A design pattern is a means of formally describing a solution to a design problem in a particular domain or field. Design pattern approaches have long been used in diverse fields such as architecture, software engineering, and interaction design. With the emergence of game scholarship, there has been interest in applying design patterns to aspects of game design. There are many potential benefits to design pattern approaches, including generation of frameworks for teaching and communicating about game design and practical usage in brainstorming ideas and tuning designs. Furthermore, deeper understanding of the patterns implicit in their games can help designers explore previously unused ideas and expectations of player behavior.

Important Dates

  • Paper submission: March 5, 2012 Sunday, March 11th, 2012 (Midnight, UTC-11)
  • Notification to authors: March 26, 2012
  • Workshop held: May 29, 2012 (day before the main conference)

Workshop Organization

The DPG workshop would feature a half day of research paper presentations, followed by a half day of hands-on activities concluding with short presentations of activity results.

The research paper program will consist of short papers (4 pages in ACM format) and full papers (8 pages) selected via a peer-reviewed process. Since the workshop is intended to explore new ideas and directions, submission of incomplete and in-process results are encouraged. Selected authors will be invited to submit an expanded version of their paper to a special issue of the journal Game Studies.

The hands-on activity will consist of a group discussion identifying the challenges and opportunities in discovering patterns, teaching them, and applying them in game design practice. We expect that many of these issues will follow from the presented papers, but participants are also encouraged to prepare short position statements if they have specific issues they would like to see addressed. Participants will then be divided into groups of 4-5 to select an issue and explore it in-depth. At the end of the workshop, we will re-convene and present results. Each breakout group will select a representative to present their findings, which may include a detailed exploration of their selected issues and proposals for solutions and new research directions.

Research Areas

Submissions to this workshop are encouraged from, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • How game design practice can benefit from a design pattern approach
  • Case studies of design pattern usage
  • Teaching game design using patterns
  • Methods for discovering design patterns in existing games
  • Methods for representing and communicating design patterns
  • Methods for evaluating design patterns
  • Design patterns as input to procedural game or level generation systems
  • Design patterns in different game genres
  • Design patterns in different aspects of game design, including levels, quests/objectives, NPC interactions, or multiplayer
  • Relationship between player behavior and design patterns
  • Understanding designer intent through design pattern analysis
  • Methods of tuning/improving games with design patterns
  • Design patterns in analog games
  • Use of design patterns in procedural content generation (we have discussed to possibility of a joint session with PCG if we accept papers of interest to both workshops)

Submission Instructions

Submissions to the DPG workshop must be in PDF format and follow ACM SIG conference formatting guidelines. Papers should be submitted using the Easychair submission system: DPG 2012 submissions.


This workshop is being held in cooperation with SIGCHI. All proceedings will be archived in the ACM Digital Library.