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Visual Game Tuning. Integrating Interactive Visualizations into Game Development. Why InfoVis & Gaming?. Games are increasingly: Complex Hard to debug Hard to test Expensive to develop. Why InfoVis & Gaming?. Information Visualization can: Help reduce complexity

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visual game tuning

Visual Game Tuning

Integrating Interactive Visualizations into Game Development

why infovis gaming
Why InfoVis & Gaming?
  • Games are increasingly:
    • Complex
    • Hard to debug
    • Hard to test
    • Expensive to develop
why infovis gaming1
Why InfoVis & Gaming?
  • Information Visualization can:
    • Help reduce complexity
    • Give insight into processes
    • Assist the debugging process
    • Reduce cost
drift the racing game1
Drift! – the racing game
  • 1992 Mazda RX-7
    • 236bhp, 156mph top speed, 0-50mph in 4.4s
  • How much does this matter in a video game?
    • It depends on the game!
  • What does matter?
    • The “feel”
drift the racing game2
Drift! – the racing game
  • How do we define “feel” ?
    • Perceived: Rigidity, Acceleration, Speed, etc…
    • Reality means less here
  • How do we find the “correct” feel?
    • QA Cycles
testing approaches
Testing Approaches
  • Bug-tracking systems (JIRA, BugZilla, Mantis)
  • Playtests
  • Subject Matter Experts
  • Heuristic Analysis (more on this later)
traditional qa process
Traditional QA Process
  • If the tuning process works, why change?
  • The average AAA Game:
    • Costs $28 million to develop
    • 3 years to produce
    • Requires constant testing by the QA staff
    • Requires constant revision by the developers
vgt game client
VGT-game client

Steering is too stiff!

2 zoom filter
2. Zoom & Filter
  • Zoom on most recent timeframe
3 detail
3. Detail
  • Look for potential relationships
vgt game client1
VGT-game client

“Dislike”

“Like”

Steering is too stiff!

This is too hard! Try reducing speeds?

5 history1
5. History
  • Using Indicators, we can assess user feedback
vgt game client2
VGT-game client

Much Better!

visualization protovis
Visualization - Protovis
  • Stanford Visualization Group
  • Web-based (Javascript)
  • High Level Abstraction
  • Declarative Syntax
game unity3d
Game - Unity3D
  • Cross-platform
  • High-level language support (C#, Javascript)
  • Web-enabled
  • High performance
tuning middleware actionscript rtmp
Tuning Middleware(ActionScript / RTMP)
  • vis client update protocol
  • game client update protocol
vgt future work
VGT Future Work
  • More middleware needed
    • Database logging
    • A server to take care of deeper analysis
    • Allows for mobile lightweight clients (tablets)
  • Formal evaluation of cost savings
    • Does VGT put more burden on QA?
heuristics
Heuristics
  • Quantitative analysis of player actions
  • Statistical approach to game design
  • Gives a way to compare different approaches
heuristics1
Heuristics
  • Heuristic Evaluation for Playability (HEP)
    • Desurvire, H., Caplan, M., & Toth, J. A. (2004). Using Heuristics to Evaluate the Playability of Games.
    • Born out of the need for a standardized way to evaluate player feedback
    • Focuses on relevant gaming concerns
interactive visualizations
Interactive Visualizations
  • Scattering Points in Parallel Coordinates
    • Yuan, Guo, Xiao, Zhou, & Qu, 2009
interactive visualizations1
Interactive Visualizations
  • Interactive Dimension Reduction through User-Defined Combinations of Quality Metrics
    • Johansson & Johansson, 2009
interactive visualizations2
Interactive Visualizations
  • Lark: Using Meta-Visualizations for Coordinating Collaboration
    • Tobiasz, 2010