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Ubisoft shows off AI-powered game characters at GDC: ‘The game world actually listens’

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Ubisoft shows off AI-powered game characters at GDC: ‘The game world actually listens’

*********’s Creed and Far Cry publisher Ubisoft has unveiled ‘NEO NPCs’ at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The company calls the project its “first player-facing generative AI prototype that could transform the way players interact with non-playable characters (NPCs) in video games and open new frontiers for gameplay that natively integrates generative AI features.”

According to an

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, these NPCS are created not by a machine, but by a human writer, who shapes their character, backstory, and conversation style, and then continues to tweak once the learning language model starts improvising dialogue.

In a private demo at GDC, Ubisoft showed invited press several demos in which players would interact with the AI-powered characters using voice commands, reports

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The first challenged players to build a relationship with an NPC called Bloom, who would respond to questions and react depending on the tone of their voice. Players were encouraged to learn about his back story and other characters.

If the right questions are asked, it will trigger scripted information relevant to the game, and building a relationship would allow the player to ‘level up’ their link with the character via an on-screen meter, which unlocks more behaviours.

In a second demo, Bloom watched a stealth mission with a drone, reacting to what was happening in the mission, responding to questions from the player, and showing awareness of progress and his surroundings.

A third demo featured an NPC called Iron during a mission planning stage. Iron suggested ways to approach the infiltration of a building, and players were encouraged to challenge her ideas, which would cause her to comment on whether she believed the player’s ideas would work.

According to Ubisoft, the objective of the demos is to “enhance narrative immersion” and provide a glimpse at the numerous roles advanced NPCs could take within games in the future.

NEO NPCs are the result of an R&D initiative led by a team at Ubisoft’s Paris studio and supported by Ubisoft’s Production Technology department.

Ubisoft also collaborated with Nvidia and Inworld AI. “Inworld AI’s Character Engine and LLM technology enable Ubisoft’s narrative team to build a complete background, knowledge base and conversational style for each NPC, while Nvidia Audio2Face, part of NVIDIA ACE suite of technologies, is used to enable real-time facial animation,” the company said.

“It could be the start of a fantastic paradigm shift,” said Xavier Manzanares, director and producer of the project. “For the first time, the game world actually listens to and dynamically responds to the players.

“Social interactions and skills become part of the gameplay. Smarter NPCs like our NEO NPCs have the potential to become a breakthrough addition to the traditional NPCs we see in games today. They provide the ability to create even more immersive worlds and emergent stories.”

According to a new survey conducted by engine maker Unity, almost two-thirds of game development studios are now using artificial intelligence in their workflows.

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#Ubisoft #shows #AIpowered #game #characters #GDC #game #world #listens

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