The Impact of AI in Video Gaming


Kevin Urrutia




February 27, 2024

How Does AI Work in Games

AI has always been a powerhouse in gaming, injecting vitality, dynamism, and challenge into the player experience. When it comes to video games, AI is the ultimate game-changer! But what exactly does it entail? Let’s embark on a journey to uncover how game AI works with some captivating real-life examples!

What Is AI in Gaming?

Making a game with AI isn’t a novel idea; it’s been around since the dawn of video gaming. In gaming, AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to incorporating techniques that bring about more dynamic and immersive gameplay experiences.

AI in games primarily revolves around NPCs, or non-player characters, and their ability to demonstrate intelligent behaviours. This includes making informed decisions and interacting with the game environment and players in a natural and realistic manner.

Imagine AI in gaming as providing a virtual mind for NPCs, breathing life into the game world, and almost making you forget you’re interacting with programmed characters rather than actual individuals.

The hallmark of good AI in games lies in how well NPCs adapt to various challenges and provide different difficulty levels each time you play. It’s as straightforward as that: the better the AI, the more engaging and enjoyable the gaming experience becomes!

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Types of AI in Video Games

Now, let’s look at a few practical examples of how artificial intelligence in a game works. While numerous implementations exist, we’ll focus on the main and most common ones.

Rule-Based AI

Rule-based is one of the most prevalent uses of artificial intelligence in gaming. Operating on predefined sets of rules and conditions, it governs the behaviours of NPCs within a game.

Rule-based AI covers various situations. For instance, consider a scenario in a stealth game where an NPC spots you. In this case, rule-based AI dictates the NPC’s response, which could involve alerting nearby guards, engaging you in confrontation, or fleeing, depending on the game’s design and established rules.

Implementing advanced AI techniques in this context would result in NPCs exhibiting varied responses each time you encounter them in the game, enhancing the overall depth and unpredictability of the gaming experience.

Finite State Machines

Next, we have finite state machines, which structure the behaviour of NPCs by breaking it down into different states and the transitions between them. Each will call for a predetermined behaviour or action, with the transitions occurring when something triggers that state.

For instance, if you play a combat game, an NPC might transition from guarding to an alert state when it detects you nearby.

Pathfinding AI

Pathfinding AI has a particular purpose — finding the optimal way for NPCs to navigate the game environment. Here, different algorithms are used to find the shortest path possible – avoiding obstacles.

That way, NPCs move more intelligently and realistically through complex environments in the game. As you can imagine, this is a use of AI in games industry that sees constant improvements with each new game, regardless of the genre.

Machine-Learning AI

It is also common among advanced video games, as it introduces a level of adaptability to the NPC’s behaviour. Machine-learning AI means that the game and all the characters will use past experiences and data to make decisions.

That way, NPCs can learn from interactions in the game and adapt their actions accordingly. A good illustration here would be a racing game, where an NPC may use previous actions to learn how to make better turns or choose better racing lines.

Behaviour Trees

Behaviour trees represent a more adaptable approach to NPC behaviour within games. As the name implies, this model comprises a hierarchical structure of nodes, each representing distinct actions or conditions.

In this advanced model, nodes are interconnected to form a tree that dictates the behaviour of NPCs. These trees empower NPCs with sophisticated decision-making capabilities, enabling them to dynamically adjust their state or actions based on changing circumstances. As such, behaviour trees represent a significant advancement in the realm of AI in gaming, offering enhanced complexity and realism to virtual characters.

Reinforcement Learning

Lastly, we have an exciting use of gambling AI through the Reinforcement Learning AI model. With it, NPCs get particular feedback – often in the form of rewards or punishments for completing specific actions.

For instance, if you love strategy games, you will surely come across this approach. In a game of that kind, an NPC might learn that if it gathers resources and does not waste them, it can increase its chances of securing a win.

Much Better Graphics

Indeed, AI in games isn’t just about enhancing gameplay mechanics; it also plays a pivotal role in elevating graphical fidelity. Take, for instance, the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, renowned for its stunningly photorealistic visuals with each new instalment.

In developing these games, creators leverage AI to match real-world cityscape frames and seamlessly integrate them into the game environment. This process results in smoother asphalt, shinier cars, and lifelike backgrounds, immersing players in an authentic city environment.

Through the application of AI, gaming experiences are transformed, blurring the lines between virtual worlds and reality and ensuring players are transported to incredibly immersive and visually captivating settings.

What Are the Perks of AI in Games?

No one can doubt that AI is making video games much better, and that influence is likely to increase in the future as technology advances. So, with all that in mind, here are the main benefits of AI in games:

  • Better gaming experience
  • Adaptive gameplay
  • Realistic NPCs and unpredicted behaviour
  • Dynamic game difficulty based on the player’s gameplay
  • Data mining to improve the gameplay
  • Efficient game testing

FIFA – A Great Example of a World-Class AI-Backed Game

With all the aspects discussed, it’s clear that AI significantly impacts gaming, and the FIFA franchise stands out as a prime example of leveraging AI to enhance the player experience.

Thanks to AI, each new release from EA Sports surpasses its predecessors. Opponents exhibit greater intelligence, graphics achieve stunning realism, and game scenarios mirror real football matches, resulting in unparalleled engagement among players.

Gone are the days of predetermined outcomes in FIFA games. AI ensures adaptive gameplay with unpredictable results, akin to real football matches. Moreover, FIFA implements the Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment system, monitoring player performance and adjusting difficulty levels accordingly.

Similarly, igaming software development is leveraging AI to revolutionize online gaming experiences. By implementing intelligent algorithms, igaming platforms can offer personalized gaming experiences, enhance player engagement, and ensure fairness and security, marking a significant advancement in the digital entertainment industry.

While some industries may face challenges due to AI advancements, the gaming industry isn’t one of them. AI undeniably enriches video games, promising even more exciting developments in the future. 


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