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Foreshadowing is a Game Play experience in which a player sees something that suggests the presence of more play area on a map. The effectiveness of this experience eliminates surprise, heightens curiosity, and strengthens cohesion between the two portions of the map.

Invasion’s Barriers

The best example of this is found in Invasion, where the map has two distinct play areas separated by a barrier. The players are instructed to take down the barriers to proceed further in the mission. They realize that taking down the barriers leads to what is beyond the barriers themselves. The barriers in essence foreshadow the rest of the map.

Additionally players can see bits and pieces of the other side of the barriers, just a little to confirm there is more – a lot more. The little specks of view reinforce the foreshadowing.


Take a map like Valhalla. The center hill blocks your view of the other side of it until you reach the top of it. While moving towards the hill you can’t see what is on the other side, but you know there is another side because you can see how far away the cliff wall is from the hill. The hill and the cliff walls together foreshadow the other side of the hill as you approach it.

Now you may be thinking this doesn’t really amount to much, but unconsciously it really does. Imagine you are moving toward the hill, and then when you get to the top and see over it you see a large obstruction, like a gorge, that prevents you from moving further. Would that feel natural? Or would it be a surprise? When you forge your map you want people to get a sense of what is beyond what they see and it needs to be reasonable, expected, never a surprise or a shock. The flow of your map’s Geometry and Architecture needs to be consistent enough to make sense. One area of your map should naturally foreshadow the next.

Any ramp can help you suggest where it leads to by giving the player a little view into the Space at the other end of the ramp. If the ramp leads down into a basement of sorts, just seeing the floor immediately around the entrance of the Space is helpful, because they can already see what materials the flooring is made of, so they have some idea of what they will see once they get inside.

With each step around a round wall, the map slowly unfolds into view of the player. The round wall helps you to give the player the feeling there is more to see of your map if they just keep walking.

A single window breaking the enclosure can help players see just a little more of your map as they head down the Walkway, and can be used to help them see part of where they are heading before they get there.

The grav lifts on Gaurdian and those on Construct both foreshadow the other end of the lifts. The player who sees the lifts knows that there is more to the map and that the lifts will take him there. Lifts are bright to attract the attention of players, to draw them in.

Teleports are bright for the same reason. Clearly they imply there is more on the other end. But they give no clue what the other end may look like. They don’t do much foreshadowing.


Techniques in foreshadowing can offer your players curiosity, and bring cohesion through out your map.

Each part of your map should give a sense of what is beyond it, and you should avoid surprises.
Seeing into a room can help give a sense of what the room looks like.

Seeing around a round wall can help show there is more to the map if one simply keeps moving forward around the wall.