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AI: Taking Gaming to a Whole New Level

AI: Taking Gaming to a Whole New Level
The Siliconreview
29 September, 2021

How AI Is Transforming Video Games

Nowadays, AI is being implemented into many different areas of our day-to-day lives. The gaming industry is one place seeing huge advancements thanks to AI. AI has been used in gaming for many years, but it is now at the stage where it’s drastically transforming the way we game. 

AI has been used in live dealer games, for NPC’s, world-building, and many other areas of video games, but in this post, we’re looking specifically at the significant changes that AI is making possible in the world of video games. 

AI can make its own games

Game development is the one area AI is already making huge strides in. Developers have already been able to teach AI systems a level of Super Mario, tell the AI what the level should look like, and then sit back and watch as the AI creates the level by itself.

While this may seem like something that can replace developers in the long run, creators are thinking the opposite. This type of AI can work alongside game developers to create more extensive and detailed games. 

AI can also create parts of a vast game that would take a human weeks or even months to finish. Procedurally generated games such as No Man’s Sky are one of the few that have done this. 

AI can also shorten development time or allow developers to put more time into other aspects of a game, as a computer can do the more mundane but time-consuming work. As mentioned, this will then allow for much larger games that aren't lacking in detail. 

Improved NPC’s

Non-player characters (NPCs) are a must for most games, but they can get a bit annoying and repetitive, especially in games that require you to interact with them multiple times or be around them constantly. AI is here to change that. 

Shadow of Mordor is a game that has demonstrated how AI can vastly change the way players interact with non-playable characters. The Nemesis AI system allows enemies in-game to remember the battle they had with you, therefore changing how they behave towards you and their “feelings” towards you. 

This means that the battles are never the same, and those enemies and their feelings toward you influence the rest of the experience. Regular NPCs in games can also be incredibly boring and repetitive, saying or offering the same thing no matter how much or how little you have progressed in the story. 

Having NPCs that take sides or try to help you more if you have helped them or their village, for example, all happening outside of a quest where the game controls their behavior, allows for a more detailed and realistic experience. 

A more realistic experience

Speaking of making games more realistic, AI allows games to become reactive to what a player does. Games follow a path, and most of them stick to that path no matter what you do. There is either one ending to the story or a few if, depending on some of the choices you make through the game. 

Developers are also taking advantage of something called Reinforcement Learning. This involves the automatic process of animating characters in a game. FIFA, for example, uses motion capture to animate the players, capturing their movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Developers use AI to automate this process, saving companies millions of dollars and making games more efficient, meaning you can play them on older PCs and even smartphones. 

This technology can then be used across a game, giving all characters and NPCs unique characteristics that allow them to react more realistically to a situation without simply running through all the pre-loaded movements, dialogue options, etc. 

Games change over time

What all of this culminates to are games that change over time. AI will allow a game to change each time you play through it, making it either more difficult because certain characters remember you defeating them, or easier because some NPC’s remember you helping them, so they want to help too. 

AI can ensure that a game isn’t the same each time you play through it, as it can adapt to your skill level, what you do, what you don’t do, and give you a unique experience every time. 

AI in mobile games

Mobile games are also benefiting from AI. AI can be used to make mobile games “smarter” and more realistic, much like their PC and console counterparts. However, as it stands, there are some drawbacks. 

While, in theory, AI can be used with tremendous success in mobile games, the devices themselves are holding the tech back. Once mobile phones catch up with AI, you will see a massive switch in how mobile games are created and how they’re played. The technology is moving forward every day, and as PCs, consoles, and smartphones get more advanced, the games we play are getting more advanced too. 

AI can be used to make bigger, more detailed, more efficient and unique games each time you play them. AI has played a small part in games for years now, but it’s quickly becoming the main character.