Open Area


The open area is a mostly empty space with room to move in many directions. There are usually scattered enemies or quest-related NPCs, but very little tactical cover apart from obstacles. Open areas are more likely to be found in an uncharted area than in a city.

Open areas provide a large field for tactical use in combat. The space may also be used to extend the time spent in the level, as traveling between key points can take quite a lot of time. It gives the level an open world feeling, giving the player full choice in their movement. The open area can include some structures and obstacles to guide movement and add challenge.

Variables and Affordances

  • Obstacles.: an open area with no obstacles means the player can moved directly from point A to point B. Obstacles obscure the path, adding challenge.
  • Points of interest: an area with few points of interest (e.g. encounters) will quickly become boring if the level is too large.


  • Knights of the Old Republic. Dantooine & Tatooine. Both maps are very open.
  • Fallout 3. The entire top level of Fallout 3 is an open area, making the game an open world.
  • Mass Effect. Uninhabited Planets. When exploring these planets, Shepard is dropped into the middle of a large open area in a vehicle.

In Worked Examples

  • Uncharted Area. Open areas are likely to be uncharted, and the player explores them during the course of the game.

Quest-Level Relationships

  • Vehicle Mission. In large open areas, the extra space allows for vehicle missions to be used.
  • Diamond Superstructure. A massive superstructure could exist over this entire area, typically using points of interest as quest hubs.
patterns/open_area.txt ยท Last modified: 2011/06/13 11:34 by Gillian Smith Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki do yourself a favour and use a real browser - get firefox!! Recent changes RSS feed Valid XHTML 1.0