Lull Periods

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Gameplay time when players are not stressed about performing actions.

Like most other types of designed artifacts or activities that are intended to give experiences, games can vary in the intensity of those experiences over the time of a game instance. Lull Periods are period of time when the gameplay is relaxed in the sense that players do not need to react quickly to game events and have a freedom in how much they interact with, or focus on, the game.


Many strategy games, e.g. the Civilization series and Europa Universalis series alternate between intense periods of expansion or warfare and calmer period when the players' civilizations steadily grow and develop.

Games that are supposed to provoke horror or at least tense anticipation, e.g. the Silent Hill series and the Left 4 Dead series, alternate between Lull Periods where players explore or move through the game worlds and intense scenes when players need to focus solely on the forces attacking them.

Using the pattern

Lull Periods can range from complete removal of possibilities to perform actions to gameplay time when there is not particular stress. This makes the latter end of the scale subjective, and the pattern into a Subjective Pattern. Perhaps the most objective use of it for the latter end is as interruptions between Waves as for example the Left 4 Dead series make use of. Cut Scenes and other forms of patterns that create Downtime can be used for the former end of the scale while moving along Transport Routes or observing well-behaving Exploitation or Gameplay Engines can be used for the latter end. Dedicated Game Facilitators and Game Masters can be used for both and can easily move from one end to the other of the scale as needed.

Narration Aspects

Although Lull Periods do not have to relate to a game's narration, it can be used as a Narration Pattern for reason of tempo.


As its definition suggested, Lull Periods is not compatible with Attention Demanding Gameplay or Tension but can provide players with Anticipation if they know approximately when the Lull Periods will end. Player can make use of Lull Periods to engage in Pottering or Stimulated Planning, and in Multiplayer Games experience Togetherness simply because they can focus their attention more on the players than on the gameplay without as great risk of missing something.


Can Instantiate

Pottering, Stimulated Planning

with Multiplayer Games


Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Cut Scenes, Dedicated Game Facilitators, Downtime, Exploitation, Game Masters, Gameplay Engines, Transport Routes

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Attention Demanding Gameplay, Tension


New pattern created in this wiki.