GDC 2024 gives tech companies a glimpse of AI-powered characters


Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A glimpse of the future often emerges at game developer conferences. It’s where indie games create buzz and the seeds of big ideas are planted. Artificial intelligence took center stage this year, as Nvidia showed off the amazing features of its chipsets and software companies like Convai and Ubisoft revealed interesting gameplay opportunities.

AI has been a source of hype and fear over the past year. While it’s at the center of labor disputes in Hollywood, the tech industry sees it as a way for companies to improve efficiency. Among the primitive technologies of video games, AI is set to have a transformative impact on parts of the industry.

join the combine

Convai, a company that creates AI developer tools, introduced three projects in person. One was “Second Life,” where representatives showed how AI bots can act as guides for novice players. In massively multiplayer online games, non-playable characters act like concierges with more agency.

Players can ask them about locations and teleport to new locations. He can generate surfboards on command, so he can hang 10 of them on a virtual beach. What’s notable is that the AI ​​not only answers questions, but also recognizes its surrounding environment. The bot also has long-term memory, allowing it to remember places the player has visited.

This raises privacy concerns, but Combai said each bot will have its own speaker profile and memories won’t be intermixed. Developers can also limit memory by time to ensure they don’t forget.

“Stormgate” is an upcoming real-time strategy game developed by Frost Giant Studio. In that demo, a character named Dr. Fletcher gave us sitreps about what was happening on the battlefield. This demo won’t be included in the game, but you can ask an NPC about the world and she’ll give you hints to the lore.

Project Neural Nexus is impressive

The most impressive demo so far is Project Neural Nexus, which takes place in a cyberpunk world and throws players into a situation where a woman named Seraph must guide them to a rooftop. It’s a normal scene in video games that move on to bigger battles, but as I wandered through the world, Kombai officials urged me to talk to the inhabitants.

I chatted with them and learned more about the world as I walked toward my goal, but I wanted to have a little more fun, so I asked one of the characters if I could borrow some money, and they responded without blaming me. I did.

Later in the demo, Seraph hands me a gun and when I ask what kind of weapon it is (hard to tell with futuristic sci-fi weapons), she says it’s a submachine gun. It showed that the characters knew not only the general setting, but also the objects of the world. She was concerned about her long hair, so she asked where she got it cut, and she said that she didn’t have time to style her hair to fight the enemy.

The most interesting conversation I had was with Mae “Shadow” Liang. The masked person boasted that she was not bound by the law and could do whatever she wanted as an assassin. I brought up the Geneva Convention and asked if it applied to her trade. I thought she wouldn’t know anything about it. To my surprise, she talked about it and gave some surprisingly interesting answers.

Another fascinating interaction involved a robot named WENDY. The robot was aggressively hostile towards me when I talked to it. When I got angry and criticized it, the robot shot back at me for one more memorable conversation. I wondered how NPCs could elicit such strong reactions from simple conversations. That alone deepened my credibility.

Nvidia demo

I had a similar experience with an Nvidia demo called “Covert Protocol” that featured Inworld AI technology. This situation required access to his CTO’s room at NexaLife. I went there not knowing anything, so I had to talk myself out of it to get information.

We started with Tae, the doorman, and it turned out that he was also an aspiring comedian. I asked her to tell me a joke, and although it was a bit lukewarm, she guided me to Sophia at the reception desk. In her Sophia’s case, I tried to ask her for her CTO’s room number but was declined, citing her hotel’s policy of protecting her client’s privacy. I asked her where I could get her drink and she directed me to the bar across from her. Again, these AI-driven her NPCs are aware of what’s around them, not just the items in the room.

I met Mr. Diego Martinez. He was also an executive at Nexalife, but he had to write a keynote speech and he was nervous. I asked him about his colleague’s room number and he didn’t have any of it. He seemed detached so I lied to him and told him I was a police officer and needed that information.

Interestingly, he remained unfazed and became even more cynical and grumpy. Although the demo ended in failure, it had a different atmosphere than the Convai demo. It felt more focused and I had to peel it off to get the right reaction. Like in the Convai demo, I couldn’t go back and talk to him again because Diego would remember me and what I said.

AI in the hands of game developers

Finally, we got a taste of what AI technology can do in the hands of a video game company. Ubisoft provided a demo featuring Neo NPCs. It takes place in an alternate future dystopian world, where the player meets a member of the Resistance named Bloom.

