Vehicle Sections

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Gameplay areas created for vehicular movement.

Some games let players alternate between self-propelled movement and using vehicles. Vehicle Sections are parts of game worlds specifically designed for the latter.


The coast region in Half-Life 2 in mainly an area meant to be traversed using a buggy. Crysis has two parts of the game specifically designed to support travelling in vehicles - in one case in a main battle tank and in another a vertical takeoffs and landing aircraft. Halo: Combat Evolved and the other games in the Halo series have several areas designed to using the Warthog and other vehicles.

Games with huge open worlds, e.g. the Grand Theft Auto series and the Battlefield series but also multiplayer maps in the Halo series, can arguably be said to consist mainly of Vehicle Sections. Building and narrow passages are here the exceptions the Vehicle Sections and make pedestrian gameplay feasible.

Using the pattern

Designing Vehicle Sections is concerned with presenting players with a different scale between moving in Vehicles and moving without them - games where one always is inside vehicles with the same capacities could be said to consist entirely of Vehicle Sections but this also makes talking about the pattern superfluous.

Vehicle Sections can be emphasized compare to other regions in several ways. One is simply to having entire Game Boards or Levels be Vehicle Sections which are intermixed with other Game Boards or Levels (Crysis can be seen as an example of this). Another, exemplified by the Battlefield series and the Grand Theft Auto series from the third installment and forward, is to have most of a Level be Vehicle Sections but provide some places where pedestrian movement is required or those lacking Vehicles can are not disadvantaged.

While Vehicle Sections can make use of all types of game world features that other areas can use, it is worth pointing out that Obstacles and Choke Points can have more abrupt effects in Vehicle Sections since players are likely to be moving at higher speeds.


Not too surprising, Vehicle Sections are Transport Routes of Game Boards, Game Worlds, or Levels dedicated for using Vehicles. They affect Movement, and in many cases also Maneuvering, by letting players make explicit use of the capabilities of the Vehicles provided. They can however cause Excise if players intentionally or by mistake traverse them without the Vehicles. In games that mix Vehicle Sections with other sections within a continuous Game World, knowing where the boundaries between these are is a form of Strategic Knowledge.

Since vehicular travel can be assumed to be quicker than "ordinary" travel, Vehicle Sections can be seen as a halfway alternative between Quick Travel and ordinary Movement.


Can Instantiate

Excise, Strategic Knowledge, Transport Routes

Can Modulate

Game Boards, Game Worlds, Levels, Maneuvering, Movement, Vehicles

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Choke Points, Obstacles

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki. However, it was first introduced using another template by Hullett and Whitehead[1], and a more detailed description in this template is available[2].


  1. Hullett, K. & Whitehead, J. (2010). Design Patterns in FPS Levels, paper presentation at Foundations of Digital Games 2010, June 19-21, Monterey, CA, USA.
  2. Vehicle Section pattern by Kenneth Hullett.


Kenneth Hullett, Jim Whitehead