay, and this was all-prevailing in Arcade Games (e.g. Pac-Man and Space Invaders). More recent examples of Computer Games having Attention Demanding Gameplay include FPS Games (e.g. the Counter-Strike series and the Left 4 Dead series) and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games (e.g. League of Legends, the StarCraft series and the Defense of the Ancients series) since they require people to pay close attention to the actions of their opponents or enemies.

Using the pattern

The primary ways of creating Attention Demanding Gameplay revolve around time and attention. Time Limits to perform certain actions can force players to have to pay attention to these while they last (an archetypical use of Time Limits is together with Traps) and Real-Time Games form a solid foundation for the pattern since this allows events to occur independently of players' actions. However, neither Time Pressure nor Time Limited Game Instances do necessarily create Attention Demanding Gameplay as the game 4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Uniqueness shows. The pattern Always Vulnerable covers the "extreme" version of Real-Time Games where assets in a game can be in danger even when players are not playing.

Given Real-Time Games, Attention Demanding Gameplay can easily be created using common patterns such as Enemies, Combat, and Maneuvering. More specialized instances can be created locally through Flanking Routes, Guard, or Game Items together with Stealing. Scripted Information Sequences naturally draw players' attention and can create Attention Demanding Gameplay when used together with Traps or The Show Must Go On.

Various ways can modify Attention Demanding Gameplay once a design with it has been created. Disruption of Focused Attention or required Attention Swapping (e.g. through providing multiple Focus Loci) makes it more difficult to maintain. In contrast, letting players interact with God Fingers as Focus Loci can make it easier for players to quickly move between various actions they need to perform. Finally, simply modifying the Penalties associated with the failure of having attention modifies the demand of being attentive.

Attention Demanding Gameplay can be difficult to use together with Game Pauses, Minimalized Social Weight, or Ubiquitous Gameplay.


Attention Demanding Gameplay gives rise to, or increases, Tension in games since players must keep their focus on the gameplay at all times. Failure to do so and the resulting effects can create FUBAR Enjoyment. Not surprisingly, the pattern is not compatible with Lull Periods.


Can Instantiate

FUBAR Enjoyment, Tension

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Always Vulnerable, Combat, Enemies, Flanking Routes, Focus Loci, Guard, Maneuvering, Real-Time Games, Time Limits

Game Items together with Stealing

Scripted Information Sequences together with Traps or The Show Must Go On

Time Limits together with Traps

Can Be Modulated By

Attention Swapping, Disruption of Focused Attention, God Fingers, Penalties

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Game Pauses, Lull Periods, Minimalized Social Weight, Ubiquitous Gameplay


New pattern created in this wiki.