The aim of artificial intelligence (AI) within the video games industry is to create a virtual entity which is indistinguishable from a human player. While there is still a long way to go before this occurs, the advances in AI over the years have led to some drastic improvements as to how the computer player reacts and behaves within a computer game. These developments will continue to be made as time moves forward.
The Gaming Industry and Current AI Limitations
Usually, when games programmers develop an in-game entity, they use a variety of tricks to make it seem more human. These involve a number of artificial intelligence algorithms to give the illusion of reason, logic, and awareness. Other algorithms have to be used as well to provide limitations to the AI so that the game is fair. After all, a perfectly programmed AI would play flawlessly against a human who is prone to making errors.
The speed at which people play games makes it difficult for developers to program any artificial entity within the game itself. The human brain can determine a course of action faster than any complex AI as these have to rely on sorting through lengthy lookup tables or decision trees to operate. This coding has to be simplified to enhance its speed which directly reduces the realism felt by those sitting at their gaming computers.
Making Artificial Intelligence More Human
As technology moves forward, the complexity of in-game AI’s will become more advanced. Adding features such as an in-depth awareness of their surrounding environment, the ability to effectively work together as a team, and a survival instinct will enable the AI itself to behave in a more human-like manner. The ultimate goal for the gaming industry is to program artificial entities which cannot be told apart from human players while the game is being played.
Advances in artificial intelligence algorithms will have a drastic effect on the gamer. Currently, there is a noticeable difference between humans and gaming AI’s which is why more games are focusing on multiplayer. Players experience a certain satisfaction in beating a human opponent which does not exist when achieving victory over a limited virtual intelligence. However, once an AI is indistinguishable from a human, the line between single and multiplayer will blur for gamers everywhere.
The Disadvantages and Advantages of Artificial Intelligence
Once the AI field has reached the stage where in-game entities behave the same as humans, the gaming sector will be changed forever. No longer will the gamer have to log in and play against people across the other side of the world. An Internet connection will not be needed, and people will be able to get the same challenge playing against AI’s on their gaming computers as they could while playing an online game.
Unfortunately, this would make the whole idea of playing computer games an anti-social pastime. Without the need to play against fellow humans, the interaction that can be gained through online games will be lacking. The gamer will not be able to tell the difference as the artificial intelligence will be too advanced. However, some may still experience a certain dissatisfaction at beating a virtual opponent that can only be found by defeating another human player.