Examining the Concept of Pacing in Video Games


3 of 5 stars
What’s this?

A terrific disquisition on the art of creating compelling levels in single-player video games. Even for a confirmed non-gamer like myself, the author’s thoughtful analysis is a fascinating breakdown of what goes into this particular brand of user experience. Not all of these concepts are applicable to every design problem, but every designer can learn a little something about how to think about users from these principles, I think.

“‘Pacing’ is a word bandied around a lot when talking about level design, but it is actually a very complex concept to pin down. Just how does the pace affect the player’s perception of the level and what is it that sets a well paced level apart from a poorly paced one?

“With these questions ringing in my ears I was determined to try and delve a little deeper into just what constitutes level pacing, but I found very little literature on the subject. Instead I decided to focus my efforts on breaking down the core elements of what determines pace itself. In doing so I identified several key aspects of game pace: movement impetus: the will of the player to move through the level; threat: the notion of danger; tension: the atmosphere and mood of the level or perceived danger which is reflected in the player; tempo: the level of actual action currently being experienced by the player.”

  1. I would really recommend for you to play Portal. It’s not only an awesome game with great design, but also let’s you delve into the mind of the developers, as when you complete the game once (quite short), you can do it again with developer commentaries.

    The insights about what goes into making the game are amazing.

    If you decide to play, you’ll surely be wandering about the plausibility of existence of the cake.

    Trust me.

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.