Easily the most common pattern, an arena is an open area or wide corridor where the player encounters some form of heavy resistance, either waves of enemy NPCs, or a boss fight. Designers should ensure that the player is not overwhelmed. Cover and items can be placed to allow the player to make continual progress towards their goal.
In a boss fight the player may have to find the boss’ weak spot, or hit it a certain number of times. The designer must communicate the method of defeating the boss to the player. For example, the player may be provided with a high powered weapon just before entering the arena.
If the player is outnumbered and lacks powerful weapons, they are forced to move deliberately and make use of cover. This increases challenge and slows the pace. If the player has a powerful weapon or is otherwise not seriously threatened, the effect is to increase pace as the player quickly eliminates large numbers of enemy NPCs.
An arena can contain sniper locations or turrets. Entrances to an arena may be choke points.
|The Gears of War level “Trial by Fire” contains several arenas. One example is a room of medium width and length and a low ceiling. There is a significant amount of cover, which is used by both the player and enemy NPCs. Another example (pictured) is a long open space also with significant cover for the player and enemy NPCs.|
|The level “Corinth River” of Killzone 2 begins with a large arena. The player and friendly NPCs engage enemy NPCs in a space with medium width and depth, with large amounts of cover. Some NPCs are positioned at elevated sniper locations with turrets.||No screenshot available|
|In the level “Sierra 117” of Halo 3, the player moves through the forest terrain engaging enemies at multiple locations. The player can use rocks, trees, and other environmental objects as basic cover.|
|In the “Crow’s Nest” level of Halo 3, the player engages waves of attacking enemy NPCs. The arena is fairly narrow and long, with some cover. Enemies are advancing from one end while the player needs to eliminate them and move through to the other side.|
|In the “Crow's Nest” level of Halo 3, the player must make his or her way through longer and narrower arenas and fight waves of enemies using the cover and weapons provided.|