Adding the ability to eavesdrop on opponent communications to an online game

Jaime Cesar Acosta, University of Texas at El Paso


With the development of faster communication systems and the growing use of broadband connections, many new-generation online games are replacing traditional text based communications with a voice chat feature. This is also an effect of the tendency in many new games to require players to have both hands busy, using both keyboard and mouse. The virtual audio environments provided are, however, somewhat unrealistic: although players can hear their teammates, they do not hear anything said by members of other teams. This project implements a modification to an existing commercial game, to allow players from opposing teams to eavesdrop when near each other. By allowing eavesdropping, it is speculated that players will generate and utilize new strategies not previously available, leading to enriched gameplay. ^ To test whether the new feature is valuable, specifically whether it increases the fun factor in first person shooter games, four experiments were done. In each, four subjects engaged in capture-the-flag matches with and without the eavesdropping ability; this was done since capture-the-flag intrinsically gives scenarios that require users to plan strategies, work in teams, and communicate. The positive and negative effects of this new feature on subjective satisfaction were measured. ^ The results show that the eavesdropping feature is valuable: eleven of the twelve subjects enjoyed the modified game more. In addition, nine subjects felt that the eavesdropping version the game was extremely fun while only four felt the same about the original. The results also provide insight as to what elements of the eavesdropping feature added fun, and which may have had negative affects.^

Subject Area

Computer Science

Recommended Citation

Acosta, Jaime Cesar, "Adding the ability to eavesdrop on opponent communications to an online game" (2007). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1444094.