Artificial intelligence in gaming has been around since the late 1940s and has continued to grow and develop over the years. The advances of AI in the gaming industry have been tremendous. So much so, that modern video game players have come to expect certain levels of immersion and realism in the games they play. Whether it’s an interaction with a stranger in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 or a live dealer online casino experience, AI has made it possible for players to experience a fully-immersed, hyper-realistic mode of gaming that’s never before been explored in its entirety.
What is AI in Gaming?
Artificial intelligence in gaming is how non-playable characters behave realistically and creatively toward you, the player, as if other human players were controlling them. This can be in the form of differing responses to certain things your character says or does, or even conversations with your character based on what you’re wearing. All of these instances are made possible by artificial intelligence.
The goal of AI in gaming is not only to achieve these responses in other characters in the games but also to achieve them in the overall gameplay and environment you play in. AI helps create real consequences and changes to the world around your character when you make a decision or do something different. These are the adaptive and personalized aspects of AI in gaming, which also include pattern recognition of how you play the game, and reactions of the game in response to these patterns, overall creating a better gaming experience.
How is AI Used in Gaming?
Artificial intelligence is most used in the gaming industry through non-playable characters. As mentioned above, these are characters in the game that act and behave as if they are being controlled by a human player. However, this is just AI at work determining the characters’ actions and behaviors by using algorithms and game engines. Decision trees are often used to guide these characters’ in-game responses; the creators will generally list every situation the character might find itself in and then program the various reactions.
Another way that artificial intelligence is used in gaming is through players’ decision-making. AI makes it so that each decision you make in a game will impact the rest of the game. This is where the endless possibilities and directions of games come in, as there are so many AI-powered outcomes based on your decisions that games can begin to feel more realistic and immersive.
The Benefits of AI in Gaming
There are a plethora of benefits that artificial intelligence brings to the world of gaming and how you experience a game.
- Games Become Smarter – By using techniques like pattern recognition and reinforcement learning, the non-playable characters in games grow and evolve by essentially learning from their own actions and your responses to these actions. They can then develop their own responses and actions to thwart your efforts, and the competition and unpredictability just increase more and more. This creates a much more enjoyable and diverse experience for gamers.
- Games Become More Realistic – There has been a shift in focus on what constitutes a good game nowadays, with gamers beginning to change their expectations from only wanting incredible graphics to now also requiring real responses and developments within the game. They want more stimulation in the game environment. They want to immerse themselves in the story and be kept on their toes at each turn. Artificial intelligence provides gamers with this exact benefit, as non-playable characters and game environments begin to respond and change according to the users’ actions.
- Games Need Lower Budget, Quicker Development Time – Artificial intelligence helps to create virtual worlds in a much shorter time than it would previously have taken. It assists developers in choosing and using the correct tools to create and control video game worlds more efficiently and easily while also helping to avoid game errors and bugs. The overall process of game development is made much more efficient with AI, which means that more high-quality games are being produced, thus generating more income for studios and developers, as well as creating more fans and gamers alike.
Artificial intelligence continues to benefit the gaming industry in more and more ways, with new technologies and software being created and implemented every year. Gaming and artificial intelligence have come a long way since the days of Pac-Man being chased by the ghosts (who are a good example of very basic non-playable characters). There is still a lot more to come from the industry, especially with the rise of virtual and augmented reality coming to the fore. Watch this space!