- By Steffan Powell
- gaming correspondent
Artificial intelligence will lead to more jobs in the video game industry, one of the bodies representing game developers told the BBC.
dr Richard Wilson, head of TIGA, says AI will “reduce the cost of developing games and speed up the process”.
Video games have used forms of artificial intelligence for decades.
But the use of the latest technology in game development has some worried, fearing it could cost jobs and create legal problems for studios.
UKIE, another organization looking after games companies in the UK, said it acknowledged the concerns but added that developments in this area presented an “exciting opportunity” for the industry.
Even in the 1980s, when players put their coins into an arcade machine to help Pacman (or Ms. Pacman) collect white dots on the screen, it was some kind of AI that told the ghosts how to do it players should hunt.
“This is a much simpler form of AI compared to what we’re talking about today, but basically the basic principles are the same,” says Dr. Tommy Thompson, an expert on AI in games.
“It helps make intelligent decisions by looking at a snapshot of a game, and the characters can use that to make intelligent judgments about what to do.”
But while AI has been used to influence what happens on screen for years, it could now influence the process of bringing games to the screen in the first place.
The ability to quickly create hundreds of pages of scripts, voice background characters or draw thousands of artworks could be a game-changer for the industry, according to some senior figures.
“It should allow game studios to automate routine aspects of game development and then use that space to be more creative and focus on other areas,” says Dr. Wilson.
“Reducing overall development costs means more game studios, and therefore more jobs.”
Guy Gadney, one of the co-founders of Charisma.ai, a technology platform that enables the use of generative AI techniques in games, believes it will offer creators a new way of storytelling.
It depends on how computer controlled characters can interact with the player.
Instead of a handful of pre-made lines played out randomly to players, the AI can allow such characters to “think” and react more intelligently based on the story written for them and how the player behaves.
He explains: “In games, players often walk through the three-dimensional environment. We want people to stop and get more involved.”
“We want players to dive deep into the moments as they sit and have natural conversations with the characters. Previously this was done by giving you four choices of conversation on the screen, which was very limiting, it was just an illusion of choice. We want more than that.” .”
For Guy Gadney, unlocking the potential of non-playable characters will change the way games tell stories by allowing players to interact with what lies ahead differently than they do now. Charisma.ai is also working with companies like Warner, Dreamworks and Sky to see how this technology could work in other forms of storytelling.
This week BBC News focuses on AI, how technology is affecting our lives and what impact it could have in the near future.
dr Tommy Thompson, who also runs his own YouTube channel dedicated to AI in gaming, is excited about the technology’s potential. But he also warns that the industry must be careful.
He says using widely available, open-access AI tools in their current form in games for studios is “not practical”.
“Who owns the copyright? For example, in imaging, there are several ongoing lawsuits where people are asking whether their art was used as the basis for the imaging and whether consent was given?”
“If you generate assets for your game using some AI platforms, you legally do not own any copyrights. If you shipped the game, anyone could use those assets and paste them into another game, and so on.” There would be no legal basis to stop them. The law will say, “Well, actually, you didn’t own the copyright.”
Some game studios are developing their own AI platforms to circumvent these problems, but it’s time-consuming and expensive. For small gaming companies that might be interested in open-source AI tools, Dr. Thompson currently outweighs the risks.
“I think it’s important that we take a step back and look at the larger implications of this,” he says.
“It’s not something that can be solved overnight. That’s not to say that generative AI tools aren’t being used in-house at studios in new and really interesting ways, but I don’t think it’s going to be the nirvana people imagine.
In a statement to the BBC, UKIE Co-CEO Daniel Wood said: “The video game industry is always at the cutting edge of technology, so we are already using AI in many areas, including production, art, interaction with game characters” and community Management to provide our players with even more exciting and engaging experiences.
“While UKIE and the industry as a whole will continue to address issues such as copyright law and the rapidly changing skill requirements of gaming companies, the future possibilities of AI promise many exciting possibilities for our industry.”
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