AI technology is growing rapidly over the years, with feats such as composing original music, beating world champions at their own board games, and solving complex problems within seconds being accomplished at a record speed. But what if AI technology gets so advanced that it could create a dynamic story in a video game? That’s what I’d like to explore today.
To give you an idea as to how far AI tech has evolved, according to Forbes:
A Narrative Science survey found last year that 38% of enterprises are already using AI, growing to 62% by 2018. Forrester Research predicted a greater than 300% increase in investment in artificial intelligence in 2017 compared with 2016. IDC estimated that the AI market will grow from $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020.
It’s a growing market with a massive potential to change the world. Currently, AI involves Natural Language Generation, Speech Recognition, Virtual Agents, Machine Learning Platforms, and Biometrics just to name a few. These are clearly very beneficial to businesses, medical research, space travel, and essentially the advancement of mankind if we don’t mess it up so to speak. But what if some of it goes into building an open-world experience like none other before?
Picture this, you log in to your open-world game and begin to interact with the locals in a small town that you’ve just discovered. Using speech recognition, it could be possible actually to talk with the NPC. You could ask for potions, information on something or just ask them how they’re doing. The NPC would then use what information it has gathered and respond not by a preset dialogue written by a human, but by dynamically creating a response of its own. A recent development in AI technology that has received a lot of attention is AI dialogue. The ability to talk to NPCs in video games, in a manner that is context-appropriate and coherent, is a major breakthrough in the field of gaming. A YouTube channel named “Bloc – YouTube” has been showcasing this technology through a custom story engine that implements ChatGPT in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. Through this engine, players can type whatever they like to the NPCs and the NPCs will respond in the manner of medieval characters. In the video titled “Raiding while AI Begs for Its Life – Bannerlord and Chat AI (NOT ChatGPT)”, the player is talking to an AI-controlled NPC. The NPC pleads with the player to leave him alone, and when he refuses, the NPC offers to give his wife in exchange for peace. However, the player refuses and kills the NPC, and starts massacring the village. This technology has the potential to completely change the way we interact with NPCs in video games and to create experiences that are far different from what we are used to.
If you think that’s impossible then just look at Sophia, the social humanoid robot who recently gain citizenship in Saudi Arabia. Sure, she said she would destroy humanity and then later changed her mind, but all that came from her own process of information that she had gathered to make that response. She gave that answer based on the data she had collected. We are living in the future people.
This type of AI technology could change the open-world gaming experience forever. When developers say that no players will ever experience the same story, this time they’d be telling the truth. You could even take it a step further. The world can react based on what has happened with or without your influence. You could log off one day, come back in a week and find out that a village has prospered into a kingdom or has been wiped out by a mechanical beast from another kingdom. AI could create adaptive game mechanics where the environment and obstacles change based on the player’s actions. For example, a player may encounter a puzzle that changes every time they attempt to solve it. This type of adaptive gameplay creates a more challenging and dynamic experience for players, as they must constantly adapt to the changing environment. And then you think about how you could make enemies NPC smart enough to learn your behavior and genuinely adapt to your playstyle. Gone are the days in which enemy npc follow a set pattern programmed by the devs, instead now enemies can be programmed to think and act like real people, making them more challenging to defeat, with them using tactics such as flanking and ambushes to defeat the player, creating a more realistic and challenging gameplay experience. Imagine playing a horror game when, and not being able to predict when a monster will show up, or worse, knowing that the monster knows how to outplay you.
I played games like Fable and loved the idea of how my actions affected the world around me, and something like Cyberpunk 2077, an upcoming role-playing video game developed by CD Projekt RED and published by CD Projekt would thrive on AI technology. Honestly, you could play a game like that forever with no end in sight as the possibility would be endless.
Of course, we are still early in the AI technology life-cycle but who’s to say we won’t see something like this in our games sometime in the future? Let me know what you guys think about this. AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we experience video games. With AI technology, game developers can create virtual worlds that react to player actions, making the experience more immersive and interactive in a way never thought possible. From adaptive game mechanics and realistic physics to smart enemies and evolving game worlds, AI has opened up a world of possibilities for video game development. I truly can’t wait to see what the future of gaming holds for us all.