Behavlets: a Method for Practical Player Modelling using Psychology-Based Player Traits and Domain Specific Features

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Cowley , B & Charles , D 2016 , ' Behavlets: a Method for Practical Player Modelling using Psychology-Based Player Traits and Domain Specific Features ' , User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction , vol. 26 , no. 2 , pp. 257-306 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11257-016-9170-1

Title: Behavlets: a Method for Practical Player Modelling using Psychology-Based Player Traits and Domain Specific Features
Author: Cowley, Benjamin; Charles, Darryl
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Behavioural Sciences
Date: 2016-06
Language: eng
Number of pages: 50
Belongs to series: User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction
ISSN: 0924-1868
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/173637
Abstract: As player demographics broaden it has become important to understand variation in player types. Improved player models can help game designers create games that accommodate a range of play styles/preferences, and may also facilitate the design of systems that detect player type and adapt dynamically in real-time. Existing approaches can model players, but most focus on tracking and classifying behaviour based on simple functional metrics such as deaths, specific choices, player avatar attributes, and completion times. We describe a different approach which seeks to leverage expert domain knowledge using a theoretical framework linking behaviour and game design patterns. The aim is to derive features of play from sequences of actions which are intrinsically informative about behaviour – which, because they are directly interpretable with respect to psychological theory of behaviour, we name ‘Behavlets’. We present the theoretical underpinning of this approach from research areas including psychology, temperament theory, player modelling, and game composition. The Behavlet creation process is described in detail; illustrated using a clone of the well-known game Pac-Man, with data gathered from 100 participants. A workshop evaluation study is also presented, where nine game design expert participants were briefed on the Behavlet concepts and requisite models, and then attempted to apply the method to games of the well-known first/third-person shooter genres, exemplified by ‘Gears of War’, (Microsoft). The participants found 139 Behavlet concepts mapping from behavioural preferences of the temperament types, to design patterns of the shooter genre games. We conclude that the Behavlet approach has significant promise, is complementary to existing methods and can improve theoretical validity of player models.
Subject: 515 Psychology
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