The world of video games is highly engaging and even addictive. Defeating your opponent, winning a race, unlocking the characters, finishing all the missions – these objectives are what keep players so hooked on the games and generate a huge amount of revenue that is projected to reach $180 billion in 2021.
The rapid phase in which the games evolved over time is also astonishing. We went from pixelated game characters to high-level graphic gameplay where it is increasingly challenging to differentiate if it is a movie or a game.
One of the reasons that helped the gaming industry evolve and progress so much is artificial intelligence. Due to the versatile use of AI, almost any type of game played today uses this technology to some degree.
Before exploring the applications of AI in the gaming industry, let’s find out what artificial intelligence is and what AI in Gaming means.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
From automation to prediction, artificial intelligence has brought many benefits to the world, but what is it really?
In simple words, AI is a field of computer science that uses data to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks that would normally be performed by humans.
Machine learning algorithms train and learn on the provided data over and over again until they reach the desired level of precision. This helps the AI solution identify patterns and make decisions without the need for human intervention.
What are the potentials of AI in games?
Artificial intelligence has many potential benefits to the gaming industry. Techniques like deep learning and neural networks already make the gaming experience as engaging as ever.
However, the future of AI in games can yield amazing results, such as unlimited NPC customization or scenario personalization, the same can be applied to landscape and game elements. Without further ado, let’s explore in more detail.
Helping with game development
Game development is a tedious task. The creation and design of characters, maps, and missions are at the core of the gaming experience and require a lot of time from developers and designers.
AI helps to automatically generate different content, such as the character’s personality and facial features, different item elements, landscape details, etc. This takes a great burden off programmers and speeds up the entire game development process.
By AI helping to create settings and characters, games will be able to offer a diverse variety of landscapes, elements and characters and not repeat them over and over again.
Making games more interesting
Remember when we said that artificial intelligence learns from data? The same goes for AI in games. Each player action is a data point that the AI can use to analyze and make the gaming experience more interesting.
Just like when you go to your Amazon account and all product suggestions are customized to your liking, the same can be done with games. Truly good customization can be done when big data is available – in Amazon’s case, it’s your search history, product clicks, etc.
When it comes to games, this data is the actions of the players – interaction with the characters, phase of mission progression, player behavior, use of items, etc.
Artificial intelligence algorithms can study all this data and adjust game characteristics (difficulty, missions, gaming phase) to suit the player’s personality.
The personalized gaming experience makes the gaming process more user-friendly and more engaging.
Improving game graphics
Some old video games are connected to the best childhood memories for many of us. And when nostalgia hits us and we decide to play them again, we notice that the graphics don’t even come close to what is the current standard.
This video game community encouraged the use of machine learning algorithms that improve the graphics of old games and make them look like new.
Red Faction AI Upscale Textures. Source: moddb.com
The image above is a great example of how AI can be a powerful tool to significantly improve graphics, even when it comes to older games that are so pixelated.
The technique for revamping the graphics is called AI upscaling. AI upscaling is a practice that can increase image quality up to 4x and provide higher resolution. It helps make the details of the original image more visible and removes all noise from the original image.
Conversing with NPCs
NPC in video games refers to a non-playable character that is controlled by a computer rather than a player. They are used in games to advance the game’s plot, help players with tips, and more.
In today’s video games we can already chat with NPC, however, it is not perfect. You have a predetermined set of questions and the NPC gives predetermined answers. Yes, it can be fun, but what if it could be even better? What if you could have a natural conversation with these computer-controlled characters?
With the help of AI, there is the possibility to take these interactions to the next level. We already have some examples of AI-powered solutions like chatbots and virtual assistants that can have natural conversations with humans.
How is this possible? With the help of the knowledge base and natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence algorithms give chatbots a better ability to understand the question and provide a satisfactory answer.
A similar approach can also be used for NPCs to make dialogue more fluid and interesting for players.
The gaming industry became one of the most profitable business sectors, which is expected to reach $ 256.97 billion in 2025.
The high level of technological innovation already provides a better gaming experience for billions of players around the world. However, advancements in AI look very promising for the gaming industry.
It has the potential to not only help developers with faster game development but also enhance the entire experience to a level such that it will be challenging to distinguish a game from reality. This is already happening with advances in virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
So, with all these details in mind, surely an interesting journey awaits us when it comes to the advancements in the gaming industry.