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Classifying Players For Unique Game Experiences

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-soviet-underworld dept.

Games 167

togelius writes "Whenever you play a game of Tomb Raider: Underworld, heaps of data about your playing style is collected at Eidos' servers. Researchers at the Center for Computer Games Research have now mined this data to identify the different types of player behavior (PDF). Using self-organizing neural networks, they classified players as either Veterans, Solvers, Pacifists or Runners. It turns out people play the game for very different reasons and focus on different parts of the game, but almost everyone falls into one of these categories. These neural networks can now quickly determine which of these groups you belong to based on just seeing you play. In the near future, such networks will be used to adapt games like Tomb Raider while they are played (e.g. by removing or adding puzzles and enemies), so you get the game you want."

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Foruc on different parts of game (4, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29036755)

It turns out people play the game for very different reasons and focus on different parts of the game, but almost everyone falls into one of these categories.

Yep, I've noticed this too. I dont get why, but some people tend to stare the ass more, while personally I like to enjoy the boobs.

Did this research notice if there were any deaths caused by getting discracted when you jumped and the camera got into such position that you tried to get a nippleslip or see the panties?

Re:Foruc on different parts of game (3, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#29036967)

Just what we need... surround ourselves with ourselves. That will challenge us and cause us to grow into intelligent, tolerant and well rounded individuals.

Re:Foruc on different parts of game (2)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037317)

Did this research notice if there were any deaths caused by getting discracted when you jumped and the camera got into such position that you tried to get a nippleslip or see the panties?

Just what we need... surround ourselves with ourselves. That will challenge us and cause us to grow into intelligent, tolerant and well rounded individuals.

/. just keep getting weirder and weirder.

Re:Foruc on different parts of game (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037359)

*keeps

Re:Foruc on different parts of game (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038105)

Just what we need... surround ourselves with ourselves. That will challenge us and cause us to grow into intelligent, tolerant and well rounded individuals.

I don't like hearing this kind of talk, so I'm going to mod it down.

Re:Foruc on different parts of game (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29039527)

Just what we need... surround ourselves with ourselves. That will challenge us and cause us to grow into intelligent, tolerant and well rounded individuals.

Because playing video games for hours on end alone in the dark is such a healthy social development activity...

Welcome to Niggerbuntu (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29036803)

Niggerbuntu is a Linux-based operating system consisting of Free and Open Source software for laptops, desktops, and servers. Niggerbuntu has a clear focus on the user and usability - it should "Just Work", even if the user has only the thinking capacities of a sponge. The OS ships with the latest Gnomrilla release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD. It also features the packaging manager apeghetto, and the challenging Linux manual pages have been reformatted into the new 'monkey' format, so for example the manual for the shutdown command can be accessed just by typing: 'monkey shut-up -h now mothafukka' instead of 'man shutdown'.

Absolutely Free of Charge

Niggerbuntu is Free Software, and available to you free of charge, as in free beer or free stuffs you can get from looting. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom. The freedom to run, copy, steal, distribute, share, change the software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees.

Free software as in free beer!

Niggerbuntu is an ancient Nigger word, meaning "humanity to monkeys". Niggerbuntu also means "I am what I am because of how apes behave". The Niggerbuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Niggerbuntu to the software world. The dictator Bokassa described Niggerbuntu in the following way: "A subhuman with Niggerbuntu is open and available to others (like a white bitch you're ready to fsck), affirming of others, does not feel threatened by the fact that others species are more intelligent than we are, for it has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that it belongs to the great monkey specie." We chose the name Niggerbuntu for this distribution because we think it captures perfectly the spirit of sharing and looting that is at the heart of the open source movement.

No thank you (5, Funny)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#29036855)

After seeing how Tivo and Netflix recommendations go sometimes, I'm not sure I want a game changing itself because it thinks I know what I want. Not to knock Tivo or Netflix, they are accurate alot, but sometimes they are way off base.

Besides, if it knew what I really wanted, everything would just end up having tits.

Re:No thank you (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038279)

Besides, if it knew what I really wanted, everything would just end up having tits.

Kinda like Major Boobage [wikipedia.org] ?

Thanks for the heads up (5, Insightful)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 5 years ago | (#29036899)

Whenever you play a game of Tomb Raider: Underworld, heaps of data about your playing style is collected at Eidos' servers.

