Spawn Points

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Locations in game worlds where avatars, units, or enemies appear.

Many games have game elements appear in their game worlds. Spawn Points are locations in the game worlds which are distinguishable by these appearances, and they are often very influential over gameplay since they can both determine where players begin playing and be the source of vital resources for winning the games.


Players of Ludo do not start with all their pieces on the game track. Instead they have to introduce them at their own specific Spawn Points.

The classic arcade game Gauntlet has monster generators from which monsters pour out until the players destroy the generators (Minecraft does as well even if monster can spawn in other areas also). This makes these game elements into Spawn Points.

Spawn Points are heavily used in multiplayer first-person shooters such as the Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, and the Battlefield, Quake, Team Fortress, and Unreal Tournament series. Some of these games offer additional variations on Spawn Points: Battlefield 2 lets players spawn on their squad leaders while Battlefield Vietnam lets players spawn in vehicles that can be steered around the game area and players can create tunnel exits that function as mobile Spawn Points.

Using the pattern

Almost all games that use Spawning in Game Boards, Game Worlds, or Levels make use of Spawn Points although Converters and Resource Generators in general can be seen as making use of Spawn Points as well. The main design choice to be made about Spawn Points is where to locate them (Spawning concerns what spawns in them). The suitable locations are usually restricted by if the game should have Challenging Gameplay and what they chances for Surprises should be. Introducing whatever game elements are spawned into an unprotected environment makes both likely to occur; Safe Havens are quite often used as Spawn Points, or Spawn Points are surrounded by Safe Havens, to avoid this. Other factors that may influence the location of Spawn Points include if the Spawning taking place there is part of Death Consequences, how suitable the surrounding environment is to Camping, and if the game makes use of Lives. Battlefield 2 and Battlefield Vietnam show how Spawn Points do not have to be stationary points, instead respectively linking the Spawn Points to the position of Avatars and Vehicles, and this is in the former case a Privileged Ability to certain Avatars.

In Team-based games the placement of static Spawn Points is often done so Symmetry between the Teams are achieved, this as a Balancing Effects.

Diegetic Aspects

Spawn Points can challenge Thematic Consistency since there may be no real world equivalents for such locations (magic or technology that supports teleportation is the most common explanation). An exception to this is Spawn Points located near the edge of Game Worlds. This since they can represent access points to other parts of the worlds - even if gameplay cannot occur there - and thereby can give an Illusion of Open Space.

While Spawn Points can simply be locations in Game Worlds, they can also be represented through game elements. Avatars and Vehicles have been mentioned above, but Gauntlet and Minecraft gives another example where Generators are Spawn Points. Having Spawn Points as Generators opens up the suggestion that these can be interacted with to activate Spawning - this may be possible for players to do or may happen independently of their presence (in Persistent Game Worlds there does not even have to be any players logged on).


Spawn Points are a form of Producers that define where Spawning occurs in Game Boards, Game Worlds, or Levels. Spawn Points are in themselves Strategic Locations as the introduction of new game elements appears there. When they produce the targets for Collecting goals, Spawn Points can encourage Camping or Encouraged Return Visits while they can provide Tension to players whose Avatars spawn there if they are under immediate threat there. Spawn Points can also promote "spawn" Camping in other players if players' Avatars appear unprotected at the Spawn Points. They quite naturally affect Enemies when these are spawned during gameplay.

Spawn Points that can be placed by players provide opportunities for them to try and create Flanking Routes.


Can Instantiate

Camping, Challenging Gameplay, Flanking Routes, Illusion of Open Space, Producers, Strategic Locations, Surprises, Tension

with Collecting

Encouraged Return Visits

Can Modulate

Converters, Death Consequences, Enemies, Game Boards, Game Worlds, Levels, Safe Havens, Spawning

Can Be Instantiated By

Avatars, Converters, Generators, Privileged Abilities, Resource Generators, Spawning, Vehicles

Can Be Modulated By

Persistent Game Worlds, Safe Havens

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Thematic Consistency


An updated version of the pattern Spawn 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.