Rachel Shadoan Muses

Quantitative: Some Plant Wars Player Patterns

We have some new visualizations for your viewing pleasure, this time of individual Plant Wars players!

Plantwars fertilize

In Plant Wars, players can increase their plant’s abilities by fertilizing, or “training”. Players can choose what ability they want to increase when they fertilize. Fertilizing Attack (referred to as Potency in the game) makes their plant’s attack stronger. Fertilizing defense (referred to as Girth in the game) makes their plant less suspectible to attack, while fertilizing speed (called Responsiveness in the game) makes their plant more agile and able to avoid attacks. When a player fertilizes, they occasionally have to successfully complete a CAPTCHA, a device to tell humans from computers. This weeds out cheaters. You can read more about the Plant Wars CAPTCHA here on Jon’s Plant Wars development blog.

Here, we have the training data of two Plant Wars players. One of the players is fairly new, having only been a member of the Plant Wars community for 100 or so days. The other player, a longer member, is now an admin.

New Player Fertilizes

Download the visualization PDF for a closer look!

Notice that recently, the only thing this new player has been training is Defense. This is possibly because of a Girth competition currently being held in the game. Also, notice the large blank spot from 12:00ish to 19:00ish. Nothing in happening there, so we think this is probably when the player is sleeping. (Otherwise, this player never to sleep and that blank spot is indicitative of work or school. However, given the way the blank spot travels later over time, we think it’s probably sleeping that the player is adjusting to the level of light as spring turned to summer.) Note that all times are Central time (ie, the same time as it is in Chicago, Dallas, or in this case, Tulsa, Oklahoma).

Seasoned Player Fertilizes

Download the visualization PDF for a closer look!

Our seasoned player takes a more methodical approach to training; he trains particular all day for several days in a row, and then moves to another skill. This appears to be a technique that he developed over time–in the early days of his tenure with Plant Wars, the kinds of skills he trained overlapped (take a look in the upper left hand corner to see that). Again, we think the blank spots are when this player sleeps, which seems to have changed over time–possibly because of a shift change.

A note on building the visualizations: these were once again processed from text log files using a Java program that I wrote, and then visualized using Excel. I’ve been experiementing with Prefuse Flare, but Flash doesn’t like large data sets one bit, so we’re kicking it old-school for the time being.


This entry was posted on July 6, 2010 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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