Deliver

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The goal of moving a certain game element to another specified game element or place within the game space.

Many games make goals of having specific game elements in specific places of the game world. Deliver goals are such goals but where a focus is placed on the moving of specific rather than general game elements.

Examples

Football can be described as the task of delivering the ball into the other team's goal.

Capture the flag variants of first-person shooters such as the Quake series and Unreal Tournament series have the goal of gaining access of the other team's flag and carrying it to one's own capture point.

The "Fairgrounds" level in Left 4 Dead series has an optional goal consisting of transporting a garden gnome to a rescue vehicle.

Many games, e.g., the Assassin's Creed series, the Elder Scrolls series, and the Fallout series, that have vast game spaces and non-players character make use of Deliver quests. A side effect of performing these is that it makes players see more parts of the game worlds than they might otherwise do.

Using the pattern

Deliver requires something to deliver somewhere and that the player has means of moving that. The latter part of this typically implies that players have to engage in some form of Movement.

Game Items in general suit as the things to be delivered. MacGuffins can be used for Deliver goals that are intended to be more significant since these add a narration importance. Non-Player Characters are an option if their movement is indirectly controlled by a player (i.e., a form of Indirect Control) - a natural option is that Non-Player Characters follows players' Avatars (but God Fingers can work also). Players may automatically gain the thing to Deliver as the set-up of the goal, but the goal can be made more challenging by first requiring a Gain Ownership goal to be fulfilled (e.g., through Pick-Ups or Trading).

The somewhere that the delivery should go can be anywhere,but design goals related to Thematic Consistency can require motivations for why the thing should be delivered to the place. Non-Player Characters that want to have the thing is a standard option. Installations is another option when the things delivered are needed to use or activate the Installations, e.g., delivering a certain magic gem to a circle of runes to activate them. The place chosen as a delivery point for Deliver goals can be seen (or made into) a Check Points. Additionally, for games with Pervasive Gameplay Deliver goals may need Artifact-Location Proximity goals to be part of the game state.

Deliver differs from Collections in that the focus is on specific game elements that needs to be moved to specific places. Collections in contrast focus upon having game elements together, and there might be many different game elements that can take a place in the collection.

The difficulty of Deliver goals can be modified by requiring Evade or Overcome subgoals to be dealt with. An archetypical example is bandit or pirates that try to steal what is to be delivered as it is being moved. Capture can be used to make is possible to remove the thing to be delivered from a player's control, and this in turn creates a Guard goal for players.

Having Check Points (besides the delivery point) allows games to show players their progress in Deliver goals and possibly more advanced starting positions after failed attempts to Deliver.

Narration Aspects

Deliver goals can quite easily be constructed to drive narration in that succeeding with such a goal implies clear actions having been performed by the player, and that the story arcs for various Characters can be updated depending on this.

Consequences

By their structure, Deliver goals provide games with Goal Points, Traverse goals, and a basis for Narration Structures or Quests. Depending on how Movement is made possible of what is to be delivered, Aim & Shoot may be a consequence of Deliver. Deliver goals where active opposition exists (typically in the form of Evade or Overcome goals), give players Stealth goals. Those Deliver goals that depend on Indirect Control for Movement can create Herd goals - moving a group of animals from one spot to another is an example of such a Deliver goal.

The combination of Deliver and Guard goals create Guide and Protect goals when what is to be delivered has some semblance of agency (e.g., by being NPCs).

Deliver goals making use of Artifact-Location Proximity typically have Player-Location Proximity as a consequence (unless the artifact is moved by a player without the player moving).

Relations

Can Instantiate

Aim & Shoot, Goal Points, Narration Structures, Quests, Stealth, Traverse

with Artifact-Location Proximity

Player-Location Proximity

with Guard

Guide and Protect

with Indirect Control

Herd

Can Modulate

Artifact-Location Proximity, Trading

Can Be Instantiated By

Check Points, Gain Ownership, Game Items, Installations, MacGuffins, Movement, Non-Player Characters

Can Be Modulated By

Capture, Evade, Overcome, Pick-Ups

Possible Closure Effects

-

Potentially Conflicting With

-

History

An updated version of the pattern Delivery that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design[1].

References

  1. Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.

Acknowledgements

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