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Square Enix researcher: Future of AI rooted in efficiency

With the next-generation of consoles on their way, programmers are looking for a way to become "more efficient" with how they use AI.

  • Text: Ben Lyons

It's a well-known fact that as hardware becomes more technically advanced, the software it uses follows suit, so it's no surprise to hear the technology coming with the next-generation of consoles will make it easier for AI programmers to create more complex games.

Speaking in an interview with VG247, Square Enix's lead AI researcher Youichiro Miyake spoke about how the AI systems will grow and become more diverse with next-gen.

"The next evolution of AI is going to be crowd AI," he explained. "Before, it was smart objects forcing different actions on the characters, next it's going to be territories that you'll designate as AI that will force different actions on the character".

When AI was first being implemented in the 1980s, the systems followed very similar methods being used today. This means the general concept of how AI is utilised in games has largely remained the same and that's down to processing power. Now the new generation is on its way, with much more processing power to fiddle around with, developers and coders can be more creative and use more advanced systems in creating games.

"The classic style of AI would set up multiple smart objects, a character would go in and it would know all the smart objects - you could have really detailed, interesting AI - but it comes at a high processing cost," Miyake described it, before going on to say that "it' more about trying to be efficient with your processing power".

These changes will not bring in a huge new era of AI gaming, however, as there will always be limits to how powerful a chipset or other factors can be. With this being said, Miyake believes machine learning will be a huge next milestone in development. "You're going to see more and more AI that reacts to a player's playstyle, to their personality," he said. This means AI will shift and dynamically adjust to whether somebody is good, bad, aggressive, exploratory, or whatever else they are showing in their play.

How do you feel about AI becoming smarter with next-gen gaming?