Mark Nelson Metrics and adaptation Fall 2013

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  • Mark Nelson

    Metrics and adaptationFall 2013

  • Game metrics

    Anything that can be recorded about gameplay

    Used to understand how the game works, and how players experience it

    Range of goals and techniquesQualitative, quantitative, game user experience, monetization

  • Some types of game metrics

  • Which player are the metrics about?

  • Basic process

    Choose variables to recordChoose frequency of recordingStore to a database

    Run query/visualization laterAggregation, correlation, etc.

  • Simple example

  • Spatial, in-engine metrics

    Record positions of interesting events

    Visualize frequencies, relationships, etc.Usually by drawing on the map

    One of the most commonly used kinds of metricsEasy to record, clear how to visualize

  • Heatmap: HL2 deaths

  • Heatmap: TR8 in-game help usage

  • More in-depth spatial analysis

    Heatmaps are 2d density estimates from samples

    Can do other kinds of density estimates

    Or, combine with qualitative data

  • Binned heatmap

  • Using a GIS?

    Geographic Information System (GIS)

    Used for aggregating spatial data in geography, urban planning, etc.

    Some recent experiments with using GIS to analyze game geography

  • GIS overlays

  • ArcGIS overlay (Hitman: Blood Money)

  • In-engine/editor visualization

  • Analytical metrics

    Analyzing the game to extract information without player data, or as a supplement to player data

    Examples:Reachability analysisGame-theory analysis of a combat system

    Recent area of researchM.J. Nelson (2011), Game Metrics Without Players

  • More on metrics

    Annual conferences/workshops: Game User Experience

    Engines increasingly come with their own metrics/viz infrastructureAnd extensions, e.g. in the Unity store

  • Adaptation

    Can we use metric data automatically?

    Offline or online

  • Dynamic difficulty adjustment

    Adjust game based on players in-game behavior

    But smarter than classic rubber-banding style DDA

    Information on what player does successfully/unsuccessfully, combined with a model of interestingness

  • Experience-driven PCG

    Use metrics information to generate levels or other game content

    Offline: a kind of partially automated game designOnline: game customizationLike a more ambitious DDA

    Togelius & Yannakakis (2011). Experience-driven PCG

  • Final project

    Project can be done individually or in a groupIndividually written reports in either case

    ScopeThere are about 6 weeks left in the semesterDepending on the project, leave ~2 weeks to write up a report

  • Kinds of projects

    Implementation projects

    Scientific-experiment projects

    Engine investigation projects

  • Implementation projects

    ExamplesExpand your software 3d renderer to do solid surfaces and lightingImplement a character AI/scripting APIWrite a Unity plugin to do something not currently supported

  • Scientific investigation projects

    Do an analysis/comparison of algorithms or techniques

    PossibilitiesImplement several standard algorithms from a textbook (AI, graphics, etc.) and compare themImplement something proposed in a research paper and try to replicate or extend its results

  • Engine investigation projects

    Take an existing game engine and dive into a specific part of it (physics system, AI system, navigation system, ) to understand and characterize how it works.

    Possible topics of investigationWhat were the design goals, if known?What does this support well and poorly?Benchmarks, etc.