Artificial intelligence (AI) has been an integral part of video games since the 1950s, playing a crucial role in creating adaptive characters and storylines. From PacMan’s iconic ghosts to autonomous decision-making in “The Sims,” AI has revolutionized the gaming industry. […]
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been an integral part of video games since the 1950s, playing a crucial role in creating adaptive characters and storylines. From PacMan’s iconic ghosts to autonomous decision-making in “The Sims,” AI has revolutionized the gaming industry.
Now, with the rapid development of generative AI, a new realm of possibilities is opening up for video games. This technology is capable of creating endless open worlds, unique content, autonomous characters, and even accelerating game development.
Generative artificial intelligence refers to AI that generates text, images, and sound in response to input. It is poised to transform one of the key components of video games: non-playable characters (NPCs). These characters typically follow predefined behavior patterns, and their mannerisms and speech often feel awkward and unnatural.
Generative AI offers a solution to this problem. La Forge, for instance, introduced a tool called Ghostwriter earlier this year, which uses generative AI to generate original dialogues for NPCs. In 2022, they also tested new technology that helps create more realistic and natural gestures in NPCs, matching the tone and mood of their speech.
By combining different elements of generative AI, such as dialogue and animation, game developers can create fully equipped NPCs with AI-driven behaviors that feel more natural and unpredictable, according to Alexis Rolland, the development director at Ubisoft’s Chinese branch.
Jitao Zhou, a student at Rikyo University in Tokyo, is working on generating more realistic and intelligent NPCs that are less predictable.
Some game publishers are already utilizing generative AI in NPCs to make conversations more realistic. Chinese gaming company NetEase employs ChatGPT to generate dialogues for NPCs in their recent mobile game “Justice.” Similarly, Replica Studios has introduced “NPCs with smart AI” for the popular game engine Unreal Engine, allowing game developers to use AI to read NPC dialogues instead of hiring human actors.
However, one risk associated with using AI-generated NPCs is the potential loss of game and narrative control, as explained by Julian Togelius, an associate professor at New York University. NPCs could say something that disrupts the flow of the game or feels uncomfortable, jeopardizing the immersion in the gaming experience.
Open-world games like “Grand Theft Auto,” “Skyrim,” and “Elden Ring” offer vast opportunities for generative AI to transform gameplay.
Togelius envisions a “massively open game” with infinite possibilities, new cities, landscapes, and people, each with their own story and interactive elements. Leveraging player data collected from previous games, generative AI could create unique plotlines and quests tailored to individual players, acting as a “personalized dungeon guide,” adds Togelius.
This field is already a subject of research. Takehiko Hoshino, a student, has developed an AI tool that learns to generate its own mazes and dungeons step by step based on previous encounters.
While still in its early stages, Hoshino believes that the next step involves embellishing these mazes with additions such as treasure chests, enemy characters, and other gameplay features like traps.
Almost infinite open worlds are already achievable in games like “No Man’s Sky” (2016), which utilizes generative AI algorithms to create previously unseen virtual worlds, notes Togelius.
Q: What is generative artificial intelligence?
A: Generative artificial intelligence is a technology capable of generating text, images, and sound in response to specific inputs.
Q: How can generative AI transform video games?
A: Generative AI can revolutionize video games by creating more realistic and natural non-playable characters, generating original dialogues, and contributing to the development of endless open worlds.
Q: What are the risks of using AI-generated NPCs?
A: One risk is the potential loss of narrative and game control, as AI-generated NPCs may say things that disrupt the gameplay experience or feel uncomfortable.
– [NetEase Games](https://www.netease.com/)
– [Replica Studios](https://www.replicastudios.com/)
– [Unreal Engine](https://www.unrealengine.com/)