Balancing and Analyzing Player Interaction in the ESG+P Game with Machinations

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2024.4186

Keywords:

Game Balancing, Game Interactivity, Player Interaction, Machinations, Game Internal Economy

Abstract

This work explores the balancing of an educational game to teach sustainable development in organizations by focusing on player interaction and employing strategies. Game success is a challenge that relies on balancing the relationships among its elements. Balancing is a complex process performed over multiple iterations, starting at game conception and continuing throughout development and testing stages. This work extends our previous case study, which did not consider player interaction for the game balancing. We built two models that contains all game mechanics using the Machinations framework. The first model includes elements that randomly produce, distribute, and consume resources, while the second model analyzes player interaction and implements four player strategies. We simulated these models in batch plays, analyzed game states, and adjusted game economies. The random model simulation achieved a victory rate of 40%, while the interactive model simulation with player strategies increased victory rates to values between 66% and 81%. These results show that player interaction and decision-making can be more decisive than randomness in achieving victory. Machinations contributed to enhancing the game, proved its usefulness for simulating complex models, and deepened our understanding of game dynamics, including player actions, potential deadlocks, and feedback mechanisms. This work supports other authors’ findings by demonstrating that balancing the game as early as possible in the development process, considering player interaction, makes the design feasible; and provides evidence that computer simulations, such as Machinations, benefit the game balance and improve the game design without the need to build a prototype and conduct extensive playtests.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Adams, E. and Dormans, J. (2012). Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design. New Riders Games.

Albaghajati, A. and Ahmed, M. (2023). Video game automated testing approaches: An assessment framework. IEEE Transactions on Games, 15(1):81–94. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/TG.2020.3032796.

Almeida, F. d. Q. B. (2015). Rachinations: Modelando a economia interna de jogos. Trabalho de projeto final de curso, Departamento de Ciência da Computação da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro.

Ašeriškis, D. and Damaševičius, R. (2014). Gamification patterns for gamification applications. Procedia Computer Science, 39:83–90. The 6th international conference on Intelligent Human Computer Interaction, IHCI 2014. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2014.11.013.

Becker, A. and Görlich, D. (2019). Game balancing - a semantical analysis. In Workshops at the 2nd International Conference on Applied Informatics.

Beyer, M., Agureikin, A., Anokhin, A., Laenger, C., Nolte, F., Winterberg, J., Renka, M., Rieger, M., Pflanzl, N., Preuss, M., and Volz, V. (2016). An integrated process for game balancing. In 2016 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG), pages 1–8. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/CIG.2016.7860425.

Blumberg, F. C. and Ismailer, S. (2009). What do children learn from playing digital games? In Serious Games, pages 131–141. Taylor & Francis. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203891650.

BR (2023). Business Roundtable. [link].

Carvalho, V. M. and Furtado, E. S. (2020). A framework used for analysis of user experience in games. Journal on Interactive Systems, 11(1):66–73. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2020.759.

Chandler, C. and Noriega, L. (2006). Games analysis:how to stop history repeating itself. In Proceedings of the 6th WSEAS International Conference on Multimedia, Internet & Video Technologies, pages 47–52, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA. World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society (WSEAS). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5555/1365598.1365607.

Chen, H., Mori, Y., and Matsuba, I. (2014). Solving the balance problem of massively multiplayer online role-playing games using coevolutionary programming. Applied Soft Computing, 18:1–11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asoc.2014.01.011.

Conselho Nacional de Saúde (2022). Resolução nº 674, May 6. Diário Oficial da União. Ministério da Saúde do Brasil, Published in October 25, 2022, Edition 203, Section 1.

Costikyan, G. (2002). I have no words & I must design: Toward a critical vocabulary for games. In Proceedings of the Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference, Finland. Tampere University Press.

Creswell, J. W. and Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research Design Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage Publications, 5th edition.

De Freitas, S. (2018). Are games effective learning tools? a review of educational games. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 21(2):74–84.