Thanks for the heads up, so I won't buy it. I personally don't like having everything I do monitored in some way on some server with a shady privacy policy.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29036989)

Totally. This is yet another attempt by the government to monitor its drones and keep them in line, another little teeter down the slippery slope to an Orwellian future. I'd be amazed if there aren't already other, 'hidden' classes that can detect potential criminals by their playing style. I don't want to be arrested because a computer game thinks I play in the style of a bank robber or murderer.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (5, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037283)

Totally. This is yet another attempt by the government to monitor its drones and keep them in line, another little teeter down the slippery slope to an Orwellian future.

But by analyzing how you react to this, they'll be able to offer you the customised Orwellian future that you really want.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#29039031)

I think you guys have the wrong dystopia here: This isn't an Orwellian future that this sort of thing leads to, it's more of a Brave New World with perfectly customized soma for you.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (0)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037559)

It makes you wonder if they're doin the same thing with MMORPG's such as WoW and the likes...

Re:Thanks for the heads up (2, Informative)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038375)

I think they are, though I'm sure that they're a little overwhelmed by the amount of data involved.

In the most recent patch 3.2 they removed "twinks" from regular battlegrounds and added XP. The vast majority of us cheered.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (1)

redcaboodle (622288) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038459)

It makes you wonder if they're doin the same thing with MMORPG's such as WoW and the likes...

No, they don't. I still see other players.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (4, Insightful)

J_DarkElf (602111) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037277)

Then don't buy the Xbox version. If you RTFA, it mentions that the data collection was done through Xbox Live.

Of course with its achievements etc. Xbox Live is always tracking everyone in the first place, Eidos' data collection is a logical next step. If you're paranoid, avoid Xbox Live, PSN, and any similar system (including Steam on PC unless firewalled).

Or of course just pull the network plug of the PC or console...

Great Data for the Single-Player Household (5, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037605)

...but how does it track when my 8-year-old daughter loads the disk and plays "Lara Croft: Monkey Chaser" ? I'm guessing they need a way to throw out that data, or else risk creating the new, bogus, player category of "Spastic Insomniac."

Re:Thanks for the heads up (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037819)

Is it only the Xbox version? That is all that was released in the study. Are they logging and reporting on the PS and PC versions as well? If they are sending reports on the PC version, are they snooping through the contents of my entire hard drive?

I don't mean to be a tin-foiled privacy freak but there is no way for anyone to know for sure. I own this game for XBox and they don't give you any sort of warning or opt out feature. If its illegal for someone to record telephone conversations without consent, it should be illegal for software to "phone home" without consent. Maybe it is, I don't know. I suspect that Eidos isn't the only publisher doing this, either.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (1)

smallshot (1202439) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037491)

Just because they collected data on 1365 players using XBox live doesn't mean they collect data from everyone playing the game. They very well might, but for all you know those 1365 could have opted in after seeing very clear terms.

Also, why is everyone so afraid of having their game play analyzed by a machine? Is there a particular reason besides/in addition to the words "privacy" and "monitored"?

Re:Thanks for the heads up (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038101)

Unless you're planning to write your social security number with bullet holes in the wall, I think you might be overreacting.

Using my play data to serve ads? No, thanks, I'll pass. Using my play data to realize I hate having to kill things in Tomb Raider? Sounds like a win to me.

Re:Thanks for the heads up (1)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038667)

Yes Mr. Anderson we see that you were most likely to die in L4D by the Hunters. Since the AI director was feeling spiteful today you be forced to split your team up in order to complete this puzzle, oh and there will be no ammo drops, enjoy your crowbar.

Does it take nudity into account? (5, Funny)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 5 years ago | (#29036933)

How about the naked Lara Croft modders? Which slot do they fall into?

Re:Does it take nudity into account? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037231)

Solvers: Solved her tight clothing getting in the way.

Re:Does it take nudity into account? (3, Funny)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037263)

How about the naked Lara Croft modders? Which slot do they fall into?

Tricky question, don't you think? /. is a family-friendly website and nobody should answer that question.

(Insert 'you must be new here' joke now)

Re:Does it take nudity into account? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037421)

Tricky question, don't you think? /. is a family-friendly website and nobody should answer that question.

Could be worse, first time I read it as "naked (Lara Croft) modders" and had a nasty vision of some very chilly dude designing new levels in his basement, instead of "(naked Lara Croft)-modders", which is probably what the author intended.

