A.I. May Help Design Your Favorite Video Game Character (2023)


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Generative A.I. is already changing how games are made, with Blizzard Entertainment training an image generator on assets from World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch.

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A.I. May Help Design Your Favorite Video Game Character (1)

By Shannon Liao

Intrigued by the potential that generative artificial intelligence holds for video game design, the studio Blizzard Entertainment has trained an image generator on its own hit titles. By feeding assets like the combative orcs of World of Warcraft, the macabre dungeons of Diablo and the vivacious heroes of Overwatch into the machine, Blizzard can effortlessly produce concept art for new ideas.

Because generative artificial intelligence creates art faster than any human can, studios like Blizzard, a division of Activision Blizzard, are hopeful that the technology can cut out some design and development drudgery and make the creation of video games more fun.

Blizzard’s chief design officer, Allen Adham, told employees about the initiative last month in an email that was obtained by The New York Times. Its internal tool is called Blizzard Diffusion, a riff on Stable Diffusion, one of the popular image generators that enables anyone to turn text into art.

“Prepare to be amazed,” Adham wrote, adding, “We are on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games.”

Generative artificial intelligence, the technology behind tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, uses considerable computing power to identify patterns in text or images and produce new content from the data.

Some researchers are wary of the technology, warning of copyright abuses, job displacement, and its potential to help the spread of false information. But video game developers, already relying on artificial intelligence so that nonplayer characters can make humanlike decisions, believe that harnessing generative A.I. can speed up the creative process in a labor-intensive industry plagued by delays.

There is a gaming A.I. division at Microsoft, which makes the Xbox console, and Ubisoft has built a tool called Ghostwriter that could produce basic dialogue for games like Assassin’s Creed. Several start-ups say their technology can make it easier to design the look of the nonplayer characters, known as NPCs, that give video game worlds heft.

Chris Lee, the former studio head of Halo Infinite at 343 Industries, said generative A.I. could improve game development by reducing the human toil required to make an enormous open-world game.

“Game developers have never been able to keep up with the demands of our audiences,” said Lee, who is now the head of immersive technologies at Amazon Web Services.

Halo Infinite was supposed to be the flagship launch game for the Xbox Series X in 2020, but its graphics were derided by fans as flat and ugly after an eight-minute preview was released. The studio ultimately delayed the game for another year.

The game’s developers were miserable, Lee said, because even working on place-holder encounters required slowly moving pixels frame by frame. “To load this giant world, it’s painful, it’s like specialized data entry,” he said.

Generative A.I. could also streamline quality assurance testing. At a recent conference for game developers, Kate Rayner, technical director for the Coalition, the studio behind Gears of War, talked about how A.I. could be used to catch bugs and glitches so players would see fewer crashes on launch day.

Many of the promises of generative A.I. are speculative, with Blizzard already abandoning machine-learning technology it had patented to create environmental textures like stone and brick.

Andrew Guerrero, Blizzard’s vice president of global insights, said the tool was taking up too much artist time to be effective. But he said another A.I. tool was helping fit cosmetic headpieces to player models in World of Warcraft.

“The goal is to remove a repetitive and manual process and enable artists to spend more time on creativity,” Guerrero said in a statement. “Our goal with A.I. has been, and will continue to be, to try to make creative work easier.”

The internal email about Blizzard Diffusion said it was being used to help generate concept art for game environments as well as characters and their outfits. It also mentioned possible tools for “autonomous, intelligent, in-game NPCs,” “procedurally assisted level design” and A.I.-assisted “voice cloning,” “game coding” and “anti-toxicity.”

Ghostwriter, Ubisoft’s A.I. dialogue tool, was a request by writers who faced the daunting and sometimes tedious task of filling open-world games with more than 100,000 lines of dialogue, the company said.

Many of those lines are the background chatter of characters that help simulate a living world; one mundane interaction may require a dozen or more variations.