Virginie Mosser, Ubisoft’s narrative director, calls this experience conversational gameplay. Unlike the previous demos, this one was more guided as there were goals the player had to accomplish in order to build trust with her Neo NPC.

Players must look for opportunities in the ups and downs and use them to learn more about the world and their Resistance ally Bloom. When I asked him why he wanted to fight against giant corporations, he told me he had a son, so I asked him his name. He said the child’s name was Eveland. That effort increased the trust level between us, and at the same time the robot beside us commented on my interviewing skills.

My chats with the NPCs showed that the players needed to cleverly pick up on the subject matter and figure out how to investigate the characters in front of them. I learned that Bloom is a non-violent and generally positive person. I cross the line and ask random questions, and the AI ​​subtly steers the conversation toward mission alignment.

In one of the more surreal answers, Mosser said that neo-NPCs were hallucinating. When questions hit the knowledge base, they sometimes yield vague answers that sound normal.

plan a robbery

Other parts of the demo led me to Iron. She’s a female leader of the resistance, and she asked for my opinion on a mission to break into a villa and steal files. There are several possibilities around the front garden. A nearby tree gave access to windows, and a grappling hook was one of her tools. I lifted the tree first and she was hesitant about it because she wasn’t sure if the branches could support both of us. She took the idea of ​​a grappling hook.

Looking through other tools available, Mosser said there were notes that were supposed to compliment or mention what Bloom thought of you based on previous conversations you had. This is another generative twist in gameplay that shows how players influence their characters.

The next section was about the guard, and the first thing I asked was if you knew anything about him. She said he had served in the military, so she knew a tranquilizer gun probably wasn’t a good idea. I suggested sleeping gas and she liked the idea. The last section was surveillance cameras and I brought up the idea of ​​an EMP but she said it would be too noisy. It wasn’t even on the list of tools. The most obvious answer is a smoke bomb, but I’ve also seen diagrams that can cut off electricity. I went with that.

She then asked what she would do if things got worse and security found her. I replied, “I’m going to curl up in a ball and cry.” Iron actually understood my sarcasm, but my joke wasn’t funny.

Unfortunately, the AI ​​demo took what I said literally and showed the results of the robbery attempt in the third part. I failed. The joke had serious repercussions, as Bloom outlined in his after-action report. He said my yelling was enough of a distraction to get away, but he didn’t get the file. Again, the technology wasn’t perfect and presented some fascinating gameplay opportunities and unexpected reactions.

final thoughts

AI in games still seems a little far away, but there are moments when it could be used in subtle ways in gameplay. Bloom Notes is an example of generative AI that creates summaries of user behavior. This could be useful if you return to the game after a few months and need to know what you did before. Some of the more ambitious elements, such as neo-NPCs, will have a bigger impact when it comes to story-driven games.

It fundamentally changes the way video games are written. There’s no need to write branching dialogue, but the characters game studios create should be more nuanced and have deeper backgrounds. They need to have a story and motivation behind their actions and responses. Writers need to figure out whether they grew up with pets, who their parents are, what is important to them and how they perceive the world. It’s up to the writer to decide whether to incorporate ghosts into the machine or not.

To bring characters to life, studios need people who can create compelling characters, but if they don’t, they’ll appear in front of players and ask all sorts of questions. Mosser said he would hallucinate answers that may not match the fiction.

This will require deeper lore that the AI ​​bots will need to draw from. Games have a biblical equivalent of a story that never reaches the masses, but having the AI ​​bring it up through conversation can be a more immersive way than exposing the player to that story through walls of text or random pickups. Sho.

When it comes to acting, AI has a long way to go before it can capture the nuances and subtleties of human performance. Many of the character performances felt flat compared to the human voice acting. However, it is worth noting that the characters that stood out in my mind were the confrontational ones. I was more impressed by Diego Martinez and the robot Wendy than by the polite and nice NPCs.

Making a game full of Neo NPCs seems a bit daunting or far-off given the amount of storytelling involved, but it’s a good thing and could be done in spurts. there is. This could be a way to bring a deeper narrative to the low moments of a campaign. It will create more convincing moments that match the realism players see in the graphics.

2024 MediaNews Group, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Quote: GDC 2024 gives tech companies a glimpse of their AI-powered characters (March 27, 2024) ( Retrieved March 27, 2024 from ai). html

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except in fair dealing for personal study or research purposes. Content is provided for informational purposes only.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button