Publication: Improving Player Balancing in Racing Games

In competitive games where players' skill levels are mis-matched, the play experience can be unsatisfying for both stronger and weaker players. Player balancing provides assistance for less-skilled players in order to make games more competitive and engaging. Although player balancing can be seen in many real-world games, there is little work on the design and effectiveness of these techniques outside of shooting games. In this paper we provide new knowledge about player balancing in the popular and competitive racing genre. We studied issues of noticeability and balancing effectiveness in a prototype racing game, and tested the effects of several balancing techniques on performance and play experience. The techniques significantly improved the balance of player performance, were preferred by both ex-perts and novices, increased novices' feelings of competitiveness, and did not detract from experts' experience. Our results provide new understanding of the design and use of player balancing for racing games, and provide novel techniques that can also be applied to other genres.




Jared Cechanowicz Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan
Scott Bateman
University of New Brunswick
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan
Ian Stavness
University of Saskatchewan


Cechanowicz, J., Gutwin, C., Bateman, S., Mandryk, R.L., Stavness, I. 2014. Improving Player Balancing in Racing Games. In CHI PLAY 2014, Toronto, Canada. 47-56. DOI=


@inproceedings {347-p47-cechanowicz,
author= {Jared Cechanowicz and Carl Gutwin and Scott Bateman and Regan Mandryk and Ian Stavness},
title= {Improving Player Balancing in Racing Games},
booktitle= {CHI PLAY 2014},
year= {2014},
address= {Toronto, Canada},
pages= {47-56}