Artificial intelligence in video games has been possible thanks to advances in AI that move from labs to gaming products and tools. For example, you can see a rise in artificial intelligence-powered gaming image editing tools like Vance AI Image Enlarger capable of converting small gaming images into something larger up to 8x with just a simple click. But perhaps one of the most interesting topics is how AI is changing popular video games, which is what we’re going to focus on in this article.
Video games and artificial intelligence have a long history of evolving alongside one another. From machine learning video games of Google Experiment to AI-powered multiplayer video game Dota 2 or OpenAI Five, AI-driven interactive entertainment has taken the gaming experience to the next level for many video game fans.
There are actually quite a few to choose from, but in this article, we’re going to be looking at 7 best AI in video games. Without further ado and in no particular order, let’s kick things off with the first example.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. often gets overlooked when talking about the best AI in video games because it’s such an old title. Released in 2007 by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World, the first installment in the series, Shadow of Chernobyl, was ahead of its time in a lot ways. One of its most defining features was the AI system known as A-Life. This system controls many aspects of the game and allows it to behave in surprisingly realistic ways. While certain things in the world only occur when triggered by player actions, a lot of events take place independently. As a result, it rarely feels like everything revolves around you while playing the game. Quite the opposite. It usually feels like you’re just another Stalker trying to get by the Exclusion Zone.
Starcraft 2 is a very famous example of great use of AI in video games. Despite being over a decade old at this point, Starcraft 2 is still considered the most challenging RTS game out there. Playing Starcraft 2 is like playing a game of chess only in real-time and against an opponent that adapts to your every move and anticipates what you’re going to do next. The game’s AI is so good, in fact, that Google’s DeepMind program used it to improve its own artificial intelligence software known as AlphaStar. Once AlphaStar became good enough, the company started pitting it against professional human players. The software struggled at first but eventually managed to defeat all but a handful of Starcraft 2 Grandmaster players at their own game.
Similar to Starcraft 2, Valve’s Dota 2 is also known as a very challenging game, with AI smart enough to punish even small mistakes made by players. The difference is that Dota 2 is primarily a team-based game, which makes things more difficult in many situations because players need a high level of coordination to beat the AI at the hardest difficulty setting. But what about defeating a third-party AI that’s even more advanced than what the game itself offers? Just like Google used AlphaStar to train against SC2 players, Elon Musk’s OpenAI Five trained against professional Dota 2 teams. In this case, it was actually a neural network composed of five separate AI programs. And while the human teams put up a good fight at first, the AI network was able to best all of them after enough practice matches.
You can’t talk about examples of great AI in video games without mentioning F.E.A.R. The game uses sophisticated AI to power NPCs that react to your presence in extremely realistic ways, particularly during combat. Instead of coming at you head-first in a one-by-one fashion, F.E.A.R.’s enemies always try to outnumber you while fighting behind cover and even call for backup or try to retreat when they fell they’re losing the fight. You can also expect the NPCs to throw explosive at you in order to flush you out of cover and flank you when you’re most vulnerable. In other words, F.E.A.R.’s AI’s enemies fight like a real squad of soldiers. Even though F.E.A.R. came out in 2005, its AI still holds up incredibly well to this day.
It’s probably not a stretch to say that Shadow of Mordor and its successor, Shadow of War, have some of the best AI in video games. The infamous Nemesis system introduced enemies that essentially have memories. Foes remember past interactions with you and react accordingly the next time you meet time. In other games you might defeat a random orc grunt and go about your business afterward, but here things are bit more complicated than that. Middle-earth’s orcs will remember their defeat at your hand and will actively try to seek revenge on your after rising through the ranks and upgrading their abilities. Alternatively, you can be the one seeking revenge on an enemy that defeated you in the past, which is a very satisfying feeling because the enemy will remember its past victory and lament about its new-found defeat.
Alien Isolation is a lot of people’s worst nightmare in more ways than one. Not only are you alone on a spaceship hunted by a grotesque alien creature, but the alien creature also happens to be powered by one of the most advanced AI systems in gaming. Alien Isolation’s Xenomorph behaves in an eerily realistic manner, stalking around the ship in an attempt to flush you out of hiding. While you can easily outsmart enemies in a lot of other games, that won’t be the case here as the Xenomorph acts as a constant looming presence that’s never more than two steps behind you.
A lot of the best examples of great AI in video games are focused around enemies, but rarely do you see a game when your allies are the ones being smart. In fact, if you’ve ever done fetch quests in video games you already know that friendly NPCs tend to get stuck or lost when running into the smallest of obstacles. That’s definitely not the case when it comes to The Last of Us. Naughty Dog’s award-winning action-adventure game features a Buddy AI system that turns your companion Ellie into a very valuable asset. Ellie can act on her own to distract enemies or attack them when they’re most vulnerable. An impressive feat considering that enemy AI in The Last of Us is also incredibly advanced and adaptable.
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Gaming has always been at the forefront when it comes to integrating innovative new technologies, whether we’re talking motion capture, photogrammetry or advanced artificial intelligence. Consequently, AI in video games has evolved exponentially over the years and is still getting better to this day. We encourage you to check out the games on our list if you want to test the AI’s limits for yourself. Not only will it be a fun experience but also a very educational one, even if you’re not a gamer. Also read: Bring Color to Black and White Video Games Using this AI-Powered Tool.
Thanks to quite a few important leaps in AI made by video game developers, AI has helped improve countless video games by making them more immersive and realistic. AI in video games is less visible in such areas as data mining and procedural-content generation. According to Wiki, generating responsive, adaptive or intelligent behaviors in non-player characters has become a reality with AI. Also Read: How to Create Perfect Featured Images for Gaming Blogs and Websites.