The creation of smart contracts and Web3 interfaces has given rise to a whole new genre of play-to-win or non-fungible token (NFT) video games. But during the crypto bull market of 2021 and the subsequent crash of 2022, many of the games in this niche experienced incredible ups and downs in terms of player numbers and transaction volume.

Despite this volatility, a Web3 gaming executive who spoke to Cointelegraph says that new innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) will make the genre better than ever.

Alex Connelly is the CTO of Immutable, developer of the Gods Unchained digital collectible card game and the Immutable X NFT platform. He told Cointelegraph that OpenAI, an American AI-focused research lab dedicated to developing AI-friendly applications that can help with a variety of tasks, the software will enable new possibilities for Web3 games, allowing developers to create a better art, more challenging encounters, and superior storytelling. leading to a more immersive and rich experience for gamers.

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Connelly said the area his team is looking the most for OpenAI applications is art. In the past, video game artists often had to create multiple versions of the same images. For example, it was often necessary to have multiple sizes of the same images or slightly different versions that emphasized different parts of a piece of art. This sometimes led to a lack of efficiency. But with OpenAI software, artists can now experiment with letting AI create different versions of an artwork, freeing up artists to spend more time creating original works.

Challenging players… but not too much

Beyond the immediate benefit of creating better art, Connolly said there were other areas where OpenAI could improve games in the future. One topic the team has been discussing is creating AI that can dynamically adjust to player skill levels, creating encounters difficult enough to be fun, without becoming overwhelming. Connelly stated:

“I think we’re really excited about the potential of this technology to create more meaningful counterplay for opponents, so a challenge in things like collectible card games or role-playing games is building an AI that has the right degree of difficulty. for and adapts a bit to the needs of the players. I think we can create really deep and immersive continuous learning curves for players that match where they are in games.”

“I think that’s a really important thing to make sure you don’t have something that’s so easy that nobody plays him or so hard that it’s just not fun to play against him, find that good curve and make that player custom. That is an amazing use of this technology,” he added.

Immutable’s collectible trading card NFT game, Gods Unchained

Of course, video game developers have always tried to create AI programs for computer opponents that provide the right difficulty for players. But the Immutable executive says that OpenAI provides a better approach compared to strategies used by developers in the past:

“I think a lot of what’s been built in games previously has been what I call ‘handwritten’ AI where the opponent in the game bases their decisions on a bunch of programmed rules that a programmer has put in there.”

Connelly continued: “You have to tell it what to do, instead of just saying ‘Hey, we’re an AI playing the game. The goal of the AI ​​is, win all the time? Is it to win about 50% of the time? Is it to win about 50% of the time against this player?’ […] There’s a lot of blur and a black box in the middle of that model, […] With this new technology, people are able to create more personalized experiences for games.”

Connelly said that this new technology will not only make it easier to create AI for computer-controlled opponents; it will also lead to “more personalized custom content, a complete single player experience.”

ChatGPT and GPT3 narration

One of the newer pieces of OpenAI software is the Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, also known as ChatGPT, which has already been used to create trading bots, blogs, and even crypto songs.

In response to a question about whether Immutable plans to use ChatGPT in its games, Connelly said that the team is only in the early stages of considering it, since it’s so new. However, she did say that the team has been using an earlier incarnation, GPT-3, to experiment with ways to create an AI storyteller that tells stories based on the plays that occur within a card game, as she explained:

“We think there are very exciting opportunities to tell stories with this technology. We’ve explored ideas like, say, you’re in a card game and you’re playing cards getting GPT-3 to tie that together into a story. […] No human being could go ahead and write a story linking the information of an entire game. It would just be impossible when we’re talking about millions of games here, right?

Despite this optimism, he cautioned that the team has run into some issues trying to implement this storyteller idea. Initial testing resulted in “spam” narration distracting from gameplay rather than adding to it, so the team is still trying to figure out how to put the right amount of narration into a card game.

Guild of Guardians, Immutable’s upcoming Web3 dungeon crawler. Source: Guardians Guild YouTube Channel

“We did this thing that sounded great. But, when we actually play, it confuses them. [players] or does not resonate directly with them. We’re still finding the right balance between, how do we make sure that if we do this, it doesn’t create a lot of spam content? I think that’s something where NFTs and gaming have some potential uses in reducing the amount of spam that’s being produced or introducing some costs so people can still have […] richer experiences,” he said.

Web3 game developers embrace OpenAI

Connelly said it’s not just Immutable looking to use this technology to improve games. He also sees that partner developers who release items in Immutable X are becoming more interested in experimenting with OpenAI.

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In his opinion, Web3 studios tend to be the most enthusiastic about using these new technologies compared to other studios. Although all game studios want to use OpenAI to improve their games, he says that big studios face an “innovator’s dilemma” that makes it more expensive for them to take the risks of implementing OpenAI features. For that reason, he expects Web3 and NFT gaming to lead the way with these technologies in the future.

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