Introduction to Gameplay Metrics

Learn about gameplay metrics in game data science and its types.

Gameplay metrics

Gameplay metrics include any variable related to the actual behavior of a player inside the game. Examples include interacting with objects, trading items, leveling up, navigating the environment, and combating with non-playable characters (NPCs) and other players. Gameplay metrics are most salient when evaluating a game, level, and system design. They’re fundamental for iterating on the initial work by designers and, together with qualitative insights and direct observation, gameplay metrics are the basis of user experience research. They are particularly useful to stakeholders studying players’ reactions to the design to inform design choices and decisions, such as those made by game designers, user researchers, and quality assurance managers.

Five types of information can be logged whenever a player does something or is expected to do something in a game:

  • What is happening?

  • How is it happening?

  • Where is it happening?

  • When is it happening?

  • Whom is it happening to?

For example, during ranged combat, we want to log the event (what: shooting), the weapon used (how: sniper rifle), the location where it happened (where: level 3), the time it happened (when: 7 minutes from the start), and who was involved in the fight (whom: a heavy NPC).

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