In the world of gaming, artificial intelligence (AI) is about creating more responsive, adaptive, and challenging games. From NPCs to pathfinding, AI is revolutionizing the gaming experience.
But what is AI in gaming? And why does it matter? Lets learn more about it in this blog
What is AI in gaming?
AI in gaming refers to creating dynamic & personalized experiences through non-player characters (NPCs) that behave in a creative & intelligent way. These NPCs are designed to mimic human players, and their actions are determined by AI algorithms, enabling them to respond & adapt to the game environment.
The hype around AI in gaming has been continuously growing for quite a while. Just look at Cortana in Halo (yes, Microsoft named its virtual assistant after this character, and we're so here for it!). And that's not the only game about artificial intelligence. Several other games (like Detroit: Becoming Human) revolve primarily around AI and Androids.
But is that all there is to AI gaming - just games about artificial intelligence?
You're about to find out.
What are the benefits of AI in games?
1. Enhanced player experience
Creating life-like situational developments to progress in the games adds excitement to the gameplay. Increasing complexity in games with AI ensures gamers are hooked to the game. With the rise of different gaming devices gamers expect to have an immersive experience across various devices.
2. Adaptive gameplay
AI algorithms can analyze the behavior of players, learning patterns, mechanics, game speed, etc. ensuring that players are consistently challenged & avoid monotony.
3. Realistic Non-Player Characteristics
NPCs or non-player characters are where Game AI is used the most. These are characters in the game who act intelligently as if they were controlled by human players. These characters’ behavior is determined by AI algorithms and that adds depth & complexity to the game, making it more engaging for the players.
4. Procedural content generation
AI algorithms can generate game content such as difficulty levels, quests, maps, tasks, etc. This reduces development costs & time while providing players with endless variations & new experiences every time.
5. Intelligent game balancing & testing
AI can be used to balance multi-player games, ensuring fair & enjoyable experiences for all players. AI-powered testing can simulate hundreds of gameplay scenarios, uncovering hidden bugs & optimizing game mechanics more efficiently.
Game AI can figure out the ability and emotional state of the player, and then tailor the game according to that. This could even involve dynamic game difficulty balancing in which the difficulty of the game is adjusted in real time, depending on the player's ability. AI in gaming could even aid in figuring out the player’s intent.
6. Future innovations
AI opens up the possibilities of future innovations in gaming, such as AR, VR, and Mixed Reality, where AI algorithms can enhance adaptability, immersion, & interactions within these environments.
7. Data mining
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. This allows game developers to improve gameplay or identify monetisation opportunities.
8. Efficient testing & bug detection
AI-powered testing can simulate hundreds of gameplay scenarios and identify bugs & glitches and balance out issues quickly & efficiently compared to manual testing.
For example, in Red Dead Redemption 2, the behavior of NPCs and their interaction with you depend on variables like blood stains on your clothes or the type of hat that you are wearing. Since there is an enormous matrix of possibilities, the whole game world could be manipulated by your decisions.
What are the kinds of AI in games?
The most common types of AI in gaming techniques are:
- Rule-based AI - Pre-defined rules & conditions to determine NPC behavior.
- Finite State Machines - Model NPC behaviors with pre-defined patterns
- Pathfinding AI - Determine the optimal path for NPCs to navigate through a game environment.
- Machine Learning AI - Adapting the behavior & decision-making based on past experiences, training & exposure to data.
- Behavior trees - Offers flexibility and allow for complex AI behaviors that can adapt to changing conditions.
- Reinforcement learning - Receives feedback in the form of penalties & rewards based on the player’s actions & adjusts their behavior to maximize rewards.
What are the top 5 innovations of AI in the gaming industry?
1. AI and Procedural Generation
2. AI and NPCs
3. AI and Game Balancing
4. AI and Game Analytics
5. AI and Game Design
AI and Procedural Generation
- AI in Game Content Creation - AI can generate diverse & dynamic game levels, quests, challenges, etc providing unique experiences to players.
- Infinite Content Possibilities - Enhances replayability & extends the lifespan of games.
- Efficiency & Scalability - Create larger, more intricate environments in less time.
- Dynamic & Adaptive Environments - The game world can evolve, regenerate & adjust based on player interactions & behavior.
- Endless Exploration & Discovery - Each level can unveil new areas, hidden treasures, unique encounters, etc allowing discovery of the game world in depth.