In a promotional video for Ghostwriter, an employee begins with the prompt “I used to be an adventurer like you” (a nod to an infamous line in Skyrim) and hones several suggestions by the A.I., including “I was once the most talented and famous adventurer in the land” and “I remember when I was young and strong.”

These simple lines of dialogue have been a way for people to start careers in video game writing, and developers argued on social media that automating these tasks could threaten such jobs. Simon Johnson, an economist at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management who has a new book about the impact of automation, said it was a bad idea for tech companies to invent algorithms that mimic humans.

“We should be focused on machines that help humans improve human capabilities, rather than displacing people,” he said.

Yves Jacquier, the executive director of Ubisoft La Forge, the research and development team responsible for Ghostwriter, said there had been a similar but unfounded fear that video game animators would be replaced when motion capture was introduced decades ago.

“While the future may involve more technology, it doesn’t take away the human in the loop,” Jacquier said in a statement. “Artists, writers and coders will always be at the heart of the development process, and while A.I. can now do a better job at assisting creators in their workflow, it’s the artistic vision and perspective of individuals that are essential in the creation of games.”

Another inescapable concern about A.I.-produced content is copyright. In one high-profile lawsuit, Getty Images has accused Stable Diffusion of scraping 12 million images from its photo database.

Employees of Activision Blizzard received an email this month from Michael Vance, its chief technology officer, that warned them not to use the company’s intellectual property with external image generators. (Microsoft is looking to purchase Activision for nearly $70 billion, but regulators want to block the deal.)

“These new tools come with new and unknown risks, and we will proceed carefully to avoid pitfalls,” Vance wrote in the email, which was obtained by The Times.

Some Activision Blizzard employees said the company’s A.I. tools have not always delivered as promised, pointing to those that struggled to catch bugs or interact properly with game environments.

“Leadership’s focus on A.I. doesn’t feel like it is solving a problem that individual contributors care about,” said Valentine Powell, a former World of Warcraft engineer who left Blizzard last August. “It feels like ignoring their problems and focusing on hype words that they think will sound impressive to shareholders.”


Smaller video game studios that do not have the resources to create generative A.I. tools are turning to start-ups for help.

Scenario, which raised $6 million in seed funding in January, creates image databases to turn text prompts into assets — such as a lizard in a spacesuit — that can then be incorporated into games.

Its image generator is being used by a few small games. In tests by The Times, it sometimes spit out animated characters with unrealistic-looking hands, a common weakness for image generators.

Another start-up, Didimo, said that Soleil Game Studios, which makes fighting games based on properties like Naruto and Samurai Jack, had created hundreds of nonplayer characters using its A.I.-powered generator.

“We just automated that process, allowing them to remove the mundane jobs, because it just gets boring after a while,” Sean Cooper, a Didimo developer, said.

Video games can take years to create, and it is early enough in the hype cycle that few published games have used generative A.I. But some companies like Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, have experimented with the tools to create marketing materials, for instance writing a news release in Dr. Seuss’s tone of voice.

Niantic also used ChatGPT while working on Peridot, a new augmented reality game that leverages ’90s nostalgia for digital pets.

Kellee Santiago, Niantic’s head of production, said that it was expensive to fill a room with creative people, and that the technology condensed the time needed to generate ideas.

“I, for one, am happy to have the first six hours of a brainstorm taken care of for me,” she said.

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A.I. May Help Design Your Favorite Video Game Character? ›

May Help Design Your Favorite Video Game Character. Generative A.I. is already changing how games are made, with Blizzard Entertainment training an image generator on assets from World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch.

Can I design game characters with AI? ›

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has made significant strides in various fields, including game development. One such advancement is the Orbofi AI, a powerful tool that allows game developers to create stunning and unique game characters with minimal effort.

How does AI help in video games? ›

Artificial intelligence in gaming allows game designers and studios to perform data mining on player behavior to help them get an understanding of how people end up playing the game, the parts that people play the most, and what causes users to stop playing the game.

