Transport Routes

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A route in a game world that players need to traverse to get to certain locations.

Games with game worlds typically have several areas where interesting gameplay can occur. Although interesting gameplay can occur in them, Transport Routes are the areas in-between the areas explicitly designed to provide interesting gameplay (or narration).


Snakes & Ladders and Afrikan Tähti are examples of old Board Games where only some of the location spaces cause gameplay events to occur, making the others Transport Routes between these. Wizard's Apprentice is an experimental Computer-Augmented Board Game with the same design structure.

Both "old-school" Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons and FPS Games such as the Doom series or the Quake series contain Transport Routes in the form of corridors. The Half-Life series have these also but also provide a section in Half-Life 2 where one uses a car to move over longer distances.

Using the pattern

The basic purpose of Transport Routes is to require Movement between two points in Game Boards, Game Worlds, or Levels. Alternatives to using Transport Routes include Quick Travel and Warp Zones. One way of creating Transport Routes is "cutting" or "spanning" through otherwise impassable game world materials, and here Vehicle Sections is a special case which requires or strongly promotes the use of Vehicles. Another way it to limit Movement possibilities through Inaccessible Areas, Invisible Walls, or Obstacles so that the remaining routes are the only Transport Routes. A third option is simply to use Cut Scenes. As a pattern relating to connecting locations together, it has relations to many such patterns relating to connections. Conditional Passageways can be used to only make the Transport Routes accessible at some point during gameplay while One-Way Travel limits access to one direction. Quick Returns makes travelling in one direction optional while Backtracking Levels makes it a requirement.

Diegetic Aspects

Unlike Warp Zones, Transport Routes maintain Diegetic Consistency since the pattern make Movement possible between places in Game Boards, Game Worlds, or Levels that should or could be diegetically possible. Illusion of Open Space can be necessary to include in Transport Routes when striving for Diegetic Consistency if the diegesis implies that one would be able to perceive more of the Game World from the Transport Route than the route itself.

Narration Aspects

Transport Routes is not a Narration Pattern in itself but narration can be provided in Transport Routes to make them more interesting. The most natural way to do this is through Environmental Storytelling since it is an environment, and examples of patterns that can be used for this reason (or to just make the routes more varied) include Big Dumb Objects, Inaccessible Areas, and Landmarks.


Transport Routes give rise to basic Traverse goals of moving from one end of it to the other. They can create Choke Points if opposing exists or the transport capacity is limited, and Laning if several different Transport Routes between the same start and end area exists. Game World Navigation can be necessary when players have several Transport Routes to choose from and Lull Periods can occur if they are sufficiently long and do not require much attention from players.


Can Instantiate

Choke Points, Diegetic Consistency, Game World Navigation, Laning, Lull Periods, Traverse

Can Modulate

Game Boards, Game Worlds, Levels, Movement

Can Be Instantiated By

Cut Scenes, Inaccessible Areas, Invisible Walls, Obstacles, Vehicle Sections

Can Be Modulated By

Backtracking Levels, Big Dumb Objects, Conditional Passageways, Environmental Storytelling, Inaccessible Areas, Illusion of Open Space, Landmarks, One-Way Travel, Quick Returns

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Quick Travel, Warp Zones


New pattern created in this wiki.