Quit the Grind: Other Ways to “Level”

In many RPGs you reach a point when battles are neither novel nor challenging, when you’re just going through the motions for gold or experienceーalso known as grinding. It can kill any momentum the game had going, and it turns play into work. The problem is that grinding is hard to avoid in the standard [...]

Case Study, Guest posts, Methods

Playstyle and Progression

In this post Anders Drachen introduces some of the main challenges of finding patterns in how games are played and in how play styles change across levels. He also showcases some new research results which were obtained through a thorough analysis of Tomb Raider: Underworld.

Game Data Mining, Methods

The Chaos Factor: The Biggest Challenge for Game Analytics?

How do you generate order from chaos? This is fundamentally the challenge game analysts face when given the task of making sense of some of the most complex information systems in the world: Massively Multi-Player Online Games. In this post we broach the topic of game balance in MMOGs and why making it perfect is so hard.



Perhaps the most beloved visualization of player behavior is the heatmap, which offers clear and intuitive feedback about the spatial behavior of players. Heatmaps are most commonly used to visualize death events, forming maps of the lethality of a specific game area. This is a highly useful form of visualization in 3D action/shooter games like Quake, Unreal, Half-Life and Team Fortress.


Frequent itemset and association rule mining – or how to know if shirts follows pants or the other way around

Frequent itemset mining is an interesting branch of data mining that focuses on looking at sequences of actions or events, for example the order in which we get dressed. Shirt first? Pants first? Socks second item or second shirt if wintertime? Sequence analysis is used in a lot of different areas, and is also highly useful in games for finding behavioral patterns that lead to particular behaviors, for example a player quitting a game. Here is how it works.

Game Data Mining, Methods

What are game metrics?

In a previous post we discussed what game telemetry is, i.e. the data we use as inputs in game analytics processes. Game metrics is what telemetry is transformed into, and what provides the direct value to development and monetization. In this post we try to set up a definition for what a game metric is.

Fundamentals, Methods
Player Experience

Measuring player experience

A topic that is currently gathering a lot of interest in the games research community is how player behavior in-game relates to the subjective experience of playing a game. The implications are obvious: if we can analyze the behavior of a player and find out whether or not the player is having a good experience playing the game, and if not why, there is a lot of revenue that we can prevent loosing from players quitting. However, there are some challenges towards this.

Fundamentals, Methods

Using drill-down analysis to find out why

When something is missing or malfunctioning in a game, it affects how people play. When we see players spending twice as much time on level 5 as intended, something we did not plan for is happening. To find out why, to dive down into the data and find the root causes of player behavior, drill-down analysis is a flexible and intuitive method requiring minimal training.


Know your players. Improve monetization. Make games people love.

Analytics for Game Developers

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