How can AI be used in game development? ›

Intelligent NPCs (Non-Player Characters)

Machine learning and AI in game development can make these characters more intelligent and hyperrealistic. AI algorithms and techniques like reinforcement learning can enable NPCs to adapt their behavior and decision-making based on the player's actions.

Why is AI important in game development? ›

AI in game development can enhance game mechanics, offering more realistic and fluid gameplay, as well as more efficient processing of game data. But it doesn't stop there; it has also simplified the complexities of building them from scratch.

Can AI replace game developers? ›

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a popular buzzword in the game development industry, raising the question of whether AI can replace human game developers. While AI can automate certain tasks and improve efficiency, it will never be able to replace human game developers entirely.

Is Character.AI safe? ›

For most users, Character AI is safe to use.

What are the cons of AI in video games? ›

One of the drawbacks of using AI to create adaptive game mechanics is that it can pose technical challenges, such as complexity, unpredictability, or bugs. For example, AI can be complex to design, implement, and test, requiring more time, resources, and expertise from the developers.

Do all video games use AI? ›

Nearly all games use AI to some extent or another. Without it, it would be hard for a game to provide an immersive experience to the player. The goal of AI is to immerse the player as much as possible, by giving the characters in the game a lifelike quality, even if the game itself is set in a fantasy world.

What video games have AI? ›

AI Games Examples
  • The Last of Us.
  • FIFA 22.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2.
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
  • Rocket League.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Apr 14, 2023

What is the conclusion of AI in gaming? ›

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a game-changer in the world of gaming. With AI, developers can create more immersive and realistic gaming experiences for players. AI can be used to control non-player characters (NPCs), making them more intelligent and adaptive to the player's actions.

Can you use AI generated art in games? ›

AI-generated art refers to the use of machine learning algorithms to create visuals, textures, characters, and environments. These assets can then be used within video games, creating all sorts of worlds and environments for players to enjoy.

How AI will revolutionize video games? ›

Generative AI can help developers streamline the game development process by automating tasks such as level design, character creation, and animation. This can lead to faster production times and lower costs, enabling smaller development teams to create high-quality games that can compete with larger studios.

How might AI change the way we interact with characters and opponents? ›

With AI, NPCs (non-playable characters) can now react more realistically to your actions, making the gaming experience more immersive. VR takes things to the next level, allowing you to enter the game world and interact with its elements just as you would in real life.

What is the impact of game AI systems on player experience? ›

Benefits of AI in Game Difficulty Adjustment:

This personalized approach enhances player satisfaction and engagement, as players feel adequately challenged without being overwhelmed or bored. Balanced Gameplay: AI systems can ensure that the difficulty level remains balanced throughout the game.

Why AI is the most important? ›

Artificial intelligence forms the basis for all computer learning and is the future of all complex decision making. As an example, most humans can figure out how to not lose at tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses), even though there are 255,168 unique moves, of which 46,080 end in a draw.

Is AI the future of gaming? ›

AI in gaming can help gaming app developers to figure out the players' ability, decision power, and emotional state of the player. Later it helps in-game modeling. If it is a dynamic game, then AI helps it to balance the complexity based on the player's gameplay.

Will AI replace graphic design? ›

Will AI Replace Graphic Designers? Text-to-image AI tools are scary capable — at some things. And these tools are accelerating steps in the design process. But they're not likely to replace the need for human creativity.

Can AI replace human creativity? ›

In conclusion, AI is not going to replace human creativity anytime soon. While AI can perform certain creative tasks, it lacks the emotional intelligence, personal experiences, and consciousness necessary to truly replicate the human creative process.

How does Character.AI work? ›

Character.AI is a site that uses a neural language model to reads huge amounts of text and respond to prompts using that information. Anyone can create a character on the site, and they can be fictional or based on real people, dead or alive.

