Players of digital games face numerous choices as to what kind of games to play and what kind of game content or in-game activities to opt for. Among these, game content plays an important role in keeping players engaged so as to increase revenues for the gaming industry. However, while nowadays a lot of game content is generated using procedural content generation, automatically determining the kind of content that suits players' skills still poses challenges to game developers. Addressing this challenge, we present matrix- and tensor factorization based game content recommender systems for recommending quests in a single player role-playing game. We discuss the theory behind latent factor models for recommender systems and derive an algorithm for tensor factorizations to decompose collections of bipartite matrices. Extensive online bucket type tests reveal that our novel recommender system retained more players and recommended more engaging quests than handcrafted content-based and previous collaborative filtering approaches.
This paper shows how game analytics can be used to dynamically adapt a casual, 2-D adventure game named Sidequest: The Game (SQ:TG) in order to increase session-level retention. Our technique involves using game analytics to create an abstracted game analytic space to make the problem tractable. We then model player retention in this space and move through this space in accordance to a target distribution of game states in order to influence player behavior. Experiments performed show that the adaptive version of SQ:TG is able to better fit a target distribution of game states while also significantly reducing the quitting rate compared to the non-adaptive version of the game.
Behavioral game analytics has predominantly been confined to work on single games, which means that the cross-game applicability of current knowledge remains largely unknown. Here four experiments are presented focusing on the relationship between game ownership, time invested in playing games, and the players themselves, across more than 3000 games distributed by the Steam platform and over 6 million players, covering a total playtime of over 5 billion hours. Experiments are targeted at uncovering high-level patterns in the behavior of players focusing on playtime, using frequent itemset mining on game ownership, cluster analysis to develop playtime-dependent player profiles, correlation between user game rankings and, review scores, playtime and game ownership, as well as cluster analysis on Steam games. Within the context of playtime, the analyses presented provide unique insights into the behavior of game players as they occur across games, for example in how players distribute their time across games.
My research involves creating and evaluating adaptive gameenvironments using player models created using data-driventechniques and algorithms. I hypothesize that I will be able tochange parts of a game to elicit certain behaviors from players,and that these changes will also result in an increase ofengagement and/or intrinsic motivation.
Many computer games of all genres pit the player against a succession of increasingly difficult challenges such as combat with computer-controlled enemies and puzzles. Part of the fun of computer games is to master the skills necessary to complete the game. Challenge tailoring is the problem of matching the difficulty of skill-based events over the course of a game to a specific player's abilities. We present a tensor factorization approach to predicting player performance in skill-based computer games. Our tensor factorization approach is data-driven and can predict changes in players' skill mastery over time, allowing more accurate tailoring of challenges. We demonstrate the efficacy and scalability of tensor factorization models through an empirical study of human players in a simple role-playing combat game. We further find a significant correlation between these performance ratings and player subjective experiences of difficulty and discuss ways our model can be used to optimize player enjoyment.