Youichiro Miyake thinks improved AI for crowd NPCs is around the corner.
AI in video games is one of the things that haven’t improved as significantly as the other parts of the medium. While things like graphics, resolutions, processing speeds, and production values have soared to a staggering degree over the last few decades, AI has not progressed as much, particularly when it comes to NPC crowds, which have largely acted the same across two or three console generations.
Youichiro Miyake, Square Enix’s lead AI researcher, thinks that’s about to change with new technology. Not only that, he sees new takes on crowd AI as one of the big leaps forward for gaming in the next generation. He spoke with VG247 about what he sees for the future of AI and how it’ll be based around NPC AIs learning based on player actions more precisely than ever before.
“Another piece of the future of AI is obviously going to be machine learning coming in,” said Miyake. “You’re going to see more and more AI that reacts to a player’s playstyle, to their personality. Are they a good gamer, a bad gamer, do they tend to go into combat, or are they exploratory? We’re going to analyse those patterns and then the character AI will largely have a lot of automation, analysing these patterns and dynamically adjusting to that playstyle.
“However, a lot of the evolution of AI is going to come in the meta AI level, which will be controlled by the programmers . So them defining the overall rulesets of the game, but within it there’s pocket-sized machine learning-based AI – that’s probably the new thing we’re going to see with AI evolution.”
He’s not the only one talking about new forms of gaming AI. The developers of the upcoming MotoGP ’19 are experimenting with a new learning-based AI system. It definitely seems like improving AI is on a lot of developers’ minds as we approach a new generation of console gaming.