Outcome Indicators

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Means of providing players with information about an outcome of an action in addition to the diegetic effect of the action.

Outcome of actions in some games may not be easily detectable. This may be because the effect is not easily noticeable, takes some time to manifest itself, or because the action takes place beyond a player's spheres of awareness. In these cases, games may provide explicit indicators, Outcome Indicators of what has happened and how the game state has been affected.


Racing Games, e.g. the F-Zero series and the Need for Speed series, typically inform all players when one player has completed the race since the other players may not be close enough to notice this otherwise.

Combat in many Computer-based Roleplaying Games have explicit and exact Outcome Indicators of the results of an attack as the numerical value of the hit points delivered is displayed after a successful attack.

Fighting Games such as the Soul Calibur series shows blood after successful attacks and sparks after successful blocks. These are not effects of the action since they do not represent the game state, which is done by the avatars positions, stances, and health bars, but rather indicators that the player has succeeded in an action.

Using the pattern

Designing Outcome Indicators mainly consist of what game state changes needs to be indicated and how; when is typically simply directly after they occur but for how long afterwards can be important as well. Near Miss Indicators are a specific type of Outcome Indicators for the outcome of near misses.

The information shown by Outcome Indicators can be modified to be Direct or Perfect Information, but can also be vague to promote a certain level of Uncertainty of Information. Outcome Indicators however works against Uncertainty of Information since it does provide information about an outcome.

Interface Aspects

Outcome Indicators is an Interface Pattern.


Outcome Indicators are Game State Indicators that help players have Predictable Consequences and can be part of Game State Overviews. They can make clear Rewards for players as well as make information about outcomes into Public Information.


Can Instantiate

Game State Indicators, Predictable Consequences

Can Modulate

Game State Overviews, Public Information, Rewards

Can Be Instantiated By

Near Miss Indicators

Can Be Modulated By

Direct Information, Uncertainty of Information, Perfect Information

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Uncertainty of Information


An updated version of the pattern Closure Points that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design[1].


  1. Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.