Using AI in games development: Part Two

In this second part of the series iLogos Game Studios founder Alexander Goldybin explores AI based game mechanics
June 30, 2023

Imagine playing a game where the enemy adapts to your tactics, learns from your mistakes, and grows stronger with every defeat. This is the future of gaming, and it's powered by artificial intelligence.

AI-based game mechanics are becoming increasingly popular among game developers, as they offer a more immersive and challenging gaming experience.

In this second part in a series exclusively written for PG.biz, iLogos Game Studios founder Alexander Goldybin explores the world of AI-based game mechanics and how they are changing the face of gaming. Don’t miss part one here.

What are AI-Based Game Mechanics?

AI-based game mechanics refer to the use of artificial intelligence in video games to create more realistic and challenging gameplay. AI can be used in a variety of ways in video games, from creating more intelligent enemies to developing complex decision-making algorithms for NPCs.

One of the key benefits of using AI in video games is that it allows for more dynamic and responsive gameplay. For example, AI can be used to create enemies that adapt to the player's tactics, making each encounter unique and challenging. By analysing the player's behaviour and adjusting the game accordingly, AI can create a more immersive and engaging experience.

AI-based game mechanics can also be used to create more realistic environments and NPCs. By developing complex decision-making algorithms for NPCs, developers can create more lifelike characters that respond to the player's actions in a more realistic way. This can lead to a deeper connection between the player and the game world.

Examples of AI-Based Game Mechanics

There are many examples of AI-based game mechanics in modern video games. One of the most well-known examples is the Nemesis System in the game "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor." The Nemesis System uses AI to create unique and evolving enemies that adapt to the player's tactics and remember previous encounters. As the player progresses through the game, the enemies grow stronger and more challenging.

The game "Detroit: Become Human" uses AI to create complex decision-making algorithms for NPCs. The game features multiple playable characters, each with its own storyline and decisions to make. By using AI to create realistic and dynamic NPC behaviour, the game creates a more emotionally engaging experience for the player.

AI-Enabled NPCs

As game developers, we are constantly looking for ways to enhance the gaming experience for our players. One of the most exciting developments in recent years is the integration of AI-enabled NPCs into video games. These NPCs have the potential to revolutionise the way players interact with their virtual worlds, creating a more immersive and realistic gaming experience

The Benefits of AI-Enabled NPCs

One of the primary benefits of AI-enabled NPCs is their ability to enhance the realism of the game world. These NPCs can be programmed to behave in a variety of ways, such as reacting to the player's actions, following their own agendas, and even forming relationships with other characters. This creates a much more dynamic gaming experience, as players are no longer limited to interacting with static, scripted characters.

Another benefit of AI-enabled NPCs is their ability to adapt to the player's actions. For example, if a player is particularly aggressive, the NPCs might become more cautious and defensive. Conversely, if a player is more passive, the NPCs might become more aggressive and take advantage of the player's vulnerability. This creates a sense of challenge and unpredictability that keeps players engaged and invested in the game.

Finally, AI-enabled NPCs can also enhance the storytelling aspect of the game. By giving NPCs their own personalities, motivations, and agendas, developers can create more complex and compelling narratives. Players will feel more invested in the game's story if they feel like they are interacting with fully realised, believable characters.

How AI-Enabled NPCs Work

So how do AI-enabled NPCs actually work? At their core, these NPCs rely on artificial intelligence algorithms to simulate human-like behaviour. These algorithms take into account a variety of factors, such as the player's actions, the NPC's personality, and the overall game environment, to determine the NPC's behaviour.

One popular approach to AI-enabled NPCs is "behaviour trees." These hierarchical structures define the various behaviours that the NPC can engage in. Each behaviour is represented as a node in the tree, with branches that define the conditions under which the behaviour will be executed.

Another approach to AI-enabled NPCs is "neural networks." These are machine learning algorithms that are trained on large datasets to identify patterns and make predictions. In the context of NPCs, neural networks can be used to generate more realistic and nuanced behaviours.

Challenges in Developing AI-Enabled NPCs

While the benefits of AI-enabled NPCs are clear, there are also several challenges involved in their development. One of the biggest challenges is creating NPCs that are truly believable and realistic. This requires a deep understanding of human behaviour and psychology, as well as the ability to program NPCs that can adapt to a wide range of player actions.

Another challenge is creating NPCs that are efficient and scalable. As games become more complex and the number of NPCs increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure that each NPC is behaving appropriately and efficiently. Developers must find ways to optimise their AI algorithms and minimise computational resources in order to maintain a smooth and seamless gaming experience.

Finally, there is also the challenge of ensuring that NPCs are fair and balanced. If NPCs are too predictable or too powerful, they can create an unfair advantage for the player or make the game too easy. Developers must find ways to balance the AI algorithms to ensure that the game remains challenging and engaging.

AI-Generated Game Content

One of the latest trends that developers are using to create more engaging content for players is AI-generated game content. This technology allows game developers to create dynamic and personalised experiences for players, making the game more enjoyable and increasing the player's engagement with the game.

What is AI-generated game content?

AI algorithms can generate unique content, including randomised levels, quests, and enemies, making the game more challenging and unpredictable. The technology uses machine learning algorithms that analyse player behaviour and preferences to create personalised game content that is tailored to the player's needs.

Moreover, AI-generated game content can help game developers save time and resources. Instead of manually creating game content, developers can use AI algorithms to generate content quickly and efficiently. This technology is particularly useful for games with a large number of levels or quests, where manually creating content can be time-consuming and tedious. With AI-generated game content, developers can focus on other aspects of the game, such as game mechanics, visuals, and user interface.

Finally, AI-generated game content can help game developers increase player engagement and retention. By creating personalised and dynamic game environments, players are more likely to enjoy the game and spend more time playing it. This technology can also make the game more challenging and unpredictable, keeping players engaged and interested in the game for a more extended period.

How does AI-generated game content work?

AI-generated game content works by analysing player behaviour and preferences and using this information to create personalised game content. The technology uses machine learning algorithms that learn from the player's actions and adjust the game content accordingly. For example, if a player prefers more challenging levels, the AI algorithm will generate more difficult levels. If a player likes to collect specific items, the AI algorithm will generate more of those items.

The technology can also create randomised game content, such as levels or quests, to keep the game fresh and unpredictable. This type of content is particularly useful for games that the player can replay multiple times, such as RPGs or adventure games.

Challenges and Future of AI-generated game content

Despite the many benefits of AI-generated game content, there are also some challenges that game developers need to overcome. One of the main challenges is ensuring that the AI algorithm creates game content that is fair and balanced for all players. The algorithm needs to take into account the player's skill level and experience to create game content that is challenging but not impossible to complete. Game developers also need to ensure that the AI-generated game content is compatible with the game's mechanics and does not create any glitches or bugs.

Another challenge is ensuring that the AI-generated game content is diverse and interesting. While AI algorithms can create content quickly and efficiently, they can also create content that is repetitive or boring. Game developers need to ensure that the AI algorithm creates game content that is unique and engaging for the player.

In the upcoming part three of this series, Alexander Goldybin will further explore the uses of artificial intelligence in game design. In addition to how developers can use these tools, he also discusses the challenges of AI-assisted game development and what limitations exist.

Edited by Paige Cook