AI is the acronym for Artificial Intelligence that refers to the simulation of human intellect that’s processed by machines. We are sure you have seen online articles that share the accomplishments of AI in medicine, but it is not only used in that domain. One of the domains that heavily leverages AI techniques is the gaming industry.
One of the most interesting use cases would be leveraging regression and classification ML models that analyze gameplay behavior and present reports to decision makers for the company that develops the game. Based on identified patterns, the stakeholders from the gaming company can take educated decisions on how to modify the game meta in order to balance the gameplay. Think about a battle royale game genre (i.e. APEX legends, Super people), where you have different classes of characters with different skills. Based on thorough gameplay analysis, the team of developers can modify the skills or skill attributes of a specific character class in order to better balance the gameplay (aka the game meta).
NPCs (non-player characters) are encountered in every video game. This is where the gaming industry uses the majority of AI techniques. All these characters have their unique set of behaviors and actions determined by AI algorithms and a set of rules provided by the game developers. The main purpose of NPCs is to provide a richer experience for the player. Pathfinding is the process of finding the best route in the environment in order to find the player. Once computed, the NPC will be able to reach it’s goal / destination. Procedural generation is the process of generating new areas of the game map depending on the player’s progress. This process also helps with making the game more playable and future proof. Imagine that each time you restart the game, the map will look different (will have the same elements but they will be differently arranged / located).
In this paragraph, we are trying to consider how our involvement in game development, leveraging AI, would look like (even as an hypothetical point). If we were to use AI, we’d include it in certain RPGs (role playing games) that contain a part in which the player designs their house and avatar. Our idea would be to add an NPC that can help with the style choices. First, the player will have to find and talk to the NPC, asking for help. Then, the NPC will ask if they want help with their house or their avatar. After the player makes their choice, they will be asked to choose their preferences in colors, aesthetics etc. In the end, the NPC will come up with multiple style choices that the player can pick from, based on the answers given. The best part is that if the player isn’t satisfied with the options that were offered, there will be a button on the screen that they can press to ask for more options.
With all of that said, the conclusion we can draw is that the existence of AI and ML is a huge help in the gaming industry. It helps developers create more complex games in shorter time periods and, overall, provides a better experience for gamers. Can you imagine, for example, God of War without Atreus? We could not :).