AI and NPCs
- Advanced AI behavior - NPCs can analyze the game environment, interact with players, and make complex decisions based on objectives, emotions & context.
- Adaptive NPCs - NPCs can evolve their behavior, strategies & responses over time.
- Personalized Experiences - Custom quests, dialogue options & rewards at the right instant will make players immersive in the game.
- Dynamic Social Interactions - NPCs can display emotions, form relationships, and respond based on player’s choices and actions.
- Dynamic World Simulation - NPCs can engage in dynamic simulated activities, such as trading, exploring, etc.
- Collaborative NPCs - Function as cooperative teammates or opponents in multi-player mode.
AI and Game Balancing
- Automated Balancing - Based on the player performance, AI can adjust the enemy behavior, difficulty levels, & game mechanics dynamically.
- Player-driven Balancing - AI can learn from player behaviour & preferences to fine-tune game balancing.
- Fair & Competitive Multi-player - Algorithms create balanced matchups in multi-player games.
- Rapid Iteration & Testing - AI can simulate countless test scenarios to identify imbalances, bugs, etc.
- Continuous Improvement - AI enables ongoing optimization of game balancing through game updates & patches.
AI and Game Analytics
- Player Insights - Make data-driven decisions to improve the game design and monetization strategies.
- Adaptive Gameplay - AI can adapt difficult levels, pacing & content.
- Live Operations & Updates - Game developers can analyze game performance, player feedback, sentiment, etc.
- Predictive Analytics - Developers can anticipate player needs, churn rates, and and optimize game content & features accordingly.
- Fraud Detection & Security - Analyze data patterns to detect & prevent fraudulent activities.
AI and Game Design
- Procedural Generation - Reduces the manual effort required for content creation.
- Intelligent NPCs - Enhance story-telling, create memorable characters, and bring the game world alive.
- Player Behavior Analysis - Enhance the overall game design process.
- Proactive Game Design - Design game mechanics, challenges, & content that aligns with the expectations of the player.
What is the future of AI in gaming industry?
Artificial intelligence in video games design and development has evolved substantially, but it's showing no signs of slowing down. Let's see what the future seems to hold.
1. Cloud-Based Gaming with AI
Cloud gaming is a technology that streams games across the Internet rather than requiring the user to download and install the game. This technology has been in the works for years, but it's still not mainstream.
2. Blockchain-Based Gaming
Blockchain-based gaming is still not a famous phenomenon. It indicates that both, gamers and developers need to get together on the blockchain platform to play these games. At the same time, they need to buy or owe digital properties to be a part of this gaming fraternity.
3. Voice or Audio Recognition-Based Games
Using audio recognition in gaming is going to change the way we perceive gaming. With voice recognition in gaming, the user can control the gaming gestures, monitor the controls, and even side-line the role of a controller.
4. Wearable Support Gaming and VR Gaming
Evolution in the field of AR, VR, and MR, has elevated the standards of experiential games based on virtual reality and mixed reality, making them more realistic and progressive towards entertainment. Oculus Quest is an all-in-one PC-quality virtual reality device is the best example of a wearable device used for wearable gaming.
5. Improved Mobile Gaming Experience
Mobile gaming is an emerging trend that facilitates a player to access an unlimited number of games with the convenience of their location. Phone companies have been focusing on and developing devices compatible with high resolution and heavy graphics.
Top 20 games that show the evolution of Artificial Intelligence in video games
Artificial Intelligence in gaming has definitely come a long way. Here are the top video games that use artificial intelligence with utmost finesse and show you the progress that has been made in game development.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
3. Bioshock Infinite
4. Grand Theft Auto 5
5. Alien: Isolation
8. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl
9. Halo: Combat Evolved
10. Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor
13. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
14. The Last of Us
15. Rocket League
16. Google Quick Draw
18. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
19. AlphaGo Zero
Can AI make games?
Yep, it can. AI has played a huge role in developing video games and tuning them to the preferences of the players. The most commonly used technique for this is machine learning. Basically, you could have the AI system learn from a lot of games, create approximate representations of the games, and then proceed to recombine the knowledge from these representations and use conceptual expansion to create new games.
AI has been bringing some major changes to the world of gaming, and its role is growing at a rapid pace. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Artificial Intelligence in gaming being used even more in the near future, seeing how it helps create more challenging and engaging game experiences.