AI is all the rage these days. From conversations with an extremely lifelike ChatGPT to art-generating AI that can make your next D&D character’s portrait, there’s no escaping AI, and that’s especially true in the world of video games.
The New York Times (via Eurogamer) recently revealed Blizzard will soon have an AI art-generating tool that it will use in video game production. An internal email sent to Blizzard staff earlier this year named that tool Blizzard Diffusion, a riff on the image generator Stable Diffusion. The difference is, Blizzard Diffusion has been trained on Blizzard’s art so that it can replicate Blizzard’s distinctive style.
According to Blizzard chief design officer Allen Adham, Blizzard Diffusion will be used “to help generate concept art for game environments as well as characters and their outfits,” primarily, but it could also be used to create “autonomous, intelligent, in-game NPCs” or “procedurally assisted level design.” There’s also the possibility that other versions of Blizzard Diffusion could help with “voice cloning,” “game coding” and “anti-toxicity” work similar to how Xbox uses its moderation AI.
“We are on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games,” Adham concluded. At the same time, chief technical officer Michael Vance told employees to avoid using external image generators and to keep everything in-house.
Blizzard is hardly the only game studio excited about the prospects of AI art generation. System Shock Remake developer Prime Matter recently showed an AI-generated image of Shodan on social media and confirmed that AI-created art would be featured in game. However, fans immediately revolted against the idea of AI replacing humans in the creation of games, forcing the studio to release a statement confirming AI art would never be used “at the expense of using skilled people or their creative talents.”
Ubisoft seems less concerned with AI art and more interested in dialog and text generation. At GDC San Francisco earlier this year, Ubisoft revealed its “Ghostwriter” AI, a language model that’s intended to assist writers in creating barks and background lines as well as text for user interfaces. Ubisoft very carefully stated that Ghostwriter was not intended to replace actual writers and that it wouldn’t be used to write cinematics, lore, or character backstory, but judging the ongoing writers strike, not everyone is convinced that’ll always be the case.
Not everyone is using AI in game creation. Xbox is using AI as part of its automated player moderation where it’s been extremely helpful in combating player toxicity. In its most recent transparency report, Xbox indicated that its AI helped increase “enforcements” by 450 percent, removing vulgar content and assisting humans in determining whether players required warnings or bans for bad behavior.
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