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This is a wiki for developing an extensive gameplay design patterns collection based upon specific game designs, with the aim of supporting the design and analysis of all types of games.

As any project exploring the commonality between different artifacts, the collection makes use of some Underlying Assumptions and Concepts - see also the category of Pattern Related Notes.

What are design patterns

Who is it for?

Since we want to use this for our research (e.g. quote things here which we know won't change) we don't allow everyone to create an account. However, we do wish that everyone can comment on the talk pages and will make that possible as soon as we've figured out how.

How does one use design patterns

The main idea of having gameplay design patterns is to make it easier to express clearly intentions, analyses, and opinions regarding gameplay. See Pattern-Based Methods for more specific suggestions on how to use them.

I want to contribute

Contact Staffan Björk by email if you want to be given an account.

New User?

Some useful information is on the Help:Contents page.


See here for plans on how to work on developing the wiki.

Want to be informed about updates?

The easiest way to do so is by following Staffan Björk on twitter (all tweets about the wiki are tagged #gdp).


Contact Staffan Björk by email if you wish to have something added here.

  • Linderoth, J., Björk, S. & Olsson, C. (2012). Should I stay or should I go - Boundary maintaining mechanisms in Left 4 Dead 2. Nordic DiGRA 2012, June 6-8, Tampere, Finland.
  • Lundgren, S. & Björk, S. (2012). Neither Playing nor Gaming: Pottering in Games. Foundations of Digital Games 2012, May 29-June 1, 2012 Raleigh, NC, USA.
  • Holopainen, J. (2011). Foundations of Gameplay. PhD thesis at School of Computing, Blekinge Institute of Technology. Doctoral Dissertation Series No. 2011-02.
  • Bergström, K., Björk, S. & Lundgren, S. (2010). Exploring Aesthetic Gameplay Design Patterns – Camaraderie in Four Games. Paper presentation at Mindtrek 2010. Tampere, Finland.
  • Björk, S. (2010). On Making Good Games - Using Player Virtue Ethics and Gameplay Design Patterns to Identify Generally Desirable Gameplay Features. Paper presentation at Nordic DiGRA 2010, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Lankoski, P. (2010). Character-Driven Game Design - A Design Approach and Its Foundations in Character Engagement. D.A. thesis at Aalto University. Publication Series of the School of Art and Design A 101. ISBN 978-952-60-0002-2.
  • Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2010). Harvesting Gameplay Design Patterns Using Theory Lenses. Presentation at Game Research Methods Seminar. Tampere, Finland.
  • Lankoski, P., Johansson, A., Karlsson, B., Björk, S. & Dell’Acqua, P. (2010). AI Design for Believable Characters via Gameplay Design Patterns. In M. M. Cruz-Cunha, V. H. Carvalho and P. Tavares (Eds.), Business, Technological and Social Dimensions of Computer Games: Multidisciplinary Developments. IGI Global. ISBN 1609605675.
  • Brusk, J. & Björk, S. (2009). Gameplay Design Patterns for Game Dialogues. Paper presentation at DiGRA 2009: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory. London, UK.
  • Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2008). Character-Driven Game Design: Characters, Conflicts, and Gameplay. Paper presentation at GDTW, Sixth International Conference in Game Design and Technology, 2008.
  • Holopainen, J. & Björk, S. (2008). Gameplay Design Patterns for Motivation. Paper presentation at ISAGA 2008, Kaunas, Lithuania.
  • Goude, D., Björk, S. & Rydmark, M. (2007). Game Design in VR Systems for Rehabilitation. Proceedings of MMVR (Medicine Meets Virtual Reality) 15. Vol 15, pp 146-148.
  • Holopainen, J. & Björk, S. (2007) Design patterns are Dead - Long Live Design Patterns. Borries, Friedrich von, Walz, Steffen P., Böttger, Matthias (eds.) (2007), Space Time Play. On the Synergy Between Computer Games, Architecture, and Urbanism. Birkhäuser Publishing, Basel Boston Berlin. ISBN 978-3-7643-8414-2.
  • Holopainen, J., Björk, S. & Kuittinen, J. (2007). Teaching Gameplay Design Patterns. Paper presentation at ISAGA 2007, Nijmegen,The Netherlands. Winner of the The ISAGA Outstanding Paper award.
  • Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2007). Gameplay Design Patterns for Believable Non-Player Characters. Paper presentation at DiGRA 2007, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2007). Gameplay Design Patterns for Social Networks and Conflicts. Paper Presentation at Computer Game Design and Technology Workshop, John Moores University, Liverpool.
  • Peitz, J. & Björk, S. (2007). Understanding Pervasive Games through Gameplay Design Patterns. Paper presentation at DiGRA 2007, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2005). Games and Design Patterns. In The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology, Salen, K. & Zimmerman, E. (eds). ISBN 0-262-19536-4. MIT Press.
  • Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2004) Patterns in Game Design. Charles River Media. ISBN 1-58450-354-8.
  • Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2003) Describing Games - An Interaction-Centric Structural Framework. In Copier, M. & Raessens, J. (Eds.) (2003) Level Up - CD-ROM Proceedings of Digital Games Research Conference 2003, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 4-6 November 2003.
  • Björk, S., Lundgren, S. & Holopainen, J. (2003) Game Design Patterns. In Copier, M. & Raessens, J. (Eds.) (2003) Level Up - Proceedings of Digital Games Research Conference 2003, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 4-6 November 2003.

Publications using similar pattern approaches

  • Adams, E. & Dormans, J. (2012). Game Mechanics - Advanced Game Design. New Riders Games.
  • Cermak-Sassenrath, D. (2012). Experiences with design patterns for oldschool action games. In Proceedings of The 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Playing the System (IE '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, , Article 14 , 9 pages.
  • Lewis, C., Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Whitehead, J. (2012). Motivational game design patterns of 'ville games. In Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 172-179. DOI=10.1145/2282338.2282373
  • Smith, G., Anderson, R., Kopleck, B., Lindblad, Z., Scott, L., Wardell, A., Whitehead, J. & Mateas, M. (2011). Situating quests: design patterns for quest and level design in role-playing games. In Proceedings of the 4th international conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS'11), Mei Si, David Thue, Elisabeth André, James C. Lester, and Joshua Tanenbaum (Eds.). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 326-329. DOI=10.1007/978-3-642-25289-1_40
  • Hullett, K. & Whitehead, J. (2010). Design patterns in FPS levels. Foundations of Digital Games, June 19–21, 2010, Monterey, California, USA.
  • Milam, D. & Seif El Nasr, M. (2010) Analysis of Level Design 'Push & Pull' within 21 games. Foundations of Digital Games, June 19–21, 2010, Monterey, California, USA.

Other work using similar pattern approaches

  • Larsen, S. (2006). Level Design Patterns - Looking for the Principles of Unified Level Design. Report of 12-week student project at the IT-University of Copenhagen.

Other Interesting Publication

  • Montola, M., Stenros, J. & Waern, A. Philosophies and strategies of pervasive larp design. In Larp, the Universe and Everything - An anthology on the theory and practice of live role-playing (larp), published in conjunction with Knutepunkt 2009. (Describes several strategies for pervasive larps in a template rather similar to that of design patterns).

Other Interesting Projects

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