AI is becoming an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry. In fact, when it comes to the intersection of AI and video games, many of the top titles in the world simply couldn’t function without certain AI programs. While many of us are familiar with the concept of AI and names like Nvidia, we may not realize just how much they power modern gaming.
At multiple levels, AI steers the gameplay experience. Its ultimate goal, however, is to make games ‘infinitely playable’. This means that AI is largely being used to create variation, chance, and highly realistic settings within the context of highly complex open-world adventures, MOBAs, FPS games, and more.
But what does that actually look like? Let’s investigate.
The Supporting Role
One of the earliest uses of AI within gaming was to facilitate games and minigames. This might be generating a new opponent ability in a title like Mortal Kombat—but it might also be a much more nuanced AI program. For example, though games like poker aren’t usually placed under traditional gaming categories, online casino platforms rely on AI in a variety of ways.
If you’re playing poker on a virtual and global platform, then you’ll likely be facing off against other real-life players. However, an AI program will still act as the dealer; in this case, managing the game. In fact, some platforms also rely on separate AI programs to detect if players are using bots, adding an extra layer of security and integrity to the experience.
The Complex NPC
Above, we outlined how AI can be adapted as a playing character or to facilitate other elements of the game. However, it’s most often associated with NPCs or non-playing characters. AI can be used to infuse these NPCs with more dynamic and realistic actions, whether related to dialogue, weapon spawns, or boss battles.
A solid AI-backed NPC can generate more difficult challenges for advanced players, whether changing the game’s settings or presenting a new quest, along with providing more engaging support from NPCs who are there to help players. Regardless of what the NPC’s role is, the more complex the AI program behind it, the more satisfying the experience for players.
The Level Generator
One of the top applications of AI over the last decade is through procedurally generated content. The goal of generating randomized levels, settings, and other types of information is to present players with ever-shifting challenges. Even if they start the game over, in other words, they will be presented with new circumstances, maps, quests, and goals.
Behind it all is highly nuanced AI. This type of AI program is tasked with providing endless variations in order to nail the goal of offering an ‘infinitely playable’ video game. At the same time, they’re also helpful for developers because using an AI minimizes the amount of work programmers must do.
The Curator & Data Miner
Many people are aware that AI is behind the algorithms that decide what shows up on their feed—whether on social media, an OTT streaming site, or a gaming platform. But did you know that many of these programs are also designed to mine data from you?
After all, how is an AI program able to provide insightful tips and suggestions if it doesn’t have access to player data? Behind the scenes, AI programs are collecting information based on how long players stay engaged, where they tend to slip up, and which parts of the game they gravitate toward the most. This feedback is used to craft suggestions for players and also to provide developers with insightful data.
The Ultimate Tester
Lastly, AI programs are used to test out various game scenarios and point out potential issues and bugs as a game nears its release. This type of testing is hugely helpful for developers, as AI programs are much more efficient and accurate than human counterparts when it comes to identifying software bugs. Though human testers are still essential when it comes to testing gameplay, most developers rely on AI to speed up the testing phase.