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Intrigued by the potential that generative artificial intelligence holds for video game design, the studio Blizzard Entertainment has trained an image generator on its own hit titles. By feeding assets like the combative orcs of World of Warcraft, the macabre dungeons of Diablo and the vivacious heroes of Overwatch into the machine, Blizzard can effortlessly produce concept art for new ideas.
Because generative artificial intelligence creates art faster than any human can, studios like Blizzard, a division of Activision Blizzard, are hopeful that the technology can cut out some design and development drudgery and make the creation of video games more fun.
Blizzard’s chief design officer, Allen Adham, told employees about the initiative last month in an email that was obtained by The New York Times. Its internal tool is called Blizzard Diffusion,a riff on Stable Diffusion, one of the popular image generators that enables anyone to turn text into art.
“Prepare to be amazed,” Adham wrote, adding, “We are on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games.”
Generative artificial intelligence, the technology behind tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, uses considerable computing power to identify patterns in text or images and produce new content from the data.
Some researchers are waryof the technology, warning of copyright abuses, job displacement, and its potential to help the spread of false information. But video game developers, already relying on artificial intelligence so that nonplayer characters can make humanlike decisions, believe that harnessing generative A.I. can speed up the creative process in a labor-intensive industry plagued by delays.
There is a gaming A.I. division at Microsoft, which makes the Xbox console, and Ubisoft has built a tool called Ghostwriter that could produce basic dialogue for games like Assassin’s Creed. Several start-ups say their technology can make it easier to design the look of the nonplayer characters, known as NPCs, that give video game worlds heft.
Chris Lee, the former studio head of Halo Infinite at 343 Industries, said generative A.I. could improve game development by reducing the human toil required to make an enormous open-world game.
“Game developers have never been able to keep up with the demands of our audiences,” said Lee, who is now the head of immersive technologies at Amazon Web Services.
Halo Infinite was supposed to be the flagship launch game for the Xbox Series X in 2020, but its graphics were derided by fans as flat and ugly afteran eight-minute previewwas released. The studio ultimately delayed the game for another year.
The game’s developers were miserable, Lee said, because even working on place-holder encounters required slowly moving pixels frame by frame. “To load this giant world, it’s painful, it’s like specialized data entry,” he said.
Generative A.I. could also streamline quality assurance testing. At a recent conference for game developers, Kate Rayner, technical director for the Coalition, the studio behind Gears of War, talked about how A.I. could be used to catch bugs and glitches so players would see fewer crashes on launch day.
Many of the promises of generative A.I. are speculative, with Blizzard already abandoning machine-learning technology it had patented to create environmental textures like stone and brick.
Andrew Guerrero, Blizzard’s vice president of global insights, said the tool was taking up too much artist time to be effective. But he said another A.I. tool was helping fit cosmetic headpieces to player models in World of Warcraft.
“The goal is to remove a repetitive and manual process and enable artists to spend more time on creativity,” Guerrero said in a statement. “Our goal with A.I. has been, and will continue to be, to try to make creative work easier.”
The internal email about Blizzard Diffusion said it was being used to help generate concept art for game environments as well as characters and their outfits. It also mentioned possible tools for “autonomous, intelligent, in-game NPCs,” “procedurally assisted level design” and A.I.-assisted “voice cloning,” “game coding” and “anti-toxicity.”
Ghostwriter, Ubisoft’s A.I. dialogue tool, was a request by writers who faced the daunting and sometimes tedious task of filling open-world games with more than 100,000 lines of dialogue, the company said.
Many of those lines are the background chatter of characters that help simulate a living world; one mundane interaction may require a dozen or more variations.
In a promotional video for Ghostwriter, an employee begins with the prompt “I used to be an adventurer like you” (a nod to aninfamous line in Skyrim) and hones several suggestions by the A.I., including “I was once the most talented and famous adventurer in the land” and “I remember when I was young and strong.”
These simple lines of dialogue have been a way for people to start careers in video game writing, and developers argued on social media that automating these tasks could threaten such jobs. Simon Johnson, an economist at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management who has a newbook about the impact of automation, said it was a bad idea for tech companies to invent algorithms that mimic humans.
“We should be focused on machines that help humans improve human capabilities, rather than displacing people,” he said.