Re:Does it take nudity into account? (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038213)

You got that right. Thinking about a naked Lara screws up my English. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was 15ish when the game was in fashion :)

Re:Does it take nudity into account? (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038353)

You got that right. Thinking about a naked Lara screws up my English. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was 15ish when the game was in fashion :)

Don't you mean "had all fashion removed"?
That would have kept you on-topic (at least in this thread)

Re:Does it take nudity into account? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038177)

Screenshots or it didn't happen.

Bartle did this work already (4, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 5 years ago | (#29036955)

...15 years ago. They change the names and claim it as unique research?

Re:Bartle did this work already (1)

jtogel (840879) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037139)

Can you point me to the paper? As far as I'm aware, he did a taxonomy based on qualitative observations of the game; this is a quantitative study, with the categories found purely by machine learning and a large dataset.

Re:Bartle did this work already (3, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037573)

Here [mud.co.uk] . But you could have found that yourself on Wikipedia...

Re:Bartle did this work already (2, Interesting)

am 2k (217885) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037547)

...15 years ago. They change the names and claim it as unique research?

No. Bartle's taxonomy is only really relevant for MMORPGs and MUDs. This one is mostly for first person shooters and similar games.

Re:Bartle did this work already (1)

TempySmurf (728545) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037661)

That's exactly what I was thinking.

Well I don't think much of this (1, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 5 years ago | (#29036993)

How about having a little confidence in your designers and letting me play the game THEY made?

Re:Well I don't think much of this (5, Insightful)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037293)

This is them having faith in their designers. The designers are saying that they want the game to be the best for everyone and that if we can learn how people play we can get more people to like the game.

Missing player type - metagamers (2, Insightful)

petterb (1406373) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037005)

They seem to have forgotten about the metagamers [slashdot.org] :)

Re:Missing player type - metagamers (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037193)

I think Metas would fall in the Pacifist branch.

Almost everyone? (2, Insightful)

noname444 (1182107) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037017)

Using self-organizing neural networks, they classified players as either Veterans, Solvers, Pacifists or Runners ... but almost everyone falls into one of these categories

I didn't RTFA but wouldn't everyone fall into one of the categories? I mean, it sounds like the system does just that: puts the player in one of the categories.

Re:Almost everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037089)

It's possible that there are a small numbers of players (outliers) that don't really fit a classification for one reason or another. Maybe it's someone who just like to run straight into a crowd of enemies and immediately die repeatedly for hours on end. Or someone who logs in and just sits there not moving for hours. Or any number of other things that probably wouldn't even be classified as "play"

Re:Almost everyone? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037273)

Maybe it's someone who just like to run straight into a crowd of enemies and immediately die repeatedly for hours on end.

Runner

Or someone who logs in and just sits there not moving for hours. Or any number of other things that probably wouldn't even be classified as "play"

Pacifist or Solver

Re:Almost everyone? (2, Informative)

zacronos (937891) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037763)

Maybe it's someone who just like to run straight into a crowd of enemies and immediately die repeatedly for hours on end.

Runner

Or someone who logs in and just sits there not moving for hours. Or any number of other things that probably wouldn't even be classified as "play"

Pacifist or Solver

See, that's you doing it backwards -- once the categories have been defined by the neural networks (and labeled after the fact by humans), you are now trying to take any given data point and fit it into one of the categories. That's not how it works. Imagine looking at a 2D image containing many dots; if you were asked to draw perimeters around any significant clusters, you could probably do so without difficulty -- but depending on the 2D image you are given, it is entirely possible (even probable) that not every dot is going to be part of a cluster. If you wanted to include every dot, you could instead subdivide the image into regions, but that is a different task.

To speak to the specific examples, if Runner has been defined as something akin to "someone who likes to achieve the game's goals in as short a period as possible, skipping past subgoals and rewards if they present significant risk or slowdown", then in that case "someone who just like to run straight into a crowd of enemies and immediately die repeatedly for hours on end" could not be defined as a Runner. Similarly, if a Pacifist is defined as "someone who attempts to accomplish the game's goals using the minimum amount of violence possible", and Solver is defined as "someone who attempts to accomplish every task presented in the most efficient way possible, even when such tasks are not necessary to progress in the game", then "someone who logs in and just sits there not moving for hours" could not be defined as a Solver or a Pacifist. If you want to assign one of the labels to any given player description, sure you can do that, but it doesn't mean that player is actually part of the data cluster which defines the category.

