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[Test] Tencent and Ubisoft are making NPCs with NVIDIA's AI-generated tools

The two developers have started integrating NVIDIA's AI-generated tools into their respective pipelines to help make NPCs for their games.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

February 15, 2024

2 Min Read

[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Game Developer and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource Games Press]

At a Glance

  • NVIDIA Ace lets studios use AI tools to fully generate in-game NPCs, from lip-syncing to conversations and animation.

Ubisoft and Tencent have taken further steps to incorporate AI into game development. Both studios have begun to use NVIDIA's AI-generation tool, Ace.

The PC company broke the news itself at CES 2024. Both companies are some of the first major studios to use the technology, which also includes NetEase and Genshin Impact studio MiHoYo.

Ace was formally announced last year, and lets companies generate non-player characters with AI. The tool also covers lip-syncing, rendering into the game, and text-to-speech player translation.

Developers can now use a portion of the Ace toolset, as of today. However, NVIDIA doesn't specify what data is being used to train Ace, and when asked, the company told Digital Trends there was "no simple answer."

"Generative-AI-powered characters in virtual worlds unlock various use cases and experiences that were previously impossible," said Purnendu Mukherjee, founder of partner studio Convai.

Through Convai, developers can modify a character's backstory and personality. Per the press release, Convai's tools allow for NPCs to become fully formed within a matter of minutes.

Ubisoft already made clear its intent to use AI last year with its Ghostwriter tool. Like Ace, it was made with NPCs in mind, though it's made internally at the developer rather than from an outside team.

Notably, it was also made with feedback from various Ubisoft writers. When used, writers can polish samples made from AI-generated barks for NPCs.

Both tools are joined by Microsoft's AI design tools revealed this past November. Made with AI studio Inworld, the tools are meant to help Xbox developers with various parts of narrative and quest design.

Tools such as these theoretically help ease the burden of game development. But stigma around the technology remains: this weekend, Wizards of the Coast faced criticism for using AI art to promote Magic: The Gathering.

After much scrutiny from the community, it admitted the promo art had "some AI components used."

Last year, Wizards had emphatically banned AI art in the use of its sourcebooks. 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.

"We need to update the way we work with vendors on creative beyond our products," acknowledged WOTC. "Along with so many others, we also want to get better at understanding whether and how AI is used in the creative process."

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.

Game Developer and GDC are sibling organizations under Informa Tech.

Read more about:

Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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