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Authoring Collaborative Multiplayer Games

Authoring Collaborative Multiplayer Games

Authoring Collaborative Multiplayer Games

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Book Details:

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Year:2016
Publisher:Universität Darmstadt
Pages:220 pages
Language:english
Since:20/01/2017
Size:17.46 MB
License:CC-BY-NC-ND

Content:

Video games are not only a growing business field, but also provide interesting research opportunities. In particular, collaborative multiplayer games have become increasingly popular with players, developers and researchers alike. These games offer players the opportunity to tackle difficult challenges together instead of competing against each other. Collaboration within a game not only increases player interest and developer revenue, research has also shown that it can have positive effects on the players’ social skills.

The rise of collaborative games, however, also has a downside. As more developers create this kind of game, instances in which players complain about the collaborative elements being implemented halfheartedly are becoming more and more frequent. At least in part, this can be attributed to the fact that developing collaborative multiplayer games introduces unique challenges to the game development process. The players must not only get enough opportunities to interact with each other in a meaningful way, but it is also essential that their contributions are similar. Moreover, testing the game becomes more difficult due to a higher number of testers required. But even when there are enough testers, the complexity of the state space grows exponentially with each new player. This means that human testers are often unable to test every combination of events. These aspects make it much harder to develop collaborative games, especially for small and inexperienced teams.

Although these issues are well known, the current state of the art is only partially able to solve them. For example, there are guidelines on how to develop collaborative games – but these only give general ideas. Therefore, they are not always directly implementable, especially for developers that are new to multiplayer development.

This thesis aims at supporting those developers by conceptualizing an authoring environment that addresses these issues. Its overall concept consists of three steps or four modules: Game design patterns as player interaction templates, a formal analysis concerning structural errors and collaborative balancing as well as a rapid prototyping environment.

To help developers with the initial design, a number of well-received player interactions, which can be seen as the central element of a collaborative game, is gathered. These interactions are described using the well-known format of game design patterns. In order to make the patterns more user-friendly, the format is extended with properties specific to collaborative interaction. For example, one property describes whether the players must be close to each other in order to trigger the interaction. Following this, a representative selection of the patterns is used to develop a game, in which collaboration can be switched off. This game is evaluated in a user study later. Here, the outcomes have shown that the interactions are well received by the players.

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