Events that are about to occur and can clearly be observed by players.
Most games put players in situation where they can clearly see that a future or ongoing activity can have a specific outcomes, either good or bad. Being able to perceive these outcomes, or closures, make them into Hovering Closures.
Both Chess and Go allow players to experience Hovering Closures by deducting series of future moves. Go is noteworthy in that if both players perceive situations the same they may ignore or wait resolving the sequences of game actions in order to focus on other parts of the game board.
Auctions in games are examples of Hovering Closures where one outcome is clearly perceived by the players, but this outcome can be changed by additional bids. Examples of games in which these can be found include Amun Re, Homesteaders, and Power Grid.
Example: Races nearing the finishing lines give strong Hovering Closures as the outcome is often predictable but still requires players to continue moving.
Example: Leaving an opening for specific blocks in Tetris usually create strong Hovering Closures.
Using the pattern
Hovering Closures are used to create or intensify Anticipation or Tension in games. While the pattern is used in some form in most games, it may be essential in Quick Games to make them enjoyable at all.
There are many specific ways of creating Hovering Closures. Alignment, Auctions, Betting, Configuration, Cooldown, Rhythm-Based Actions, Symmetry, and Quests all by their nature set up for a clear potential closure. More generally Delayed Effects, Delayed Reciprocity, Extended Actions, and Predictable Consequences set up situations when players are aware of a future closure that can occur. Continuous Goals, FUBAR Enjoyment, The Show Must Go On, and Uncommitted Alliances do likewise but here the closures are generally negative ones. Complex Gameplay typically can be guaranteed to create many Hovering Closures at any given point in time. While Delayed Effects, Delayed Reciprocity, and Uncommitted Alliances can set up closures that take quite some time before the occur, Levels and Narration Structures can do so even more strongly. Ultra-Powerful Events can do this also if clearly advertised in advance.
As started above, Narration Structures can be used to set up Hovering Closures related to the narration.
Can Be Instantiated By
Alignment, Auctions, Betting, Complex Gameplay, Configuration, Continuous Goals, Cooldown, Delayed Effects, Delayed Reciprocity, Extended Actions, FUBAR Enjoyment, Narration Structures, Levels, Predictable Consequences, Progress Indicators, Quests, Rhythm-Based Actions, Symmetry, The Show Must Go On, Uncommitted Alliances, Ultra-Powerful Events
Can Be Modulated By
Possible Closure Effects
Potentially Conflicting With
An updated version of the pattern Closure Points that was part of the original collection in the book Patterns in Game Design.
- Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN1-58450-354-8.