Revolutionizing Game Art with AI: Enhancing Asset Creation & Outsourcing

Guillaume Chichmanov
February 18, 2024

We are living in an era where two different but overlapping industries are progressing rapidly: one is the gaming industry, which has hit 347 billion USD, and the second is the AI art industry, which currently scores 403 million USD in annual revenues. It won't be a stretch to say that Artificial Intelligence has the potential to revolutionize gaming with improved machine translation, unlimited player customizations, infinite scenarios, and a bigger supply of designs than ever. 

As studios try to push frontiers, game art can be a massive catalyst for creating lifelike environments and realistic gameplay mechanisms. However, the full potential of AI gaming art is yet to be tapped in Metaverse and other platforms. This guide will discuss the roles it is currently playing and could play in the future for the gaming industry. 

How will AI advancements improve gaming designs and interactive landscapes in future games? Should you hire game artists for 3D art creation? These and many other questions will be answered below, so keep reading. 

Rendering Improvements 

The first thing that people notice while playing video games is their graphics. Although they have come a long way, AI can take them one step ahead by providing graphics with unprecedented clarity. Since modern AI relies heavily on machine learning and neural networks, game art outsourcing studios can now use features like deep learning super-sampling (DLSS) to improve images and ensure high-level performance.

Another technique called real-time ray tracing has significantly improved lighting and shadows, providing an immersive gaming environment. However, these techniques have not just made new games better; they can also be used to upscale older titles by uplifting their visuals and giving them modern aesthetics. 

Moreover, these advancements aren't just about visual improvements. They are also excellent for rationalizing computational resources. AI can determine which part of the scene needs more resources, thus allocating them efficiently, which might not be as accurate otherwise.

Character Animations 

Characters are another critical part of any game, which is why character animations and rigging are integral components of AI-based game development. Instead of using frame-by-frame animations, AI can develop animations that adapt according to the changing environment and generate complex movements. By integrating dynamic facial expressions with it, AI produces more refined and detailed gaming performance. 

Let's explore four major aspects of AI character animations: 

1. Facial Expressions 

AI has proven to be extremely useful when it comes to featuring nuanced and realistic facial expressions. With that, it improves both the NPC and player experience. Here are some of the highlights of AI in facial expressions:

  • AI-enabled NPCs develop expressions according to different contexts. Therefore, they can provide a more realistic gaming environment. 
  • These characters can design new facial expressions on the go, adapting to different situations instantly. Hence, they bring more dynamism to the gameplay. 
  • AI rigging allows for better muscle movements in different facial expressions, making characters more realistic.

2. Procedural Animation Techniques 

AI helps developers create lifelike movements without relying on manual keyframing. Instead, it uses algorithms that help characters adapt to changing environments and interact with them accordingly. AI-developed characters understand the complexities of the world and have complex physical responses.

3. Dynamic Motion Capture Integration 

Dynamic Motion Capture Integration deals with translating human movements in the real world to an in-game environment. It uses advanced machine learning and algorithms to predict movements, ensuring a more realistic character representation. In this area, Adversarial Networks (GANs) are the latest developments that take gaming personalization to the next level.

4. Creative Clothing Designs 

Clothing is also an integral element that enhances facial expressions to make a well-rounded character. Sophisticated AI algorithms can create a vast array of clothing options that vary in style, color, era, fitting different scenarios and player preferences. By leveraging the relevant AI tools, developers can fill their games with a rich collection of apparel and make them more appealing.  

Texture Enhancements 

AI has also significantly improved texture-creation for characters and environments. Developers can now use Generative AI that understands the complexity of real-world systems and generates the same in the gaming environment. Here's how Generative AI becomes useful in texture enhancements:

  • Analyzing large amounts of data to understand patterns and replicating them. 
  • Reducing development time by rapidly generating newer and better textures. It allows developers to focus on other things while AI handles the repetitive tasks. 
  • Continuous learning allows AI systems to harness more data as it comes in to improve texture creation.

Realistic Lighting & Shading 

It's not only texture that makes a gaming environment lifelike; one also needs to develop realistic lighting and its respective shadows to truly engage players. Thankfully, AI systems are capable enough to create dynamic lighting and shadows to enhance player experiences and make games more realistic. It does that by using sophisticated algorithms that automatically calculate the lighting conditions and their resulting shadows. 

These systems don't just develop static light but how light develops and behaves in the real world. Therefore, players experience a realistic shift in lighting and shadows while playing games. It also allows developers to build games with more depth and realism, which was previously very tricky. 

