From gdp3
Jump to: navigation, search

Letting players choose the names of characters or other game elements.

In many games players can create or change the specifics of their game world. One of the simplest of these effects is the ability to choose the names that are to be used. Naming things in this fashion can both help players feels that they are creating something themselves and help them organize the game world so it is easier to overview.


Naming probably first became an integral part of games in Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Hârnmaster where players named their characters. The has been carried over to computer-based variants such as the Elder Scrolls series and the Fallout series. While not thematically similar, Naming also appears in Manager Games such as Bloodbowl, Hattrick, and the Football Manager series.

The Civilization series proposed names for players' cities based on the civilization they are playing, but this can be changes to suit the players' whims. The Europa Universalis series and Hearts of Iron series lets players change the name of provinces they have conquered or colonized which in these case can ensure thematic rather than historic accuracy. These two series also allows the renaming of leaders and armies.

CityVille lets players change the name of businesses they start within the game.

Using the pattern

Implementing Naming is rather unproblematic - it mainly consists of letting players have the freedom to affect a part of the game state. What is to be named is the main choice: is it Characters (most often Player Characters), Territories, Units, or Abstract Player Constructs such as civilizations or teams. Another choice is if players can only do Naming once, e.g. before gameplay begins, or whenever they wish to.

In Multiplayer Games, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, and Massively Single-Player Online Games there may however be a need to keep names unique which requires some extra work.

Interface Aspects

As an action not often done compared to other actions in a game, Naming is usually enabled through Secondary Interface Screens or HUD Interfaces.


Naming provides players with a small amount of Creative Control in that they get a Freedom of Choice for what game elements such as Abstract Player Constructs, Avatars, Characters, Territories, and Units should be called. It can also be used to support Handles but in this case let players give themselves names. The Creative Control can however make Naming result in breakdowns of Thematic Consistency.

With the exception of Handles this provides a focus for players to have Identification and Emotional Engrossment to the gameplay. Since Naming actions rarely affects the evaluation of gameplay events, these actions are Extra-Game Consequences and when done during set-up phases examples of Initial Personalization.

For Avatars, Naming creates a minimal level of Avatar Personalization while for Characters it leads to what is probably the smallest amount of input from players to be able to claim that the Characters are Player-Created Characters.

Naming can help make Micro Management easier since players can give names to the game elements managed that reflect their gameplay roles.


Can Instantiate

Avatar Personalization, Creative Control, Emotional Engrossment, Extra-Game Consequences, Freedom of Choice, Handles, Identification, Initial Personalization

with Characters

Player-Created Characters

with Avatars

Avatar Personalization

Can Modulate

Abstract Player Constructs, Avatars, Characters, Initial Personalization, Micro Management Territories, Units

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

HUD Interfaces, Secondary Interface Screens

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Thematic Consistency


New pattern created in this wiki.