From gdp3
Jump to: navigation, search

Mechanics that make aiming easier for players in games by automating the activity to some extent.

Many computed-based games contain situations where players need to aim at something and then fire at that thing (while most common for combat some games requires the same for taking photos). When this is deemed too challenging by the game designers to do unaided - something more likely in games with third-person views - this can be addressed by adding support from the game system. This game design feature is called Auto-Aim although the actual way that players are helped in aiming and shooting can vary.


Examples of games that provide Auto-Aim functionality include the Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Just Cause, Mass Effect, and Tomb Raider series. The site GiantBomb has an extensive list of more games using various forms of Auto-Aim.

Using the pattern

Auto-Aim is added to games to make Aim & Shoot actions easier, most often in Combat situations and more often in games with Third-Person Views than First-Person Views since these types of actions are more difficult in these.

The site GiantBomb describes three different types of Auto-Aim[1]: Reticule Magnetism, Bullet Magnetism, and Lock-on. The first works by moving players' Crosshairs towards Enemies while the other modifies the trajectories of shots so that those aimed slightly wrong can hit anyway. Lock-on indicates Enemies with clearly distinguishable marker, often Geospatial Game Widgets or design solutions functionality the same as these, which players can traverse through by simple button presses and by doing so move their Crosshairs between the Enemies.

Interface Aspects

Auto-Aim can be considered an Interface Pattern since it affects how players need to do Aim & Shoot maneuvers in games.


As stated above, Auto-Aim is a way of making Aim & Shoot actions easier in games. By doing so, they create Player Augmentations and Player/Character Skill Composites. As such, they can both support and work against Balancing Effects in Multiplayer Games. Since they increase players' effectiveness, the pattern supports an Exaggerated Perception of Influence, at least regarding the players' own contribution to the successes of the actions. Those instances of Auto-Aim that use lock-on add Point of Interest Indicators to games.

Auto-Aim can be said to work against the Gameplay Mastery pattern since it removes the need to become skilled in one area of competence from a game design. It also works against Perceivable Margins because it can actually become impossible to notice near misses, something which also makes the pattern incompatible with Near Miss Indicators.


Can Instantiate

Balancing Effects, Exaggerated Perception of Influence, Player Augmentations, Player/Character Skill Composites, Point of Interest Indicators

Can Modulate

Aim & Shoot, Crosshairs

Can Be Instantiated By

Geospatial Game Widgets

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Balancing Effects, Gameplay Mastery, Near Miss Indicators, Perceivable Margins


New pattern created for this wiki by Staffan Björk.


  1. Page on the GiantBomb site describing Auto-Aim.