Master's Thesis

Player Individuality in Multiplayer Games: Enhancing Game Experience through Adaptivity

Author:

Stefan Liszio

Processing Period:

14.11.2013 - 14.05.2014

Abstract

Humans vary in a multitude of attributes like gender, culture or age, attributes which influence the individual experience of a game. In order to provide a positive game experience for every individual player especially when playing together in multiplayer games, appropriate game designs are necessary. A typical approach to deal with diverse skills in games is cutting down the game’s level of difficulty to the lowest common denominator. However, the consequence might be an under-challenging or overburdening of certain players. Taking age as an example, especially the differences within cognitive and physiological abilities and the assumable lack of familiarity of the older generations with new (entertainment) technologies must be considered instead.

A way to design a  game that targets these special conditions and provides a positive game experience for players of different ages, is to include automatic adaption. That means, adjusting certain game parameters based on game-related information about the player’s performance (metrics) at run-time. Additionally, a pre-game session can be used to assess more player-related data (age, gender, etc.) before the game starts and thus enrich the inherent player model. Such an adaptive system should ensure that the game is challenging but fair for all players.

New technologies such as smartphones and tablet computers allow the development of “console-like” multiplayer games that are easy to integrate in common private spaces. This forms an adequate technological basis for a digital game that provides positive game experiences for a higher number of diverse players