Research builds gameplay testing method

Research builds gameplay testing method
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

August 15th 2013 at 9:16AM

Players and developers given insight into the metrics of victory

Researchers claim to have developed a technique that analyzes player chances of winning in online team-based strategy games.

The North Carolina State University team used analytics tools to evaluate logs of player actions in games like Warcraft II, StarCraft II, and Defense of the Ancients to develop rules governing gameplay strategies.

Such research could provide the tools for game designers to test gameplay and balancing through metrics, or even to give games more advanced training features and AI.

“Our goal is to use these data to develop tools that could train game players to play more successfully,” says Dr. David L. Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and co-author of two papers on the research.

“These tools could be incorporated into games by game developers, or could be developed into stand-alone training modules. The tools could also be used by game developers to help them understand whether the game mechanics they are putting in their games are having the desired effect, and to fine-tune their games accordingly.”

The results showed that by measuring player attributes and stats, it was possible for researchers to determine the best time for upgrades and improvements, raising the likelihood of team success.

One of the provided examples claimed that in DotA, a team with 59.7more damage points than its rival by the second quarter of the game stood a more than 80 percent chance of winning.

If the team's damage point total beat the other's by just 54 points, the chance of victory fell to less than ten percent.

That's quite a bit of imbalance from just 5.7 damage points.

“And finding that balance is incredibly complex, which is what makes gaming so fascinating,” said Roberts.

For those interested in taking a closer look, both of the research team's papers, along with the press release, are available here.