JUCS - Journal of Universal Computer Science 28(12): 1282-1311, doi: 10.3897/jucs.75357
Automated video game parameter tuning with XVGDL+
expand article infoJorge Ruiz Quiñones, Antonio J. Fernández Leiva
‡ Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, Spain
Open Access

Usually, human participation is required in order to provide feedback during the game tuning or balancing process. Moreover, this is commonly an iterative process in which play-testing is required as well as human interaction for gathering all important information to improve and tune the game components’ specification. In this paper, a mechanism is proposed to accelerate this process and reduce significantly the costs of it, contributing with a solution to perform the game parameter tuning and game balancing using search algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. The process is executed in a fully automated way, and just requires a game specification written in a particular video game description language. Automated play-testing, and game’s feedback information analysis, are related to perform game parameters’ tuning and balancing, leading to offer a solution for the problem of optimizing a video game specification. Recently, XVGDL, a new language for specifying video games which is based on the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), has been presented. This paper uses XVGDL+, an extension of this lan- guage that incorporates new components to specify, within the video game specification, desirable goals or requirements to be evaluated after each game execution. A prototypical implementation of a Game Engine (termed XGE+) was also presented. This game engine not only enables the execution of an XVGDL+ game specification but also provides feedback information once the game has finished.

The paper demonstrates that the combination of XVGDL+ with XGE+ offers a powerful mechanism for helping solving game AI research problems, in this case, the game tuning of video game parameters, with respect to initial optimization goals. These goals, as one of the particularities of the proposal presented here, are included within the game specification, minimizing the input of the process.

As a practical proof of it, two experiments have been conducted to optimize a game specification written in XVGDL via a hill climbing local search method, in a fully automated way.

Video game description language, automated game tuning, automated game balancing