When most people hear the term ‘AI’, the image that comes to mind is that of a bad Sci-fi movie from the 80’s. Back then, our idea of artificial intelligence was a computer screen with a face, telling you what your schedule was for the day. The modern truth is- the real advances in AI can actually be seen in video games.
All right, so the talking screen thing still hasn’t taken off. But the computer-controlled characters in video games have been getting more and more complex as electronics become more powerful. These artificial players are able to navigate through the in-game world and interact with real players in an increasingly realistic fashion. But this kind of ability does have its drawback, mainly the sheer amount of time and manpower required to program that sort of intelligence.
A revolutionary step forward occurred recently, when the popular mobile development kit, Unity, introduced a plugin involving a few powerful pieces of AI assistance software. The hope is that these toolsets will allow developers to write in any restrictions and desires without having to worry about cobbling together code, or painting themselves into walls, since the system easily integrates itself right in.
The question now is: how much of an impact will this release have on the mobile industry? From my observation, innovation in AI has started to stagnate for the past five years or so. With the vast improvements in 3D graphics programs soaking up the limelight, many studios are finding success in flashy looking games with older-gen mechanics. If the graphics are enough to pull a person in, then why bother spending all that time to develop innovative gameplay?
Luckily, I think this trend is starting to fade because of the ever-expanding mobile gaming industry. Sure, the look of the game means a lot to the player (it would feel odd as a 3D artist to say otherwise), but the purpose of a game is to be played. Without new and interesting gameplay, it might as well just be a movie. So why let that part slide? Why not take a chance with a more challenging concept, and innovate the field? In a technological era where the sky really is the limit, and each new device adds a new tool to the table, there’s no reason why we can’t push those boundaries, and create entirely immersive in-game worlds.
How far do you think AI will evolve in the next five years? Ten? Let us know what you look forward to in the future of games!
Zco Corporation is a custom software company with headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA specializing in mobile app development, enterprise software, and 3D animation.
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