AI has been around for a while, often driving the gaming industry and propelling some of our favorite titles. The combo of artificial intelligence and gaming makes a great pair, improving development, creating adaptive experiences, and enhancing immersion.
This article will delve into the role AI has in games. We'll discuss how artificial intelligence works in gaming, what benefits such tech brings, and the future of AI in games. Moreover, we'll mention some of the best AI games today and show you how to keep your game data safe in case of crashes.
In this article
What Is the Role of AI in Games?
AI in video games has existed since the days of IBM's Deep Blue chess computer that beat Garry Kasparov in 1996. Since then, it has advanced extraordinarily, and AI and video games have become remarkable.
One of the primary uses of AI in games refers to the AI engine improving the visual qualities of the game. With their ability to enhance images, textures, and other graphic elements, these artificial intelligence algorithms captivate gamers, immersing them in stunning worlds.
Game Level Generation
Manually developing and programming game levels used to take a considerable amount of time. However, the power of AI today makes generating interesting, unique, and dynamic levels a piece of cake. That way, programmers don't have to waste their precious time coding each level individually, and games can still experience endless level possibilities.
In-game Complexity Balancing
Not all players are equally skilled. While a game master wants a challenge, a beginner might need help adjusting to a new game and learning the ropes.
That's where AI comes in, as artificial intelligence in games is responsible for changing the game's difficulty based on the gamer's performance. And since AI can quickly adapt to the gamer's improvements, the game always feels as challenging as it needs to be for proper enjoyment.
Older games used to have linear campaigns where you would advance the game's story in a straight line. However, AI today has made it possible to create a branching tree instead of a linear storyline.
Each decision you make in the game affects your outcome, forcing the players to think ahead of how they want the game to end and what choices they want to make. It creates a sense of immersion and responsibility that can take your gaming experience to another level.
Making NPCs Smarter
AI-powered NPCs are far more interesting than scripted interactions in the single-player mode of numerous older games. Today, these NPCs are intelligent and dynamic, capable of responding to your inputs and adapting to your choices. Such improvements create more realistic gameplay, improving immersion and the overall experience.
As it develops, AI will take over more challenges in the future of gaming development. We wouldn't be surprised if a simple but detailed prompt could make an entire game from scratch in a few years.
How Artificial Intelligence Games Work
Now that we know about the role of AI in modern games, we can dive deeper into how these AI algorithms and engines work in games. Below are some of the most common AI methods used in games:
- Fuzzy Logic – By now, you probably know that computers deal in absolutes, with ones and zeros instead of natural language. However, fuzzy logic introduces a new system with multiple levels between zeros and ones. In gaming, this can help create lifelike characters that do far more than a simple yes or no. Interacting with NPCs can dramatically improve, as game characters can determine how true a particular statement is and act accordingly. This can by all means increase gaming immersion.
- Decision Trees – Linear storylines are a product of older games without AI engines, which would likely become boring once you went through the game. However, with AI and decision trees, the game's storyline can appear more like a tree with many branches. AI could use decision trees to guide NPCs and the story based on the player's input, skill, and previous interactions, creating a far more diverse game with numerous outcomes. Such a complex game would be unpredictable and exciting for multiple playthroughs.
- Reinforcement Learning – While the term stems from behavioral psychology, reinforcement learning is also a known trait of artificial intelligence in gaming. Namely, with this type of learning, AI-powered NPCs learn through trial and error. Like in psychology, positive and negative feedback from other game elements or users can teach NPCs new things, propelling change and adaptation. Naturally, this leads to dynamic adversaries, creating an exciting challenge for the gamer and improving the overall experience by a significant margin.
These are only a handful of methods AI uses in today's games, and other methodologies like neural networks, genetic algorithms, pathfinding, and machine learning also exist. Now, let's move to some of the best AI games of today.
Best Games Using Artificial Intelligence
While AI is present in numerous modern games, we only picked a few titles to showcase what artificial intelligence in gaming can do. Below are some of our favorite AI titles from the past few years:
Based on Ridley Scott's massively successful Alien movies, Alien: Isolation is one of the greatest horror games of the century. In this survival horror, the frightening Xenomorph uses AI to react to the player's choices, hounding the gamer at every step. It can learn on the go, adapt to your in-game movements, and find you using the sound of your footsteps or Motion Tracker.
