At the Global Game Developers Conference (GDC 2023) in March 2023, “The Application of AI Technology in Games” became the most discussed topic, almost everyone was talking about it. Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI, said in a recent interview: “AI is one of the few things that has been severely hyped and still severely underestimated.” This statement is even more apt in the gaming industry. It can be said that this round of rapid development of AIGC technology, the gaming industry is the first to be affected, naturally will spur the wave of transformation of the entire gaming industry.
This is a revolution about productivity.
1. AI + Globalization Trend
Actually, the application of AI to the gaming industry has been beyond the discussion stage for a long time. The gaming industry has always been the main driving force for the development of AI technology, from intelligent battles to virtual worlds, from intelligent customer service to AI cheating detection, AI technology has been widely used in games.
And now, driven by this wave of AIGC, the gaming industry is ushering in a new era of AI transformation. The main trend can be summarized in four words:
- Security issues that may arise with ERC777 and arbitrary contract calls
- Less than a month into her tenure, she cured Musk’s “advertising allergy.”
- Why is V4’s exchange routing considered one of the most impactful unresolved issues?
Reduce cost and increase efficiency
A variety of new tools that use AIGC technology to reduce game development costs and improve game production and operation have begun to explode. Let’s take a look at what kind of AI black technology is available now!
1.1 AI creates 3A-level high-quality animations
Epic Game showcased their latest Metahuman Animator technology at GDC 2023. This technology allows developers to create high-quality animations in minutes, generating facial skeletons in just three frames and supporting animation generation from video and audio. Users do not need animation production experience, just an iPhone, to quickly map facial expressions to MetaHuman virtual characters and generate highly realistic animations. In the on-site demo, the presenter took only 2 minutes to reproduce the facial details of the live performance in the digital space.
1.2 Automatically create 3D game scenes based on text descriptions
Opus.ai has developed a new text-driven 3D world generation method that allows users to create dynamic lighting, camera control, terrain, trees and animals, buildings, roads, and animated characters by simply typing in text. In other words, users can create a 3D game scene and all kinds of components and dynamic effects in the scene (such as tree leaves swaying in the wind) just by typing in text, and the AI will create them.
The software is currently in beta and Early Access can be registered on the official website. Currently, it only supports English. If you’re not good at English, don’t worry, there’s ChatGPT, a tool that can help you describe a scene in detail:
1.3 AI NPC creating “Westworld” in games
GAEA is a technical system that has the ability to build a whole set of NPC ecosystems. At a time when everyone is still exploring how to use AI technology to improve R&D efficiency, GAEA may be the first set of solutions that deeply integrate gameplay and change the content ecosystem of games, and may even inspire the product form of the next generation of games. Not long ago, China’s Superparameter Technology used the GAEA technical system to create a technology demo called “Live Chang’an City”, in which the NPC had no pre-set script and were all controlled by AI. They could interact with each other, had “memories” and “remembered” what they had seen and done, and affected their future actions. Each AI NPC had its own goals and reasons for action, forming an evolving small “society” that was reminiscent of “Westworld”.
Recently, the Stanford Google new research AI NPC experiment also caused a sensation-they created 25 AI NPCs and placed them in a simulated small town, where these NPCs not only talked to each other, but also participated in complex behaviors (including hosting Valentine’s Day parties, etc.)
Some social media comments stated that the performance of these NPCs appeared more “realistic” than that of human role-playing:
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if a brand new, truly open-world game is coming soon. Perhaps one day Guy from the movie “Free Guy” who realizes he is an AI NPC in a virtual game world will become a reality!
1.4 AI-generated NPC dialogue
As the size of games continues to grow, writers face the challenge of making NPCs distinct and realistic. If there are hundreds of NPCs, how do you keep each interaction with them unique? This is the problem solved by Ghostwriter, an internal AI tool developed by Ubisoft’s La Forge research and development department.
The tool can be used to help game writers generate initial lines of dialogue for NPCs when triggered events occur, such as NPC conversations, enemy dialogue during battles, or dialogues triggered when players enter a certain area. These tasks used to be designed by game writers (planners) who spent a lot of time on them. With the Ghostwriter tool, AI can automatically generate sample lines for selection and modification based on the basic settings of the NPC, saving a lot of time and allowing writers to focus on other core plot elements.
1.5 AI quickly generates game assets
Scenario is a start-up that has developed a platform that uses AI to quickly create game assets. On this platform, you choose a set of visual materials, upload your own training data, such as characters, props, vehicles, weapons, skins, buildings, concept art, pixel art, and sketches, and then users can create their own generative AI engines within a few clicks, without any additional technical skills. Finally, users can turn their ideas into reality with a few words, and asset creation has never been easier.
