Xbox Team Uses Excel Power Map To Analyze Game Performance And Gamers’ Experience

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When Xbox team was in need to analyze data collected from the instrumentation of various games to improve performance and the gamers’ experience, they turned to Excel Power Map team.

Xbox team wanted to visualize different types of data on top of their game environment and look for patterns indicating further study. For example, the developers and testers were interested in frames per second, video and rendering performance in different areas of the game world and whether drops in performance over time were concentrated in the same area. Usually, Excel Power Map takes a geocoded data and populate it on Bing Maps. But in Xbox team’s case, they wanted to use as a Custom Map which is the game environment they want to test.

It was now evident that for this analysis we needed to create a new type of scene inside a tour–one that is based on a Custom Map and so we introduced the different types of scenes. Next, we worked on consolidating and covering every configuration case of the custom coordinate system. This was totally new work for us because when the data is based on real world geography with names of cities, states, countries, etc. Bing automatically geocodes this type of data in Power Map and data appears in the right place.

In this case we were dealing with something completely different. We had to allow the user to manually configure their coordinate system and then adjust the visualized data on top of the image, which they chose as a Custom Map.

After some pretty intense weeks and debates, we built the first successful version of the prototype last summer and by fall the new feature was ready for prime time. The Xbox and Power Map teams worked together to find insights in the data—test coverage, game patterns and profiles, the frequency of measurements, as well as performance over time. The new Custom Map and Filtering features in Power Map let the Xbox team visualize the results of multiple missions, as well as seek and isolate specific missions in the game, which needed further analysis.

Now, Xbox team is using this Excel Power Map tool everyday to improve game performance and gaming experience.

Read more about it here.

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