May 23, 2019

The Exciting Future of Video Gaming

“If you asked video game fans what an idealized, not-yet-possible piece of interactive entertainment might look like in 10 or even 20 years from now, they might describe something eerily similar to the software featured in Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi classic Ender’s Game. In his novel, Card imagined a military-grade simulation anchored by an advanced, inscrutable artificial intelligence.

The Mind Game, as it’s called, is designed primarily to gauge the psychological state of young recruits, and it often presents its players with impossible situations to test their mental fortitude in the face of inescapable defeat. Yet the game is also endlessly procedural, generating environments and situations on the fly, and allows players to perform any action in a virtual world that they could in the real one. Going even further, it responds to the emotional and psychological state of its players, adapting and responding to human behavior and evolving over time. At one point, The Mind Game even draws upon a player’s memories to generate entire game worlds tailored to Ender’s past.

Putting aside the more morbid military applications of Card’s fantasy game (and the fact that the software ultimately develops sentience), The Mind Game is a solid starting point for a conversation about the future of video games and artificial intelligence. Why are games, and the AI used to both aid in creating them and drive the actions of virtual characters, not even remotely this sophisticated? And what tools or technologies do developers still require to reach this hypothetical fusion of AI and simulated reality?”

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