How AI is Helping Produce the Next Big Video Games
According to video game companies, the technology that powers the popular chatbot ChatGPT has the potential to significantly accelerate game development, lower expenses, and revolutionize the way players engage with game characters.
AI Helps Generate and Expand on Creative Concepts
In the past few months, generative artificial-intelligence tools have become increasingly popular due to their capacity to produce essays, images, and music assets based on basic textual cues. Game studios have already started utilizing this technology for various purposes, such as facilitating the creation of virtual settings and storylines, as well as conceptualizing game elements like weapons and characters. For example, EA is utilizing the technology to swiftly produce digital sketches that help visualize concepts for game levels, challenges, and other game elements. Previously, these designs would take several weeks to create manually, but with this technology, they can now be completed within a matter of hours. Similarly, Roblox is developing generative AI tools specifically for its platform's game. These tools enable quick creation of new materials and movements on the screen without the need for coding. By using simple text prompts, developers can modify a car's appearance, for instance, changing its paint job to resemble bubbles and making it fly.
NPCs can be truly developed by Artificial Intelligence
Typically, when interacting with non-player characters (NPCs), players are presented with a list of pre-written responses to choose from. Alternatively, they may receive a limited set of predetermined responses that are repeated each time they interact with the NPC. Chinese developers like NetEase Inc are testing a tool that can diversify the dialogues of the many extras in games. NetEase intends to enhance the NPC interactions in its upcoming mobile version of the multiplayer game "Justice Online." The company aims to provide users with more spontaneous and unrestricted conversations, fueled by their imaginations. Developers are utilizing generative AI to simplify the creation of background chatter for characters in games, including responses to events like an explosion. This approach also aids in building soundscapes for games. In fact, Ubisoft has introduced Ghostwriter, an AI tool that generates initial drafts for crowd chatter and NPC dialogue. The company considers this to be one of the most laborious tasks for video game writers. Crafting these dialogues typically requires significant time and creativity from writers, which could otherwise be utilized for developing core plot elements.
Caution Needed When Utilizing AI?
Although there are advantages to using generative AI in game development, some game makers are exercising caution. Following the release of a new version of the Bing search engine by Microsoft in February, testers reported receiving inaccurate or nonsensical responses. As a result, developers are worried that similar issues may arise in games that depend on this technology to generate dialogues. Another potential issue is that companies utilizing AI to generate characters, weapons, and other game content may face copyright challenges. Generative AI models are frequently trained on extensive amounts of publicly accessible words, code, and images. Moreover, there is a risk that the technology could lead to the creation of games with similar appearances for different companies.
But several startups are aiming to assist game developers in creating unique content by providing them with the capability to train AI generators using their own artistic style and artwork. For example, Scenario Inc. has developed a platform that is constructed on top of AI generators like Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, which enables game studios to generate customized outcomes. This opens an opportunity for small game studios to do more with less.
Electric Noir Studios leveraged ChatGPT and Murf, an audio tool, to produce text messages and voicemails that provide hints for its mobile game, "Dead Man's Phone." The studio also employed Midjourney to generate photorealistic images of characters within a courtroom setting for its legal thriller game, "You be the Judge!" According to the CEO and co-founder, the London-based studio would not have been able to finance the expenses of hiring actors, costume designers, and other professionals to produce the games.
According to industry executives, generative AI will not entirely supplant human talent because it requires someone to provide input prompts and usually necessitates further adjustments. This is a tool that enhances an artist's workflow. You still require a person at the helm, steering the AI.