Artificial intelligence is making huge waves in the world, and every industry is looking at ways to utilize it. The gaming industry is no different.
While it might sound a little like science fiction, AI is going to play a major part in how we build and play video games. And we’re not talking about current “AI” in games. What we reference as the behavior of characters and enemies in games as their “AI” isn’t true machine learning, it’s a set amount of programming dictating their actions. There is a limited amount of responses to each action you input into the game.
Machine learning is what real AI is all about. It’s a machine that learns from its mistakes and accomplishments, can make choices based on its own experiences and experiments. With enough practice, AI is capable of surpassing humans at many tasks, including playing video games.
AI is going to become a major part in gaming, both in how games are made and how gamers play them. Here’s just a few different ways you can expect AI to impact gaming in the years to come.
Helping Build Games More Efficiently
Video games take a long time to make, especially massive AAA ones with tons of details. Developers and designers spend years making worlds for us to play in and crafting enemies for us to fight with.
Yet, many of these jobs get slowed down by their version of “busy work.” There’s code to build, repetitive tasks to do over and over, and bugs to problem solve. AI could play a huge role in the IT side of building games by taking over the busy work tasks, leaving game makers more time for creative choices.
AI could also be useful in identifying potential problems or slowdowns in the game making process. The earlier a game studio knows about a problem, whether it’s a struggling team member with too much on their plate, or a massive gap in the game’s coding, the sooner they can respond and get back on track for release.
Testing Games for Us
Game testers play an essential role in game development. Their goal is to break the game, anyway possible. They hunt for bugs and glitches that could ruin a game, try and find unintentional shortcuts, and try to find everything wrong with a game. The problem is, game testing can be a monotonous and very boring job.
AI could help assist with the game testing process by learning how to break games. Instead of making a human try to jump into a wall from a thousand different angles trying to glitch through, an AI could do it, faster and cheaper. It will also be able to create hyper accurate reports of what it did to break the game, making the developer’s job easier in fixing it.
AI as a Game Mechanic
Imagine playing a Pokemon game where your rival doesn’t just grow in strength alongside you, but learns from previous fights what type of tactics you use. Instead of just evolving their same Pokemon every time, they adapt their teams to counter what you are using. Suddenly, the rival isn’t just another slightly stronger NPC, they truly become your rival. You like to just use offensive Pokemon and ignore buffing and debuffing? Next time you meet, every single one of the rival’s Pokemon debuff yours to do very little damage.
True AI would learn how you play the game and then adapt the game around it. This could include learning your strengths and making parts of the game harder, or tweaking parts you seem bored in to move along faster. For multiplayer games, AI could learn from other players currently in the game and be used to either fill lobbies with effective players, or be used as a training ground for new players before they jump into a live match. Already, AIs are dominating pro players, and that same tech could be used to help balance out unfair games or matches missing a player.
What if you played a horror game run by an AI? It analyzes what you do in different scary scenarios, figures out what scares you the most, and then focuses on having that play a larger part in the game. A person who is terrified of jumpscares will get more, while the players who start to freak out after long tense moments while have more of that.
AI can be used to create a more immersive and adaptable game experience. By better understanding players both on a personal and worldwide level, games will improve even more.
AI Helping Pick Out Games We’ll Like
There is a problem arising in the gaming industry that nobody expected would happen. There are just too many games for us to play. Alongside that problem, it’s hard to know what games you’ll like or dislike. Sure, some games have a demo or beta you can try out, but others you just have to trust what journalists and YouTubers say. But they have different tastes to you. What one gamer loves, another hates.
But by utilizing AI personal assistants, AI could learn what kinds of games we like the most and then recommend them to us. AI assistants could curate our game library and recommend new and old games we might like when searching for a game to buy. That means, though, that game developers and publishers will need to build marketing campaigns that integrate for AI personal assistants and voice search on phones.
AI is going to play a part in the gaming industry, it’s just a matter of when. Personally, I’m excited to see how game developers can integrate AI into how we play and seeing gaming go to an all-new level of immersion and fun.