Throughout 2012 and 2013, I wrote and completed my Master’s thesis, On the Feasibility of using Use Case Maps for the Prevention of Sequence Breaking in Video Games, at Carleton University:
“Sequence Breaking” is a type of feature interaction conflict that exists in video games where the player gains access to a portion of a game that should be inaccessible. In such instances, a game’s subsuming feature—its storyline—is disrupted, as the predefined set of valid event sequences—events being uninterruptable units of functionality that further the game’s story—is not honoured, as per the game designers’ intentions. We postulate that sequence breaking often arises through bypassing geographic barriers, cheating, and misunderstanding on the player’s behalf.
Throughout this dissertation, we present an approach to preventing sequence breaking at run-time with the help of Use Case Maps. We create a “narrative manager” and traversal algorithm to monitor the player’s narrative progress and check the legality of attempted event calls. We verify our solution through test cases and show its feasibility through a game, concluding that our solution is sufficient and feasible.
As part of this thesis, I implemented a testing tool to verify my solution and created a simple game called Dungeon Explorer to demonstrate that I could indeed prevent sequence breaking at run-time:
- Interactive Testing Tool
- Unfortunately, Dungeon Explorer is not currently available to play