Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
In matching pennies, one player declares that he is seeking a match.
Each player puts down a hidden penny, either heads-up or tails-up. They
then reveal them together. If they're the same, the player who sought a
match wins. Otherwise, his opponent does. It looks like this:
Even though it's rarely referred to by name, the matching pennies
pattern appears constantly in multiplayer games. The castle battle is a
matching pennies game, because the defender wants to match his de-
fense against your attack, while you want a mismatch. In a multiplayer
shooter, when you're defending an objective in a room with two doors,
you're playing a matching pennies game; you want to defend the door that
your opponent chooses to attack, while your opponent wants to come in
the other door and shoot you in the back. In a World War II strategy game,
the defender can choose whether to spend resources to lay mines, while
the attacker can choose whether to spend resources to bring minesweep-
ers. You don't want to lay mines that will just get swept up, and you don't
want to sweep for mines that aren't there.
Let's look at a real example of a matching pennies design pattern. In
StarCraft II , clashes between Zerg and Terran players often come down to
four key units: the Terran Siege Tank and Marine, and the Zerg Baneling
and Mutalisk. They interact like this:
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