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Artificial intelligence is coming to PC games, but you don’t have to worry

The tech community has been saturated with AI in the past week, from ChatGPT to Google Bard, but not without reason. We see fads like NFTs and web3 come and go, but AI is here to stay – even in computer games.

However, not everything is bleak and gloomy. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have proven to be extremely useful in computer games, with far-reaching implications for how games are made and experienced. I’m not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole here – and if you stick with me, you’ll see why.

How is it used now

Comparison of the ending animation in Spider-Man Miles Morales.

The cornerstone of AI in PC games right now is Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). Train an AI model how to reconstruct a frame in a game and render the game at a lower resolution, and enjoy free performance without affecting your visuals.

DLSS is getting really good, and while there are algorithmic competitors like AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), Nvidia has proven that AI provides an advantage. DLSS 3 is testament to this, providing additional AI-generated frames only. AMD probably won’t be any different either – the latest RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT include an as yet unused AI accelerator.

Alongside the upgrade, AI has appeared in Nvidia’s RTX Remix editing platform, which offers a suite of AI tools to improve textures, add extra lighting to scenes, and more. RTX Gate A great example of what these AI tools can do to revitalize the aging game.

Nvidia isn’t alone here either. A modern adaptation of a classic Morrowind Added game voice lines generated with artificial intelligence. With a massive dump of dialogue in Morrowind, This is something that wouldn’t be possible without years of work from modders hiring voice actors (which is unlikely) or a truckload of cash from Bethesda (which is even more unlikely).

These are just a few high-profile examples of how AI is being used to improve games today, but it’s important to remember the solid foundation of AI within the games themselves. Tools like MassEntity from Unreal Engine 5 promise to deliver massive AI-driven casts of characters with simple input. And this is one of the most exciting aspects of AI in computer games – using it to speed up game development.

Efficient game development

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In 2020, Nvidia trained an AI model to recreate it pac man. Trained over 50,000 episodes of the game, two neural networks were able to recreate a playable version of the game. pac man Without the core game engine. There are no set rules, no standards – the AI ​​simply looked at the game being played most often and figured out how to recreate it.

It’s a testament to how far AI has come in terms of speeding up game development. Don’t worry that the AI ​​will start making computer games for you. As Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said on a recent earnings call,[AI is] You wouldn’t allow someone to say, “Please develop a competitor into a grand theft auto This is better than grand theft auto“… people will try, but it won’t happen.”

It may not happen, but Zelnick has been clear that AI is of great use to game development. One use that has been growing over the past several years is AI-driven Quality Assurance (QA) testing. Gamers generally spend thousands of hours finding only a fraction of errors in computer games, but artificial intelligence can run thousands of tests on a game in a matter of seconds.

AI can also be used to create more complex and diverse games, particularly those with branching paths. For example, AI Dungeon 2, Released in 2019, it is a text-based adventure generated by artificial intelligence that can provide endless stories. Then there is the endless series of stories about procedural generation in games like No Man’s Sky Driven by algorithms that create billions of planets.

AI Dungeon 2 logo.

Although games like No Man’s Sky New worlds are born, still coming from the essence of human design. Generative AI allows for completely new experiences that don’t need specific criteria, just enough training.

I played recently shadows of doubt Demo – A new procedurally generated action thriller that generates the entire world – via Steam Next Fest. It allows you to have a totally unique experience every time you play, with different clues, NPCs, and environments. Applying artificial intelligence to this kind of setup should be enough to get anyone excited, as it provides unique experiences for every player who touches the game.

Not without anxiety

Game developers qualify at Rockstar.

As exciting as artificial intelligence in computer games is, it also raises a lot of valid concerns. After all, we’ve seen a Starcraft 2 An AI that beats almost every player in the world, and it’s not hard to imagine nefarious uses of AI in competitive gaming.

There is also a wide range of jobs in game development that can be affected by AI. From concept art to level design to voice acting – AI can already handle these tasks, and it’s much cheaper than hiring a bunch of employees. I hope AI can be used to expand game development on this front rather than shrink it. is similar to No Man’s Sky I hope it can be leveraged to help small teams build bigger games and not just raise the bottom line for the biggest publishers in the world.

While there are valid concerns, there is a lot to be excited about. Like DLSS, RTX Remix, and something out of left field like a Morrowind Modifying the voice acting shows, there are uses for AI in PC games that haven’t yet been imagined, and that’s an exciting place to be.

This article is part of ReSpec – an ongoing bi-weekly column featuring in-depth discussions, tips and reports on the technology behind PC games.

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