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Game elements that allows for faster movement, or different types of movement, than that normally available.

Game worlds can be difficult to move through, either because the terrain is hazardous, one cannot traverse it because one does not have the right abilities, or simply because they are very large. To solve one or all of these issues games can, like in the real world, offer Vehicles as a solution.

Note: this pattern describes diegetic vehicles that can be entered or mounted to ease travel. Those vehicles that players control directly are in fact either Avatars or Units.


In the Grand Theft Auto series much of the gameplay revolves around using Vehicles that have been obtained by illegal means to solve various challenges.

Players of the Metal Slug series can find and start using the SV-001 or Metal Slug tank. The Battlefield series and the Halo series lets players access a variety of military vehicles to gain air power, water maneuverability, increased fire power, as well as protection from small arms. Many of the Vehicles can in addition carry extra players than can either be gunners or simply passengers.

While its predecessor Morrowind allowed various forms of instantaneous travel between parts of the game world (including riding giant insects), Oblivion lets players ride horses between the various adventure locations.

Players of Minecraft that wish to simplify travel can build boats or lay railroads after having crafted the necessary game elements.

Using the pattern

Designing Vehicles consist of deciding how they should provide Movement within Game Worlds or Levels for Avatars or Units, and where the Vehicles should be available. It may also consist of thinking about creating dedicated Vehicle Sections. The simplest way of offering some other form of Movement through using Vehicles is to let players move their Avatars or Units quicker, in effect providing Improved Abilities; Moving slower is another option that can make sense if the Vehicles provide some other form Improved Abilities, e.g. protection against attacks through being Armor. Another way of providing other Movement is to make otherwise impossible Movement possible, that is provide Privileged Movement such as for example flying or moving over water or lava.

The places where Vehicles can be found in the Game Worlds will becomes Resource Locations, and may spawn Races to get to them first. These places may simply contain the Vehicles, or if they are created during gameplay by Spawning be Spawn Points for them. An alternative, exemplified by Minecraft, is to let players create their own Vehicles through Construction.

Like many game elements, Vehicles can be Destructible Objects. For these it can however be appropriate to allow the destruction occur due to reckless driving, and in any case link the destruction of the Vehicles to loss of Lives if these are used in the games. Vehicles can also be constructed to include Weapons in which case they can function as Installations independent of their ability to move, and the attacks provided by the Weapons can provide Privileged Abilities. In fact, Vehicles can in themselves be considered Weapons regardless of if they contain the actual functionality of Weapons as long as they can cause Damage through running into other game elements.

If not all players are likely to be able to access Vehicles often, this may cause problems with Player Balance in Multiplayer Games such as the Battlefield series. This can be mitigated through making the Vehicles into Destructible Objects, letting them have Limited Resources or Non-Renewable Resources regarding things such as fuel or ammunition, and providing possibilities for other players to gain Privileged Abilities specifically aimed at attacking the Vehicles.

Diegetic Aspects

This pattern describes all game elements that can provide transportation for Avatars and Units, so diegetically the Vehicles do not have to be device but can be living creatures such as horses, elephants, and magical birds. Due to the typical difference in size between Vehicles and Avatars or Units, they tend to be Diegetically Outstanding Features but can also be designed to be so even more by visual effects.

Interface Aspects

In Real-Time Games it may not be easy to map the normal interface players use for Maneuvering to that use for the available Vehicles, e.g. the movement of a human translates bad to that of a helicopter. To solve this games may need to provide different control schemes for each types of vehicles depending on their form of locomotion, and Option Interfaces for each of them so players can customize them.


Vehicles are a form of Tools in that they modify how players can perform Movement, and Maneuvering for Real-Times Games, in Game Worlds or Levels. When it allows players to more quickly move through the environment where no specific challenges exist, this counters the Excise this would otherwise be but may also be used to create explicit Vehicle Sections. When they provide ways of travelling through otherwise impossible mediums, e.g. air or water, they give players a form of Privileged Movement that can open up Inaccessible Areas - but if Vehicles allowing this are too easy to access the areas stop being treated as Inaccessible Areas and only ones cumbersome to enter. Visiting these new areas can provide Varied Gameplay but so can the actual controlling of the Vehicles themselves be.

Learning how to control Vehicles, especially if they have different control schemes than ordinary Movement, is one way in which players can develop Game Mastery. As mentioned above, letting some players in Multiplayer Games have Vehicles and others not have them may upset Player Balance.


Can Instantiate

Armor, Damage, Diegetically Outstanding Features, Game Mastery, Improved Abilities, Privileged Movement, Races, Resource Locations, Tools, Varied Gameplay, Vehicle Sections, Weapons

with Spawning

Spawn Points

with Weapons

Installations, Privileged Abilities

Can Modulate

Avatars, Game Worlds, Levels, Lives, Maneuvering, Movement, Units

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Diegetically Outstanding Features, Destructible Objects, Option Interfaces, Weapons

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Excise, Inaccessible Areas

with Multiplayer Games

Player Balance


New pattern created in this wiki.