[Research] Analysis of players interaction in Star Wars Galaxies

The paper The Social Side of Gaming: A Study of Interaction Patterns in a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (.pdf) by Nicolas Ducheneaut and Robert Moore offers an interesting methodology to analyze multi-players interactions in the video game Star Wars Galaxies.

To understand the nature of player-to-player interactions in SWG, we proceeded as follows. As a preliminary step, we created characters and conducted a “virtual ethnography” of in-game activities. (...) we built a series of tools to process the logs. We wrote a small parser (implemented in Perl) to format each line of the logs and extract the most useful data. In particular, our parser relied on a dictionary we also built to reliably identify the gestures used by the players, and their directionality. After parsing, the data was stored into a mySQL database for further analysis. The database had a simple structure: it segmented each event (that is, each line of the logs) into its component parts: who is interacting with whom, in what way (gesture or chat), where (starport or cantina), at what date and time, and what the content of the interaction was (text chat or “social” command). We finally built another series of scripts to extract interesting patterns of information from the data. (...) Figure 4 illustrates different “interaction profiles”: each player is represented by a dot on a two-axis grid; the X-axis represents the number of gestures received, while the Y-axis represents the number of gestures sent. The size of each dot is proportional to the number of utterances each player made.

Starting with the lower left quadrant of the graph, it is easy to see that an overwhelming majority of players are not very interactive: they say very little, and do not gesture more. (...) The population of the upper-left quadrant of the graph illustrates a variation on the above behavior. Players gesturing and talking a lot, but not receiving any gestures in return, are usually indicative of another type of “AFK macroing”. (...) As we move to the right of the graph, especially the upper-right, we start to find more interactive players. These are “live entertainers:” they gesture to others a lot, receive a lot of gestures in return, and talk significantly more than average without being overwhelming.

I am considering such kind of graphical representation as well for catchbob.