Dynamic Game Difficulty Balancing

Dynamic game difficulty balancing, also known as dynamic difficulty adjustment (DDA) or dynamic game balancing (DGB), is the process of automatically changing parameters, scenarios, and behaviors in a video game in real-time, based on the player's ability, in order to avoid them becoming bored (if the game is too easy) or frustrated (if it is too hard). The goal of dynamic difficulty balancing is to keep the user interested from the beginning to the end and to provide a good level of challenge for the user.

Traditionally, game difficulty increases steadily along the course of the game (either in a smooth linear fashion, or through steps represented by the levels). The parameters of this increase (rate, frequency, starting levels) can only be modulated at the beginning of the experience by selecting a difficulty level. Still, this can lead to a frustrating experience for both experienced and inexperienced gamers, as they attempt to follow a preselected learning or difficulty curve. Dynamic difficulty balancing attempts to remedy this issue by creating a tailor-made experience for each gamer. As the users' skills improve through time (as they make progress via learning), the level of the challenges should also continually increase. However, implementing such elements poses many challenges to game developers; as a result, this method of gameplay is not widespread.

Its use is also somewhat controversial in games where character progression (leveling) is a core component of the game-play. The model for these types of games is based on an environment with a wide range of enemy difficulties coupled with the player's ability to strengthen their character's effectiveness. This motivates the player to improve their character's overall effectiveness (through levels, items, and stats) in order to access and overcome the challenges presented by the more difficult sections of the game environment. The motivation and satisfaction of character progression is greatly diminished when the environment automatically reduces its own effectiveness in order to make itself more accessible to the player (based on their character's current state) rather than letting the player strive to increase their character's effectiveness in order to take on the environment. In a worst case scenario, the player would never have any sense of achieving greater power in relation to the game world.

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