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<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-contact.html>Contact</a>


The goal of having two or more elements have physical contact with each other.

This is the goal to make one game element touch or occupy the same place as another game element. The goal is very common as it is typically used to indicate the success of goal to Eliminate, Gain Ownership or Gain Information. Taking the power pills in Pac-Man, capturing pieces in Chess, picking up items in adventure games, crossing the end line in a racing game, hitting an opponent in a fighting game, and shooting an enemy in a first-person shooter can all be seen as examples of fulfilling the Contact goal.

Example: Chasing games, such as Tag, are probably the best known games employing Contact as a basic goal.

Using the pattern

Contact by itself is not normally used as a stand-alone goal. Instead, Contact is often used to define the end condition of another goal patterns or to activate Area Control actions. Examples of patterns used in combination with Contact include Herd, Capture, Evade, Eliminate and Gain Ownership. The presence or absence of Contact is a basic way to formulate a Boolean condition for collections of Incompatible Goals, as for example in the Role Reversal of the Capture and Evade goals in Tag.

What actually defines Contact does not have to be interpreted literally; Contact can have the requirement that being under a certain distance from a game element, i. e. being in the proximity of it, can be seen as a use of Contact. As this may be more difficult to judge, this may make the game have less Predictable Consequences.


Contact implies the use of a game space topology with concepts of nearness, direction and occupying a place. The space does not have to be continuous or what the player experiences as continuous; it can also be discrete as in the case of a Chess board. The actions or moves to achieve Contact do not have to be continuous either but can consist of leaps, such as moving the knight in Chess. When Contact is achieved through movement, it can be seen as being instantiated by Traverse.

The direction of Contact may dictate the consequences: in the Mario series of games jumping on turtles from above immobilizes them for awhile while coming in direct horizontal Contact makes Mario loses energy or a life.

The fulfillment of a Contact goal is usually its own Status Indicator.


Instantiates: Incompatible Goals, Gain Ownership, Area Control

Modulates: Herd, Capture, Eliminate

Instantiated by: Traverse

Modulated by:

Potentially conflicting with:

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(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

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