Exploring design features for enhancing players' challenge in strategy games

Hwa Hsu Shang*, Ming Hui Wen, Muh-Cherng Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper examines how to make a player feel more challenged in a strategic computer game. It is hypothesized that information availability and resource advantage affect play difficulty, which in turn affects the challenge experienced. The difficulty of play can be defined in terms of the mental workload that players experience and the physical effort that players exert. Forty-five male college and graduate students participated in a 3 x 3 (information availability x resource advantage) between-subjects factorial design experiment. This experiment measured player mental workload, physical effort, and challenge. The results indicate that information availability affects player mental workload, and resource advantage affects levels of player physical effort, respectively. Moreover, the relationship between mental workload and challenge was found to be an inverted U-shaped curve; in other words, too much or too little mental workload may decrease player challenge. The relationship between physical effort and challenge exhibited similar characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2007

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