Publication: Now You Can Compete With Anyone: Balancing Players of Different Skill Levels in a First-Person Shooter Game

When player skill levels differ widely in a competitive First- Person Shooter (FPS) game, enjoyment suffers: weaker players become frustrated and stronger players become less engaged. Player balancing techniques attempt to assist the weaker player and make games more competitive, but these techniques have limitations for deployment when skill levels vary substantially. We developed new player balancing schemes to deal with a range of FPS skill difference, and tested these techniques in one-on-one deathmatches using a commercial-quality FPS game developed with the UDK engine. Our results showed that the new balancing schemes are extremely effective at balancing, even for players with large skill differences. Surprisingly, the techniques that were most effective at balancing were also rated as most enjoyable by both players - even though these schemes were the most noticeable. Our study is the first to show that player balancing can work well in realistic FPS games, providing developers with a way to increase the audience for this popular genre. In addition, our results demonstrate the idea that successful balancing is as much about the way the technique is applied as it is about the specific manipulation.

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Participants

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

Citation

Vicencio-Moreira, R., Mandryk, R.L., Gutwin, C. 2015. Now You Can Compete With Anyone: Balancing Players of Different Skill Levels in a First-Person Shooter Game. In CHI'15: Proceedings of the 2015 CHI international conference on Human factors in computing systems, Seoul, Korea. 2255-2264. Honourable Mention Award given to top 5% of submissions. DOI=10.1145/2702123.2702242.

BibTeX

@inproceedings {357-p2255-vicencio-moreira,
author= {Rodrigo Vicencio-Moreira and Regan Mandryk and Carl Gutwin},
title= {Now You Can Compete With Anyone: Balancing Players of Different Skill Levels in a First-Person Shooter Game},
booktitle= {CHI'15: Proceedings of the 2015 CHI international conference on Human factors in computing systems},
year= {2015},
address= {Seoul, Korea},
pages= {2255-2264},
note= {Honourable Mention Award given to top 5% of submissions}
}