Abstract for: Analysis of the Effects of Different Complexity Factors on the Complexity of a Simulation Game

As a part of a larger ongoing research, this paper presents an experimental study in which the effects of delay, nonlinearity and feedback on game complexity are analyzed. A simple growth management game is designed and the game structure is modified to accommodate complexity factors. Factors are tested in independent Latin square experimental designs, with 4 or 8 levels. As performance measures, subjective difficulty ratings of players are also tested, in addition to the usual game score measure. Results show that individual complexity factors do not necessarily make the game more complex. Only the delay factor yielded a significantly worse game score with respect to the base game. Moreover, increasing delay time and feedback strength even causes improvement in game scores. The effect of repeated trials is only observed in players who played nonlinear games, which happen to be easier than other versions. Players' subjective complexity ratings and game scores show a correlation of -0.6, which indicates that people tend to rate a game easy if they perform well. As further research, this experimental design will be applied to a stock management game. Next, the interactions of the complexity factors will be tested in a new set of experiments.