Demediuk, S., Tamassia, M., Raffe, W. L., Zambetta, F., Mueller, F., and Li, X. (2018). Measuring player skill using dynamic difficulty adjustment. In Proceedings of the Australasian Computer Science Week Multiconference. ACM. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3167918.3167939.

Dormans, J. (2012). Engineering Emergence Applied Theory for Game Design. Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. The Academy of Management Review, 14(4):532. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/258557.

Engelstein, G. and Shalev, I. (2022). Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms. CRC Press, 2nd edition.

Ermi, L. and Mäyrä, F. (2005). Fundamental components of the gameplay experience: Analysing immersion. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play, volume 3, pages 15–27.

Ferrada, F. and Camarinha-Matos, L. M. (2019). Simulation model to estimate emotions in collaborative networks. Applied Sciences, 9(23). DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/app9235202.

Flood, S., Cradock-Henry, N. A., Blackett, P., and Edwards,P. (2018). Adaptive and interactive climate futures: systematic review of ‘serious games’ for engagement and decision-making. Environmental Research Letters, 13(6):063005. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aac1c6.

Fonteles Filho, F. R., Gomes, G. A. M., Leite Júnior, A. J. M., Chicca Junior, N. A., and Carmo, R. A. F. d. (2021). Balanceamento em jogos para dispositivos móveis: estudo de caso do jogo clash royale. In Anais Estendidos do XX Simpósio Brasileiro de Games e Entretenimento Digital (SBGames Estendido 2021). Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (SBC). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/sbgames_estendido.2021.19624.

Forrester, J. W. (1968). Principle of Systems. Wright-Allen Press, 2nd edition.

Fuentes Perez, L. J., Romero Calla, L. A., Montenegro, A. A., Valente, L., and Gonzales Clua, E. W. (2016). Dynamic game difficulty balancing in real time using evolutionary fuzzy cognitive maps with automatic calibration Journal on Interactive Systems, 7(1):1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2016.668.

Garvin, D. A. (1984). What does product quality really mean? MIT Sloan Management Review.

Halbrook, Y. J., O’Donnell, A. T., and Msetfi, R. M. (2019). When and how video games can be good: A review of the positive effects of video games on well-being. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(6):1096–1104. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691619863807.

Herbrich, R., Minka, T., and Graepel, T. (2006). Trueskill™: bayesian skill rating system. In Schölkopf, B., Platt, J., and Hoffman, T., editors, Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, volume 19. MIT Press.

Hernández-Lara, A. B., Perera-Lluna, A., and Serradell-López, E. (2019). Applying learning analytics to students’ interaction in business simulation games. the usefulness of learning analytics to know what students really learn. Computers in Human Behavior, 92:600–612. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.03.001.

Huang, S.-C., Coulom, R., and Lin, S.-S. (2011). Montecarlo simulation balancing in practice. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 81–92. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-17928-0_8.

Kalmpourtzis, G. (2018). Educational Game Design Fundamentals: A Journey to Creating Intrinsically Motivating Learning Experiences. A K Peters/CRC Press, 1st edition.

Kessing, D. and Löwer, M. (2022). Evaluation of systematically developed gamification strategies with game-balance simulation tools. In AHFE International, AHFE 2022. AHFE International. DOI: https://doi.org/10.54941/ahfe1001517.

Khaliq, I. and Purkiss, B. (2015). A study of interaction in idle games & perceptions on the definition of a game. In 2015 IEEE Games Entertainment Media Conference (GEM), pages 1–6. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/GEM.2015.7377233.

Klimmt, C. (2009). Serious games and social change: Why they (should) work. In Serious Games, pages 248–270. Taylor & Francis. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203891650.

Koster, R. (2013). Theory of fun for game design. O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Leitao, T., Silva, F., and Xexéo, G. (2021). Análise de métodos de design de jogos sérios sob a ótica da design science research. In Anais Estendidos do XX Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital, pages 40–47. Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (SBC). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/sbgames_estendido.2021.19623.

