Publication: Balancing Multiplayer First-Person Shooter Games using Aiming Assistance

When player skill levels are different in competitive First Person Shooter (FPS) games, the weaker player can end up feeling discouraged and the stronger player may get bored with the lack of challenge - ultimately yielding a non-optimal play experience for both players. Previous work has investigated how aiming assistance can be applied in a 3D environment to assist weaker players; however, there is little information on whether aiming assistance balances gameplay in a multiplayer environment or on how aim assistance affects player experience. We carried out a study to test the effectiveness of two aim assistance techniques (Bullet Magnetism and Area Cursor) that have been shown to help aiming in a 3D FPS. Our study had novice-expert pairs play deathmatch games in a multiplayer 3D FPS with and without the assistance techniques. The study showed that although Area Cursor and Bullet Magnetism resulted in better performance of the weaker player, it did not result in closer scores, and had no effect on the players' enjoyment of the game. Our results indicate that balancing performance in 3D FPS games is more complex than simply helping weaker players' aim, and we suggest possible reasons that warrant further investigation. This study is the first realistic evaluation of balancing techniques for 3D First Person Shooters, providing empirical evidence of the difficulty of using aim assistance techniques for balancing competitive gameplay.




Rodrigo Vicencio-Moreira Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan


Vicencio-Moreira, R., Mandryk, R.L., Gutwin, C. 2014. Balancing Multiplayer First-Person Shooter Games using Aiming Assistance. In IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media 2014, Toronto, Canada. 77-84.


@inproceedings {348-balancing-multiplayer-first-person,
author= {Rodrigo Vicencio-Moreira and Regan Mandryk and Carl Gutwin},
title= {Balancing Multiplayer First-Person Shooter Games using Aiming Assistance},
booktitle= {IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media 2014},
year= {2014},
address= {Toronto, Canada},
pages= {77-84}