Can AI generate fake faces? ›

With Fake Face Generator, anyone can produce realistically generated faces on the go. This app uses AI-based technology for superior results and is capable of making a plethora of distinct images in quick time. Generated faces come from all age groups, genders and styles – from kids to adults and scruffy to blond hair.

What AI creates anime character? ›

Getimg AI. Getimg AI is a fantastic anime AI art generator that lets users make charming anime characters from text or add anime style to any image. Any photo may be transformed into a stunning piece of anime art with this anime AI art generator from an image.

What are the 4 risks dangers of AI? ›

Some of the biggest risks today include things like consumer privacy, biased programming, danger to humans, and unclear legal regulation.

Can an AI play a game? ›

An AI taught itself to play a video game – for the first time, it's beating humans. 5 min. Since the earliest days of virtual chess and solitaire, video games have been a playing field for developing artificial intelligence (AI).

When did games start using AI? ›

One of the first examples of this is in iconic fixed-shooter game Space Invaders (1978). Arcade games used early AI in the form of stored patterns. These simulate random movements of aliens that were pre-programmed into the game. This AI successfully kept players hooked and slotting coins into the machines!

What games has the best AI? ›

9 Best AI Games to Play in 2023
  1. First Encounter Assault Recon. F.E.A.R. ...
  2. The Last of Us. ...
  3. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist. ...
  4. XCOM: Enemy Unknown. ...
  5. HALO: Combat Evolved. ...
  6. Rocket League. ...
  7. FIFA 2022. ...
  8. Red Dead Redemption 2.
Feb 21, 2023

What language is used for AI in games? ›

C++ is also popular in the gaming industry, where it is used to build real-time game engines and graphics libraries. This experience has translated into the development of AI applications that require real-time processing, such as autonomous vehicles or robotics.

What is game theory in AI? ›

Game Theory is choosing from a set of rational choices in a multi-agent situation. Von Newman invented this algorithm. We use this concept in AI wherever more than one person is solving a logical problem. MiniMax algorithm in Game Theory is one of the oldest algorithms in AI and is used generally for two players.

Will AI replace programmers? ›

While it is unlikely that AI will replace programmers, it will have a significant impact on the programming job market. On one hand, AI should automate many responsibilities of programmers. This includes writing code templates and debugging. This will reduce the amount of time and effort required by human programmers.

What is the AI tool for creating games? ›

Ludo.ai uses AI and aims to take your creativity and x10 it by boasting the World's 1st Research & Ideation Tool for Game Designers and Developers. With the power of AI, Ludo.ai identifies trends and patterns in the market making it easier than ever to chose themes and content for your next hit game.

Why do people like AI art? ›

You can create all sorts of different pieces using AI, from abstract paintings to portraits. This gives you a lot of flexibility when creating your artworks. 2. It's Exciting: AI art is exciting because it's constantly evolving.

Why is AI art an issue? ›

AI art appears to be a particular threat to digital artists. Part of this is because these creators tend to produce large bodies of content, meaning that datasets will have access to huge amounts of information on their style.

How does AI enhance video? ›

While traditional upscaling methods simply interpolate existing pixels to create new ones, AI upscaling analyzes the content of the image and generates new pixels that are consistent with the existing ones. This results in a much higher quality image, with fewer artifacts and more realistic details.

How does AI bring people together? ›

AI is there to help humans by removing the tasks from the workday that no one wants to do. AI has the potential to eliminate tedious tasks and increase attention to crucial ones. People can become specialists in their roles in particular fields if they spend more time doing the things that matter.

How an AI managed to confuse humans in an imitation game? ›

By behaving like humans would, such as changing up its reaction times while participating in an interactive shape and color-matching game, the AI was able to hide its true identity from people.

How can AI positively impact our society? ›

AI has the potential to bring about numerous positive changes in society, including enhanced productivity, improved healthcare, and increased access to education. AI-powered technologies can also help solve complex problems and make our daily lives easier and more convenient.

