From non-player characters to realistic environments, discover how AI is changing the way we play video games. Read on to learn about the top 5 AI innovations that are revolutionizing the gaming industry.
AI in games is the creation of more responsive, adaptive, and complex games with the help of artificial intelligence. And although scientists claim that game AI is not real AI, the hype around this technology has constantly been growing for quite some time.
It has become a core concept in many games. Just look at Cortana in Halo (yes, Microsoft named their virtual assistant after this character, and we’re all for it!) And it’s not the only AI game. Other games (like Detroit: Becoming Human) mostly revolve around AI and androids.
But is this all that is connected with artificial intelligence in games? Now you will know it.
Why is AI important in games?
Thanks to artificial intelligence, games, and mobile games are becoming more and more perfect. Creating life-like situations to advance in games adds excitement to the gameplay.
Increasing the difficulty of games with the help of AI ensures that gamers will be addicted to the game. With the rise in the number of different gaming devices, gamers expect an immersive gaming experience across multiple devices. Developers can deliver a console-like experience across all platforms with the help of AI.
NPCs or NPCs are where the game AI is used the most. These characters in the game behave intelligently as if human players are controlling them. Algorithms and artificial intelligence engines determine the behavior of these characters. Quite often, decision trees are used to control the behavior of these NPCs.
Pathfinding involves moving from one point to another. The entire game landscape is an essential part of the pathfinding. The game AI can generate the game landscape or the game world as you move through the game world. The AI can receive feedback from your movements, playstyle, in-game decisions, appearance, and techniques and create terrain accordingly.
AI in games will allow your decisions to have a more significant impact on the gameplay. For example, in Red Dead Redemption 2, NPCs’ behavior and interaction with you depend on variables such as blood stains on your clothes or the type of hat you wear. Since there is a huge matrix of possibilities, the entire game world can manipulate your decisions. Extremely complex causal relationships can exist.
AI allows game developers and studios to analyze player behavior data to gain insight into how people finish a game, what parts of the game they play the most, and what makes users stop playing. It allows game developers to improve the gaming experience or identify monetization opportunities.
procedural content generation
Artificial intelligence in games can automatically create new content, interactive stories, environments, levels, and even music.
Modeling the player experience
The game AI can determine the player’s abilities and emotional state and then tailor the game accordingly. It may even include dynamic game difficulty balancing, where the game’s difficulty is adjusted in real-time based on the player’s abilities. AI in games can even help determine the player’s intent.
The most common type of trick used by NPCs is when NPCs use information not available to players in a given situation. For example, in a combat game, NPCs may be endowed with human senses such as sight and hearing, but they may simply be cunning by checking the player’s position on the game engine. Other tricks include the AI system, allowing NPCs to develop more speed to catch up with players in racing games or allowing them to respawn in advantageous positions (such as giving them a higher position) in first-person games.
NPC cunning is helpful in some games because, without cunning, it would be much easier for a human player to defeat the system after a few tries.
What are the types of AI in games?
The most common types of AI in games are:
Deterministic AI methods
Deterministic AI techniques are the most widely used AI techniques in games. Deterministic behavior or performance is given and very predictable. There is no element of uncertainty in these methods. They are quick and easy to implement, understand, test, and debug. The problem is that deterministic methods force developers to anticipate all possible scenarios and code all behavior.
These methods do not even allow learning or development, which makes the game behave predictably after a few games and even limits the game’s lifespan.
Non-deterministic AI methods
In essence, this is the opposite of deterministic behavior. Non-deterministic behavior has some uncertainty (which depends on the AI method being used and how well that AI method is understood). If you want a better idea of what it’s all about, look at the NPC that learns the player’s moves and tactics and adapts to counter them. You can use a neural network, a Bayesian technique, or a genetic algorithm for such training.
Game developers won’t have to anticipate all possible scenarios and code behavior to fit them. These methods can even self-learn, extrapolate, and promote emergent behavior that occurs without explicit instructions.
Advantages of artificial intelligence in games
AI brings huge benefits to the gaming industry. Here are some of them:
Games are getting smarter and more realistic.
Using techniques like pattern and reinforcement learning, NPCs in games evolve by self-learning based on their actions. Games also become realistic as they interpret and react to the player’s actions. Many programs do not need a human interface and can create virtual worlds automatically.
Saving costs and time
Typically, game development requires a lot of time and money. And you’re still determining how well the market will take the game. AI can help to significantly reduce game creation time and save a lot of resources that would have been spent on game development.
Simplifies the game process
The use of AI in games helps make games more intuitive. In addition, the game can use AI to determine the user’s ability and experience and adjust the game’s difficulty level accordingly in real-time.
Eliminates game predictability
The game becomes unpredictable when non-deterministic behavior is used. It means that what happens in the game cannot be predicted even by the game developer. It creates a new, refreshing experience and increases the game’s lifespan as it doesn’t get predictable and boring after a few plays.
What is the future of AI in the gaming industry?
Artificial intelligence in game design and development has made significant progress, but its pace is still strong. Let’s see what the future holds for us.
AI cloud gaming
Cloud gaming is a technology that allows games to be streamed over the Internet rather than requiring the user to download and install the game. This technology has been developed for several years but has not become mainstream.
Blockchain-based games have yet to become a well-known phenomenon. It suggests that gamers and developers must collaborate on the blockchain platform to play these games. At the same time, to become part of this gaming fraternity, they need to buy or borrow digital property.
Games based on voice or sound recognition
Using voice recognition in games will change how we experience games. Thanks to voice recognition in games, the user can control game gestures, control the controls, and even give up the controller role.
Wearable and VR games
The evolution in AR, VR, and MR has raised the standard for virtual and mixed-reality games, making them more realistic and progressive in entertainment. The Oculus Quest is an all-in-one PC-quality VR device – the best example of a wearable device used for wearable gaming.
Improved mobile gaming experience with AI
Mobile gaming is a growing trend that allows players to access unlimited games at their convenience. Phone companies are focusing on designing devices compatible with high-resolution and heavy graphics.
Top 10 AI Games Demonstrating the Evolution of Artificial Intelligence
AI in games has certainly come a long way. Here are the top 10 games that use artificial intelligence with the utmost finesse and showcase the progress made in game development.
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Bioshock Infinite
- Grand Theft Auto 5
- Alien: Isolation
- STALKER: Shadow Of Chernobyl
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Can AI create games?
Yes. AI has played a massive role in the development of video games and their adaptation to the players’ preferences. The most commonly used technique for this is machine learning. Essentially, an AI system learns a lot of games, creates rough ideas about the games, then recombines the knowledge from those ideas and uses the conceptual extension to create new games.
AI has significantly changed the gaming world, and its role is overgrowing. Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence in games will be used even more widely in the near future, as it helps create more complex and exciting games.