Games, particularly online games, have an ongoing requirement to exhibit the ability to react to player behaviour and change their mechanics and available tools to keep their audience both entertained and feeling that their strategic choices and in-game decisions have value. Game designers invest time both gathering data and analysing it to introduce minor changes that bring their game closer to a state of balance, a task with a lot of potential that has recently come to the attention of researchers. This paper first provides a method for automating the process of finding the best game parameters to reduce the difficulty of Ms PacMan through the use of evolutionary algorithms and then applies the same method to a much more complex and commercially successful PC game, StarCraft, to curb the prowess of a dominant strategy. Results show both significant promise and several avenues for future improvement that may lead to a useful balancing tool for the games industry.
Available at Springer.com. Also available on direct request.
I had the opportunity to present this work in front of a wonderful audience at EvoStar 2017, during the EvoGames track of EvoApps. It was also one of the nominations for best paper, which was a pleasant surprise!
Here are the presentation slides themselves.