Yves Jacquier, the executive director of Ubisoft La Forge, the research and development team responsible for Ghostwriter, said there had been a similar but unfounded fear that video game animators would be replaced when motion capture was introduced decades ago.
“While the future may involve more technology, it doesn’t take away the human in the loop,” Jacquier said in a statement. “Artists, writers and coders will always be at the heart of the development process, and while A.I. can now do a better job at assisting creators in their workflow, it’s the artistic vision and perspective of individuals that are essential in the creation of games.”
Another inescapable concern about A.I.-produced content is copyright. In one high-profile lawsuit,Getty Images has accused Stable Diffusionof scraping 12 million images from its photo database.
Employees of Activision Blizzard received an email this month from Michael Vance, its chief technology officer, that warned them not to use the company’s intellectual property with external image generators. (Microsoft is looking to purchase Activision for nearly $70 billion, butregulators want to block the deal.)
“These new tools come with new and unknown risks, and we will proceed carefully to avoid pitfalls,” Vance wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Times.
Some Activision Blizzard employees said the company’s A.I. tools have not always delivered as promised, pointing to those that struggled to catch bugs or interact properly with game environments.
“Leadership’s focus on A.I. doesn’t feel like it is solving a problem that individual contributors care about,” said Valentine Powell, a former World of Warcraft engineer who left Blizzard last August. “It feels like ignoring their problems and focusing on hype words that they think will sound impressive to shareholders.”
Smaller video game studios that do not have the resources to create generative A.I. tools are turning to start-ups for help.
Scenario, which raised $6 million in seed funding in January, creates image databases to turn text prompts into assets — such as a lizard in a spacesuit — that can then be incorporated into games.
Its image generator is being used by a few small games. In tests by The Times, it sometimes spit out animated characters with unrealistic-looking hands,a common weaknessfor image generators.
Another start-up, Didimo, said that Soleil Game Studios, which makes fighting games based on properties like Naruto and Samurai Jack, had created hundreds of nonplayer characters using its A.I.-powered generator.
“We just automated that process, allowing them to remove the mundane jobs, because it just gets boring after a while,” Sean Cooper, a Didimo developer, said.
Video games can take years to create, and it is early enough in the hype cycle that few published games have used generative A.I. But some companies like Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, have experimented with the tools to create marketing materials, for instance writing a news release in Dr. Seuss’s tone of voice.
Niantic also used ChatGPT while working on Peridot, a new augmented reality game that leverages ’90s nostalgia for digital pets.
Kellee Santiago, Niantic’s head of production, said that it was expensive to fill a room with creative people, and that the technology condensed the time needed to generate ideas.
“I, for one, am happy to have the first six hours of a brainstorm taken care of for me,” she said.
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May Help Design Your Favorite Video Game Character. Generative A.I. is already changing how games are made, with Blizzard Entertainment training an image generator on assets from World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch.Can I design game characters with AI? ›
It has not always been easy to design a character, but with the rise of AI tools and art generators, such as starryai, anyone can now create their own! These tools have made character design more accessible than ever. But even with these tools, you should still dedicate time and effort if you want yours to stand out.How does AI help in video games? ›
Artificial intelligence in gaming allows game designers and studios to perform data mining on player behavior to help them get an understanding of how people end up playing the game, the parts that people play the most, and what causes users to stop playing the game.What is AI in game design? ›
AI in gaming refers to responsive and adaptive video game experiences. These AI-powered interactive experiences are usually generated via non-player characters, or NPCs, that act intelligently or creatively, as if controlled by a human game-player. AI is the engine that determines an NPC's behavior in the game world.Why is AI important in games? ›
The main purpose of using Artificial Intelligence In Gaming is to provide players a realistic gaming experience to battle against each other on a virtual platform. In addition, AI in gaming also helps to increase player interest and satisfaction over the long term.Can AI replace game developers? ›
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a popular buzzword in the game development industry, raising the question of whether AI can replace human game developers. While AI can automate certain tasks and improve efficiency, it will never be able to replace human game developers entirely.Is Character.AI safe? ›
Is Character.AI safe? For most users, Character AI is safe to use.Can an AI build a video game? ›
An AI so advanced that it can program a game that real people can play sounds like science fiction, or a far-off future. But actually, game developers and enthusiasts already use AI technology all the time. Developers and AI enthusiasts have used ChatGPT to recreate classic games like Pong, Tetris, and Snake.What are the cons of AI in video games? ›
One of the drawbacks of using AI to create adaptive game mechanics is that it can pose technical challenges, such as complexity, unpredictability, or bugs. For example, AI can be complex to design, implement, and test, requiring more time, resources, and expertise from the developers.What video games have AI? ›
- The Last of Us.
