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How AI is knocking The gaming world into a brand-new shape: What we can expect in the future of gaming 

AI is the term on everybody’s lips right now – and there’s no question it’s a tool that is getting increasingly useful as we hone its edges and make it capable of greater and greater feats. And while not everybody is welcoming the onset of AI and there are some serious drawbacks we need to think about too, gamers everywhere are getting super excited by the changes AI is making to the fantasy worlds they love – which is not surprising if you spend a bit of time looking into what AIs can do! 

So, what are the most promising areas for this at the moment? There are quite a lot and unpicking them will give you a better sense of what gaming may look like in the years to come – it’s not just going to get slicker: it’s going to get smarter. 

Better NPCs 

Gamers throughout the ages have laughed over NPCs in games; they’re hilarious in many ways, because they just repeat the same lines of dialogue, and even in really good games, the conversations can be hilariously inappropriate for the situation, or just plain bad. Even in games like Red Dead Redemption 2, famous for its level of detail and careful programming, has some truly silly non-sequiturs if you listen to the characters talk. We’re not complaining because they make us laugh, but really, most games would benefit from shaking off these issues. 

Game designers have done their best to combat this, but honestly, it’s not easy when you’ve got to script the dialogue in advance… which is where AI might start making waves in the near future. 

If an AI can start filling in the blanks, they may be able to give real-time responses to players, letting them ask questions and get much more life-like dialogue. This is a surprisingly big part of the immersion for some players, especially in games with a lot of NPCs, so it would be an exciting change – and yes, we’re on board! Innovations like this could increase the chances of success for platforms like Desura as they attempt to recapture the imaginations of players everywhere. 

More or less challenge 

Ever feel frustrated by the way that games can’t really hone their difficulty level to your preferences? Sure, some integrate the option to change the difficulty either before you start or even mid-game, but this isn’t a standard yet. While we hope we’ll see it in new releases, like the best new sci-fi games we’re all waiting for, it’s not that common yet… and AI could eliminate the need for it anyway. 

With smart systems, a game could theoretically increase or decrease its difficulty level to match your needs as a player. Okay, there’s a lot to this and it’s going to be a long time before the system is smooth, but it could be great if they can achieve this. 

It’s important to note that this isn’t just about making an AI that’s phenomenally smart and impossible to beat (frustrating), or one that’s really intelligent but occasionally makes stupid errors (possibly even more frustrating). The AI has to feel realistically like a human player, making some understandable errors and tactical mistakes, without the player feeling like they’re being patronized. That’s not easy, but it could be amazing if it’s achieved! 

Dial up the details 

Ever wished the game worlds you love could just go on forever and ever… and ever? We all know that can’t quite happen, but with AI, those worlds could get a whole lot bigger, fast. One of the challenges of making a big game is the amount of time that it takes to program and then assess all the details. The larger the map, the more space there is to check for bugs – the more characters, the more play-testing for balance is required, etc., etc. 

Enter AI – a tool for both producing more stuff and for testing. Rather than game developers having to spend many hours building the mundane materials of the world they want you to see, an AI can be given the job, meaning that a lot more can be generated, and the universe can get bigger. 

To be clear, it might be a while before this is reliable; AIs are still producing a lot of bugs and errors, and there’s no assurance that this will be perfect – but it’s not a bad place to start. It will also help out indie developers, who don’t have the big budgets to throw behind detail-creation the way that the larger studios have. For gamers who love their independent studios and want to support them, this could be a fabulous new resource that changes the breadth of these games, and even speeds up production times. 

That’s a ton of exciting stuff to have covered, and most of it is still a “wait and see,” rather than a given, but these are the promising areas we’re seeing AIs appear in right now! 

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