Everyone loves to escape reality once in a while – to venture across a new planet, create a new life in San Andreas, or simply focus on trying to get the Royal Flush that might take it all at the poker table. AI applications in online casinos have already been creeping into the games we play, but how will this affect the future of gaming?
What once was simply Facebook, now Meta is in a process of combining Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) to create a new world all together dubbed “The Metaverse”, but is this the future all gamers have been waiting for?
What is the Metaverse?
AI is everywhere, but what is Metaverse? The term “Metaverse” is not new, it was a phrase that was first spoken about in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction book, “Snow Crash” which was published in 1992! That being said, the Metaverse is said to be a highly immersive “reality” in which different games are all part of the same universe. Imagine buying a Fortnite Skin and being able to run around with it in Grand Theft Auto.
This would be a truly “cross-world” experience that would combine all gaming communities into one universe, similar to what the movie Ready Player One suggests.
Is the Metaverse the Future?
There are many speculations stating that the Metaverse is indeed the future. Although, at first it won’t be as we think it is. Many people suggest that the metaverse will first be a time before it becomes a place. A time where our digital lives are more valuable than our every day “organic” lives. Once this happens, the next step is likely to be full immersion.
Gaming will lead the innovation
As most of us have become aware, it is the gamers that lead innovation in the immersive sphere. Not many people have created an avatar to check their emails just yet, but millions of people have created a “sims” character, which they have used to build a different life for themselves.
Currently, Minecraft and Roblox are the two games that are able to host the most amount of people inside a single “world”. Their servers are currently able to host 10 000 players which are able to interact with each other at any given time. Although this is still far below what is required to create the metaverse which is currently being designed, it is definitely a step in the right direction!
AI’s role in the Metaverse
The role of AI has not been a foreign one to our so-called “organic world”, it is already being used almost daily with things such as Siri’s voice recognition and Tesla’s Self-Driving Cars.
This technology might then be used for the Non-Playable Characters (NPC’s) which will then not only be able to speak to us but will understand us too. This is a massive difference. If we take a look at some of the AI storytelling software that already exists, such as AI Dungeon. It is clear to see that there is an exciting world up ahead for future Rogue-like games.
The articulation seen in many examples has been fantastic. Gripping one into the story that is being created on the fly. Imagine the combination of these two AI’s, the power of understanding your spoken speech from Alexa or Siri, with the story capabilities of AI Dungeon. NPC’s will never be the same again.
And this is only the beginning!
Artificial Intelligence will not only create stories based on the information you input, but it will also be able to adapt the difficulty of the game to be slightly more advanced than your current skill set, but not so far advanced that you lose interest in the game. The AI will likely be able to read your playing style and adjust so it obtains the “Desired Difficulty” as some scholars call it.
What is Desired difficulty?
Have you ever tried to learn or play something that was way too simple, so you lost interest and failed to continue progressing or playing? This is what happens when the difficulty is too low. It can be compared to loading up Recruit Bot’s on Black Ops 2 after you have been playing the games for many years. However, have you tried approaching a task and it was too complex for you to feel any sense of enjoyment or accomplishment through doing it? This is a sign that the difficulty was too challenging to keep your interest. Imagine playing a game for the first time on the most difficult level.
To strike this balance, Desired Difficulty has been a challenge for game developers since the beginning of gaming. There have been many approaches on how this can be solved, although, with the advancement of AI, the game can be set to the perfect difficulty to launch the player into the Flow State. This means that game mechanics will be easy enough to learn for new players, yet challenging enough for the Veterans of the arena.
A Journey to full immersion
Our eyes have a special way of interacting with the environment. We have a spot in our eye that is most dense with optical receptors, which is where our vision is focused. The rest of what we see is in our peripheral vision. For VR to truly become a reality it will need to use AI that scans our eye movement to predict where it should project most of the information. This is so that it can be a true representation of reality.
The keyword here is to predict. It would not only track our eye movement but would also see our reality changing wherever we looked, making it appear as though we are standing still.
The combination of these factors seems to be a gamer’s dream! The question is, how far are we from this Metaverse? Is this something that is still largely dreamt up in some sci-fi movie, or is it the future that tomorrow may bring?
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