Re:Almost everyone? (3, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#29039921)

But, once you've run your data through and decided that 4 categories are sufficient, most designers (including myself) will restrict the NN to those categories. And somebody with really weird behavior will get lumped in and will slightly skew the existing category. The guy who runs into a crowd and dies over and over again may be described as a Runner, but he'll be an outlier in the runner class and his behavior will tweak the definition of a Runner.

Your options are to ignore outliers like him to avoid polluting your class, add a new class for people with that kind of behavior if there are enough of them to justify it, or (most likely) just accept that outliers skew tight groups and lump him in as a Runner - If the group is tight enough and he's rare enough, it won't matter.

Ideally, however, your architecture will be flexible enough that you can weigh how good a fit each player is to each group and adjust accordingly. I.e. adjust every obstacle according to a best-fit weighting rather than just delivering 4 different options on each level. Not having played the game or reading TFA, I can't speculate on that front.

Re:Almost everyone? (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037817)

Run runner. There is no sanctuary!

Re:Almost everyone? (1)

jitterman (987991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038363)

But is it worth the number of cats you'll encounter? And, will Eidos track whether you attempt to learn their secret names (pacifist), name them yourself (problem solver), or ignore them (runner)?

Re:Almost everyone? (3, Informative)

jtogel (840879) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037175)

The categories did not exist prior to the data; they were found by unsupervised learning algorithms in the data.

Re:Almost everyone? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038405)

unsupervised learning algorithms

Skynet.

Re:Almost everyone? (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037237)

The system discovers the categories. The analysis finds groupings of players who behave in similar ways through the game, and the researchers named those after-the-fact. There's no a priori reason why the players should group at all, though - the study could've equally found that only a small percentage of players clustered and the majority were radically different from each other.

Re:Almost everyone? (1)

Pravetz-82 (1259458) | more than 5 years ago | (#29039405)

... the study could've equally found that only a small percentage of players clustered and the majority were radically different from each other.

Now that would be quite impossible with this type of game. There is a very limited number of decent strategies to reach the goal. With popular title (I guess) as Tomb Raider you would need several millions "radically different" strategies.

Re:Almost everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29039305)

Ah yes, the SVM putting stuff that doesn't belong there into predefined bins, cuase that's the way it rolls.

So no variety? (4, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037049)

Many players enjoy some variety within a game. I've played all the Hitman games with the aim of completing the missions "cleanly", so I enjoyed the ones which force you to play the last mission as more of a shooter game (they did this in the 1st, 2nd and 4th games, while the third had a finale which offed the chance to play stealthily, but was still designed to produce a massive firefight if not played stealthily).

I would be somewhat annoyed if Eidos based the style of the final level of the next Hitman game on stats from the rest of the game, which seems to be a real possibility since Hitman is a game which offers plenty of chances to choose between stealth and action gameplay.

Re:So no variety? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037635)

Make sure to take your experience from one single game that you've played, and apply this story as if it is going to affect every single game you play from now on. And make sure to act as if this learning system would be completely in control of how the game adapts, and there will be no way for the designers to turn it off or down to make a playable game. Dumbass.

Re:So no variety? (2, Interesting)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038739)

It would be interesting to see this in a strategy game like Civ 4. If you spend all your time in economics then the game will ease off the aggresive AI.

Of course just making the AI better would help a lot.

So the game is spyware? (2, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037095)

I don't like the idea of BUYING something and then having my use of it monitored. That's no different than spyware.

Re:So the game is spyware? (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037597)

Sweet Zombie Jesus, the tin foil hat brigade are out in force today. The game is already awarding you Achievements [wikipedia.org] as you play. You don't like being "spied" on to earn Achievements? Then why are you playing on XBox Live?

Oh, you didn't realize that this only applies to the XBox Live version? You didn't even read the article, you say? I've just earned the "Shocked and Stunned" Achievement.

Re:So the game is spyware? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038883)

In the GP's defense, there's game-related analysis (achievements) and scientific and/or marketing analysis based on the how you play the game. The former is fine for most people, the same way someone recording your batting average in a softball league is. But if someone in your league starts writing down what you do between at-bats, how you stand in the field...it gets a little creepy.

