Towards a Procedural Evaluation Technique: Metrics for Level Design

Alessandro Canossa, Gillian Smith. Towards a Procedural Evaluation Technique: Metrics for Level Design. Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG 2015). Monterey, CA, June 22-25, 2015.

Abstract

Existing approaches to characterizing and evaluating level designs involve either the application of theory-based language to qualitatively describe the level’s structure, or empirical evaluation of how players experience the levels. In this paper, we propose a method for evaluation that bridges these two approaches: theory-based, quantitative metrics that measure the qualities of levels. The metrics are drawn from a design activity with student designers creating levels for both a 2D and 3D platformer. The results from this activity are 20 new metrics that aim to shed light on the aesthetic and topological properties of level design, and the ways they induce players to use tactics and experience difficulty. The existence of quantitative metrics for evaluating and analyzing levels offers the opportunity for computational implementation. This could provide valuable, rapid feedback to designers during their design process, as well as have repercussions for new evaluation techniques for procedural content generation.

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