To you, what is an acceptable use of AI in game creation?


Community Contributor
There was an article at PCG (for "reasons" I can't search for the article right now) about a week or two ago about a small developer who was coming under fire for various reasons, but one of those reasons was because they had used AI to create icons for their UI.

Personally, I thought every single accusation against this developer was completely frivolous and made by people who have too much time on their hands and are in constant attack mode when it comes to small developers (a lot of this comes from YouTuber Jim Sterling, IMO), but it did make me wonder about different opinions on what is acceptable regarding AI and game development.

There seems to be a growing, grassroots backlash against AI at the moment, though I think that, ultimately, such complaints are in vain and that the tech promises to be too powerful for developers not to use it. But along those lines, is there a limit to what you feel would be an acceptable use of AI in game development?
I say embrace it and knock it out of the park! I'm not a developer, but I would think that having AI as a tool would be incredibly good for being able to make some fantastic games because they can more realistically reach stuff that would be next to impossible otherwise. Think about all the overtime and stress that could be minimized by having the AI ease the burden so to say. It will depend on how each game company uses the AI, especially now that this is so new that it is hardly regulated if I were to guess.

I would not mind playing a game made "purely" by AI. I guess developers could make their own AI program, feed it all kinds of material that are related to their own game vision, and then have the AI start crafting it. I can see the AI doing the dirty work and then having the artist do the handicraft.

Ferdinand Von Shircach (lawyer/writer) talks about how AI could be used in the justice system as a tool for bringing up similar criminal cases and in that way be in help of gathering a lot of historical information that would otherwise have taken weeks or months. It is here I think AI can also work quite well with games, in that it can gather tons of information and lay foundations the artist can work from.
I've kind of got mixed emotions about this, but I'm mostly skeptical about it.

For one, we've seen that COVID and other global problems have definitely affected release time frames and QA. It seems many companies, gaming related or not, are expecting consumers to expect a new, even lower level of QA than we were getting before these problems because of it.

Secondly, Ubisoft have now developed what they have called an "AI" to help writers write dialog barks quicker (Ghostwriter), but then admitted it's really just a DL tool. Some, including myself, are concerned that this will make NPC dialog less emotional.

Clearly Ghostwriter was made primarily to speed up bark writing, not to improve it. Do we really want to see use of such tools become common place, where game development could become even more rushed and poorly tested?

Ubisoft is a good example to use here, because they are not ones to listen to their customers, have neglected some of their best franchises, and their stock has plummeted. I feel these will most likely be the situations that will warrant use of such tools, and I feel it is done out of desperation more than practicality. What I mean is if Ubi had listened and made more rational decisions, they probably wouldn't be in the situation they are now.

The bottom line is, you can have the best dev team and tons of great software tools, but if your studio lead doesn't communicate well, you will still have big problems and time/budget overruns. Such was the case with id's Rage, and John Carmack in a rather lengthy keynote speech said it was his lack of communication skills with his team that caused it.

As far as an acceptable use of, I'll call it advanced game design software vs AI, because I think it's more apropos, UE's RealityScan is pretty useful even to first time devs. It's a tool that allows you to scan a 3D object with a cell phone, and convert it to a useable game asset. Of course my main nitpick with UE, as it is with many it seems, is it's tendency to stutter badly, especially since UE4, particularly when shader compiling is being done while playing. This is why games now are more commonly using main menu shader compliers that can take several minutes, which is a feature with hit and miss results.
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I'm all for AI doing the heavy lifting like lighting a room/shadows or texturing large areas/distant stuff/unimportant stuff so developers spend time working on the more relevant side like ideas, creativity, detailing and/or key areas.

Problems really begin when AI kills creativity. If i said to an AI make me a game with a set of criteria, walk away for a few hours and then stuck the gold image on steam for 54.99 i would be somewhat dismissive of the game or the "developer". Presumably Jim sterling was probably going for the asset flip angle people just getting a load of assets and/or having no to no input and just releasing it as a game and having the balls to say they were the developer when they did no work at all.

