Difference between revisions of "Picture-in-Picture Views"

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[[Game State Indicators]],  
[[Game State Indicators]],  
[[Game State Overviews]],  
[[Game State Overviews]],  
[[Point of Interest Indications]],  
[[Point of Interest Indicators]],  
[[Split-Screen Views]],  
[[Split-Screen Views]],  
[[Third-Person Views]]
[[Third-Person Views]]

Latest revision as of 09:32, 15 July 2016

Games which make use of presentations inside other presentations.

Computer games typically make use of a screen to provide most of the information needed for players to interact with the game system, and typically try to provide a continuous presentation of the game environment on this screen. However, sometimes not all information can be presented while making individual aspects understandable. Picture-in-Picture Views is a way of solving this, hiding part of the main presentation in order to be able to show some aspect otherwise unavailable. This may be an overview in a game where the main view is typically focused on a small part of the game environment or a close-up in a game where the main view provides an overview.


The views of wingmen are shown as Picture-in-Picture Views in the Star Fox series. Players of the Transport Tycoon series of business management games (including openTTD) can open and customizes Picture-in-Picture Views to be informed about specific parts of the game while moving the main view to where they wish to interact with the system.

The FPS game XIII makes use of Picture-in-Picture Views to highlight certain events, such as specific kills or the initial moves in ambushes. Several other games in the genre, e.g. the Deus Ex series, let players place cameras in the game environment that can then be viewed. Although they sometimes take up all of the screen space instead of just limited parts, sticky cameras in the Splinter Cell series are examples of Picture-in-Picture Views. System Shock uses Picture-in-Picture Views to provide the input from hardware implants that record what is behind the player character or those that provide 360 views.

Using the pattern

The main design choices regarding Picture-in-Picture Views is what information they should provide, where the views should be within the larger view, what sizes they should be, and if players should be able to modify their sizes and positions. Mini-maps are typical examples of Picture-in-Picture Views.

An option for Picture-in-Picture Views is to make it possible for players to change the views. This can either be by toggling through different views, which may be from changing Vision Modes or from changing locations viewed, or be by making the views controllable by Cameras.

One reason for using Picture-in-Picture Views is to create Point of Interest Indicators on the fly during gameplay. An example of this is Killcams that do not take over the entire game presentation but just a small portion of it.

Diegetic Aspects

While it may seem that Picture-in-Picture Views might challenge the Diegetic Consistency of a game, this can easily be avoided by introducing diegetic elements that can provide images from afar.

Interface Aspects

Picture-in-Picture Views is an Interface Pattern. Alternatives to it include Auxiliary Game Screens and Split-Screen Views.


Picture-in-Picture Views are a form of Split-Screen Views. They typically create Third-Person Views (conceivably, it would instead be First-Person Views if they are used to form Split-Screen Views of diegetic entities that can look at several independent things at once).

Game State Overviews can be supported by Picture-in-Picture Views by either local or global view, where Mini-maps is a typical example. When the information presented is abstract, the pattern can be seen as providing Game State Indicators although it may also be interpreted as abstract diegetic information.


Can Instantiate

Game State Indicators, Game State Overviews, Point of Interest Indicators, Split-Screen Views, Third-Person Views

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.




Kelvin Autenrieth, Jason Begy, Daniel Bernhoff, Janne Paavilainen, Orvar Säfström, Jose Zagal