The future possibilities of AI industry

Recently, the popular science fiction movie “Free Guy” was released. The film focuses on how a massive multiplayer online game, “Free City, was created, which includes many NPCs (non player characters) that provide various services to players such as providing starting guides for new players and tasks to be completed for progression in-game. These NPCs are made up of codes needed to interact with the players, but one character has self-consciousness, proving it with human-like intelligence in the film.

After finishing the movie, I came to wonder if the creation of artificial intelligence is really achievable like in “Free Guy. I spent hours observing NPCs in games like “Watch Dog,” “Red Dead Redemption and “Cyberpunk 2077, I discovered they are “passerby,” following certain routes, and if something interrupted their programmed path, they would eventually return to it. I also found that if players interact with NCPs, they would either run away or fight back, and after a period of time, the NCPs would continue to follow their programmed route.  

Contrary to the movie, the movements and reactions of the NCPs were programmed according to a script written by the programmer and developer, as they determine what actions should be taken under what conditions. From my observations, NCPs today do not have human-like intelligence.

Now after learning about these non player characters, I realized even though the NPC looks so “alive” in a game, they are nowhere close to even being considered an “actor,” but only the developer‘s marionette.
This made me wonder if the traditional behavior tree for these characters cannot fully replicate realistic NPCs, could artificial intelligence make it happen? 

In recent years, the development of AI has been growing at a rapid speed with facial recognition spreading throughout the streets and autopilot becoming the main focus for many major vehicle companies. But in the gaming world, there is rarely any information about artificial intelligence being incorporated into games. 

OpenAI, introduced project A, known as the “AI hide and seek” was created to observe the possibilities of artificial intelligence learning in closed dimension with the interactions between objects to the opposed team with the main objective of either hiding from seekers using their surroundings or finding the hiders by passing over the obstacles.

Later on, the researchers started another experiment with an open map and more objects for the AI to interact with. As the trials progressed, the simulation surpassed the researchers’ expectations, as the NPCs started to use glitches to achieve the objective of the experiment and in another trial, they ran as far as possible, surprising the researchers thus demonstrated the importance of the “training” process in relation to the development of AI.

AI technology is significant to the development of the gaming industry as developers can be released from the boring scripting process of every story based game and to spend more effort to provide a better experience for players. Games will no longer be built on “missions” and “timeline” with the advance of AI development but instead creating a vivid fantasy world for players to explore freely.