Linear Hub Pattern

Description

Composed of a series of locked-off game states, the Linear Hub quest superstructure pattern limits the availability of quests to the player until certain bridge quests are completed.

Once again, as with the diamond superstructure, “hub” here represents the state of the game world as a whole, including quests, independent of geographic areas (which are described as nuclei. However, frequently the hubs in this pattern are composed of single locations like towns or camps. The transition between hubs via bridge quest can be forced or unexpected or by choice. This pattern is more distinct when previously available quests are made inaccessible after the transition to a new hub, coupled with major shifts in world or time. This pattern allows the player to make impactful choices in each hub without extreme authoring burden.

Variables and Affordances

  • Length: the number of hubs sequenced in pattern
  • Continuity: how many quests are carried over from one diamond to the next
  • Size: how large each hub is by average number of quests in each hub

Examples

  • Fable 2. The state of the main character's life (child, young adult, adult) separates the world into increasingly complex states. The transitions in this instance of the pattern almost always involve the same physical locations (cities, towns), but completely replace all elements of the quest hub. There are generally no shared side quests between links in the pattern.
  • Final Fantasy Series. With most games in the Final Fantasy series, towns typically lock the player into a “quest hub”, opening up a linear narrative to a few subquests that allow a little player choice. Most of these towns and side quests inside of them can be revisited by the player at later points in the game; i.e. the bridges between hubs are somewhat bidirectional.
  • Jade Empire. Similar to Final Fantasy's use of the pattern, Jade Empire consists of a series of open physical hubs, with different quests available in each. There is very little continuity between these hubs; few quests carry over from hub to hub.

In Worked Examples

  • Diamond Superstructure. Another common Quest Superstructure pattern, involves only one “link” in a linear hub pattern, a single quest hub.
  • Bridge Quest. Used to transfer from one link to another in a linear hub pattern, bridging between quest hubs in the game.

Quest-Level Relationship

  • Linear Level - A linear level forces the player to progress through the quest hub chain and miss very little content.

Acknowledgments

The Linear Hub pattern is often referred to as “beads on a string” in interactive storytelling literature.

patterns/linear_hub_pattern.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/12 23:11 by Gillian Smith
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