From gdp3
Jump to: navigation, search

Maps that provide overviews of the game world.

Many games provide game worlds that are so large that players cannot see all of them at once. When this makes it difficult for players to know where they or other friendly players are, or where they should be going games can alleviate this through the use of Mini-maps. These are interface components that provide an overview of the game world independent of the main presentation and can thereby show both a larger area and one that is not necessary the one where players are.


In the Civilization series, players can use Mini-maps to quickly move between different parts of the game world, seeing the contours landmasses as well as civilizations and individual cities.

The Mini-maps in World of Warcraft does not only show players where their characters are, but also their objectives, party members, raid members, and possibly their corpses from the previous time they died.

Using the pattern

Mini-maps are typically introduced in games to help Game World Navigation or provide awareness in Races, or both. They are designed by choosing how to present Game Worlds or Levels in a small and compact fashion (whenever Game Worlds are mentioned in the following this applies to Levels as well). While they typically always show the main differences in the environment (e.g. land, sea, and important Environmental Effects) and where players' Focus Loci are located, not all allow players to change what part of the Game Worlds they can see through the use of zooming and panning. Clues, Installations and other Strategic Locations, as well as other players' Focus Loci are game elements in the Game Worlds that can be interesting to shown on Mini-maps. The same goes for the locations of Environmental Effects and Check Points. To make them more subtle, Clues may only exist in Mini-maps to indicate generally where something interesting may be found but still force players to perceive Game Worlds directly to pinpoint things.

Mini-maps can be modulated by Fog of War, although this typically a logical consequence of applying it to Game Worlds first. An exception can be games with First-Person Views where players can see everything in their Line of Sight - here the main interface may not have Fog of War but the Mini-maps do. Geospatial Game Widgets and Point of Interest Indicators are other examples of patterns that can be applied to Mini-maps instead of Game Worlds: a common use of this is to allow players to point out interesting places to each other by drawing attentions to certain parts of the Mini-maps.

Interface Aspects

As an Interface Pattern, all aspects of Mini-maps are related to a game's interface.


Mini-maps are a form of Picture-in-Picture Views that provide Game State Overviews about the relation between players' Focus Loci and the Game Worlds, and often also Game State Indicators about other information besides that of where the Focus Loci is. This information may be done before players perceive it through their Focus Loci or only afterwards as help in Memorizing the layout of the Game Worlds. By doing so, Mini-maps can make Game World Exploration, Game World Navigation, and Traverse goals in general easier, or for the two first challenges even make them so trivial that they cease to be gameplay challenges.

For Multiplayer Games with Teams, Mini-maps can be instrumental in achieving Coordination and through that Team Combos and Team Strategy Identification,

Mini-maps may disrupt Spatial Engrossment if they are consulted since they present a different perspective of Game Worlds than the main interface.


Can Instantiate

Clues, Game State Indicators, Game State Overviews, Picture-in-Picture Views

with Teams

Coordination, Team Combos, Team Strategy Identification

Can Modulate

Check Points, Clues, Environmental Effects, Focus Loci, Game World Exploration, Game World Navigation, Game Worlds, Installations, Levels, Multiplayer Games, Races, Strategic Locations, Teams, Traverse

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Fog of War, Point of Interest Indicators, Geospatial Game Widgets

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Game World Exploration, Game World Navigation, Spatial Engrossment


New pattern created in this wiki.