Understanding players' map exploration styles

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Conference Proceeding
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 2016, 01-05-February-2016
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Copyright 2016 ACM. Exploration is an essential part of play in modern video games. It refers to the discovery-based activities, in which players explore mechanisms, as well as spatiality of virtual world. Exploration games and games with exploration plots are booming in gamer communities. In this paper, we focus on spatial exploration, which is central to play in role-playing games (RPG) and real time strategy (RTS) games. We investigate the game-playing behaviors of human players in exploration games, so as to discover behavior patterns and understand gamer styles. The intention is to contribute to the design and development of believable agents. We conducted an experiment where 25 participants played three types of exploration games. In-game data, think-aloud data, questionnaire responses and post-game interview data were collected to gain a deeper understanding of exploration preferences. We used thematic analysis to analyze data and mapped out four game exploration archetypes: Wanderers, Seers, Pathers and Targeters. An analysis from the four highlight aspects: strategy, reasoning, conception and hesitation, is conducted to investigate the behavioral traits of these four archetypes.
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