Information presented to players about their current goals in a game.
Goals help direct players attention and efforts in a game, and accepting them is part of what brings meaning to playing games. However, some goals can be difficult to keep track of or it can be difficult to keep track of how close to reaching them one is. Goal Indicators help players with this through providing information about the goals they (or other players) have.
In the Grand Theft Auto series the subgoals in the game are indicated with floating arrows which point out where the goal objects are located. The nature of these goals are revealed to players in cutscenes before start they start.
Chess, Backgammon and other classical Board Games state the goals of players directly in the rules (check-mate the opponent's king, move all the pieces off the board). The position of the opponent's king in Chess and the location of the home base in Backgammon are Goal Indicators that guide players' actions during gameplay.
Using the pattern
Goal Indicators can be created using Check Points, Closure Points, and Progress Indicators. Cutscenes and Narration Structures in general can also be used. They can be modulated by using Direct Information or not.
Since Goal Indicators provide information to players they work against them having Uncertainty of Information. It also works against Player-Defined Goals in the sense that it draws attention to goal created by game designers.
Goal Indicators is an Interface Pattern.
Using Goal Indicators typically changes how Public Information is displayed to players, often affecting Time Pressure and Time Limits whenever they are part of a goal definition. They often help provide Game State Overviews.
Can Be Instantiated By
Can Be Modulated By
Possible Closure Effects
Potentially Conflicting With
An updated version of the pattern Goal Indicators that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design.
- Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.