What are heatmaps?

First, let’s define what a heatmap is. A heatmap is a 2D graph representing data using colors that signify hot (red/orange) and cool (blue) areas. The use of color can signify the frequency of that particular variable visualized. This is appealing to game analysts because it is intuitive. The use of hot and cool colors makes it very easy to use as a communicative tool. There are many examples of the use of heatmaps with game data that were published in many venues, including academia and industry.

Heatmaps practical guide

To give us a better idea of how these heatmaps are generated, we’ll explore the generation of heatmaps from a dataset publicly available on Kaggle. In particular, the research team, composed of students in Dr. Seif El-Nasr’s class, was interested in analyzing data from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). PUBG is an online multiplayer battle royale game developed by the PUBG Corporation. The game takes place on an island, in which 100 players are parachuted when they log in. The last player standing is the winner of the game. As players enter the game, they start by looking for weapons on the island that they can use to fight each other or defend themselves from getting killed. The game area decreases over time. Through this game, the team wanted to explore kill ratios and weapons used for kills given different game areas within the game. For example, the team hypothesized that there might be specific advantageous locations for sniping where we see more kills with a sniper rifle.

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