Behavior evolution in Tomb Raider Underworld
Behavioral datasets from major commercial game titles of the 'AAA' grade generally feature high dimensionality and large sample sizes, from tens of thousands to millions, covering time scales stretching into several years of real-time, and evolving user populations. This makes dimensionality-reduction methods such as clustering and classification useful for discovering and defining patterns in player behavior. The goal from the perspective of game development is the formation of behavioral profiles that provide actionable insights into how a game is being played, and enables the detection of e.g. problems hindering player progression. Due to its unsupervised nature, clustering is notably useful in cases where no prior-defined classes exist. Previous research in this area has successfully applied clustering algorithms to behavioral datasets from different games. In this paper, the focus is on examining the behavior of 62,000 players from the major commercial game Tomb Ra ider: Underworld, as it unfolds from the beginning of the game and throughout the seven main levels of the game. Where previous research has focused on aggregated behavioral datasets spanning an entire game, or conversely a limited slice or snapshot viewed in isolation, this is to the best knowledge of the authors the first study to examine the application of clustering methods to player behavior as it evolves throughout an entire game.