AI Terrain Generation?

Artificial Intelligence has always been a personal fascination.

The idea that we, as sentient beings, can create and manipulate a version of ourselves used to be outlandish at best, but with technology emerging as fast as it is, we’ve come a long way in our trek to eventually have a fully sentient, personified, computer program. And being on the video game developer track, I’ve been learning exactly how we can take advantage of certain tools and algorithms to randomly generate data that we would otherwise have to create ourselves.

And that brings us to the paper that was done by the University of Lyon, Purdue in collaboration with good ole’ Ubisoft on a program that generates terrain based on simple drawings on a sketchpad. Check it out:

So basically, you can draw simple lines and blobs on a sketchpad program, and the program will interpret those symbols and generate a terrain based on it with a little RNG, erosion, and amplification to help it look good. Like the guy says, it’s really just a guided terrain generation, which is something seen many times before. This program, though, does it in greater detail without having to do it manually, thus cutting the work that would need to be done on terrain generation immensely.

So what?

This would be a great resource to have for large-scale terrain generation for an open world game, but that’s kind of it. Don’t get me wrong, this is great for what it is, but have you ever wondered if we’ll ever get to the point where we can randomly generate an entire video game?

We’ve already seen Nvidia generate faces from the internet’s database of people’s vanity, so it’s not out of the question to assume that someday we will have a system where there’s just a company with an AI that just spits out video games as the wind blows. In my mind, it would have access to a database of the most popular video games of all time, sort them into categories based on core mechanics, concept, and genre, and it would then delve into each of those sub-groups and make a video game from each of them.

It’ll need some time and training in order for it to reach a point where actually get something playable, I’m sure. But seeing as how some of my friends have already made an algorithm to create rap songs, I think my generation is capable of the impossible.

But will an AI that can generate video games be useful to any extent? Most likely not. At least, it would take a lot of time and effort to train this thing enough to put out something indie-level, let alone a triple-a title. It’ll be more of a novelty thing, something for the geeks of the world to marvel at and j**z over in their dreams. You know, like Twitch plays.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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