What do you enjoy most about video games? Is it the immersiveness? The realism? The sense of adventure and excitement? You can thank Artificial Intelligence for revolutionizing these aspects of gaming, and making the transformation from old-fashioned games like Pong and Space Invaders to the graphic- and artificial character- laden games we have today. Because of the creative work done by computer scientists, games are constantly becoming more interesting and enjoyable, and some of the most important developments over the years have been realistic graphics and computer-generated characters and opponents.
AI technology has been making games more realistic for a long time. One of the most pivotal pieces of technology is Ray Tracing, which allows for realistic light and shadow rendering in games. Ray Tracing is almost like an eye that traces a path through each pixel while calculating the color of the object that is visible going through it. Ray Tracing works by extending “view rays” into an image and simulates these rays bouncing off surfaces to approximate the color values of pixels. This was revolutionary in the gaming industry because being able to quickly render realistic lighting and shadows allowed for games such as Minecraft to gain a new sense of realism.
Artificial Intelligence in gaming has not just made more games more realistic, but allowed for programmed bots that one can play against. Games like Chess, Checkers, and Connect4 for example have many different websites where you can play against the “computer, however, this is just an AI-based program that learns and adapts as one plays (This Connect4 solver uses AI to find the best moves). These programs can be adapted to play at different difficulties because they can become unbeatable at the highest levels. Computer bots like these are not just in board games, but also in games such as Fortnite, Rocket League, and Counter-Strike. Artificial Intelligence in this form allows for a much more exciting and social experience. In addition, AI can create interactable Non-Player Characters (NPCs) that make the game feel more immersive, often in VR games. This technology can be seen in titles like Half-Life: Alyx. The use of AI characters in VR is still relatively new, however, and its full potential has not yet been reached.
The use of artificial intelligence in the gaming industry is limitless and something that is still being revolutionized. Programmers, developers, and graphic designers are always dreaming of new ways to make gaming more immersive and exciting. As gaming expands into new forms like Virtual Reality, we can be sure that new, clever uses of AI will follow these developments.
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Entering the world of competitive programming can be an exciting moment. The possibility of being awarded for a skill you have honed in on for years is incredibly intriguing, but at the same time, it is the beginning of your competitive programming career, and as always, there are a couple of novice mistakes to be made.
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