The Future of Gaming: How AI Characters Enhance Player Experience

Convai Team
June 5, 2024

The steady march of artificial intelligence is opening a world of infinite possibilities in gaming, transfiguring NPCs and elevating the player experience. The last few years have seen significant strides in AI, with the future set for transformation. Due to AI, games have enormously evolved in 2024, and keep evolving and adapting alongside players, producing experiences that are more dynamic, immersive, and personalized than ever. 

As it is, the technology produces vast in-game environments and breathes life into once rigid and predictable NPCs. AI-powered characters can react in real time to players, adapt their approaches, demonstrate high-level of contextual intelligence, and even correct mistakes. In turn, a sense of challenge and unpredictability is created, rendering gameplays more dynamic and stimulating. 

Value Adds for AI Characters in Games

These multidimensional AI-powered characters offer players experience-enhancing complexity and realism. They can display a variety of pre-determined emotions and animations, adapting to various situations, making interactions with them seem more genuine and participatory. Learn more about customizing these complex actions from our Convai Tutorial on AI NPC actions. Because they respond to player actions and choices, these characters inform the narrative and gameplay in creative and unforeseeable ways. 

NPCs can also learn and adapt. Machine learning algorithms allow characters to evaluate player behavior, approaches, and decisions, and adjust accordingly. Thus, as the game progresses, AI characters encountered pose more challenges and are more strategic and responsive, ensuring fresh and invigorating gameplay.

Further, AI-powered NPCs permit unprecedented levels of personalization and customization. Based on their choices, players can have personalized conversations with characters, who can even recall previous encounters. They can interact and develop relationships with NPCs, promoting character attachment and investment.

Take the characters in “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” and “Red Dead Redemption 2,” for example. They live in game worlds that feel real and resonant, and have their own personas, habits, and schedules. With these characters, players can have conversations, and based on their interactions, make friends and even enemies. AI-powered NPCs are relatively more human, which gives players more freedom. This leads to greater player immersion.

Types of AI Video Games

There are also AI games with advanced AI technology. Games like The Last of Us: Part II utilize highly advanced AI forms to heighten the player experience, with a focus on smart NPCs. Lastly, there are generative AI games that use AI NPCs or other features largely produced by generative AI. The game “Cygnus Enterprises,” with its generative AI-powered companion character, is a prime example. 

Text games such as AI Dungeon and Simulation Games like Second Life are a few other examples of video games with AI. Check out Convai’s Second Life showcase, where its AI characters help onboard new users to the game.

What Exactly are AI Characters?

Still, memorable NPCs from older video games are often considered AI characters when they’re actually not — they merely follow the AI narrative in the game’s storyline. 

Such characters include the Portal series’ GlaDOS, an AI system who gains the consciousness of its designer’s assistant and comes to life. There’s also larger-than-life GAIA from the Horizon series, a benign character who seeks to terraform planet Earth and reboot life itself. Meanwhile, SHODAN from System Shock returns to the dark and dank world of horror story artificial intelligence characters.

When it comes down to it, though, true AI characters “know” where the player is because the game engine of which they’re a part does. Based on that, the game typically decides whether NPCs get to “see” or “hear” the player, all managed by systems independent of specific characters.

If the character doesn’t see the player, it could be because the player’s position is obscured, too far away, or outside the cone of vision defined for the character. In such cases, the character will act accordingly. But if the NPC can see the character, actions can be triggered based on that. It will turn toward the player, for example. These actions, with Convai, can be customized depending on the Narrative flow of the game. Read more about it, in Convai’s Narrative Design blog.

Convai Functionalities

We can bring all this and more to reality, adding actual functionalities to characters like beloved GlaDOS, GAIA, and SHODAN. We offer a user-friendly interface to enable your character with human-like conversation capabilities. 

With Convai, you can create your AI character with the appropriate backstory, voice, and expertise, and test it on the playground. Then, using our integrations, you can connect with your NPCs inside game engines. Your character can then have open-ended voice-based conversations and carry out actions. Read more about the supported plugins and integrations on the docs page.

To experience the cutting edge of generative conversational AI, we provide voice-to-voice interface for real-time end-to-end voice-based interactions with characters and optimized for scale to support millions of users.

We also add a knowledge base for characters, which addresses the problem of “hallucination of information” that occurs with Large Language Models and can make your character a reliable expert. Further, your characters will be able to perceive scene objects and entities and act based on commands and requests or on their own motivations.

In Summary 

While advancements are steadily evolving, the future is now: AI characters are markedly enhancing the player experience, offering the freedom to roam and create their own adventures within expansive landscapes. All the while, AI algorithms can customize gameplay to suit individual tastes and difficulty levels.

It’s a whole new playing field, and our burgeoning cache of features are helping to lead the way.