- FIFA 22.
- Red Dead Redemption 2.
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
- Rocket League.
- Halo: Combat Evolved.
- Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
AI can assist game developers in all aspects of creating a new videogame, including the coding. It is important to note that AI cannot develop a new videogame on its own using prompts but it can, for example, analyse gaming code and highlight errors or make improvements.Will AI make game development easier? ›
Hypesters say artificial intelligence will one day automate all the hard work of video game creation. But it's not that simple. Creating a video game demands hard, repetitive work.What is the goal of game AI? ›
It is often said that rather than maximizing the chances of success, the goal of game AI is to maximize the player's fun.Why is AI so helpful? ›
With its ability to analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns and trends, AI can help businesses and organizations better understand customer behavior, market trends, and other important factors. This information can be used to make better decisions and improve business outcomes.Will AI replace graphic design? ›
AI will not replace graphic design jobs entirely. Instead, it can complement and enhance the work of graphic designers, making their job more efficient and productive. AI can automate repetitive tasks, improve quality control, and provide new perspectives and insights into human creativity.Can AI replace creativity? ›
While AI can automate many tasks, it cannot replace the human experience of creativity and emotion, at least not yet. Therefore, it is important to view AI as a tool that can assist and augment human creativity and workmanship rather than a replacement for it.What can AI not replace? ›
Trade jobs like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians are not going to be replaced by AI. For example, a plumber needs to visit sites to install plumbing or fix pipes.How does Character.AI work? ›
Character.AI is a site that uses a neural language model to reads huge amounts of text and respond to prompts using that information. Anyone can create a character on the site, and they can be fictional or based on real people, dead or alive.Can AI generate fake faces? ›
With Fake Face Generator, anyone can produce realistically generated faces on the go. This app uses AI-based technology for superior results and is capable of making a plethora of distinct images in quick time. Generated faces come from all age groups, genders and styles – from kids to adults and scruffy to blond hair.Does Character.AI cost money? ›
Character AI Plus will cost $9.99 per month, or about $120 a year. While many apps offer a reduced rate for annual subscriptions, Character AI Plus did not mention this payment option in their initial announcement.
The answer is yes, and it's not as far-fetched as one may think. With the right combination of technologies and platforms, we can create an AI-powered personal assistant that can manage various aspects of our lives. One such combination is the use of augmented reality (AR), ChatGPT, and no-code platforms.Can I train an AI to play a game? ›
Thanks to several openly available reinforcement learning packages it is now possible for even a novice Python coder to train an AI for an arbitrary videogame. However, one should keep in mind that the computational resources needed for training increase quickly as games become more complex.What are the 4 risks dangers of AI? ›
Some of the biggest risks today include things like consumer privacy, biased programming, danger to humans, and unclear legal regulation.What is the bad impact of AI? ›
AI systems learn from training data, by which they learn to make decisions. These data may contain biased human decisions or represent historical or social inequalities. Likewise, the bias could enter directly into the programming of the human being who designs the system, based on their own biases.When was AI used in video games? ›
One of the first examples of this is in iconic fixed-shooter game Space Invaders (1978). Arcade games used early AI in the form of stored patterns. These simulate random movements of aliens that were pre-programmed into the game. This AI successfully kept players hooked and slotting coins into the machines!What is the smartest AI? ›
IBM — Watson
Watson is among the most intelligent AI systems in the industry due to its wide range of capabilities and its ability to learn and adapt over time.
Limited creativity: While AI can help designers automate certain tasks, it can also limit creativity by imposing certain constraints or biases on the design process. For example, an AI-powered system might generate designs based on past successful examples, rather than pushing the boundaries and trying something new.How can AI help in design? ›
- AI Art and Image Generation. ...
- Automating Tasks. ...
- Creating New Visual Styles. ...
- Design Better Websites. ...
- Analyze Data to Understand Users. ...
- Create Multiple Variants. ...
- Product or Concept Ideation.