How does AI improve user experience? ›

AI helps UX designers automate mundane tasks, such as categorizing user actions, predicting future behaviors, and extracting relevant insights from large volumes of user data—which, in turn, leaves more time for fine-tuning the final product.

How human centered AI will contribute towards intelligent gaming systems? ›

Such intelligent gaming systems with embedded machine learning algorithms would explain player motivations, help design more personalized single and collaborative player experiences, transfer and generalize the learning from game to game.

What are 3 benefits of AI? ›

What are the advantages of Artificial Intelligence?
  • AI drives down the time taken to perform a task. ...
  • AI enables the execution of hitherto complex tasks without significant cost outlays.
  • AI operates 24x7 without interruption or breaks and has no downtime.
  • AI augments the capabilities of differently abled individuals.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of AI? ›

The advantages range from streamlining, saving time, eliminating biases, and automating repetitive tasks, just to name a few. The disadvantages are things like costly implementation, potential human job loss, and lack of emotion and creativity. So where do we net out?

How do you create characters in AI? ›

Click the "create" button on the Character.AI homepage and select "create a character." You'll enter the name of the character you're creating, plus a short greeting they'll send at the start of every new chat.

Can you use AI-generated art in games? ›

AI-generated art refers to the use of machine learning algorithms to create visuals, textures, characters, and environments. These assets can then be used within video games, creating all sorts of worlds and environments for players to enjoy.

Can an illustrator be a character designer? ›

Character designer can be an entry level role. Character designers will often have a degree in graphic art, fine art, illustration or a related discipline, but this is not strictly necessary. The vital thing is that you can demonstrate very strong drawing skills.

Can AI replace illustrators? ›

The short answer is no. Suggesting that AI can produce Art is no different than implying a pencil can draw illustrations or write stories. A pencil, just like AI, is not human — it's a tool.

How does AI create avatars? ›

Machine learning algorithms take your photo and break it into pieces to analyze the size of your shape, your unique features, your hairstyles, and other elements of your photo. Then, artificial intelligence builds a database of these features to generate your unique AI avatars.

What AI turns pictures into characters? ›

Toongineer Cartoonizer allows you to convert your photos to cartoons using the power of AI. You can either cartoon yourself or upload and image and cartoonize it by applying cartoon style effects.

Is AI art legal? ›

At the moment, works created solely by artificial intelligence — even if produced from a text prompt written by a human — are not protected by copyright. When it comes to training AI models, however, the use of copyrighted materials is fair game.

Who designs characters in video games? ›

The role of a Character Designer is to visualize and develop the look of animated characters for film, television, and video games. They work from the script or storyline to turn descriptions into images, to give form to personality and characteristics.

How much do game character designers make? ›

Character Artist salary in India ranges between ₹ 0.8 Lakhs to ₹ 12.6 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 3.9 Lakhs.

How long does it take to design a character? ›

Modeling, texturing, skinning, and rigging of an abstract character takes over 150 hours in total. The more detailed the model, the longer it takes to create it. Therefore, you can imagine the amount of work.

Can AI take over creativity? ›

While AI can automate many tasks, it cannot replace the human experience of creativity and emotion, at least not yet. Therefore, it is important to view AI as a tool that can assist and augment human creativity and workmanship rather than a replacement for it.

What Cannot be replaced by AI? ›

The following is a detailed list of the 10 essential human abilities that cannot be replaced by AI
  • Creativity: ...
  • Thinking critically: ...
  • The capacity to understand individuals on a deeper level: ...
  • Leadership: ...
  • Adaptability: ...
  • Skills for communication: ...
  • Complex Critical thinking: ...
  • Communication Skills:
Mar 26, 2023

What works Cannot be replaced by AI? ›

Trade jobs like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians are not going to be replaced by AI. For example, a plumber needs to visit sites to install plumbing or fix pipes.


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