Liker, J. (2003). The Toyota Way - 14 Management Principles From The World’S Greatest Manufacturer. McGraw- Hill, 1st edition.

Lithoxoidou, E. E., Paliokas, I., Gotsos, I., Krinidis, S., Tsakiris, A., Votis, K., and Tzovaras, D. (2018). A gamification engine architecture for enhancing behavioral change support systems. In Proceedings of the 11th Pervasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments Conference, pages 482–489. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3197768.3201561.

Machinations (2024). Machinations documentation [link].

Magalhães, M. F., Parreiras, M., Ouriques, L., Mangeli, E., Silva, F., Valle, E., and Xexéo, G. (2023). An educational game about sustainability based on esg+p concepts. In Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning: Proceedings of the Annual ABSEL conference, volume 50.

Magalhães, M. F. and Eckschmidt, T. (2021). Satisfação das Partes Interessadas: Poderes e Responsabilidades com os Stakeholders em Negócios Conscientes. CBJourney.

Mangeli, E., de Classe, T. M., Macedo, H., Marques, P., Costa, L. M., Parreiras, M., and Silva, F. (2022). Games with purpose development methodology by ludology laboratory. In Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning: Proceedings of the Annual ABSEL conference, volume 49, pages 161–171.

Marques, A. B., Barbosa, S. D. J., and Conte, T. (2017). Defining a notation for usability-oriented interaction and navigation modeling for interactive systems. Journal on Interactive Systems, 8(2):35–49. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2017.681.

Marques, P. H. G. N., Nascimento, L. L. d., and Valle, T. Z. d. (2023). How the covid-19 pandemics inspired the development of analogical games: database review and game development. Journal on Interactive Systems, 14(1):371–382. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2023.3244.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. Penguin.

Medeiros, R. J. V. and Medeiros, T. F. V. (2014). Procedural level balancing in runner games. In 2014 Brazilian Symposium on Computer Games and Digital Entertainment. IEEE. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/sbgames.2014.30.

Novak, J., O’Brien, M., and Gish, J. (2012). Game development essentials, volume 3. Delmar Cengage Learning.

Pfau, J., Liapis, A., Volkmar, G., Yannakakis, G. N., and Malaka, R. (2020). Dungeons & replicants: automated game balancing via deep player behavior modeling. In 2020 IEEE Conference on Games (CoG), pages 431–438. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/CoG47356.2020.9231958.

Pfau, J., Smeddinck, J. D., and Malaka, R. (2018). Towards deep player behavior models in mmorpgs. In Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play, pages 381–392. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3242671.3242706.

PMI (2021). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and the Standard for Project Management. Project Management Institute (PMI), 7th edition.

Rollings, A. and Adams, E. (2003). Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on game design. New Riders.

Rufino Júnior, R., Classe, T. M. d., Santos, R. P. d., and Siqueira, S. W. M. (2023). Current risk situation training in industry, and games as a strategy for playful, engaging and motivating training. Journal on Interactive Systems, 14(1):138–156. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2023.3222.

Runeson, P. and Höst, M. (2008). Guidelines for conducting and reporting case study research in software engineering. Empirical Software Engineering, 14(2):131–164. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10664-008-9102-8.

Sahibgareeva, G. and Kugurakova, V. (2021). Branched structure component for a video game scenario prototype generator. In Scientific Services & Internet: proceedings of the 23rd All-Russian Scientific Conference. Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics. DOI: 10.20948/abrau-2021-10-ceur.

Schell, J. (2008). The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Elseiver.

Schreiber, I. and Romero, B. (2022). Game Balance. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 1st edition.

Sedig, K., Parsons, P., and Haworth, R. (2017). Player–game interaction and cognitive gameplay: A taxonomic framework for the core mechanic of videogames. Informatics, 4(1):4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/informatics4010004.

Shen, C., Wang, H., and Ritterfeld, U. (2009). Serious games and seriously fun games: Can they be one and the same? In Serious Games, pages 48–62. Taylor & Francis. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203891650.

