We have set out to create a PatternLanguage. But what is a pattern?

According to The_Timeless_Way_of_Building?, "Each pattern is a three-part rule, which expresses a relation between a certain context, a problem, and a solution."

GoodIdeas are useful for discussing games, but they aren't patterns yet. A pattern tells us, objectively,

  1. Under what conditions it can be applied.
  2. What problem it solves.
  3. How to go about solving it.

A pattern does not tell you the one and only way to solve the problem. Rather, it points you to a class of solutions that have been found effective over and over again, and contributed to a harmonious whole.

Even then, it is not the only class of solutions. There may be special circumstances where a pattern can be violated. Just be certain that you know you are doing so, and have a good reason for it. Then discuss it with others to verify the concern, and if it is supported, edit the pattern to remove the conflict (for instance, by noting the exception in its conditions, or offering a different solution).

Kent_Beck? wrote a short story that gives a very practical view of why patterns are useful. (The story is at the bottom of the page, but the rest is good reading also.)

People have come up with a lot of ways of writing patterns. We should probably agree on one for this site. Here are some of the existing methods for consideration:

Bernd_Kreimeier? has performed a survey (free registration required) of patterns applied to ComputerGame design.

Staffan Bj\xF6rk and Jussi Holopainen have collected gameplay design patterns to a book Patterns in Game Design (published by Charles River Media, 2004). They have a web site, which updates very irregulary.

Maybe we need the right tool for the right job. It seems like the Falstein stuff is good for generalizations but Kreimeier might be good for specializations.

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