Point of Interest Indicators

From gdp3
Revision as of 09:35, 15 July 2016 by Staffan Björk (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Game actions that point players towards important aspects of game worlds, or entities within them.

Navigating in game world can be difficult depending on their complexity and the skills of the players. Point of Interest Indicators is a way of supporting players by letting them easily know which direction they should be moving or directing their attention.


Players of Mirror's Edge can by a simple button press know which direction to move since this gameplay action turns their avatar in the direction of the level exit. Crafting a compass in Minecraft allows players to know the direction to their spawn points, which can help navigation in the immense game worlds generated by the game.

Letting players aim correctly of enemies by a single button press is a form of Point of Interest Indicator. Examples of games with this include Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Mass Effect series, and the Tomb Raider series.

Using the pattern

Point of Interest Indicators can be used with all different types of ways of presenting Game Worlds, i.e. First-Person, Third-Person, and God Views. They are either provided by game systems simply by moving the perspective of players to the interesting point, typically by manipulating Cameras, or by presenting it through some part of the game interface, e.g. through Mini-maps or compasses. Cutscenes are sometimes used to do Point of Interest Indicators, e.g. pointing out Boss Monsters when players are about to enter Combat with them.

Many places in Game Worlds may qualify to have Point of Interest Indicators, Check Points are specific ones related to goals (or sequences of goals). Although they may change view points, Killcams are specific Point of Interest Indicators for spots where kills have just occurred while Picture-in-Picture Views can be used to point out any game world place or event without removing the current view. Auto-Aim support is a way of providing Point of Interest Indicators on Enemies while Automated Responses more generally can trigger on gameplay context to give players' Point of Interest Indicators.

Interface Aspects

Point of Interest Indicators is both an Information and Interface Pattern.


Besides helping in Game World Navigation, Point of Interest Indicators can draw players' attention to Clues and Diegetically Outstanding Features. While this can make games more Casual, it can also be detrimental to player learning (see Linderoth 2010[1]) because it makes players not need to engage in Experimenting.

Since Point of Interest Indicators can represent perceptual abilities of Characters in games with First-Person Views, the pattern can imply such as well as Player/Character Skill Composites. Point of Interest Indicators that are initiated by game systems rather than players are likely to cause Disruption of Focused Attention.


Can Instantiate

Casual Gameplay, Disruption of Focused Attention

with First-Person Views

Characters, Player/Character Skill Composites

Can Modulate

Cameras, Clues, Diegetically Outstanding Features, First-Person Views, Game World Navigation, God Views, Mini-maps, Third-Person Views

Can Be Instantiated By

Auto-Aim, Automated Responses, Check Points, Cutscenes, Killcams, Picture-in-Picture Views

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki. However, it was first reported as a design feature in games by Linderoth (2010)[1].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Linderoth, J. (2010). Why gamers donʼt learn more - An ecological approach to games as learning environment, in Nordic DiGRA 2010.