Designing Games with Patterns

  • Daniel Cernak-Sassenrath
Keywords: pattern design, pattern language, design methodology, game design, action games


This article discusses pattern design as a methodology in interaction design. The paper sketches out Alexander’s idea of design patterns and describe our experiences with using patterns for designing old-school action games in the classroom context. The process included finding patterns, making a language, using it for creating several game designs and realising one of these designs collaboratively. The article grew out of a University course titled A Pattern Approach to Action Game Design, which was offered as an elective in the Creative Technologies program at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, in 2011. We present the concept of the course, our pattern language and the game we made. While the language is arguably more like a patchy pattern collection, the various game designs quite loose and the realised game unfinished, the process was challenging and intense, and offered students a new perspective on design. In the spirit of design patterns, we only did what the task at hand required. We attempted to connect theory and practice in a natural, direct way as we presented, discussed and used everything we did in order to continue our journey. Our course was aimed at a process that was constantly in flux through collaboration by people who interact and share a common pattern language, use, test, revise and refine it while moving on.

How to Cite
Cernak-Sassenrath, D. (2013). Designing Games with Patterns. The Journal of Creative Technologies, (3). Retrieved from