Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of the world of video games, revolutionizing the way we play and experience interactive entertainment. Gone are the days when discussions solely revolved around the next-gen graphics or the immersive storytelling of games like Red Dead Redemption 2. Today, our conversations about video games are filled with two letters: AI.
The application of AI in video games has evolved significantly over the years. Previously, AI referred to the computer-controlled players or non-player characters (NPCs) that interacted with gamers. However, now AI encompasses the creative use of technology to develop games or employ individuals to program games for you.
AI within games has played a vital role in shaping our gaming experiences. The autonomous decisions made by NPCs when interacting with players have been crucial in creating immersive worlds. For example, in games like Untitled Goose Game, sweeping your broom into a lake will cause the NPC gardener to abandon everything and attempt to retrieve it. These simple AI mechanisms form the foundation of gameplay.
This form of AI can be further developed to transport players into a world that is both different and yet familiar. The use of AI in games like The Last Of Us Part II has allowed NPCs to feel almost lifelike. Killing a dog that was about to attack you in the game will prompt the NPC owner to call out its name from a distance, making players feel a sense of guilt. The NPC detection mechanics in the same game, based on scent or the way your previous victim fell to the ground, create an ideal form of machine learning capabilities that enhance the evolution of gaming.
Adaptively generated levels or procedurally created areas are some of the best examples of AI algorithms in action. Games like No Man’s Sky, Hades, and the Diablo series rely on this type of programming to deliver an unprecedented level of replayability, as no level is ever the same. Levels change dynamically based on AI and algorithms, offering unique gameplay experiences with each visit.
AI and machine learning also play a critical role in preventing cheating within video games. AI-driven cheat detection systems are commonly used in esports competitions to identify and ensure fair play. These systems analyze players’ movements, routes, shots, and reaction times to determine if any cheating is occurring. Denuvo, an anti-cheat software, is one such example, despite some controversy surrounding its digital rights management practices and the revelation of infringements.
As AI continues to advance, it will undoubtedly shape the future of the gaming industry. From enhancing gameplay experiences to preventing cheating, AI has significantly impacted and continues to influence the way we interact with video games.