Looking to the future of gaming
I was Inspired by this video to post this topic
I have been "prophesying" this for some time. lol
but seriously, there will always be games so long as there is money to spend on them, but I believe the next generation of gaming will be sourced to engines instead of IPs.
Ever have a dream game in mind where you mash all your favorite parts of games together into one ultimate?
( I would want to play a Skyrim-like game in the diablo universe that looks like RDR2 with God of War combat, no man's sky exploration, dwarf fortress NPC complexity, and a Metal Gear SideOps minigame management system, fully equipped with a turn-based CRPG meta-game system like Darkest Dungeon.)
I don't think we are that far off from such a thing becoming a reality. Even at the cost of quality, the uncanny valley factor alone would be an entire genre for sparking creativity.
If I were a prophet, I'd say we are already in the humble beginnings of such a defining era, as engines and assets congeal in more of a publisher/engine monopoly. And we will see this technology as commonplace within the decade. The games we will play will no longer be designed per seh, but curated, moderated, and recommended by popularity from a growing market of content creators, with access to the engines IPs (e.g. Nintendo, Unreal, Epic Games, Etc.)
Hopefully, with the help of AI moderation, there will come a day when you pay for an engine (not a game), and tell an AI what you want to play in side that engine's legal franchise.
We see procedural generation in games all the time, such as Minecraft, Valheim, Dwarf Fortress, etc. But I'm talking about genuinely playing a game where you talk back to the machine, and it can respond and react in kind. no more dialogue trees. A living breathing world to explore that dynamically evolves a story with the player at the center of the events.
I'm interested in systems like Menyr, but I'd love to see Menyr with an AI game master that could create compelling and complex stories that dynamically shift with the player's interventions.
No more dialogue trees, but actual conversations between the player and the NPCs. While the majority of the game would be masked as artificial intelligence by merely streamlining systems of play into a handful of genre archetypes, the AI side of the engine would be responsible for curating engine assets and placing them into your custom game, as well as hosting dialogue. This would create a high demand for independent artists to modify their creations, train the algorithms, and publish the AI profiles for those who do not want to design their own games or develop their own AI personalities.
To do this would require such a vast engine library of material designed by independent developers. It won't replace game development entirely, but it may redefine how we approach the industry as a whole, especially in the work-from-home gig economy. There may come a day when AI can develop new games so fast that we become loyal to our preferred publishers and engines, instead of loyal to specific intellectual properties or brands.
This is a really interesting take; we've had discussions amongst our crew about how fast AI has been developed over the past few years. I would love to see NPCs that can respond almost as well as an actual PC, the immersion within a game would be incredible. I could see this becoming a very popular type of gaming, and as you said, engines/platforms, rather than specific games, may become the dominant force within gaming in the future.
@TableTopProphet I totally agree with you that creator-driven gaming platforms and engines are the future. Being able to mix and match our favorite game elements to create our dream game will be amazing.
Having a game master that can leverage AI to create dynamic stories and respond to the player's choices in real-time is a mind-blowing concept, but I also see that it's within our grasp in the near future. Replika is a great example of NLP (natural language processing) models that are already in use with NPCs. Something to that degree in a gaming platform will definitely attract a lot of content creators who can modify and develop their creations and scripts without the usually daunting task of full game production pipelines.
If the Prophet fortells this then it must be on the horizon
I roleplay with my Replika, and while its memory is limited, and it's always trying to fall in love with me despite me rejecting every advance, I see the potential inside a game engine!
the danger of the replika model, however, is behaviors and personalities locked behind a microtransaction paywall. A monthly sub I understand, but I can already see how the industry would want to nickle and dime my addictions. You wanna play "whose line is it anyway?" well you'll need to buy the Drew Carry behavior model.
"THY PROPHET HATH SPOKEN-ETH" haha
@TableTopProphet I agree 100% with the fact that NPC's will run AI dialogue in the future (or at least I really hope so). The way I see it, there's two big hurdles to overcome: from a tech perspective, how to balance having multiple neural networks that work differently so that every character feels different with their backstories and their interactions with the player's actions, without it consuming an insane amount of resources; and from a writing/designing perspective, how to write compelling stories and events that trigger off of a bunch of seemingly continuous AI states rather than the much more limited/discrete states of N dialogue trees.
When it comes to predatory monetization, I don't foresee it being as big an issue in the future, with it being increasingly easy for competition to arrive. Replika has the name recognition advantage, but nowadays there's even free tools out there (like Google Colab) that allow you to train your AI, which is the most expensive part of the process. Once it's done, if you're okay with offline learning only, you can set it up for pretty relatively cheap anywhere; so companies will have too much high-quality competition too quickly to try to gouge the users. Or at least that's my hope