Energy Penalties

From gdp3
Jump to: navigation, search

Penalties that numerically reduce game state values important for players to be able to perform actions.

Penalties in games can take many forms. Energy Penalties are those that do not automatically remove players from games or force them to repeat actions again but rather those that reduce numerical values and threaten to cause more serious penalties when these values hit certain thresholds.

Note: while Life Penalties fit the definition of Energy Penalties, the latter pattern is on a finer level of granularity than Life Penalties.


The most common Energy Penalties are those reducing health or hit points. These can be found in games as varying as Tabletop Roleplaying Games (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS), FPS Games (e.g. Call of Duty series and Duke Nukem 3D), Fighting Games (e.g. the Dead or Alive series and the Mortal Kombat series), MMOGs (e.g. City of Heroes and Dark Age of Camelot), and MOBAs (e.g. League of Legends and the StarCraft series).

Using the pattern

Energy Penalties are those Penalties that affect some Attributes or Resources that players have. They are typically diegetically motivated by being affected by Aim & Shoot actions or Traps but can be given for any type of reason. In practice, designing Energy Penalties consist of using Damage on Resources or Attributes, most typically Ammunition, Armor, Energy, or Health. An alternative is to apply Cooldown effects on abilities.


In games with Lives, Energy Penalties can lead to Life Penalties if the Attributes affected by them relate to the Lives. In games without Lives, they can instead directly lead to Game Termination Penalties and by extension Player Elimination.

Like other types of Penalties, Energy Penalties can give Tension but typically less so than for example Life Penalties or Game Termination Penalties.


Can Instantiate

Game Termination Penalties, Life Penalties, Penalties, Tension

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By


Damage together with Ammunition, Armor, Energy, Health or Resources

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki. However it is based on the concept "Energy punishment" introduced by Juul[1].


  1. Juul, J. (2009). Fear of Failing? The Many Meanings of Difficulty in Video Games. In Perron, B. & Wolf, M.J.P. (eds.): The Video Game Theory Reader 2, 2009.