Left 4 Dead
You can find an excellent example of an in-game balancing system in Left 4 Dead's AI Director. Here, the Director controls zombie spawns, creating a dynamic system that sets the game's pace and difficulty. It knows perfectly well when to spawn challenging encounters and when to back off and give you time to recover your health and ammo.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Fans of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series are undoubtedly familiar with Shadow of Mordor and the newer Shadow of War games. Playing as one of Gondor's rangers, Talion, gamers can enjoy a massive open world of Mordor, battling Sauron's generals and defeating Orcs. At the same time, the game's Nemesis System makes the experience even better, as AI randomly generates names, strengths, weaknesses, and visuals for each character Talion encounters.
Although we'll only mention these three games, countless others also exist, and the gaming industry today is overflowing with intelligent AI engines that take on the abovementioned roles.
The Future of AI Games and Their Potential
Even though AI games have already massively evolved in the past few years, the future of intelligent algorithms looks even more promising. Below are a few improvements expected to reach the market in the next few years.
- Cloud-Based AI Games – Downloading and installing games on your PC will soon be a thing of the past as technology rapidly moves toward cloud gaming and streaming.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality – With the rising Metaverse, AR and VR games are expected to reach new highs, with AI engines propelling these immersive games.
- Blockchain-Based Titles – Soon enough, gamers will be able to own properties inside the gaming world, and NFTs and blockchain-powered tokens will drive the games' economies.
- Voice-Recognition Games – Imagine a horror game where an enemy like a Xenomorph can hear you talk or breathe. Now that's scary. Odds are, we'll soon see such a gaming title.
The evolution of AI will undoubtedly affect the mobile experience, too. Even smart watches and other wearable devices are bound to receive significant improvements for immersion's sake.
Bonus Tip: How to Recover Game Data in Case of a Crash
Although AI engines significantly improve the gaming industry, they also bring massive complexity and instability to modern games, with many gamers suffering from game crashes and loss of data saves. However, even if these happen, there is a way to recover your game data, and you can do so with data recovery apps like Wondershare Recoverit.
Here's what you should do to recover your game data in case of a crash:
- Open Wondershare Recoverit, click Hard Drives and Locations, and select the disk drive with your game's data.
- When you select the disk drive, Wondershare Recoverit will automatically begin scanning for lost files.
- When ready, you can preview the found files and pause or stop the scan. Clicking Recover is the only thing you need to do to save your lost
Wondershare Recoverit also lets you add file filters and keywords during the scan to help speed up the search and look for specific files. With these, you can find and restore your game data within minutes.
AI games have come a long way since Gary Kasparov's defeat at the hands of IBM's Deep Blue. The introduction and involvement of generative AI engines means that AI is taking over several game roles, including visual improvements, level generation, difficulty adjustment, better scenarios, more intelligent NPCs, etc.
These are possible due to AI's fuzzy logic, decision trees, reinforcement learning, and a few other core methodologies that games like Shadow of Mordor, Left 4 Dead, and Alien: Isolation use to take the gaming experience to another level. The future of these games looks even brighter, with cloud gaming, VR, AR, voice recognition, and NFTs expected to make a grand entrance.
The involvement of AI also brings complexity, often making games unstable due to the sheer number of calculations happening at all times. Nonetheless, players suffering from crashes or losing saved files can recover their game data with the help of dedicated data recovery software like Wondershare Recoveirt.
Is AI going to put the focus back on single-player campaigns?As most developers are moving toward multiplayer titles, AI is unlikely to put the focus back on the campaign aspect of the game. However, the story aspect is bound to improve significantly, even if the focus remains on the multiplayer experience.
What are the limits of artificial intelligence in gaming?No one knows what the future holds for AI games. However, the developers must find those limits and balance defined game narratives and branching AI storylines to ensure a proper gaming experience and finalize the games with satisfying endings.
Are there any ethical concerns with using AI in video games?Unfortunately, there are, as AI algorithms in games can potentially be biased. They're trained on massive datasets, which help the algorithm improve, but these datasets aren't always diverse or inclusive. Thus, AI NPCs in video games can sometimes reinforce stereotypes or act discriminatorily toward certain players.