Balancing turn-based games with chained strategy generation

Kavanagh, W. J. , Miller, A. , Norman, G. and Andrei, O. (2019) Balancing turn-based games with chained strategy generation. IEEE Transactions on Games, (doi: 10.1109/TG.2019.2943227) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Probabilistic model checking can overcome much of the complexity inherent in balancing games. Game balancing is the careful maintenance of relationships between the ways in which a game can be played, to ensure no single way is strictly better than all others and that players are offered a wide variety of ways to play successfully. We introduce a novel approach towards automating game balancing using probabilistic model checking called chained strategy generation (CSG). This involves generating chains of adversarial strategies which mimic the way players adapt their approach during repeated plays of a game. We use CSG to map out the evolving metagame. The trends identified can allow game developers to identify strategies which will be too strong and ways of playing the game which a player may want to use, but are never viable for successful competitive play. We introduce a case study, a game called RPGLite, and use CSG to compare five candidate configurations for the game. We show how to determine which configurations of RPGLite lead to a more fair and interesting experience for players. We also identify unexpected trends in how the strategies evolve. Our approach introduces a new technique for improving game development and player experience.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Norman, Dr Gethin and Kavanagh, William and Andrei, Dr Oana and Miller, Professor Alice
Authors: Kavanagh, W. J., Miller, A., Norman, G., and Andrei, O.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Journal Name:IEEE Transactions on Games
Publisher:IEEE
ISSN:2475-1502
ISSN (Online):2475-1502
Published Online:23 September 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 IEEE
First Published:First published in IEEE Transactions on Games 2019
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190906EPSRC 2015 DTPMary Beth KneafseyEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M508056/1Research and Innovation Services
172422Science of Sensor System Software (SSSS)Muffy CalderEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/N007565/1Computing Science