Picture-in-Picture Views

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Games which make use of presentations inside other presentations.

This pattern is a still a stub.


probes in deus ex

additional screens in openTTD and Transport Tycoon

System Shock has the Sense-around hardware implant that allows you to see behind you (v1) and even full 360 view (v3) according to the reference card. The view is seen as "picture in picture" on the HUD.

Although they sometimes take up all of the screen space instead of just some, sticky cameras in the Splinter Cell series are examples of Picture-in-Picture Views.


wingmen facecams in e.g. Star Fox series


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 Indications on the fly during gameplay. An example of this is when Killcams 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 Indications, 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