Design Patterns in RPGs

How are Design Patterns used in Role-Playing-Games?

Together with Beau van Essen, we did research on the use of design patterns in rpg's for our seminar. We both did our specialization in user experience design where we learned about patterns in digital media, and we both wondered how this was used in our favorite activity gaming

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In short, what patterns?

We haven't found a handwritten book about design patterns for video games, but these books do exists for all other sorts of design. So after analyzing a couple of role-playing-games, we made a list ourselves about the patterns we think exist in these games. How is the same information communicated in different ways? The games we used are:
Fallout 4 | Dragon Age Inquisiton | The Witcher 3 | Mass Effect 3

Health Bar | Progress Bar | Stamina Bar | Mini Map | Skills | Quick Menu | Inventory
Character | Skill Tree | Quest Log | Conversations


1. Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language. Oxford, Verenigd Koninkrijk: Oxford University Press Inc.
2. Gamma, E., & Helm, R. (1994). Design Patterns Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. New York City, Verenigde Staten: Pearson Education
3. Tidwell, J. (2011). Designing Interfaces, Patterns for Effective Interaction Design (2e ed.). Sebastopol, Californië, Verenigde Staten: O’Reilly.
4. Stern, Craig (2011, 2 maart) ‘What makes a RPG a RPG: A universal definition’ Geraadpleegd van:
5. Copier, Marinka (z.d.) ‘Connecting Worlds. Fantasy Role-Playing Games, Ritual Acts and the Magic Circle’
Geraadpleegd van:
6. Techpedia (z.d.) ‘Role-Playing-Game (RPG)’
Geraadpleegd van:
7. Stonehouse, Anthony (2014, 27 februari) ‘User Interface Design in Video Games’
Geraadpleegd van:
8. Folmer, E. (2004). Usability Patterns in Games. Geraadpleegd van
9. Zeigarnik, B. (1927). On Finished and Unfinished Tasks. Berlijn, Duitsland: Ardent Media.