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Detecting structural errors in scene-based Multiplayer Games using automatically generated Petri Nets

Author:Christian Reuter, Stefan Göbel, Ralf Steinmetz
Date:June 2015
Kind:In proceedings - use for conference & workshop papers
Book title:Foundations of Digital Games 2015
Number of characters:48767
Research Area(s):Serious Games
Abstract:When building a complex game it is very easy to make small mistakes during design or implementation. These flaws can result in situations where the players cannot continue the game as planned (for example due to dead- or livelocks). In this paper we describe our approach for detecting those structural errors in scene-based single- and multiplayer games. This is done by generating a Petri Net where the individual game elements are mapped to appropriate constructs. We do so not only for high level goals, but for each possible user interaction. Combining this approach with an automatic transformation of the game yields a huge benefit: there is no need to develop a verification model in parallel to the game and there is also no margin for inconsistencies that could lead to the model not accurately representing the game. The resulting Petri Net can then be used in an external tool in order to verify that the game has certain properties, for example that it is always possible to reach a well-defined ending. We also discuss the complexity of the nets and explain our optimization approaches that allow us to create Petri Nets for small games covering every single user input. In order to show its applicability we evaluate our approach by verifying multiple real world example games, taking complexity and time measurements.

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