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Difficulty in Video Games : An Experimental Validation of a Formal Definition

Maria-Virginia Aponte 1 Guillaume Levieux 1 Stéphane Natkin 1
1 CEDRIC - ILJ - CEDRIC - Interactivité pour Lire et Jouer
CEDRIC - Centre d'études et de recherche en informatique et communications
Abstract : This paper synthetically presents a reliable and generic way to evaluate the difficulty of video games, and an experiment testing its accuracy and concordance with subjective assessments of difficulty. We propose a way to split the gameplay into measurable items, and to take into account the player's apprenticeship to statistically evaluate the game's difficulty. We then present the experiment, based on a standard FPS gameplay. First, we verify that our constructive approach can be applied to this gameplay. Then, we test the accuracy of our method. Finally, we compare subjective assessments of the game's difficulty, both from the designers and the players, to the values predicted by our model. Results show that a very simple version of our model can predict the probability to the player has to lose with enough accuracy to be useful as a game design tool. However, the study points out that the subjective feeling of difficulty seems to be complex, and not only based on a short term estimate of the chances of success.
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Contributor : Laboratoire Cedric <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 6, 2015 - 11:33:28 AM
Last modification on : Friday, February 7, 2020 - 5:20:21 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01125930, version 1



Maria-Virginia Aponte, Guillaume Levieux, Stéphane Natkin. Difficulty in Video Games : An Experimental Validation of a Formal Definition. Advances in Computer Enterntainment, Nov 2011, X, France. ⟨hal-01125930⟩



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