Silva, F., Ouriques, L., Parreiras, M., Magalhães, M. F., and Xexéo, G. (2023). Balanceamento do jogo ESG+P utilizando o Machinations: um estudo de caso. In 2023 Brazilian Symposium on Computer Games and Digital Entertainment. Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (SBC). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/sbgames_estendido.2023.233692.

Silva Bastos, A., Gomes, R. F., dos Santos, C. C., and Maia, J. G. R. (2018). Synesthesia: A study on immersive features of electronic games. Journal on Interactive Systems, 9(2):1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2018.700.

Sirlin, D. (2009). Balancing multiplayer competitive games. Game Developer’s Conference. https://gdcvault.com/play/1570/Balancing-Multiplayer-Competitive.

Stephens, C. and Exton, C. (2021). Measuring inflation within virtual economies using deep reinforcement learning. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence, volume 2, pages 444–453. INSTICC, SciTePress - Science and Technology Publications. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5220/0010392804440453.

Sterman, J. D. (2000). Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World. McGraw-Hill.

Supercell (2016). Clash Royale. Game [Android].

Tizuka, M. M., Clua, E. W. G., and Salgado, L. C. C. (2022). Investigating balance process in enterpreneur gamified scenarios. In Anais Estendidos do XXI Simpósio Brasileiro de Jogos e Entretenimento Digital (SBGames Estendido 2022). Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (SBC). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/sbgames_estendido.2022.226125.

Tondorf, D. F. and Hounsell, M. d. S. (2022). Constructs and outcomes of fun in digital serious games: The state of the art. Journal on Interactive Systems, 13(1):386–399. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5753/jis.2022.2605.

Van Rozen, R. (2020). Languages of games and play: A systematic mapping study. ACM Computing Surveys, 53(6):1–37. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3412843.

Van Rozen, R. and Dormans, J. (2014). Adapting game mechanics with Micro-Machinations. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Ford Lauderdale, FL, United States. Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games.

Vasconcellos, M. S., Carvalho, F. G., and Dias, C. M. (2017). Proposta de um método descritivo formal de regras de jogos sérios. In XVI Brazilian Symposium on Computer Games and Digital Entertainment, pages 192–200, Curitiba, Brazil. Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (SBC).

Volz, V., Rudolph, G., and Naujoks, B. (2016). Demonstrating the feasibility of automatic game balancing. In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference 2016, pages 269–276. ACM. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2908812.2908913.

Wrobel, L. (2023). Board game definition of the week: Roll and write/ flip and write. Engaged Family Gaming. [link].

Xexéo, G., Mangeli, E., Silva, F., Ouriques, L., Costa, L. F. C., and Monclar, R. S. (2021). Games as information systems. In XVII Brazilian Symposium on Information Systems, SBSI 2021. ACM. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3466933.3466961.

Yin, R. K. (2018). Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods. Sage Publications, 6th edition.

Yuan, B., Folmer, E., and Harris, F. C. (2010). Game accessibility: a survey. Universal Access in the Information Society, 10(1):81–100. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-010-0189-5.

Zaidan, T., Zaidan, D., and Goés, L. F. W. (2016). Game mechanics design: Applying Machinations to eliosi’s hunt. In XV Brazilian Symposium on Computer Games and Digital Entertainment, pages 313–321, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Sociedade Brasileira de Computação (SBC).

Downloads

Additional Files

Published

2024-05-25

How to Cite

OURIQUES, L.; SILVA, F.; PARREIRAS, M.; MAGALHÃES, M.; XEXÉO, G. Balancing and Analyzing Player Interaction in the ESG+P Game with Machinations. Journal on Interactive Systems, Porto Alegre, RS, v. 15, n. 1, p. 461–477, 2024. DOI: 10.5753/jis.2024.4186. Disponível em: https://journals-sol.sbc.org.br/index.php/jis/article/view/4186. Acesso em: 24 jun. 2024.

Issue

Section

Regular Paper