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Generative AI is exploding and leading to the first AI-generated games and AI-created movies. And to mark the moment, a group of companies is staging The Culture AI Games and Film Festival on May 9 in San Francisco.
Edward Saatchi, CEO of Fable, is one of the founders behind the gathering, as is Philip Nastaly, CEO of the studio CHAPTR. On top of that, Fable and other companies are sponsoring the GDC AI Games Hackathon on March 23 with $10,000 in prizes for those who can demonstrate games featuring generative AI, Saatchi and Nastaly said in an interview with GamesBeat.
“There’s a lot of cool folks coming out of the woodwork in both AI games and movies,” Saatchi said. “We’re going to start to see the first game studios that are not just using AI but are building AI games and film studios building movies with AI.”
OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been at the forefront of the conversation, but Saatchi sees a lot more happening. He believes that AI-created games and AI-directed movies will be a new medium.
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To Saatchi, the idea of an AI game means the kind of games where a human game director is using AI as a tool (not games that are just automatically generated); a substantial amount of the final assets are made by AI; – the core mechanics and game loops are substantially driven by AI; and the AI learns and adapts through the player’s actions.
“The potential impact of this new technology on consumers, creators, and businesses is immense and could very well change the way we live our lives,” Saatchi said. “This is a remarkable opportunity for creatives to push the limits of AI in content creation and ultimately deliver an unparalleled audio-visual experience. We’re eager to witness the synergistic magic that comes from the intersection of human creativity and AI technology.”
The festival will show off games like Tales of Syn, the first AI-produced game, and White Mirror, the first generative AI feature film. The festival will be staged by Fable Simulation, Geppetto AI and The Culture DAO.
“We believe that the media industry and the broader media and entertainment industry will make a paradigm shift that will change the entire game,” Nastaly said. “We’ve seen many experiments, and most of them fail. We believe that the emergence of generative AI is changing the entire broader entertainment and media landscape. Each and every creator who could be decentralized or could be part of a community gets the tools to actually express himself or herself and the ideas that he or she has in their respective heads.”
And the GDC AI Games Hackathon will be hosted by Inworld AI, Fdotinc, Geppetto and Fable. Judges for the prizes include Jack Soslow of Andreesen Horowitz and Eugenia Kuyda of Replika.
Saatchi said that more than $550 million has been invested by venture capitalists into AI image, film and games generation in just the last 12 months. Those startups include game studio Avalon, Scenario, Geppetto AI game engine, Inworld AI, Deep Voodoo (from the creators of South Park), Stability AI, Runway ML, Synthesia, AI and Hour One.
“My sense is that generative AI is going to disrupt games and movies pretty massively and immediately,” Saatchi said. “Whether that’s using 3d AI, a Pixar-style movie, or making an anime — I think it’s gonna be massively disruptive. And not just for just text to not just for pre production, like concept art, not just for that, and post production, but actually making full AI games and full AI movies.”
He said films and games would still have creative directors, but ultimately one person will be able to do the work of many departments in both games and movies.
“Next year, one of the top 20 games and one of the top 20 movies is going to be entirely generated by AI,” Saatchi predicted. “I think that’s a reasonable goal for us.”
White Mirror is being co-created by 10 leading AI filmmakers. It is an anthology around “man and machine,” where each creator contributes a dedicated part. White Mirror is an example of a new genre of filmmaking — AI movies. These films still require human creativity, but leverage cutting-edge generative AI technology to express it.
The co-creators include Paul Trillo, Tom Clive, Holly Herndon, Tabitha Swanson, Tino Schaedler and more that will be announced in the coming weeks.
The film will be produced during a six-week community challenge where the AI filmmakers will create AI-generated short films. Each short film will use the latest AI technology around AI animation, AI voice, 3D AI including StableDiffusion, DALL-E, ElevenLabs and MidJourney. The White Mirror community will be able to engage in the creation of these short films via Discord.
