Unlocking the Power of AI in Game Creation
In the fast-paced world of game development, where time is precious and innovation is paramount, developers are constantly seeking ways to create games faster and better. Fortunately, a new era has dawned upon the industry, powered by the remarkable capabilities of AI tools.
These cutting-edge technologies are transforming the game development landscape, enabling developers to streamline their workflows and unleash their creative potential like never before. Prepare to revolutionize the way you create games using the newest tech!
What You’ll Learn
- Some of the most useful AI tools for game developers.
- Tips and techniques on how to leverage AI.
- Ideas to inspire you on your game dev journey.
Why Should Game Developers Use AI Tools?
Game developers have always been at the forefront in the creation of artificial intelligence. Even a simple game like Pong uses a primitive AI to control the opponent’s paddle. Developers utilized AI to craft enemy behaviors, generate procedural content and create adaptive difficulty. Although these achievements are remarkable, I would like to focus on a different aspect of AI. Specifically, I aim to explore the use of cutting-edge AI tools like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion to elevate your game development process.
Making a game is tough and requires a lot of technical know-how in areas like programming, storytelling and art design. If you don’t have a team, you have to rely on your own skills for everything. But with the right tools, you can get the job done and have fun at the same time. Even if you have a good process in place, AI can help you create prototypes faster and assist you in refining new ideas.
In this article, I want to share a handful of tools and techniques I’ve found beneficial for game development which I hope you’ll find useful as well.
Getting Inspired by AI
I’m sure you’ve had times where it seemed like your creativity ran dry or you ran out of ideas for a fun game mechanic. You’re not alone! Thankfully, there are plenty of AI tools out there that can help you get back on track. The most popular and well-known AI tool at the moment is ChatGPT, a chatbot created by OpenAI. While some people like to ask it silly questions, it’s actually a great tool for game development. The large language model (LLM) powering ChatGPT is trained on a variety of text data and can generate creative ideas for you with ease.
Here are some examples of what ChatGPT can conjure up for you:
- Ideas for game mechanics
- A creative vision for your game
- An interesting theme
For example, you can ask ChatGPT to generate an idea for a game concept:
Write a game concept for a game that has elements from X and Y with a Z theme.
Which might look like this:
Write a game concept for a game that has elements from chess and first person shooters with a horror theme.
In my case, ChatGPT wrote out a full concept for “Checkmate: The Haunted Battle”, in which players need to strategically navigate through rooms of a haunted castle. The game has two phases: a chess phase and an action phase. By doing well in the chess phase you get an advantage while shooting supernatural beings in the action phase.
Give it a try for yourself! Remember that you can always ask ChatGPT to generate more ideas for you or flesh out what it already wrote. Add constraints to make the results more interesting.
Story and Dialog Generation
Maybe you already have a game, but you need some content characters and their dialog. What would they look like? What are their motivations? With some clever prompting you can quickly generate dozens of characters, each with their own unique personality.
Here’s a simple example to get you started:
Create five interesting characters for a videogame set on a pirate ship. Provide a name, appearance, motivation and catch phrase for each.
As you can see, it’s pretty easy to generate a bunch of characters from which you can cherry-pick the ones you like most.
To go to the next level, you can ask ChatGPT to generate some dialog between the characters in the same chat:
Generate 4 lines of dialog between Captain Blackbeard and Scarlet Siren. Scarlet asks Blackbeard why he's still wearing those old clothes.
I hope that’s enough to give you a rough idea of how powerful ChatGPT alone can be. If you want to try some other AI-powered chatbots, check these out:
They all tend to give different results so pick the one that works best for you.
Alright, enough about chatbots for now, time to delve into creation of art assets!
Creating Digital Art
The ethics of creating digital art using AI is somewhat of a touchy subject, and one that I won’t into here, since my focus is on sharing tools you can use as a game developer. With that said, I think everyone should have a basic understanding of how to create digital art using AI. It’s a great tool in your arsenal and it’s easier than you might think.
Here are some examples of what you can do with image generating AI tools in the context of game development:
- Create concept art.
- Generate backgrounds.
- Whip up beautiful character portraits.
- Make icons for inventory items.
My personal favorite AI tool for art is Stable Diffusion, which is a deep learning, text-to-image model that you can run locally on your machine if you have the hardware for it. It requires at least 16GB of RAM and a modern NVIDIA or AMD GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM, but I highly recommend at least a GTX 1080Ti or better so you don’t have to wait long to generate your art.
The easiest way to get started with Stable Diffusion is to use the popular Stable Diffusion Web UI by AUTOMATIC1111, which is a free, open-source, web-based tool to create and edit images using Stable Diffusion. I used that application to create all the images in this article to give you an idea of its capabilities.
If you don’t have the hardware to run Stable Diffusion locally, you can use a website like Leonardo.ai to generate your art. After signing up, you’ll receive an email to activate your account. Once activated, you get a generous 150 tokens each day to generate artwork.
Both the Web UI and Leonardo.ai have support for the DreamShaper v7 model, which I highly recommend as a starting point if you want to create art in a realistic or fantasy style.
Another text-to-image tool that’s popular is Midjourney, a Discord bot for which you’ll need a paid subscription. I prefer free tools like the ones mentioned above, but it has lots of users that love it.
All of these tools work the same way: you enter a prompt, then the AI generates one or more images. You can customize the images to your liking, and you can choose an image style like fantasy, sci-fi or a comic book style. With Stable Diffusion, you can even train a model on your own images so it can generate artwork that matches a person or your own art style.