Artificial IntelligenceMachine Learning

The AI Hunger, Games!

Artificial Intelligence has been an integral part of gaming since it’s inception in the 1950s. One of the very first examples was a game called Nim that was released in 1952.The game was very basic compared to modern games, but could regularly beat skilled human players. AI tends to provide various crucial roles in games and its remit has expanded considerably in recent years.But, it should be noted that although the term AI is used, they tend to consist of highly sophisticated algorithms and generally do not meet the ordinary definition of intelligence.

In most video games,AI tends to be responsible for generating a response, adaptive and intelligent behaviors for non-player characters(NPCs). The more sophisticated applications can almost replicate an artificial human player to provide a challenging gaming experience for players. For example, the non-player civilizations in The Sid Meier’s Civilization series and, more recently The Alien in Alien:Isolation.

Most modern games integrate techniques from the discipline at large,like path finding and decision trees,to improve the intelligence and responsiveness of NPCs. Additionally,AI is often used in mechanisms which are not immediately visible to the user,such as data mining and procedural content generation.

The term NPC has come to be used as a pejorative in the gaming community.This is often because most AI’s that control NPC characters tend to follow a pre-determined decision tree that can, after some time, become very predictable, indeed. And sometimes it results in Artificial stupidity, in which the developers would not have planned for certain situations.

Whilst AI has been an integral part of games for providing a truely realistic experience for players,as many NPCs have failed. In this generation, games have become pass time for most of us. Then came the video games, which was the natural progression of our innate desire to play, many have seen this ability as a mark of intelligence. In the field of computer science, games are being considered as a benchmark often to check to see if AI can pass muster.

Robert Wilensky, an AI expert explained why AI should play games rather than run them? When computer scientist tried to figure out the smartest persons, they astonishingly found that they were themselves. Robert explained why because, they were essentially mathematicians by training and mathematicians do 2 things, one- they prove theorems and two- they play chess. This has been quoted in the book Compulsive Technology: Computers as culture.

Whilst achievements are impressive, games like chess and GO tend to be highly restrictive with the set of objectives and clear paths to victory. That’s were role-playing games,like Dungeons and Dragons,might be fertile ground for further developments..


Many role-playing games,like D&d tend to be open-ended, almost sandbox games. Perhaps a proper test for an AI’s intelligence is not its ability to thrash a human player in a set of moves, but rather assess its ability to tell a compelling story.

In D&D players are required to inhabit many different characters through many games. Each individual player is often also required to switch between roles from warrior to thief to the healer. AI, on the other hand, seems to struggle to apply its well-trained algorithm to domains even slightly different from what they are used to.but, humans are able to perform this mental trick without any difficulty.

AI algorithms will go head to head with winning strategies reinforced and rewarded.Whilst certainly effective, this will only make an AI more and more specialized and not well rounded. For open ended sandbox games, like RPGs,this often requires the player to think creatively and cooperatively with other players.

If AI learns the simple smart tricks from humans rather than beating us in chess, it would make them more multi functional and adaptable. This could be the key for developing the brightest and realistic AI in the near future.
Until,lets get some fresh air and bruises playing in the ground!

Subashree Mahendran

She only does not have hands on all, but keeps her mind too. An austere computer engineer turned blog writer. Thanks for looking up my profile. Happy reading.

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