As a result, studios can develop games that depict light as it behaves during any time of the day or night without doing anything manually.

Environmental Design 

AI also enhances the gameplay experience by developing intricate landscapes that resemble real-life environments. Using advanced machine learning, AI uses the elements within a game to generate aesthetically pleasing environments that take the gaming experience to the next level. Here is how AI impacts environmental design in games:

  • Developing unpredictable terrains with Procedural Content Generation (PCG).
  • Creating new AI game assets by analyzing already available content and seamlessly blending the old and the new. 
  • Generating novel gameplay scenarios by curating personal quests and challenges.

Let's explore environmental design with AI a bit more and understand its various aspects.

1. Weather Simulations 

AI-enabled gaming environments also possess advanced weather simulations that can change rapidly. These weather conditions resemble the real world with rain, dust storms, snow, blizzards, and whatnot. 

With these weather intricacies, the game's atmosphere evolves with changing landscapes. Moreover, changing weather patterns introduce an element of unpredictability with pleasing aesthetics.  

2. Ecological Interactions 

Advancements in AI also allow game developers to introduce complex ecological interactions, making their games more realistic. These are organic interactions that players might experience in the real world, making the games more fun and elevating the overall experience. Some of the most popular ecological interactions in the games are:

  • Survival behaviors where predators and prey battle it out in an elaborate food chain. 
  • Natural plant growth and decay life cycles that mimic real-life conditions. 
  • Natural disasters and unpredictable weather patterns. 

Helpful Tools & Techniques

Creativity is the bedrock of success in the gaming industry. With hundreds of AI tools available to provide creative assistance, one must choose the best to stay ahead of the competition. Let's look at some of the best tools developers can use to develop creative and engaging games.

1. Unity 

The Unity Engine allows developers to turn their ideas into reality on any platform, from mobile to console. It can create everything from 2-D pixel art to elaborate 3-D graphics, depending upon one's vision. Unity has also incorporated the latest AI tools, such as the Unity Muse and Unity Sentis, that are transforming the gaming landscape.

1.a. Unity Muse 

Unity Muse turns your ideas into a gaming reality with natural language prompts. These tasks took hours and hours of work but can now be translated to a gaming environment in no time. Instead of spending time on the setup, developers can invest that time in things that matter more.  

1.b. Unity Sentis

Unity Sentis is a model built on the ONNX file standard to create new gameplay experiences. It allows developers to implement standard AI models, such as speech recognition. Moreover, Sentis uses the power of end-user devices instead of relying on a complex Cloud infrastructure.

2. Get3D by Nvidia 

Trained using 2D images, this generative AI has come a long way and can now generate complex 3D graphics from a building to a vehicle. With intricate geometric details and common formats, they can be transferred immediately. 

The details that can take a team several hours or days can be generated within minutes with Get3D. For instance, it can help developers generate large crowds or non-repetitive vehicles.

3. Scenario 

Scenario brings powerful AI tools that work equally well on all platforms. Developers can generate AI game assets using their advanced gaming engine that functions on mobile, too. So, you can create and preview your game designs on the go with text prompts and referential images. 

Scenario’s in-game API lets you leverage custom-trained AI models that also feature image creation, editing, and support for Ruby, PHP, Node, and many more. You can also connect it to the Unity Editor using a special plugin to bring all the Scenario's features to Unity.

4. AssetsAI 

AssetsAI is another powerful tool that helps developers generate their favorite styles and designs. It already has excellent assets that users can own forever after buying, with the platform adding new assets every week. From helmets to treasure chests, there is nothing that you cannot create with this AI tool.

5. TrainEngine 

TrainEngine works on a generative AI model that can create as many images and assets as you want across multiple categories. Thanks to its training based on a diverse dataset, you can use it to create icons, characters, 3D models, and whatnot.

Outsource Asset Creation to Cominted Labs 

Asset creation for games can be a hectic process, but it doesn't have to be. With Cominted Labs, you have an extensive team of experts who create 3D assets at unprecedented speeds. You just need to submit a request, and we'll develop the required 3D models and animations. While we are developing them, you can keep track of them and communicate directly with the project manager.

Cominted Labs has created a world-class 3D art assistant in Chat GPT with more than 1,000 tools plugged in, making us one of the largest game art outsourcing studios. Our extensive portfolio speaks volumes about our credibility and experience in 3D game art generation. We bring you the fastest development and delivery time with predictable and affordable pricing. So, contact us today and outsource your 3D game art creation to a reliable industry player.

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