Until recently, artificial intelligence (AI) was largely used to determine the behavior of non-player characters in games. But as gaming experiences—like virtual and augmented reality—have grown over time, AI has grown along with it.
“A lot of people have been surprised by how AI has progressed,” says video game designer Will Wright at E3 in Los Angeles on Wednesday. “About five years ago, it started hitting the steep part of the curve. We can do a huge amount with machine learning [now], which opens up so many possibilities.”
And for Wright, creator of iconic games like The Sims, SimCity and Spore, one of those possibilities is his upcoming video game, Proxi, set to launch sometime this fall.
Wright took the stage at the E3 Coliseum to talk about the future of gaming, artificial intelligence, and its connection with Proxi.
The simulation mobile game, developed by Gallium Artists, incorporates AI by using players’ memories to shape a unique, case-by-case gaming experience. Once a player catalogues their real-life memories, likes and dislikes, every element of the game—from dialogue to mini-games—adapts itself to suit its player.
“It’s going to ask questions to understand you and present things to you in a way you haven’t thought,” Wright said.
Wright credits his fascination with sci-fi films and shows, like Star Trek, for his interest in human behavior and emerging technologies.
“When I was a kid, my favorite movie was 2001 Space Odyssey...the thing that stuck with me was the idea that people can talk to [machines]. One day, machines might talk,” he said.
But it was during his nearly 10-year break from video development that led him to further explore the concept, the human mind, and how they can translate into a unique gaming experience.
“The idea of machine understanding me and becoming a tool fascinates me…I began getting interested in how I can map that through entertainment and games. It really comes down to memories,” he said.
Although Proxi’s inception stemmed from Wright’s personal interest in the subject, it was developed with the users in mind. Through the game’s prompted questions, machine-learning technology and customized world, Wright hopes to provide more than just entertainment—he strives to incorporate an element of self-reflection as players “memory world” becomes more detailed.
“I’m fascinated by how we can use gaming and entertainment to learn more about ourselves,” he said.
And although Wright doesn’t know what the future of entertainment looks like, he knows that gaming and AI will be a big part of it.
“Books and media are always going to be the same…games have the possibilities to evolve. I love the idea of a game getting to know more about me and modifying [itself] to become more like me.”