Hub and Spokes

Description

The hub-and-spoke pattern exists when a level has some sort of central room (the hub) from which rooms, paths, or warps (spokes) branch out in different directions. The level design often forces the player to return to the hub repeatedly in the course of completing the level. The hub room and the spokes can each have their own pattern associated with them, such as open area or linear path.

If the spokes are warps, then it may be a long time before the player returns to the hub. Such hubs are often central to the game itself. See Dragon Age II example below.

Sometimes the hub itself may hold something of value. In this case, the player usually first enters the level from one of the spokes.

Variables and Affordances

  • Spokes: how many spokes there are
    • Required vs. Optional: whether the player is required to take a spoke to complete some goal, or if it is optional. Optional spokes may contain items that reward a player for exploration.
  • Entry to spokes: How the player enters the different spokes, e.g. chokepoints, linear paths, portals, warps

Examples

  • Dragon Age: Origins (Circle Tower). On each floor, the hallway in the center acts as a hub. All of the rooms separated by portals act as spokes.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (Athkatla Sewers). There are a few different entry points to the spokes, and there is a valuable magical item in the hub.
  • Dragon Age II (Lowtown and Hightown). Both of these areas serve as a hub, with warps acting as spokes that branch out to other areas in the city.

In Worked Examples

Quest-Level Relationship

  • Unlock Quest. Completing an Unlock Quest can open up more spokes within a hub.
  • Bridge Quest. Bridge quests typically force the player to move through a certain spoke, for a large-scale hub and spoke pattern.
  • Compilation Quest. Compilation quests give a good reason to explore each spoke fully.
  • Altering Side Stub. Altering side stubs give reasons to explore other routes.
  • Delayed Result. Actions taken within one spoke may have a delayed effect on other spokes.
  • Deja Vu Quest. Repeating quests work well with spoke repetition.
patterns/hub.txt ยท Last modified: 2011/06/17 13:03 by Gillian Smith
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