I’ve been thinking lately about an interesting possibility for the future of game development. It may not be a realistic idea, but it’s one I figured I’d share anyway. I was imagining a day when artificial intelligence is advanced to the point where anyone in the world can ask in simple language for an A.I. assistant to complete a complicated task. If these A.I. assistants were capable of taking simple human input (no programming required) and learning the skills necessary to complete the requested task, so much would be possible. Just imagine if you could explain to an A.I. your dream video game idea, and then the A.I. would start toiling away, day and night working on creating a video game for you. Obviously game development is a complicated task, as proven by the fact that many talented programmers and designers often start with ambitions ideas and fail to create an enjoyable end product (cough: No Man’s Sky). But if A.I. got to the point where it could learn and work rapidly, I want to believe that it would be able to churn out “perfect” video games with regularity.
I should mention, that I have very little understanding of how artificial intelligence or machine learning currently works, but I don’t think that it’s entirely impossible for machines to someday outperform humans at any and all tasks. When this day comes I could imagine a person sitting down at a terminal and brainstorming video game ideas with an A.I. The A.I. would ask questions to help guide it along the creative process, but it could take care of most of the more intricate work (art design, programming) without much input. It would of course have studied everything there is to know about game design, and already know, for example, the general rules that apply to most genres. The A.I. would have the opportunity to observe you play other video games and have an understanding of the things that you enjoy and those that frustrate you.
It’s difficult to imagine a future where machines become excellent story tellers (though I doubt it’s impossible), so I think A.I. game designers would best be suited to craft sandbox games, or games that tend to follow widely accepted rules (such as sports or driving games). Still, it would be incredibly empowering to have an A.I. that could take my simple gaming desires and translate them into effective code and artwork, and ultimately a fully functional video game built just for me.
I’m sure there are many more practical and important tasks that A.I. will help us accomplish in the coming years, but I’m still going to keep dreaming about the possibility of having a personal video game development team in the cloud, even if it’s not likely to happen in my lifetime.