Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
This game needs generative AI

In the context of the current Steam Next Fest I stumbled upon the demo for a not yet released game called Hollywood Animal. It is an economic management game of a film studio starting during the Great Depression. At the start of the game is a sort of tutorial, where you choose one of three possible half-finished films, and are led through the game steps of bringing it into cinemas. During this process you get a summary of the plot of the film, which really helps to get an idea what the film is about. And that first film is the last one where you learn anything about the plot. Every film you make from now on is only defined by a couple of keywords, like being a romantic comedy in which the protagonist is a working man, and the antagonist is his angry boss. That obviously gives you some idea, but after the fun experience of seeing the plot for the first film, the bare-bones description of every other film is a disappointment.

So I couldn't help but think that generative AI would be the perfect solution for Hollywood Animal. Feeding a generative AI this list of keywords and asking it to produce a few paragraphs of plot summary is exactly what current AI technology is rather good at. And if the AI produces either a blatant copy of a known film plot, or produces something extremely strange, those results would still be entertaining in the context of a game that simulates a Hollywood film studio. Hollywood Animal allows you to create weird movies, like an action drama on a tropical island, where the protagonist is a knight, and the antagonist a serial killer. Getting generative AI to make a script for that film would be really funny.

The current situation of AI in games is characterized by the allergic reaction some people have against it. But with the endless possibilities of combinations of keywords in Hollywood Animal, it would be impossible to hire a real person to invent plot summaries for all possible films. The choice is between not having a plot at all, and having an AI-generated plot. That doesn't take away the job of anyone, nor is it a breach of copyright. Generative AI would simply make the game better and more entertaining.

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