Nvidia’s Latest AI Generator Lets NPCs Hold Realistic Conversations With Gamers
By Nicole Rodrigues, 30 May 2023
Running into non-player characters (NPCs) while playing a game can either be an informative experience with pieces of lore being dropped during a throwaway conversation, or it can make for a somewhat awkward and stunted meeting with pre-written dialog that won’t let players get past a few lines.
NPCs might not have much to offer in terms of gameplay, but when they’re given interesting dialog, they can help make the world you’re in feel more fleshed out and real. Nvidia is opening this possibility up by implementing artificial intelligence into games and turning NPCs almost into chatbots.
The new tech comes with its recently unveiled Avatar Cloud Engine (ACE), which debuted at Computex 2023. In a demo titled Kairos, a snippet of the new AI generator is seen in the form of Jin, an NPC that owns a ramen shop. Previously, if you ran into a shopowner like Jin, the most you could do was accept or decline to sit for a bowl of ramen, or he might even tell you a little about the town or city the shop was in.
In the demo, players can skip choosing dialog options and speak directly to Jin via their headsets, like in a real conversation. Here, the person asks how he is, and he replies that he has not been so good. When asked why, Jin is able to delve further into his problems, stating: “I am worried about the crime around here. It’s gotten worse lately. My ramen shop got caught in the crossfire.”
His voice might sound a little robotic, but considering that this is still early days, it’s far more advanced than what gamers might have been used to in the past.
ACE was built upon Nvidia’s NeMo, which allows developers to input lore and backstories for different characters for the system to base on responses. NeMo also comes with its own in-house set of guardrails that prevents it from responding to hateful and inappropriate topics. It also contains Riva, a speech recognition tool, and the company’s Omniverse Audio2Face allows the character to pick up on realistic facial animations and speech tracks when talking to.
As futuristic and brilliant as this might sound, Kotaku points out the real impact this might have on the livelihoods of dedicated developers who are already facing difficulties in finding jobs in the gaming industry. And, if AI can take over all manner of creation, it might restrict the possibilities for people even further.
[via Engadget and Kotaku, cover image via Nvidia]
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