Design of Experiments for an Avid Gamer

Minitab Fan 03 September, 2012

The Minitab Fan section of the Minitab blog is your chance to share with our readers! We always love to hear how you are using Minitab products for quality improvement projects, Lean Six Sigma initiatives, research and data analysis, and more. Today we learn how an avid gamer used design of experiments to boost his performance in his favorite driving game.

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Designed Experiments for Race Car GamesI've used Minitab Statistical Software pretty much every work day since being a Black Belt, but I've also used it at home. Back before the needs of family life took over, Christmas holidays were a real chance to kick back and do nothing. Pretty much a whole week was dedicated to playing on the games consoles, with my favourite driving game, a couple of tinnies, a comfy chair and Minitab.

One of key aspects of driving games is buying upgrades and setting the car up for each track. With all the options for setting gears, tyres, engines, down-force, suspension, ride height, there was only one way to go: a designed experiment (DoE).

I did an initial capability study to match the "voice of the process" (my ability to drive) to the "voice of the customer" (being quicker than the competition in a race).

With so many parameters, though, the subsequent DoE was huge, especially with centre points (extreme settings for the likes of ride night were not likely to work best) and the number of repeats (10 laps at each setting). Time was not an issue, though--nothing was spoiling--so on I ploughed.

What did I learn from the results of my DoE? First off, the smaller, slower cars were...well...slower. The process was much more precise though; lap times were consistent. With the big cars I could get a good lap time, yes, but every now and then I'd span off, or hit the wall and lose seconds. Capability--and my chances of winning the race--were out the window. On the whole, though, the variation in the mean lap time due to the changes in the DoE were an order of magnitude less than the variation in the lap time because of my inept and inconsistent driving!

Dave Elsey

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