Regenerating Resources

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Resources in games that are created simply by the passing of game time.

Players often manipulate various types of resources in games, and in many cases use up these through various actions. Regenerating Resources are those which by themselves create more over time without any necessary actions performed by players.

Giantbomb has entries for the more specialized concepts "Regenerating Ammo"[1], "Regenerating Health"[2], and "Shield Regeneration"[3]. Similarly, TV Tropes has entries for "Regenerating Health"[4], "Regenerating Mana"[5], and "Regenerating Shield"[6].


Board Games that let players place "workers" to take actions, e.g. Agricola, Dominant Species and Lords of Waterdeep, only provide players with a limited number of actions they can do every round. However, since players get these workers back at the end of the round they are a form of Regenerating Resources. Money is another common form of Regenerating Resources in Board Games, players typically receive them in the beginning of a round. Although this is typically affected by which investments players have done, it can still be regarded as Regenerating Resources when one does not have to use any other Resources to receive the money.

Roguelikes, i.e. games such as Angband, Rogue and the Diablo series, lets the health and mana of players' character replenish over times. Computer-based Roleplaying Games such as Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, the Fallout series and the Mass Effect series have similar ways of letting character heal or rest over time.

Regenerating health has become more and more common in FPS Games. Spec Ops: The Line, Wolfenstein: New World Order, and the Battlefield, Call of Duty, Just Cause, and Halo series to mention a few, have varying mechanisms for this although for some of the game series this has been introduced later. The Halo series also have a similar system for regenerating force shields (and had this before it had health regeneration). Other Computer Games with similar system include World of Warcraft and later versions in the Deus Ex, Metal Gear Sold, Metroid, and Tomb Raider series. FTL: Faster Than Light has Regenerating Resources in the form of power shields that grow stronger by time after being hit. The largest units in Warhammer 40K, e.g. Imperial Titans or Ork Gargants, also have power shields that have a certain likelihood to regain their strength each turn after being overloaded.

Puzzle Games such as Candy Crush Saga and some versions of Peggle have lives as Regenerating Resources.

Using the pattern

Regenerating Resources is introduced in games as a way of making Resources into Renewable Resources but only require time to pass for this to happen. They can be necessary in Persistent Game Worlds where players would otherwise completely depleted the Resources.

Regenerating Resources are quite often limited by Resource Caps to avoid very large amounts of Resources to build up over time as gameplay progresses.

Examples of common types of Resources that can need to be regenerated for gameplay to progress at a wanted pace include Ammunition, Budgeted Action Points, Energy, Health, Money. The rate at which Resources regenerate can be used to fine-tune gameplay or offer choices and actions; Income is for example one way of regulating how Money can work as a Regenerating Resource. Lives are Regenerating Resources in Puzzle Games such as Candy Crush Saga and some versions of Peggle.

Narration Aspects

Regenerating Resources can, depending on their thematic nature, put strains on a Thematic Consistency.


Regenerating Resources make Resources into a form of Renewable Resources through Game Element Insertion. They provide one half of the mechanisms needed to create Faucet/Drain or Faucet/Sink systems, the other some form of Game Element Removal. When used together with Resource Caps, Regenerating Resources work to ensure that there is a steady supply of Resources but still making them into Limited Resources.

Regenerating Resources in Persistent Game Worlds often result in Encouraged Return Visits because players may need certain Resources and know they will be available at a certain point in the future; one example of such as Resource is Budgeted Action Points - players can simply not perform any more actions until after a certain period of time has passed. This typically makes games using Regenerating Resources on Budgeted Action Points into Tick-Based Games, as does its application on or Lives.

Regenerating Resources as a pattern works directly against Non-Renewable Resources. By doing so, it also works against Limited Resources if time is not an issue and this also make the pattern work against Resource Competition. Further, as the pattern does explicitly not one type of Resource to create another, it breaks the requirement of Closed Economies.


Can Instantiate

Faucet/Drain, Faucet/Sink, Game Element Insertion, Renewable Resources

with Persistent Game Worlds

Encouraged Return Visits

with Budgeted Action Points or Lives

Tick-Based Games

with Budgeted Action Points and Persistent Game Worlds

Encouraged Return Visits

Can Modulate

Ammunition, Budgeted Action Points, Energy, Health, Lives, Money, Persistent Game Worlds, Resources

Limited Resources when used with Resource Caps

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Income, Resource Caps

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Closed Economies, Limited Resources, Non-Renewable Resources, Resource Competition, Thematic Consistency


New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Entry for "Regenerating Ammo" at GiantBomb.
  2. Entry for "Regenerating Health" at GiantBomb.
  3. Entry for "Shield Regeneration" at GiantBomb.
  4. Entry for "Regenerating Health" at TV Tropes.
  5. Entry for "Regenerating Mana" at TV Tropes.
  6. Entry for "Regenerating Shield" at TV Tropes.