Scripted Information Sequences

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Preset sequences of events that take place while players can still affect gameplay.

Storytelling can be difficult to use in games since the telling can come in conflict with the possibility for players to do things. Scripted Information Sequences is one way to try and combine these by have small localized series of events be presented in the game world simultaneously as players can interact with that world. The sequences may be able to interrupt but in many cases cannot be this but this does not have to rob players of gameplay agency if the sequences are placed so there are diegetic reasons for this, e.g. the events taking place on the other side of a chasm or bulletproof glass window.


Half-Life pioneered the use of Scripted Information Sequences in First-Person Shooters[1]. The Uncharted series has shown that it can effectively be used also in games played through third-person views.

Using the pattern

Scripted Information Sequences is an alternative to Cutscenes that lets computer-based games present Predetermined Story Structures while still letting gameplay continue. Besides the narrative aspect that wish to be told through the sequences, the main design issues with instantiating the pattern lies in how to handle the case where players may wish to either affect the Scripted Information Sequences or ignore them. Letting players affect the sequences can be done by designing them as Interruptible Actions but this may ruin the possibility to convey Predetermined Story Structures. For this reason, while at the same time not making it too obvious that players cannot affect the Scripted Information Sequences, it is quite common to place them within perceivable but Inaccessible Areas, e.g. through using Invisible Walls.

Scripted Information Sequences can be Traps when they threaten to make players lose Health or Lives unless they move out of the way for the events in the sequences, and this is a way to make it unlikely that players ignore the sequences. While players cannot be force to have their attention focused upon Scripted Information Sequences without it being part of gameplay - a design solution doing this is a Cutscene instead - they can be encourage to view it for gameplay reasons besides the narrative reasons by placing Clues in them.

Quick Time Events have similarities to Scripted Information Sequences in that both are preset sequences of events. However, in Quick Time Events players need to react to these events or fail gameplay challenges.

Narrative Aspects

Scripted Information Sequences is a narration pattern so it directly relates to narrative aspects.


Scripted Information Sequences is a way to present Predetermined Story Structures during gameplay, but which are even so typically Ultra-Powerful Events once they have been started. Even if this means that players may not be able to interrupt or influence the Scripted Information Sequences it still gives an amount of Freedom of Choice compared to Cutscenes in that one either can choose to at least explore other parts of Game Worlds while the animations are shown (if the sequences does not force players to react to it) or is part of gameplay. Given this Freedom of Choice and the fact that the Scripted Information Sequences are located at specific points in the Game Worlds when they are enacted makes them a form of active Environmental Storytelling.

If players can note that the sequences are scripted, this can hurt any Exaggerated Perception of Influence they may have. Also, while Scripted Information Sequences can be used to make Algorithmic Agents express their Own Agenda, this display of Own Agenda by Non-Player Characters can be compromised if the game has Replayability; this since seeing a Scripted Information Sequence several time reveals the artificial nature of the Non-Player Characters.

When combined with as-of-yet not detected Invisible Walls, Scripted Information Sequences can simultaneously support Narrative Engrossment and Spatial Engrossment since they can place player spatially in the immediate proximity of unfolding events. Although Scripted Information Sequences typically take place where players can give them their full attention, the pattern can be used to modulate The Show Must Go On by requiring Attention Demanding Gameplay and thereby require players to engage in Attention Swapping. The Scripted Information Sequences that are Traps have Attention Demanding Gameplay by themselves.


Can Instantiate

Environmental Storytelling, Freedom of Choice, Own Agenda, Predetermined Story Structures, Traps, Ultra-Powerful Events

with Invisible Walls

Narrative Engrossment, Spatial Engrossment

with The Show Must Go On

Attention Demanding Gameplay, Attention Swapping

with Traps

Attention Demanding Gameplay

Can Modulate

The Show Must Go On

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Clues, Inaccessible Areas, Interruptible Actions, Invisible Walls

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Exaggerated Perception of Influence

Own Agenda in games that are also intended to have Replayability


New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Wikipedia entry for the game Half-Life.


Jonas Linderoth