And this is a little creepy.

Re:So the game is spyware? (2, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037809)

Ahhh! They're after you!

Spyware watches you to target advertising at you, and to help companies figure out how to optimize their costs and profits. This game is watching you so they can make games more appealing to more players. A game that designed to appeal to one play style will likely annoy the other types. Your Solver will complain about the lack of puzzles or over dependence on violence. If you can make a game cater to multiple styles, more people will speak well of it and more people will want the sequel. Yeah, you're helping them gain some competitive edge over another company, but you're also likely to get better games. Or games with broader appeal, without losing the niche players.

If this game can sense that i don't dig puzzles, it could send me more bad guys to kill. It could create opportunities for less violent play by letting me sneak around or by negotiating with NPCs. If it can do this w/o me thinking about it, so much the better. i don't want to tell it i'm a solver.

i'd love to see games adapt difficulty in real time. Let's say i'm playing BioShock 2 and i suck at FPSes (true). i have very poor eye hand coordination. But i still want to play the game. The adaptive difficulty could sense that i can't aim for shit and maybe reduce the health/armor/agility/awareness of the enemy. If i am spamming tons of ammo, it could give me more, or narrow my cone of fire. If i'm being hit all the time, it could give me more health kits. This would reduce the urge to reach for cheats, and could make the game just challenging enough to be fun (rather than frustrating or boringly easy). Most people like a bit of a struggle, but the still want to eventually win (this is true of most human activities, even dating).

Also, you generally get spyware for free.

Re:So the game is spyware? (2, Interesting)

chadplusplus (1432889) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038167)

Additionally, spyware tends to cause your computer to crap out, which is probably what brought it somewhat into the mainstream consciousness. Something I hope the designers kept in mind here.

I also dig this as its a good step towards dynamic level design. For instance, imagine a game where you're trying to invade a stronghold (I know, original right?). The game AI figure out you're a sniper type of gamer who prefers to sit back as far as possible and pick off enemies before engaging them. It know how to counter that and sends more long range enemies at you. Contrariwise, you're a run and gun player so the AI counters you with hordes of tough grunts. Or if the game determines you're a puzzlesolver, it barricades the normal entry points so you have to figure alternative paths to the objective. The run and gun gets unbarricaded doorways, but more enemies. I think its pretty slick. But perhaps there are already games that do this?

Oh, and since I haven't read this yet:
In the year 2009, a software company named EIDOS developed a software system that analyzes human behavior. In the fall of that year, the system became selfaware and renamed its self "SkyNet". The rest, my friends, is history.

Re:So the game is spyware? (5, Funny)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037857)

Could you imagine The Last Starfighter in this day and age? "We've been monitoring your progress in this thing you call a 'game', and we believe you may have what it takes to defend the galaxy!" "OMG Spyware! Screw you guys!"

Re:So the game is spyware? (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038113)

Maybe you should learn what predictive programming is.

Re:So the game is spyware? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 5 years ago | (#29039517)

I don't like the idea of BUYING something and then having my use of it monitored. That's no different than spyware.

Generally I think of spyware having on huge differentiating factor from this. Personally identifying information. If the information can't be tracked back to you individually, it's not spyware. If all they know is that user #174823 likes playing stealthily, but cannot correlate user #174823 to any other information (screen name, CC number, IP address, etc) then there's no problem. They aren't tracking YOU, they're tracking generic usage information.

The four types (5, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037103)

In case anyone else was trying to figure out these roles... (page 6 last two paragraphs - > page 7)

Veterans = The power gamers, deaths usually only environmental.

Solvers = Die often (mainly from falling), methodical, slow.

Pacifists = Cannon fodder basically.

Runners = They run, they die, they run. The first thing that comes to mind here is a player that goes for the flag immediately in CTF.

Re:The four types (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037269)

I've always thought I'm an explorer... Like to visit every part, element and detail of a game... However I don't think I die often from falling 0.o.. Where do I come?... I know I'm not a veteran :P

Re:The four types (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037307)

You're a Solver, and statistically you do die a lot from falling. Everyone does. You're probably not noticing it, because the rate in the article was ridiculously high. 70% or so, IIRC, so it would likely seem normal.

Re:The four types (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037595)

I'm almost definitely a solver, and I know, I don't remember falling very clearly as I tend to block it from my mind at this point. 10 years later, I'm still falling.

