Chargers

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Chargers are locations in game worlds that affect the players' resources when they are in the location.

Some games with game worlds have places that provide benefits to players as long as they are in them. When these benefits consist of recharging resources or adding speed these game world areas are Chargers.

Examples

Speed boosters in race games of the Super Monkey Ball series give, as their names imply, more speed to the player driving on top of the charger.

The Battlefield series have two categories of chargers: medicine cabinets and ammunition caches that replenish the health and ammunition of the players' avatars, and repair facilities that fix damages to vehicles.

The Board Game RoboRally contains repair areas, which remove damage from the player's robot if it spends time there.

Using the pattern

Creating Chargers require that one decided both what effects they should have and where in Game Worlds they should be placed. The two main options regarding effects for Chargers are to provide either Resources or Improved Abilities. Examples of Resources that can be given by Chargers are Ammunition and Health while a common Improved Ability in Racing is a temporary boost in speed. For Chargers that replenish Resources the question of how fast they refill players supplies also need to be considered.

Chargers and Power-Ups have quite similar effects on gameplay and one might consider replacing one with the other, or make use of both in games.

Interface Aspects

Given their importance to gameplay, it may be relevant to make Chargers have Diegetically Outstanding Features so that players are unlikely to miss noticing them.

Consequences

Chargers main function is to provide Supporting Goals in Races. While Chargers in many cases affect Resources that players have when they activate, they can also be treated as Resources in themselves. Chargers provide means for players to get Improved Abilities as well as being sources for Renewable Resources. In the latter case, they function as both Resource Locations and Resource Generators but do typically not produce any Resources unless players are in the immediate vicinity. They are Environmental Effects in Game Worlds that provide Location-Fixed Abilities and usually define natural Collecting and Traverse goals to Gain Competence, and may add additional challenges to Maneuvering. All these characteristics of Chargers help make the areas that contain them into Strategic Locations.

If Chargers provides bonuses beyond the normal limits of the game, i.e., letting players move faster than otherwise possible, the Improved Abilities they provide can also be seen as Privileged Abilities. For Chargers that give a certain effect per time unit spent in its effect area (typically a replenishing of a Resource), staying on them require Trade-Offs for players between this and other actions, and may also require a Risk/Reward judgments if hostile actions are possible against them.

Relations

Can Instantiate

Collecting, Environmental Effects, Gain Competence, Improved Abilities, Location-Fixed Abilities, Privileged Abilities, Strategic Locations, Resources, Resource Generators, Resource Locations, Renewable Resources, Risk/Reward, Supporting Goals, Trade-Offs, Traverse

Can Modulate

Health, Maneuvering, Races, Resources

Can Be Instantiated By

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Can Be Modulated By

Diegetically Outstanding Features

Possible Closure Effects

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Potentially Conflicting With

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History

An updated version of the pattern Chargers that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design[1].

References

  1. Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.

Acknowledgements

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