AI serves as an inexhaustible wellspring of inspiration for designers. Through machine learning algorithms and vast databases, AI can analyze vast amounts of visual data, such as images, color palettes, and design patterns, providing designers with a wealth of inspiration to fuel their creative endeavors.How AI will revolutionize video games? ›
Generative AI can help developers streamline the game development process by automating tasks such as level design, character creation, and animation. This can lead to faster production times and lower costs, enabling smaller development teams to create high-quality games that can compete with larger studios.
- 1 XCOM 2.
- 2 Mortal Kombat. ...
- 3 Left 4 Dead. ...
- 4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. ...
- 5 Fear. ...
- 6 Alien Isolation. ...
- 7 Dark Souls. The original Dark Souls set the stage for a long series of unforgiving games. ...
- 8 Unreal Tournament. Many multiplayer games offer bot lobbies for you to hone your skills. ...
- AI drives down the time taken to perform a task. ...
- AI enables the execution of hitherto complex tasks without significant cost outlays.
- AI operates 24x7 without interruption or breaks and has no downtime.
- AI augments the capabilities of differently abled individuals.
The productivity of artificial intelligence may boost our workplaces, which will benefit people by enabling them to do more work. As the future of AI replaces tedious or dangerous tasks, the human workforce is liberated to focus on tasks for which they are more equipped, such as those requiring creativity and empathy.Can AI replace human intelligence? ›
While AI can replace some tasks, it cannot replace human problem-solving skills. Therefore, combining the strengths of AI and human curiosity is necessary to achieve outstanding results in scientific pursuits.Can you use AI generated art in games? ›
If an AI only uses art from a studio's internal art team, it could work. The danger is, if copyrighted images are scraped and used, a studio cannot be assured it owns all assets in its video game. Many studios will be eager to ensure art created for their games doesn't turn up elsewhere, too.Can an illustrator be a character designer? ›
Character designers will often have a degree in graphic art, fine art, illustration or a related discipline, but this is not strictly necessary. The vital thing is that you can demonstrate very strong drawing skills.Can AI replace illustrators? ›
The short answer is no. Suggesting that AI can produce Art is no different than implying a pencil can draw illustrations or write stories. A pencil, just like AI, is not human — it's a tool.Can you teach an AI to play a game? ›
Thanks to several openly available reinforcement learning packages it is now possible for even a novice Python coder to train an AI for an arbitrary videogame. However, one should keep in mind that the computational resources needed for training increase quickly as games become more complex.Is AI art legal? ›
At the moment, works created solely by artificial intelligence — even if produced from a text prompt written by a human — are not protected by copyright. When it comes to training AI models, however, the use of copyrighted materials is fair game.Do I own the AI art that I create? ›
AI art cannot be copyrighted. The question of who owns art created by AI is a complex and controversial issue. While AI is responsible for generating the artwork, it is ultimately the human creators who programmed and trained the AI algorithms.
While it's true that AI can automate certain aspects of the design process, it's unlikely that it will be able to replace the creativity and artistic talent of human designers completely.Who designs video game characters? ›
The role of a Character Designer is to visualize and develop the look of animated characters for film, television, and video games. They work from the script or storyline to turn descriptions into images, to give form to personality and characteristics.How much do video game character designers make? ›
The salary range for a Video Game Character Artist job is from $53,500 to $67,689 per year in the United States.Can AI take over creativity? ›
“AI can also take over more creative tasks by identifying patterns in data that humans would not have found. AI does not just take over tasks that would be time-consuming; it might provide insights humans would have never found themselves.” There's a limit to AI's ability to assist innovation, however.What Cannot be replaced by AI? ›
- Creativity: ...
- Thinking critically: ...
- The capacity to understand individuals on a deeper level: ...
- Leadership: ...
- Adaptability: ...
- Skills for communication: ...
- Complex Critical thinking: ...
- Communication Skills:
Another set of skills that artificial intelligence won't replace is interpersonal skills. Empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution are just a few examples of the interactions and connections that may be made with people because of interpersonal skills.Can I self taught AI? ›
You can start learning AI by working on your fundamentals. Beyond basic mathematics, you can look at learning a coding language like Python. You also need to work on advanced concepts such as Calculus, Vectors, Matrices, Statistics, Probability, and Linear Algebra fundamentals.