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Video game characters can react to your speech with Nvidia’s new AI technology

During Computex 2023, Nvidia announced Nvidia Ace for Games, which uses AI technology to create animations and dialogue for future video game characters in order to react to player speech.

Nvidia teased the new technology via a video game demonstration. It showed off a conversation between a player-controlled protagonist and a ramen shopkeeper. Instead of using a dialogue tree, the player was able to use their voice to speak to the video game character. The ramen shopkeeper was able to resbeinpond to the player, since it was using generative AI to generate dialogue in real time rather than using a pre-written script. 

All Nvidia needed to do was create a backstory for the character, so the character knew their own identity and occupation, as well as that they were required to deliver a mission objective to the player. Think of a character sheet in Dungeons and Dragons, and you’re not far off. 

But the AI was tasked with filling out the banks, creating a more dynamic conversation and being able to react to the player’s responses. This could open up a huge number of possibilities for future game developers. 

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Nvidia also revealed that AI will be able to animate the character in real time, creating facial expressions to match the tone and topic of the conversation. As a result, video game characters should come across as more realistic, resulting in a more immersive experience. 

The Verge reports that Nvidia confirmed that the technology will be able to “scale to more than one character at a time”, potentially making it possible for two different AIs to speak to each other with AI-generated dialogue. 

Nvidia’s AI technology isn’t perfect. While it was certainly impressive that the AI was able to develop dialogue in real time to react to the player’s speech, the dialogue sounded stilted compared to a professional voice actor/actress reading off a script. As a result, don’t expect this technology to suddenly appear in every single game going forward – it’s clearly in its infancy. 

But Nvidia Ace for Games is a remarkable first step, providing an exciting glimpse into the future for video games. 

The demo was created in Unreal Engine 5 by Nvidia and its partner Convai in an attempt to promote Nvidia ACE (Avatar Cloud Engine) for Games. It is able to run both locally and in the cloud.

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