Ubisoft and Tencent Level Up NPCs

Ubisoft and Tencent Level Up NPCs with Nvidia’s AI Brainpower

Ubisoft and Tencent are among the first major studios to utilize Nvidia’s AI-generated non-playable character (NPC) tools. Nvidia Ace is a platform that allows creators to generate NPCs via AI. The platform uses several different tools to achieve this, including dynamic rendering of characters into a game scene, an audio lip-sync tool that makes the character’s mouth match what they’re saying, and a text-to-speech tool that can create fully voiced, dynamic video game characters. 

The tool is also capable of translating player speech to text, feeding it to the AI NPC, and spitting out a response via a separate text-to-speech tool. This technology will revolutionize the way video games are developed and played. The use of AI-generated NPCs will allow game developers to create more immersive and interactive gaming experiences for players.

Nvidia Ace is not new, but the microservice opens the entire pipeline up to partners. Now, developers can use one piece of the toolset rather than the full closed system. As part of the announcement, Nvidia revealed that several big-name publishers are already on board. Both Ubisoft and Tencent are partners, though it’s currently unclear how each publisher intends to use the service.

Nvidia’s AI-generated non-playable character (NPC) tools are a significant breakthrough in the gaming industry. Convai, a partner studio, allows developers to modify a character’s backstory and personality, allowing NPCs to become fully formed within minutes. With its Ghostwriter tool, which the developer rather than an outside team created, Ubisoft also made clear its intention to use AI last year. Writers can polish samples made from AI-generated barks for NPCs.

Microsoft’s AI design tools, released in November, are meant to help Xbox developers with narrative and quest design. These tools help ease the burden of game development, but the stigma around the technology remains. Wizards of the Coast faced criticism for using AI art to promote Magic: The Gathering, which was banned last year. Players have vocally decried the technology since its growing popularity, primarily for being trained on the work of actual artists and not giving proper financial compensation.

At GDC 2023, developers were cautious but open about generative AI’s help with lightening the load of development. For those not fully bought in, the choice may soon be made for them.

However, it is expected that the use of AI-generated NPCs will allow game developers to create more realistic and engaging gaming experiences for players. The technology will enable game developers to create more complex and dynamic characters that can interact with players more naturally and intuitively.

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