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How is AI Being Used in the Gaming Industry?

Artificial Intelligence

How is AI Being Used in the Gaming Industry?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a hot topic over the past few years. Reports range from professing the revolutionary possibilities of the technology to warnings that sentient machines could spell the end for mankind. Thankfully, we’re not quite at that stage yet.

However, AI is certainly real and we're seeing its use increasing across a range of different sectors. The gaming industry was one of the earliest supporters of AI and has made extensive use of the technology. Let’s take a look at how AI is used in the gaming industry. Keep reading to find out more.

Non-Player Characters

Non-player characters, often referred to as NPCs, are the computer controlled in-game characters, monsters, and enemies that are encountered by the player. NPCs are a crucial part of the gaming experience, they drive narrative, create conflict, and simply make games what they are.

In years gone by, NPCs were programmed to follow strict pathways and behave in specific ways. These could be complex to the point that they seemed highly realistic, but in reality, they were stuck to a set pattern of behaviour that they were unable to deviate from.

With the advent of AI, we can expect to see NPCs become more realistic than ever before. They will be able to move throughout the in-game world on their own volition, responding to stimuli such as obstacles and terrain in a natural and believable way.

AI is set to significantly improve NPCs in combat games as well. Characters will be proactive rather than reactive, making for a much more engaging and realistic gaming experience.

Procedural Map Generation

Gone are the days when games were simple linear experiences with one set path to follow. Today, gamers demand open worlds with endless choices and possibilities. They need to be free to make their own decisions; do what they want to do and go where they want to go.

For developers, this posed a real problem. Modern games are enormous, it is impractical and often impossible to have all the game elements ready to go on the off chance that the player wants to interact with them. From games set in the real world to medieval games, modern titles rely on open, fully explorable worlds.

This is where AI comes in, by using AI drive procedural generation, modern games can dynamically generate maps and areas as and when the player approaches them. This can be elements that have been predesigned or entirely new areas created by the AI itself.

Real-Time Game Improvements

Another way AI is being used by the gaming industry is to provide real-time improvements and adjustments to the game as it is being played. One common example of this is for real-time difficulty adjustments. By tracking and observing a player’s actions and performance in the game, AI systems can adjust the difficulty level of different elements to better that particular player’s skill and experience level. This makes for a far more enjoyable and engaging gaming experience and avoids players getting frustrated with games that they find too difficult.

Data Collection and Analysis

AI has proved incredibly useful for the collection and analysis of data. AI can collect data from a wide range of sources, with in-game systems used to dynamically track player behaviour, actions, and responses. This data can then be used by gaming companies to inform decisions as they update existing games and build new ones, making improvements where they are needed and removing game features that players are not responding to.

Game Testing

Traditionally, gaming companies would hire large groups of people to come in and test their games. This can often be a long and arduous process for both the game developers and the testers, with testing sessions for larger games taking many months to complete.

With AI, games testing is moving closer to being a fully automated process. AI can take the place of a human player and play through a game at speed, testing every possible variation and combination to ensure there are no glitches or bugs. This makes for a far more accurate and time-efficient testing process that allows gaming companies to redistribute time and resources into other areas of development.


AI is set to revolutionise our lives. Experts predict it will be across industries and sectors and will herald a new technological dawn. Gaming companies have long talked about the potential of AI, and we’re now beginning to see the technology being implemented to produce more realistic, immersive, and enjoyable games.

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