This dilemma is the subject of much discussion at the Gamescom trade fair, which brings together several hundred thousand people in Cologne between Thursday and Sunday.
Ultra-reactive conversational robots, automatic generation of images, codes or even scenarios… the sector is increasingly adopting these systems by implementing artificial neural networks that allow learning capacity.
“AI is really a tipping point” for the video game industry, says Julien Millet, artificial intelligence engineer, founder of the United Bits Game studio, present at the French Pavilion at Gamescom.
In a sci-fi setting, a character wearing a black cap and drawn features, standing behind the counter of a ramen bar, immediately responds when a player asks if he’s okay: “I’m not very well, I’m worried.”
With this video of a few minutes, the US electronic chip giant Nvidia presented ACE in May, a program for developers that allows “deploy intelligent characters” in their games.
No more interactions that don’t go beyond a few lines of automatic dialogue: equipped with a microphone, the player can now chat with the in-game character, thanks to an AI that works on the same principle as GPT Chat.
Like Nvidia, many companies in the industry are making strides in this segment, making gaming more immersive.
“It brings unpredictability and therefore makes the game more real”says Sarah Brin of Kythera AI, a company that offers an artificial intelligence service for character movements.
At Gamescom, professionals and fans, sometimes dressed as their favorite character, gather in huge rooms, where each game studio has its own booth. Visitors line up to try out the new products in preview.
Presented in Cologne, the game Club Koala, from the Singaporean studio Kunlun Group, allows you to embody an avatar in a cartoon world. Promises the player to interact. “with unique characters (…) animated by AI”.
“AI has become an integral part of everyday life. We see its huge potential to take the gaming industry to the next level.”said Fang Han, CEO of Play for Fun Studio, owner of Kunlun Group.
The use of these technologies goes beyond the simple adaptation to the player. Little by little he enters the process of creating the game.
“We use artificial intelligence to generate narrative lines to enrich the story of the game, or even produce code”explains to AFP Linus Gärtig, from the Berlin company Ivy Juice Game, who crossed paths at the fair.
AIs also allow producers “to make his vision better understood”thanks to image generation models, which instantly produce an illustration from a text, according to Julien Millet.
This, however, threatens certain professions in studios, such as that of the “conceptual artist”, whose function was precisely to translate the directives of the designers into images.
“I am very concerned that young people are paying thousands of dollars in schools to become concept artists. What will their options be?”asks Mr. Millet.
The use of these technologies could also run into the delicate problem of intellectual property.
Actually, the AI is trained with pre-existing images or texts, sometimes protected. However, at the moment the law that applies to the images thus generated is not clear.
“If you’re a big publisher and then you use generative AI and it turns out to violate some copyright, then you’re vulnerable.”explains Sarah Brin of Kythera AI.
This is why, unlike most of its competitors, the company refuses to train its model on open databases.
In the United States, artists have collectively filed a complaint against Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and DreamUp, three artificial intelligence models fashioned from billions of images collected from the internet.