Check Points

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Locations in game worlds which signify game state changes directly related to the progress of some goal.

Goals in many games consist of moving between different places in game worlds or levels. Check Points act as places which indicate having reach such points, or points along the way.


All Racing Games, such as the Sega Rally series and Out Run, make use of Check Points by having goal lines for completing the race. Racing goal in other games, e.g. the Assassin's Creed series use Check Points in the same fashion. They are also used in some of the team versus team levels in the Left 4 Dead series.

Capture the Flag variants of multiplayer first-person shooters, such as in some variants of Quake and Unreal Tournament, have certain areas where the enemy flag has to be delivered for the team to score.

Using the pattern

Check Points are typically used to create Traverse goals (including Delivery and Herd goals) or Backtracking Levels (by having a Check Point at the furthermost point of a Level). They are also used indicate how to achieve Area Control, notice how far players have gotten in Levels or Continuous Goals. By doing these things, they affect Movement in Game Worlds.

Check Points can be placed anywhere that makes sense to specific goals in a game, but Safe Havens and Save Points are examples of game features that quite naturally suit themselves as Check Points as well (Check Points can of course also be modified so they act as Save Points also - so the patterns can affect each other). By their placements, they can draw players together in Multiplayer Games, e.g. to get many to Arenas, and thereby offer a design solution for getting players co-located in games with large Game Worlds or Levels.

Otherwise, Check Points are typically Geospatial Game Widgets. Regardless, the location of Check Points can be indicated locally or from a distance by Diegetically Outstanding Features. They can also be indicated on Mini-maps to make them easier to reach.

Diegetic Aspects

Check Points typically work against Diegetic Consistency since most they are Geospatial Game Widgets

Interface Aspects

Check Points is an Interface Pattern.


Check Points are Supporting Goals that provide both Point of Interest Indicators and a type of Progress Indicators or Goal Indicators. They can serve as Landmarks or Traces and can denote Strategic Locations, or make places into Strategic Locations simply by their own existence. By their placement they can make players engage in Game World Exploration as part of trying to achieve some other goal.

When reaching Check Points are used to achieve Area Control, they create Gain Ownership goals.


Can Instantiate

Backtracking Levels, Delivery, Game World Exploration, Goal Indicators, Herd, Landmarks, Point of Interest Indicators, Progress Indicators, Strategic Locations, Supporting Goals, Traces, Traverse

with Area Control

Gain Ownership

Can Modulate

Area Control, Arenas, Continuous Goals, Game Worlds, Levels, Movement, Multiplayer Games

Can Be Instantiated By

Geospatial Game Widgets, Safe Havens, Save Points

Can Be Modulated By

Diegetically Outstanding Features, Herd, Mini-maps, Save Points

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Diegetic Consistency


An updated version of the pattern Goal 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.