Secondary Interface Screens

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Computer-based Roleplaying Games make heavy use of Secondary Interface Screens. Examples include the Elder Scrolls series and the Fallout series. The Diablo series uses it for handling inventories and Pokémon Go uses it for both capturing and evolving Pokémons. The Battlefield series uses Secondary Interface Screens for leader functionality.

Using the pattern

Secondary Interface Screens are used to provide players access to information and actions that for one or another reason does not fit in the main interface. If there are many actions or much information there can of course be a need for many Secondary Interface Screens within one game. They can both change how players perceive Game Worlds and Public Player Statistics. They often are good candidates for providing Private Game Spaces since they do not present the same Game Worlds that the main interface presents to other players.

Common examples of composite design elements that use their own Secondary Interface Screens include Character Sheets, Dialogues, Inventories, and Quests (including Sidequests). The first of these allow players to handle Characters especially Character Development when Characteristics are changed or when Characters are given New or Improved Abilities due to Player-Planned Development. Inventories, quite naturally modify how one can interact with Equipment but can be more specifically applied to Equipment Slots, Game Element Trading, Sockets, and Free Gift Inventories; some of these make game items into Transferable Items.

There are some Extra-Game Actions that Secondary Interface Screens commonly can support. Handling Save Files (and there by influencing Save-Load Cycles) is one. Another is changing Difficulty Levels, and this can be done through being able to activate/deactivate Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment or access Handicap Systems.

Other design elements that may have their own Secondary Interface Screens are Action Programming (and the handling of Mules), Gameplay Statistics, High Score Lists (including Global High Score Lists), Naming, Neighbors, Parties, Player Created Game Elements, Player Kicking, Purchasable Game Advantages, Spawning, and Quick Travel. Parties in particular can provide access to actions regarding Companions, Non-Player Characters and Player-Created Characters. Clues can be both given in Secondary Interface Screens and activated to be shown in the main interface.

Diegetic Aspects

Due to often creating Non-Diegetic Features, Secondary Interface Screens often have issues supporting Diegetic Consistency. This is especially true when accessing these screens cause Game Pauses.

Interface Aspects

Secondary Interface Screens is an Interface Pattern.


Secondary Interface Screens typically create Non-Diegetic Features, if not for any other reason due to the actions they provide which are not diegetically presented. They often provide access to more information as well as cause Game Pauses, as because of this support Interruptibility and typically makes Strategic Planning possible in games containing them.

When used to provide Quick Travel, Secondary Interface Screens can produce the Illusion of Open Space.


--- to add Quests Game Pauses Save Files

Can Instantiate

Character Sheets, Clues, Dialogues, Game Pauses, Inventories, Non-Diegetic Features, Strategic Planning Transferable Items,

with Quick Travel

Illusion of Open Space

Can Modulate

Action Programming, Characters, Character Development, Characteristics, Clues, Companions, Difficulty Levels, Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment, Equipment, Equipment Slots, Free Gift Inventories, Gameplay Statistics, Game Element Trading, Game Worlds, Global High Score Lists, Handicap Systems, High Score Lists, Interruptibility, Improved Abilities, New Abilities, Mules, Naming, Neighbors, Non-Player Characters, Parties, Player Created Game Elements, Player Kicking, Player-Created Characters, Player-Planned Development Private Game Spaces, Public Player Statistics, Purchasable Game Advantages, Quests, Quick Travel, Save Files, Save-Load Cycles, Sidequests, Sockets, Spawning

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Diegetic Consistency

Diegetic Consistency in games with Game Pauses


New pattern created in this wiki.