Installations

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Tools in game worlds that due to their size or construction are immovable by players.

Some tools that players need to use are for diegetic or gameplay purposes not possible for them to carry around in game worlds. These large, heavy, or bolted down tools are Installations. They typically provide actions not possible elsewhere or more efficient version of those on can perform anyway.

Examples

Both the Low-Tech[1] and High-Tech[2] sourcebooks for the Tabletop Roleplaying Game GURPS have heavy weapons, e.g. ballistas and howitzers, that for most practical purposes are Installations for the players' characters.

Memoir '44 have sandbags that protect units in a hex until they leave it or are destroyed.

While Half-Life 2 has the "Mounted Pulse Gun", the Battlefield series have many real world heavy weapons as Installations, including the M1919 Browning, the 40mm Bofors, and the Phalanx CIWS[3].

Morrowind has "guild guides" in each of the five mage guilds, and these can provide instant teleportation to any of the other guilds for a fee.

Although not fitting the everyday meaning on Installations, cities in the Civilization series and entire provinces in the Victoria series are functionally Installations since they provide players with abilities to perform actions. Buildings in the Command and Conquer, Starcraft, and Warcraft series are also Installations in this way.

Using the pattern

Installations are either Bases or Tools that due their size have locations on Game Boards or in Levels of Game Worlds. In the case of where they are Tools they typically are Weapons or Armor. This makes the design of them mainly relate to the choices associated with Tools (or Weapons) and there spatial placement (Hullett & Whitehead[4] Turret pattern describes Installations with Weapons). Although most Installations are fixed in one position, Vehicles can be considered Installations, especially if they can be immobilized but continue to function as Tools or Weapons. When Installations are part of the Game Worlds rather than objects in them, they are examples of Environmental Effects that modify players' actions positively through Buffs. Given their size and typical scarcity, they often provide Privileged Abilities although this may be balanced by having required Cooldown periods. Self-Service Kiosks are Installations that provide Trading or more interaction that just activation to use.

Some Installations contain Minigames. Reasons for doing this include letting players have chances of earning Money through participating in Betting games (this is found for example in the Fallout series and the Leisure Suit Larry series) or to provide Easter Eggs (found for example in Day of the Tentacle).

While Weapons are common as Installations, Warp Zones can be Installations since they are Tools for Movement. Another common, but somewhat misnamed, type of Installations are the cities of the Civilization series, the buildings of Starcraft series, and the provinces of the Victoria series. These not only provide actions (thereby being Tools) but often have various Attributes and actions associated with them and are thereby Abstract Player Constructs.

One option for Installations is if they should be Destructible Objects with an initial Health value. If this is the case (as if for example is in the Battlefield series), an additional option is if they should reappear or not due to Spawning. Another is if they should be able to be created by players through Construction.

Diegetic Aspects

Installations are quite likely to be Diegetically Outstanding Features simply due to their size, but this may be ensured through linking Geospatial Game Widgets to them.

Interface Aspects

Starting to use Installations can merit a change in interface since both the actions possible and viewpoint to the Game World may be quite different. Since Installations typically make places into Strategic Locations, they are often shown on Mini-maps.

Consequences

Installations are Controllers and Tools, possibly Weapons and Armor, that modulate Avatars in that they can provide them with Location-Fixed Abilities. In some cases those that function as Controllers provide access to Resources and in these cases Installations become Resource Locations. Since they are only available at certain places, the abilities the give are a form of Privileged Abilities. They modulate the Game Boards, Levels or Game Worlds which contain them since they have their own presence there, and they typically make their location into Strategic Locations and thereby support Strategic Planning, as well as making Territories more valuable. They are quite likely to be Diegetically Outstanding Features and Landmarks, especially if tied to Geospatial Game Widgets. They are also quite likely Obstacles and can create Choke Points.

Like Avatars and Units, Installations can be game elements that disperse Fog of War. This, and that they can provide players with gameplay actions, can make them into Focus Loci. These features make Installations excellent for Expansion and Exploitation phases.

Relations

Can Instantiate

Armor, Choke Points, Controllers, Diegetically Outstanding Features, Expansion, Exploitation, Focus Loci, Fog of War, Landmarks, Location-Fixed Abilities, Obstacles, Privileged Abilities, Resource Locations, Strategic Locations, Strategic Planning, Tools, Weapons

with Minigames

Easter Eggs

Can Modulate

Avatars, Game Boards, Game Worlds, Levels, Territories

Can Be Instantiated By

Bases, Environmental Effects, Self-Service Kiosks, Vehicles, Warp Zones

Buffs together with Environmental Effects

Can Be Modulated By

Abstract Player Constructs, Construction, Cooldown, Diegetically Outstanding Features, Destructible Objects, Geospatial Game Widgets, Mini-maps, Spawning

Possible Closure Effects

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Potentially Conflicting With

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History

New pattern created in this wiki.

References

  1. Official page for the Low-Tech sourcebook for GURPS.
  2. Official page for the High-Tech sourcebook for GURPS.
  3. entry for emplaced weapons on the Battlefield Wiki at wikia.com.
  4. Hullett, K. & Whitehead, J. (2010). Design patterns in FPS levels. Foundations of Digital Games, June 19–21, 2010, Monterey, California, USA.

Acknowledgements

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