When you look back at the games made in the 1970s, it almost seems pathetic compared to what we have today. We’ve come so far from black and white pixels moving in only four directions, and we owe it all to technological innovations. Without the development of more compact memory components and more powerful processors, no console could run the high-end graphics we enjoy today. However, it’s not just hardware innovations we have to thank, but software as well.
Artificial intelligence or AI has changed how games are developed and played. It has changed the dynamics of many genres and expanded the limits of the medium. Here are just some of the ways AI has shaken up the gaming world.
Streamlining the development process
More complex games require more work and time. Thanks to AI, steps that would have taken months to complete can now be done in days or even a few hours. Techniques like video annotation, pathfinding, and procedural generation make it easier to code non-player characters or NPCs and build levels. Developers can also use player data to train AI to make NPCs behave, move, and look more lifelike, thus improving game immersion. Instead of starting from scratch, developers can work with AI to make the processes more efficient.
Enhancing player experiences
Some developers have been experimenting with games that give players unique experiences based on their in-game behavior and choices. It goes deeper than the usual choose-your-own-adventure format, where your decisions impact what ending you’ll get. With AI, you can get stronger and more intelligent enemies and allies to match your skill level. A common complaint of most players in games with NPCs as allies is that their actions are unhelpful and are sometimes illogical. When characters in a game act strangely, this breaks the immersion of the game. This problem is slowly being resolved with AI, giving us NPCs that seem like humans control them.
AI can also generate unique and personalized dialogue instead of the hardcoded speech most games are limited to. Additionally, AI can even generate amazing landscapes and levels thanks to procedural generation, allowing for randomness, improving game replayability.
Challenging e-sports teams
E-sports is a big part of the gaming industry, consisting of elite-level players who compete to prove their superior skills in specific games. With AI, e-sports teams can analyze rival teams’ strengths and weaknesses and use that information against them in future competitions. They can also use AI to generate better strategies to secure more efficient wins.
The gaming industry is one of constant innovation to meet competition and growing consumer expectations. We already see exciting growth using augmented reality and virtual reality to expand the gaming experience from our couches to the real world. However, those games are a far cry from their idealized versions. It might be a long time before we can witness the rise of games that create a truly immersive gaming experience. However, contemporary games still do a fantastic job of creating immersive environments perfect for escaping the stress of our daily lives.