Choke Points

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Areas in game worlds which can be used to block access to other areas.

Parts of game worlds can be narrow or otherwise quite difficult to move through. When this funnels movement between different parts of game worlds into small areas, these areas become Choke Points which can easily be used to hinder access to other parts of the game worlds.


Choke Points are used in maps for many multiplayer First-Person Shooters as they concentrate gameplay activity. Counter-Strike has Choke Points a numerous Choke Points, for example the double doors in the Dust2 map and the stairs to the second floor of the safe-house in the Italy map. For Team Fortress 2, examples include the tunnel in the Gold Rush map and the blue team's initial exit points in the Dustbowl map. In Battlefield 2, some areas such as the road across the dam in the Kubra Dam map may be Choke Points more for vehicles than pedestrians since those on foot have several alternative routes.

Choke Points are also common in Real-Time Strategy Games such as the Starcraft and Warcraft series. For Starcraft II, the maps Incineration Zone and Kulas Ravine especially make heavy use of Choke Points. In contrast, tactics exist in Defense of the Ancients to exploit Choke Points near "creep" camps to harvest them more efficiently.

Using the pattern

Choke Points can be create through designing narrow sections in Game Worlds or Levels that solely or together with just a few other Choke Points provide access between other parts of the Game Worlds or Levels. Alternatively, Inaccessible Areas, Obstacles, or Environmental Effects can be used and Environmental Effects can make the use of Choke Points a Tradeoff rather than a requirement. Of course, if several Choke Points exist between the same areas - which makes them into Flanking Routes - then players also have a choice whether to use a particular Choke Point or not. The existence of Flanking Routes may however make locations stop functioning as Choke Points if they always offer easier access to other parts of the Game Worlds. Flanking Routes may however contain Choke Points complicating the relation between the two patterns.

Galleries can specifically create Choke Points through the narrow passages they contain. Installations can also create Choke Points, and this is one way of letting players create them during gameplay if they can create the Installations. Destructible Objects can offer the same possibility if they create Obstacles when they are destroyed.


Choke Points are Strategic Locations that affect how Movement can be done in Game Worlds and Levels, primarily by creating Inaccessible Areas. By doing so they are often the targets of Area Control goals regardless of if it is players or their Enemies controlling the Choke Points; this quite naturally leads to Eliminate goals. The resulting Combat against Enemies is typically easier or harder than "normal" Combat depending on who controls the Choke Points. This can lead to Repeated Domination but can also likely shift the balance of which weapons are most efficient (powerful but short ranged weapons, such as the flamethrower of the Pyro in Team Fortress 2, is most efficient in Choke Points). Besides creating Eliminate goals, Choke Points can create Guard goals and make Stealth goals more difficult.

Providing several Choke Points for players to try to get access to is an explicit way of creating a Selectable Set of Goals (even if games with Teams can try several at once).

The existence of Choke Points can make areas connected by the Choke Points into Strongholds.


Can Instantiate

Area Control Repeated Domination, Selectable Set of Goals, Strategic Locations, Strongholds, Tradeoffs

with Enemies

Eliminate, Inaccessible Areas

Can Modulate

Combat, Enemies, Flanking Routes, Game Worlds, Guard, Levels, Movement, Stealth

Can Be Instantiated By

Destructible Objects, Galleries, Inaccessible Areas, Installations, Environmental Effects, Obstacles

Can Be Modulated By

Flanking Routes

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Flanking Routes


New pattern created in this wiki. However, it was first introduced using another template by Hullett and Whitehead[1], and a more detailed description in this template is available[2].


  1. Hullett, K. & Whitehead, J. (2010). Design Patterns in FPS Levels, paper presentation at Foundations of Digital Games 2010, June 19-21, Monterey, CA, USA.
  2. Choke Point pattern by Kenneth Hullett.


Kennart Hullett, Jim Whitehead