Loading Hints

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Gameplay hints presented during loading sequences.

Computer-based games can usually provide players with gameplay whenever players what and for how long they want. One exception to this is that they may have to load data when players enter new levels or worlds, and this forced waiting can be irritating in contrast to the gameplay. Loading Hints is one way of avoiding this by providing some information to players during the enforced pause, thereby adding some benefit to the interruption.


Civilization IV and the Europa Universalis series show Loading Hints while new worlds are generated or when players load saved games.

Both the Elder Scrolls series and the Fallout series present Loading Hints when players fast travel between locations.

Using the pattern

Designing Loading Hints obviously requires that there are points during gameplay (or just before it starts) when players have to wait, i.e. when they have Downtime. However, the pattern can make sense to use in games that have countdowns or where there is a pause before some type of gameplay begins. This given, creating Loading Hints mainly consist of compiling Strategic Knowledge and selecting which to show as hints and possibly when during gameplay which hint should be shown.

The alternatives to using Loading Hints is simply letting players wait, giving them Cutscenes to view, or providing Minigames or other small interactive possibilities (see the GiantBomb page[1] for more examples).

Interface Aspects

Loading Hints is an Information Pattern.

Narrative Aspects

Although Loading Hints pertain to gameplay, this information can overlap with a game narration so the pattern can also be used to bring forward Predetermined Story Structures or provide background information about Game Worlds.


Loading Hints are ways to provide players with Clues while they are having Downtime. By doing so, they can support Smooth Learning Curves and encourage Strategic Planning by giving players Strategic Knowledge. This can also help players learn and understand games with Complex Gameplay.


Can Instantiate

Clues, Smooth Learning Curves

with Strategic Knowledge

Strategic Planning

Can Modulate

Complex Gameplay, Downtime, Predetermined Story Structures, Strategic Knowledge

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Page on the GiantBomb web site describing the Interactive Loading Screen concept.