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This is a wiki for developing an extensive gameplay design patterns collection based upon specific game designs, with the aim of supporting the design and analysis of all types of games. The bulk of the content is in individual patterns, with game pages be numerous but with little content (and this will be the case until all planned patterns have been created). It is maintained by Staffan Björk and Jussi Holopainen.

As any project exploring the commonality between different artifacts, the collection makes use of some Underlying Assumptions and Concepts - see also the category of Pattern Related Notes.

What are design patterns

Who is it for?

Since we want to use this for our research (e.g. quote things here which we know won't change) we don't allow everyone to create an account. However, we do wish that everyone can comment on the talk pages and will make that possible as soon as we've figured out how.

How does one use design patterns

The main idea of having gameplay design patterns is to make it easier to express clearly intentions, analyses, and opinions regarding gameplay. See Pattern-Based Methods for more specific suggestions on how to use them.

I want to contribute

Contact Staffan Björk by email if you want to be given an account.

New User?

Some useful information is on the Help:Contents page.


See here for plans on how to work on developing the wiki.


These are publications that either use gameplay design patterns, other types of patterns, or similar approaches. Contact Staffan Björk by email if you wish to have something added here.

Publications using similar pattern approaches

  • Dahlskog, S. & Togelius, J. (2012). Patterns and procedural content generation: revisiting Mario in world 1 level 1. In Workshop Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games.
  • Adams, E. & Dormans, J. (2012). Game Mechanics - Advanced Game Design. New Riders Games.
  • Cermak-Sassenrath, D. (2012). Experiences with design patterns for oldschool action games. In Proceedings of The 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Playing the System (IE '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, , Article 14 , 9 pages.
  • Cermak-Sassenrath, D. A Design Pattern Language for Oldschool Action Games. In: Nagib Callaos, Belkis Sánchez, Michael J. Savoie, Mohammad Siddique, Andrés Tremante, C. Dale Zinn (Eds.). Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Design and Modeling in Science, Education, and Technology:: DeMset 2012, Orlando, US, March 25–28, 2012, p. 194–9.
  • Cermak-Sassenrath, D. Designing Games with Patterns. In: Colab Journal: Creative Technologies. Vol. 3, special issue on interactivity, 2012.
  • Lewis, C., Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Whitehead, J. (2012). Motivational game design patterns of 'ville games. In Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 172-179. DOI=10.1145/2282338.2282373
  • Lewis, C. 2014. Irresistible Apps: Motivational Design Patterns for Apps, Games, and Web-based Communities. APRESS.
  • Smith, G., Anderson, R., Kopleck, B., Lindblad, Z., Scott, L., Wardell, A., Whitehead, J. & Mateas, M. (2011). Situating quests: design patterns for quest and level design in role-playing games. In Proceedings of the 4th international conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS'11), Mei Si, David Thue, Elisabeth André, James C. Lester, and Joshua Tanenbaum (Eds.). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 326-329. DOI=10.1007/978-3-642-25289-1_40
  • Hullett, K. & Whitehead, J. (2010). Design patterns in FPS levels. Foundations of Digital Games, June 19–21, 2010, Monterey, California, USA.
  • Milam, D. & Seif El Nasr, M. (2010) Analysis of Level Design 'Push & Pull' within 21 games. Foundations of Digital Games, June 19–21, 2010, Monterey, California, USA.

Project reports containing pattern collections

  • Björk, S. (2012). Gameplay Design Patterns for Public Games. Report for the Experimedia project.
  • Davidsson, O, Peitz, J. & Björk, S. (2004). Game Design Patterns for Mobile Games. Project report to Nokia Research Center.

Other work using similar pattern approaches

  • Larsen, S. (2006). Level Design Patterns - Looking for the Principles of Unified Level Design. Report of 12-week student project at the IT-University of Copenhagen.

Other Relevant Publications

  • Montola, M., Stenros, J. & Waern, A. 2009. Philosophies and strategies of pervasive larp design. In Larp, the Universe and Everything - An anthology on the theory and practice of live role-playing (larp), published in conjunction with Knutepunkt 2009. (Describes several strategies for pervasive larps in a template rather similar to that of design patterns.)

Other Relevant Projects

  • GDPVis graphical presentation of all the patterns in the wiki
  • Friendship Patterns collection by Daniel Cook
  • Motivational Lenses and Patterns collection by Sebastian Deterding and others.
  • RPG Design Patterns collection by Gillian Smith and others (currently focused on level design and quest patterns for RPGs)
  • Level Design Patterns collection by Ken Hullett and others
  • Pattern Language for Larp Design by J Li & Jason Morningstar
  • Machinations, a conceptual framework and diagram tool that allows the effects of game mechanics to be tested through simulations.
  • Sound Design in Games, a patterns collection regarding sound design in games. The patterns are available as well-produced cards.
  • concepts described on the Nordic LARP wiki have similar scope as gameplay design patterns, and several of them exist as patterns on this wiki
  • Many of the concepts on the Giant Bomb wiki are similar to gameplay design patterns and have many examples (other concepts, like the football teams in games that are listed first, are not similar).
  • TV Tropes has a large collection of concepts from all types of media which is interconnected and has many examples for each concept. As such it has all the characteristics of a pattern collection but focuses more on narration than gameplay that this collection does.

Interesting Projects