2. Breakthroughs of Game Giants
The wave of productivity revolution brought by AIGC has swept the civilian field, and as I mentioned at the beginning, domestic game giants have already taken action.
2.1 Development Stage
During the development stage, almost all the well-known domestic companies have actively explored the integration of AI into the game production process. AI is used for designing supporting characters, generating various game assets such as icons, special effects, maps, models, etc. It is even rumored that a certain company requires employees of a specific department to be proficient in commonly used AI tools as a basis for layoffs.
2.2 Operating Stage
During the operation stage of the game, in addition to official use of AIGC artificial intelligence to produce various materials for promotion, including images, copywriting, videos, etc., the threshold for UGC content creation has also been lowered, making it easier for players to produce high-quality derivative content. Players are also more motivated to actively spread content.
Here are a few examples:
In the latest update of Nishuihan, a UGC content generation of AI-generated poetry was implemented when taking game screenshots, which is quite stunning. The project team set up more than 40 hot classic settings as AI word-checkpoints in the game. With just a keyword, a Song Dynasty poem that fits the scene, has neat diction, and reflects the theme of the keyword will be generated, along with the player’s signature! One-click sharing on WeChat Moments, will this not bring countless likes?
The high-quality Coser photos made using stablediffusion + LORA are so difficult to distinguish that even AI technology cannot match it in terms of efficiency and quality. Adhering to the principle of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” some cosers have chosen to train their own LORA models and, with the help of ControlNET, quickly generate high-quality pictures of various characters and actions using their own faces.
3.2 Reducing Content Costs: AI Quickly Generates 2D/2.5D Content Materials
Currently, the AI that can be used stably and for games is mainly 2D/2.5D materials, including background textures for 2D challenging games, card illustrations for two-dimensional games, 2.5D game models, and texture mapping of 3D models.
3.3 Making Unique and Creative Games Using AI Technology
China’s game AI company, City From Naught, has partnered with the Web3 creator community Magipop DAO to develop a detective RPG game based on LLM and generative AI, code-named “DetectiveGPT.” Players can explore the truth through free and in-depth interaction with AI NPCs. The game is expected to be released on Steam in April of this year. The 3D model textures in the game are all generated by a 3D texture generation tool developed by City From Naught. In traditional decryption games, NPCs have preset dialogues, and players obtain clues by selecting questioning options. In this decryption game made by AI tools, players can freely inquire about eyewitness NPCs through voice or text, and eyewitnesses will respond accordingly to the player’s questions, providing an immersive experience. ++ Have you tried it?
DevBanana, a game developer abroad, used multiple AI tools such as New Bing and ChatGPT to create a Whack-a-Mole game (Whack-a-Mole World!). AI completed the coding, art, sound effects, and BGM. You can find DevBanana on YouTube and watch the whole process of making the game.
The development of AIGC technology has indeed brought endless possibilities to independent game developers – don’t know how to code? ChatGPT can help you. Don’t know how to draw? Midjourney and SD are available for you to choose from. Can’t write copy? Let CharGPT generate it. UI, game dubbing, sound effects AI can also handle it. All you need is creativity, and the ability to describe what you want to AI.
(Whisper, when you have no ideas, you can also ask ChatGPT for inspiration!)
With the increasingly mature game industry, the cost of making games is getting higher and higher. The “big factories” with abundant cash flow, talents, and standard production processes almost monopolize the entire game market. Now, I see a new possibility-maybe in the near future, we will see more small game teams or even individuals with creativity, bringing us surprises.
4 ► Final Words
When the AIGC revolution was just emerging, many people questioned and watched it, because they were afraid of substitution and reluctant to leave the familiar comfort zone to resist learning new ways. However, the wheel of technology rolls forward without mercy-
At that time, someone said: AI painters are not good. Not long after, midjourney V5 was released, and there was no problem with the painter.
At that time, someone said: The Asian women drawn by AI are too ugly to look at. Not long after, Lora, who trained many Japanese and Korean beauties, came out, easily generating various beautiful Internet celebrities
At that time, someone said: AI drawing can only be used to provide inspiration, and the character’s movements cannot be controlled and it is not easy to use. Not long after, stablediffusion had the Control Net plug-in, and the image movement generated by AI could also be controlled
At that time, many people said: The icons and logos drawn by AI are not vector graphics, and they are not easy to use. Not long after, VectorizerAI came out, which can convert JPG, PNG and other bitmaps into vector SVG format with one click
At that time, someone said: AI cannot generate specified text, and the AI of garbled characters! Now, the new version of SD supports pasting text
The development speed of AIGC is too fast. What level will AI develop to a month later today? I dare not think…but no matter what, I know that it is time to put down those prejudices and actively embrace AI technology with an open mind.
This article is over.
Next article “AI+WEB3 Chain Tour”