ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Usertesting Without the User

By Samantha N. Stahlke, Pejman Mirza-Babaei
Special Issue: Deep Learning, Ubiquitous and Toy Computing, [Vol. 16, No. 2]

DOI: 10.1145/3183568

The use of human participants in game evaluation can be costly, time-consuming, and present challenges for constructing representative player samples. These challenges may be overcome by using computer-controlled agents in place of human users for certain stages of the usertesting process. This article explores opportunities and challenges in the use of behavioural modelling to create independent “user” agents driven by artificial intelligence (AI). We highlight the utility of imitating cognitive processes such as spatial reasoning, memory, and goal-oriented decision-making as a means to increase the viability of independent agents as a tool in usertesting. Specifically, we investigate the possible design and use of proxy AI “users” that mimic human navigational behaviour to assist in the evaluation of level designs. Ultimately, we propose that a configurable population of AI players can provide a data-rich supplement to current approaches in games user research.

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