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EEG-triggered dynamic difficulty adjustment for multiplayer games

Adi Stein, Yair Yotam, Rami Puzis, Guy Shani, Meirav Taieb-Maimon

Entertainment Computing Volume 25, March 2018, Pages 14-25

In online games, gamers may become frustrated when playing against stronger players or get bored when playing against weaker players, thus losing interest in the game. Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (DDA) has been suggested as an intelligent handicapping mechanism, by reducing the difficulty for the weaker player, or increasing the difficulty for the stronger player. A key question when using DDA, is when to activate the difficulty adjustment.

In this paper we suggest using the Emotiv EPOC EEG headset to monitor the personal excitement level of a player and use this information to trigger DDA when the player’s excitement decreases in order to ensure that the player is engaged and enjoying the game. We experiment with an open-source third-person shooter game, in a multiplayer adversarial setting. We conduct experiments, showing that the detected excitement patterns correlate to game events. Experiments designed to evaluate the DDA triggering mechanism confirm that DDA triggered based on EEG increases the players excitement and improves the gaming experience compared to the heuristic triggered DDA and the experience of playing a game without DDA.

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