Midjourney Solutions

AI Can Give You an NPC That Remembers. It Could Also Get Your Favorite Artist Fired

As game developers wrestle with the challenges and opportunities of incorporating AI tools across the industry, those same tools continue to increase in complexity.

AI has transformed from a novelty to a necessary force in the game industry. For both developers and players, new opportunities and difficulties exist with each algorithmic advancement.

In March 2023, a Reddit user shared a story of how AI was being used where she worked. “I lost everything that made me love my job through Midjourney overnight,” the author wrote. The post got a lot of attention, and its author agreed to talk to WIRED on condition of anonymity, out of fear of being identified by her employer.

“I was able to get a huge dopamine rush from nailing a pose or getting a shape right. From having this ‘light bulb moment’ when I suddenly understood a form, even though I had drawn it hundreds of times before,” says Sarah (not her real name), a 3D artist who works in a small video game company.

Sarah’s routine changed drastically with version 5 of Midjourney, an AI tool that creates images from text prompts. Midjourney has also been widely criticized for violating copyright of visual artists and stealing their work in order to train its image generation engine, criticism that’s led to a massive copyright lawsuit.

According to Sarah, there was a great demand for hand-built 3D environmental and character assets when she first entered the gaming industry. She claims that a 3D motion capture suit took up 70% of her time, conceptual work accounted for 20%, and the remaining time was spent post-processing. There is no longer any 3D capture effort involved in the workflow.

She explains that her business discovered a way to use Midjourney with photos pulled from the internet, combining already-existing images, or just typing a video game name into the prompt to obtain decent, controllable results. The character that formerly took us several weeks now just takes hours—with the drawback of only having a 2D image of it, according to Sarah. “Afterwards, most outputs only need some Photoshopping, fixing errors, and voilà,” adds Sarah. It is effectiveness in its finished state. After a vernissage for which they previously created the work, the artist is left to act as a cleanup commando, picking up the rubbish, she continues.

According to Diogo Cortiz, a cognitive scientist and professor at the Pontifical Universidade de So Paulo, “There is extensive research on how to cut development costs with AI, not only in video games but in the entire entertainment industry.” Cortiz is concerned about fair pay and employment prospects, and he asserts that labor laws and regulations in the tech sector might not match the gold rush that has been a sign of the adoption of AI. “We can’t use machines to do everything. Not only are professions less meaningful if we allow them to take over creative duties, but our cultural output suffers. He adds that downsizing and automation cannot be the only factors, and that video games also reflect and influence societal ideals.

Get More: https://www.wired.com/story/ai-game-design-midjourney-ethics-development/

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