NVIDIA has announced a new AI technology suite that will give video game developers the tools to make non-playable characters (NPCs) act in a realistic and natural way.
The newly announced NVIDIA Avatar Cloud Engine (ACE) for Games, hopes to make characters that are not player-controlled more interactive in a more efficient and cost-effective way for video game developers.
In a recent demo, the company showed a playable character interact with an NPC named Jin, the purveyor of a ramen shop. Despite the character not being controlled by a player, Jin replied to natural language queries realistically and consistently within the confines of the narrative backstory, using generative artificial intelligence (AI).
Benjamin Chin, associate analyst at research firm GlobalData, told Verdict that the technology will open up video games into a “much more of a living, breathing space”.
Using AI to bring characters and their backstories to life is not completely new: a Youtuber named ‘Art from the Machine’ used generative AI to improve Skyrim, a popular game that came out in 2011.
In the altered version of Skyrim, three AI chatbots: ChatGPT, Whisper’sAI and xVASynth were used to develop its NPCs into interacting with the player.
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The NPCs were able to tell the player the time, talk about objects in the game and recount their own backstories, all with the philosophical overtone of ChatGPT.
However, it left room for improvement as the NPC had a monotone voice and was quite slow to respond.
While Nvidia’s demo is an improvement on the Skyrim mod, Chin stated that the NPC fell short due to the unmodulated voice.
However, Chin pointed out that it is just the first iteration, “once the technology is fully realised we could see jobs being enhanced or even replaced by AI,” he said.
“in the future we’ll be able to see …massive triple A games that we would expect nowadays to be made by like hundreds of people potentially made by 10 or even one,” Chin said.
The announcement comes after the news that Nvidia is gearing up to be welcomed as the first US chipmaker in the trillion-dollar club, after its shares rose 3.8% in trading on Tuesday. The company is currently valued at $998bn.
Convai, an Nvidia Inception startup, expects that with NVIDIA ACE for Games it can provide a cost-effective way to offer the technology to developers: “Convai’s tools can achieve the latency and quality needed to make AI non-playable characters available to nearly every developer in a cost-efficient way,” said Convai’s founder and CEO, Purnendu Mukherjee,