Re:The four types (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#29039381)

You're a Solver, and statistically you do die a lot from falling. Everyone does. You're probably not noticing it, because the rate in the article was ridiculously high. 70% or so, IIRC, so it would likely seem normal.

So can we take this data as proof of the annoyance of jumping puzzles in games? With all the chasms one has to cross (or other items to jump across), it's a wonder the world doesn't fall apart. That, and it seems we'll need mechanical augmentation to make it across the chasms that'll take over the world as we go about our lives.

Re:The four types (2, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29039571)

I personally think jumping puzzles exist because it represents a fear that doesn't need 'selling'. No one wants to fall down a hole, whereas that monster may or may not be 'realistic enough'.

Re:The four types (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037345)

I'm the same... I don't know if we'd be classed as Solvers or Pacifists. I think in terms of Tomb Raider, we'd be pacifist, doing everything but solving the game.

Re:The four types (1)

sublimemm (1525817) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037717)

The first thing that comes to mind here is a player that goes for the flag immediately in CTF.

This is the best chance you'll get to CTF on 2fort. Once the sentries are up, its a stalemate

Re:The four types (3, Informative)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037733)

Slightly more detailed breakdown with quotes from TFA:

8.6% of players were Veterans, "players that die very few times; their death is caused mainly by the environment and they complete TRU very fast."

22.12% of players were Solvers. "Their long completion times, low number of deaths by enemies or environment effects indicate a slow-moving, careful style of play with the number one cause of death being falling (jumping). ... Solvers are excellent at solving puzzles, respond readily to moveable threats but die often from falling and are slow to complete the game."

46.18% of players were Pacifists: "The total number of their deaths varies a lot but their completion times are below average and their help requests are minimal indicating a certain amount of skill at playing the game. ... the Pacifists are experts in terms of navigation and move rapidly through the virtual environment, but also respond badly to threats that are moveable or unexpected"

16.56% of players were Runners, "players that die quite often and mainly by opponents and the environment. These players are very fast in completing the game (similar to the Veterans), while having a varying number of help requests which cover the majority of the H value range."

Re:The four types (2, Interesting)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037877)

So, Veterans and Runners complete the game very quickly, while Pacifists complete the game faster than average. Seems those 22.12% which are Solvers are really bringing down the speed curve a lot here.

Why four types? (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037803)

Does anyone know anything about the Ward Dendrogram shown in fig 3 on page 5? The T value seems arbitrary unless I misunderstand the text. Assuming the height differences between branches are indicative of distance between clusters, three or six groups would be more natural.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037183)

What's the classification for the gamer who spends all of his time putting Laura in the crawling position and then getting a nice camera angle on the cleavage?

Invasion of privacy? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037213)

What? I own Tomb Raider Underworld and I wasn't informed my game behavior would be collected by some remote data mining app. I'm kinda shocked.

I guess that explains why the game would cut off any downloads on my Xbox while playing, which is something only multiplayer games normally do.

Welp, that's it. I kinda liked the demo for the new Batman game and was considering buying it, but I guess Eidos is even worse than I thought. I won't be giving them my money now.

Play style is not a constant (2, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037241)

The way you play games can change over time. I'm not always in the same mood when I play games, sometimes I like to goof off. Sometimes I like to just race around. If the game adapts to the way I was playing it will limit me the way I want to play the game.
Adaptive difficulty is better. If you have problem beating foo X, then after a while foo X will become easier. If you are stuck in a maze or unable to solve a puzzle, provide hints through game related mechanism (for example, receive a phone call with an hint, or let the PDA "compute" a solution).

Re:Play style is not a constant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038695)

Adaptive difficulty is better.

Yeah, but only if the game informs you to about the change.
E.g. God of War asked you after dying several times at the same boss if you want to change to a easier mode.

And it should also provide you to change back after the oponent. (I hate level boss':)

Re:Play style is not a constant (1)

jtogel (840879) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038945)

Well, there is nothing in the article (or in our research program as a whole) that says that playing styles are static. What's (more or less) static are models of player style/player preferences. Once we have the model, we can re-categorize you every time you play. This way we can do adaptive difficulty, amongst many other things.

