April 16, 2024

NPCs getting Intelligence Upgrade Thanks to AI

Multiplayer games over the intranet were a big thing for us in college. I can still vividly remember playing Dark Reign with my college classmates– setting up bases, trying to attack and conquer their bases. And yet, only one match really stands out.

Most of my classmates had the same strategy I had– build the three main buildings, then work on a mixture of defense and attack units while scouting to see where they were and hoping not to get caught. We were playing for the first time with an upperclassman, and we kept getting annihilated. He would rapidly get to the lowest attack unit and start sending them merrily, altogether after us while we were still building our main three buildings. And he always won.

Human beings are, by nature, unpredictable– something that computers are not very good at being. Hence the many YouTube and real-world jokes about NPC’s (Non-Player Characters) and people wanting to play on servers with other people because the challenge is higher than what could be created in the game.

NVidia is looking to change some of that, with ACE for Games that promises to make NPCs respond in natural ways:

Nvidia showed off ACE for Games, a system designed to bring game characters to life using natural language conversation, audio-to-facial expression, and text-to-speech / speech-to-text capabilities. During the Computex 2023 keynote, Nvidia demonstrated a game where an NPC named Jin, who runs a ramen noodle shop, interacted with a human player who asked questions with voice and got back realistic-sounding answers. 

Nvidia’s AI Can Chat With Gamers—Why Your Play May Never Be the Same

This is only the first step in getting AI to be able to make more impressive and creative villains that learn as they go… and then Skynet, I guess?

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