Why Is This So Hard? Insights from the State Space of a Simple Board

Why Is This So Hard? Insights from the State Space of a Simple Board Game Joint International Conference on Serious Games JCSG 2015: Serious Games pp 147-157 | Cite as Mareike Bockholt (1) Email author ([email protected]) Katharina Anna Zweig (1) 1. Graph Theory and Complex Network Analysis Group, Department of Computer Science, TU Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany Conference paper First Online: 28 May 2015 1 Citations 5 Readers 1.2k Downloads Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9090)

Abstract Serious Games research has become an active research topic in the recent years. In order to design Serious Games with an appropriate degree of complexity such that the games are neither boring nor frustrating, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the factors that determine the difficulty of a game. The present work is based on the idea that a game’s difficulty is reflected in the structure of its underlying state space. Therefore, we propose metrics to capture the structure of a state space and examine if their values correlate with the difficulty of the game. However, we find that only one of the metrics, namely the length of the optimal solution, influences the difficulty of the game. In addition, by focusing on the part of the state space, which is actually explored by human players, we can identify properties that predict the game’s difficulty perceived by the players. We thus conclude that it is not the structure of the whole state space that determines the difficulty of a game, but the rather limited part that is explored by human players.

Keywords Serious games Human problem solving Complexity Rush hour Network analysis This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

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Copyright information © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

About this paper Cite this paper as: Bockholt M., Zweig K.A. (2015) Why Is This So Hard? Insights from the State Space of a Simple Board Game. In: Göbel S., Ma M., Baalsrud Hauge J., Oliveira M., Wiemeyer J., Wendel V. (eds) Serious Games. JCSG 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9090. Springer, Cham DOI (Digital Object Identifier) http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-19126-3_13 Publisher Name Springer, Cham Print ISBN 978-3-319-19125-6 Online ISBN 978-3-319-19126-3 eBook Packages Computer Science About this book Reprints and Permissions

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Why Is This So Hard? Insights from the State Space of a Simple Board

Why Is This So Hard? Insights from the State Space of a Simple Board Game Joint International Conference on Serious Games JCSG 2015: Serious Games pp ...

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