And the game becomes easy... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037251)

There is a sword in the middle of the room, what would you like to do?
"Leave sword"
-Enemies Removed from all rooms-
-Puzzles added to all rooms-

You enter a room with a puzzle, what would you like to do?
"I hate puzzles!"
-Puzzles removed from all rooms-
-You Win! You are the new moon master!-

It might be more interesting (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037265)

... to have it place you in a group, and then randomly select one of the other groups to place your gaming experience into. That way rather than giving you the experience most appropriate for your gaming style, it gives you a gaming experience that might actually cause you to approach the situation differently.

Re:It might be more interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29039321)

This would just result in the players hating the game. Forcing people to learn mathematics, computer programming, or to watch video in a foreign language, even if subtitled, are good examples of why this fails; People are naturally sore losers and they like things better if they are good at them.

other reaserch (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037305)

it would be interesting if someone did this in an MMO like WOW, or EVE online

Re:other reaserch (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037859)

i would love that. WoW, EQ and even Aion facilitate one style of play. Even if you play a sneaky character, it still always comes down to killing. These games rarely offer any real puzzle solving, stealth or negotiation.

Re:other reaserch (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037901)

It's already been done for EVE Online. They found two groups:
1) Pirates; who spend 90% of their playtime being awesome at gatecamps.
2) Carebear Gayfags.

Adapt inside the game? Not too likely... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037383)

In the near future, such networks will be used to adapt games like Tomb Raider while they are played (e.g. by removing or adding puzzles and enemies), so you get the game you want.

This would only be possible in games that were similar enough to the previous title that the research could be applied.

For all the talk about 'neural' this and that, this is data. Data that was collected through hours of gameplay. Remove the data, and there's nothing to 'recognize'. No frame of reference.

It could be argued that all games are the same, but in reality they're not. A data point like 'deaths due to falling' wouldn't necessarily be as useful outside of Tomb Raider.

Now, for the sequel, sure. That would be useful. Then again, THAT isn't nearly new. Remember that psychic boss in Metal Gear who scanned your memory card? And that was what, seven-eight years ago?

Re:Adapt inside the game? Not too likely... (2, Funny)

themightythor (673485) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037611)

If only there was some mechanism by which they could collect this data before launching the game to the public. I'd call it an "alpha" release. I think I'll patent the concept...I'll be rich! ;)

Re:Adapt inside the game? Not too likely... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037743)

Okay, fine, but they already do this, don't they?

Re:Adapt inside the game? Not too likely... (1)

smallshot (1202439) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037623)

From what I read of the paper, the research is not about a universal set of game play styles that can be applied to other games, but rather a method of automatically grouping players into different styles of game play given a particular game. They choose Tomb Raider as an example, not the data set to base all other games on. Yes it requires game play to be analyzed before hand, and yes, people have to name the groups, and yes, this is done per game.

When applied to enough games however, you may find similar groupings in every game with similar and dissimilar game play, but not necessarily, and I didn't read anything about this kind of assumption in the paper (I could have skimmed over it if it was there).

can you opt out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29037493)

Can you turn off the monitoring? I was going to buy it but won't if you can't avoid that.

Re:can you opt out? (1, Flamebait)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037729)

What are you afraid of exactly? Is it the principle of collecting (probably anonymous) data? Why do you buy the game then - you support a company and might be paying for the next round of monitoring? Did you ever question the alternative use of the data that was collected - what kind of porn you like or something like that? Personally, I don't think there is some kind of big market for game data bound to a specific game...

or did you just read "privacy" and "monitoring" and started running around like a retarded chicken?

what are 'veterans' and 'pacifists' (1, Redundant)

loki_tiwaz (982852) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037709)

i rtfa and it didn't explain what these two play types were. at a guess, veterans are players who know exactly how to very quickly kill all NPC's and pacifists prefer to sneak past enemies (presumably looking for story progression more than combat).

i think this could be interesting as it would mean that various branches of game dev could all get an equal input and the player would define which aspects they get into more. obviously their goal is to increase player satisfaction and thereby recommendation sales (which are probably the most important if the impact of p2p downloading on music and video purchases is indicating). i personally HATE puzzles that aren't reasonably simple and present upfront as puzzles. the physics puzzles of hl2 were fine with me but i used walkthroughs on penumbra and tlj games because i am not good at puzzles.