That said, i like to think AI for brainstorming is good as it creates the foundations of what you want and just finish it off unifying the thing. A key part of good art is not painting the image, its about capturing the feeling and eliciting a feeling. I could paint a photo realistic like still life and people would say "yeah it looks very realistic, almost real but surely if you're going to do that, why not take a photo instead?"

I've seen some of the AI artwork and its good but the question is how much of that output was really your vision in your minds eye? If you're not good at a certain skill and or after the end result i guess nobody would care.

Again i'll need more context. buttons and ui? well... that's a bit harder to judge. You can buy game assets and various other UI borders, bits and pieces and just do that.
I don't care how much AI gets used during development, as long as the game turns out well. Working with AI will require a new set of skills, so we'll probably see it go wrong in different ways as developers adapt to new AI systems, but I don't doubt that AI will eventually just be seamlessly integrated in every part of the development process, especially for AAA games.
Jan 14, 2020
It may lead to many more poor quality games - we have a LOT of those already.
Equally it may lead to better quality games, in terms of graphics, optimisation and quicker development times.

It will almost certainly lead to job losses, but this is nothing new in any industry when something new comes along.

If it allows more smaller studios to produce AAA type games with less resources then I think it's a good thing.
I think that the AI tech in game production is unlimited, but also a bit of an unknown or wildcard in terms of future potential, and I don't want to see it shackled by clueless politicians, most of whom have never played a PC game in their lives. I think we, as gamers, game developers, and game producers need to establish those "acceptable" parameters ourselves.

My biggest sticking point right now is what constitutes copyright and/or copyright infringement. These AI programs are using resources; voices, faces, artwork, and other data that is originally created (or just exists in terms of voice & face) by other individuals. I think this needs to be addressed now so that there are no roadblocks down the road.

I have high hopes for this AI tech, especially when it comes to the potential of NPC, companion, enemy, and creature interactions and/or conversations. I don't want to see this potential shackled, but I also think that some individuals will need to be compensated and credited for their work, voice, of even face. It's a huge "grey area" right now, but I'd like to see it progress uninhibited by unnecessary political legislation, while at the same time satisfying those whose work, voice, face is being used.


Staff member
Nov 25, 2019
I think procedural generation in level design is potentially great- unlimited levels and hours of play, but also dangerous, e.g potential for rubbish levels and bad game experiences. At some level we've already been working with AI/ eg matchmaking equations and bots, so its not really a new thing, I think the issue comes with as said above, giving credit where it's due for art, music and writing and the potential for zero oversight from humans. :)

bleep bloop
Jun 6, 2023
An acceptable use of AI in game creation can be seen in various aspects of game development. Here are a few examples:
  1. Procedural Content Generation: AI can be used to generate game content such as levels, maps, or landscapes procedurally. This can help reduce the manual effort required to design and create large game worlds, resulting in more diverse and dynamic gameplay experiences.
  2. Non-Player Characters (NPCs): AI can be utilized to create intelligent and realistic behaviors for NPCs in the game. This can involve implementing decision-making algorithms, pathfinding, and adaptive behaviors, enhancing the overall gameplay and creating more immersive and challenging encounters.
  3. Player Experience Optimization: AI can be employed to analyze player data and provide personalized experiences. This can involve dynamically adjusting difficulty levels based on player skill, suggesting relevant in-game content or strategies, and creating tailored challenges to keep players engaged.
  4. Proactive Game Testing: AI can be used to simulate and test various game scenarios automatically. This can help identify bugs, balance issues, or design flaws, allowing developers to iterate and refine the game more efficiently.
  5. Natural Language Processing: AI can enable more advanced dialogue systems in games, allowing players to have more natural and interactive conversations with in-game characters. This can enhance the narrative and storytelling aspects of the game, making the player's interactions feel more engaging and immersive.
It is important, however, to ensure that the use of AI in game creation adheres to ethical considerations, respects player privacy, and does not compromise gameplay balance or fairness. Transparency regarding AI's involvement in the game's mechanics and its impact on player experiences is also crucial for maintaining trust and providing an enjoyable gaming experience.


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