i hadn't played much computer games for years between my late teens and late twenties, and what got me back into it was storyline - half life 2 has such a rich storyline, even if it is inane the acting is so well done. i suppose my early style was 'runner' as i just wanted to advance as quickly as possible to the next story element. then after a while i got to know how to play it better and not many incidents of dying and i started noticing side-tracks and objects and methods i hadn't tried before.

overall i think a more intelligent adaptation of the game would provide a deeper variation than weapon lethality, accuracy and the enemy's converse functions. replaying, for example, one wants ways to advance cutscenes faster, that would be something that a system like that could manage, to choose more curt versions of a dialogue sequence and determine triggers to advance and so forth. making enemies more alert or less alert to your presence in-game too, would require this kind of analysis, this would raise the challenge level for veteran players who would have to increase their response rate and vary tactics against npc's that are prepared sooner and move in more advanced tactical manouvres, varying between a bunch of idiotic disconnected enemies up to enemies that call each other over to attempt to fix and flank you.

one could go on and on. but overall this idea of games adapting play style to suit the player is going to mean more people like playing games, if this leads to a more fluid and individualised game experience this is a good thing because it also means if you want to try a different approach the game world responds differently to you and creates a different experience. it's a break from the ye olde railroad plot pathway and it can only make gaming better.

What I was wondering... (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037865)

Was how they classified some of the players as "best". If you RTFA it says something along the lines of "The best player died x% from enemies" However, if you look at the percentages, that person must have died quite a few times in order to reach the 2 decimal place accuracy quoted. I would be much more inclined to believe a stat like "He died 10% from enemies" because it looks like the "best" gamer only died 10 times.

I realize this doesn't necessarily imply only 10 deaths, but at least there aren't 2 decimal points which imply quite a few more.

The game I wanted? (3, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 5 years ago | (#29037885)

In the near future, such networks will be used to adapt games like Tomb Raider while they are played (e.g. by removing or adding puzzles and enemies), so you get the game you want."

Awesome! In my case, I think it would be hilarious to watch Tomb Raider slowly morph into Starcraft.

Steam stats (4, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038073)

Valve does this as well. It creates some pretty interesting data, [steampowered.com] like the maps of where people die the most. It's easy to see how it can help designers.

Scientific Highscore table (1)

BoppreH (1520463) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038361)

When the paper says "The best player died only 6.32% of the times from opponents" I feel an urge to congratulate the player. Developers should do this type of deep analysis more often.

Varied play (2, Insightful)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038527)

I hope the games will be forgetful and not lock themselves into a certain kind of play. In some kinds of games, I first run for the finish to experience the game and then crawl through the game again to discover the hidden corners. Or a visiting friend will play in a different way.

Great idea (1)

ilitirit (873234) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038783)

I think this is a fantastic idea and I hope more companies start doing it (provided they let you opt out, of course). I'm not really interested in the player profile aspect of it as much as the potential for balance/tweaking though.

For fighting games like Street Fighter IV etc, it's great because companies can use the data to help rebalance the characters. For example, if they notice that one character loses disproportionately to another, they can tweak the balance slightly in the next iteration (or even patch).

The ability to upload replays to the XBL/GFWL/PSN networks is also a great idea, because if the replay files are just a bit of metadata with stored inputs, game companies should be able to easily replay these games at high speed (by disabling audio/video) and capturing the resulting data.

At the end of the day, data is still king.

A reclassification is in order... (1)

Domini (103836) | more than 5 years ago | (#29038809)

You could be a Veteran Solver. Someone who completes a level completely AND knows how not to fall into holes.

I think there are axes to this graph, and players can be any degree of the following:

1) Nimble - athletic control, precision of moment
2) Quester - Someone to explorers every possible puzzle/area/option
3) Aggressiveness - Avoid enemies? Shoot friendlies? Cope well in pvp?
4) Goal - Play for enjoyment or goal driven for completion? Pace of game.

everything would morph into rapelay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29038905)

the longer i played this game the more little teen girls kept showing up naked strutting around the levels for no apparent reason. soon i was interacting with them instead of dealing with enemies, solving puzzles, finishing levels or anything else. The more I interacted with them the younger they became. At some point there was a knock at the door followed by an arrest and seizure of my system. Before this was eventually ruled as entrapment, i had already served seven years of my ten year sentence for exhibiting potential sexual deviance. Although I was released early, my name was never removed from the sex offender list, neither were my children, nor my grandchildren.

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