The feature film is produced by CHAPTR, a new venture studio exploring new business model opportunities at the intersection of media, generative AI and web3 and The Culture DAO, which Saatchi helped start.
“White Mirror is a pioneering experiment at the intersection of generative AI, Web3 and content creation”, said Nastaly. “We’re thrilled to unleash the creative power emerging from brilliant minds, communities and technology — to ultimately create something truly groundbreaking: an AI-generated feature film.”
Nastaly and the Saatchi-started The Culture DAO are collaborating on AI entertainment.
With a mission to challenge the boundaries of AI-powered storytelling, White Mirror brings together a diverse team of top creatives from around the world while also forging partnerships with Open AI who are pioneers in the world of synthetic media and Google Cloud.
“With the ongoing technological advancements in this area, it is more a question of when, not if, we will see full-length feature films created entirely by generative AI,” Saatchi said.
Mario Clement, creative director at CHAPTR, said in a statement, “The transformative impact of AI on the creative industry is awe-inspiring. Every facet of the creative process, from the actors we see and hear on the screen to the artists behind the scenes, will be forever changed. Yet, rather than fearing innovation, we should embrace it, for it brings with it a kaleidoscope of new opportunities, new colors and experiences that will enrich and enliven our creative universe.”
AI games and AI movies
Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, said in an interview with GamesBeat that this is the moment for generative AI and video games, and Andreessen Horowitz has identified AI and games as a key investment focus for 2023.
“AI games promise richer characters powered by large language models, and faster production but, even more important it promises truly personalized play and meaningful choice — game worlds that react to your play style, decisions and games that are infinite and unique to each player,” said Saatchi, a two-time Primetime Emmy winning CEO and cofounder of The Simulation and cofounder of The Culture DAO. “With AI as a tool, it is only a matter of years until one game developer could create worlds as or more immersive than Final Fantasy, Witcher, Elden Ring and Red Dead Redemption.”
Tales of Syn is an AI RPG in the vein of Fallout 2, with rich combat, AI-powered dialog, NPCs and personalized AI. The game is set in Giga Bloc C, a sprawling metropolis in a future time period of Earth. The cityscape structure is a direct reflection of the class divide in its society.
The uppermost levels are affluent and green, controlled by The Echelon Corporation and housing the richest elites. The further you descend downwards the more poverty-stricken the districts become, with the lowest level being a lawless area filled with outsiders and governed by rival factions.
Another AI-driven game is Origins, a playable short that takes place in the city of Metropolis, where humans and robots coexist under a shaky social system that separates the haves and have-nots. After an explosion in Metropolis, you arrive on the scene as the lead detective. You’ll turn on your microphone to question witnesses, uncover the narrative, and crack the case. Characters respond to you in real time with unscripted dialogue and fluid emotions, based on your inquiries.
All of the characters in Origins are powered by artificial intelligence. Origins is a case study created by the team at Inworld to show how developers can incorporate AI NPCs into their game narrative and experiences.
Still another title is Echoes of Somewhere, an AI-assisted 2.5D adventure game. Also in the works are titles like The Simulation, which is coming from Fable; Hidden Door, a D&D-type social game powered by narrative AI.
Another related title is Nothing Forever Twitch AI Seinfeld, which is a 24/7 AI-powered version of Seinfeld. It’s not a full game, but the comments of the users have an impact on the AI’s decisions and scripting.
As for AI films, Saatchi said Hollywood is taking notice. Robert Zemeckis is working with StableDiffusion, a generative AI tool, for his new film Here with Tom Hanks and Robin Wright.
Darren Aronofsky at last week’s AI Film Festival in New York said of AI: “As far as conceptualizing ideas and projects and creating worlds, there’s clearly a huge tool that has been unlocked…There’s just so many possibilities for such a new type of visual landscape.”
“AI movies are the future,” said Saatchi. “In 2023, we will see the first AI feature film in cinemas. In 2024, the first blockbusters and by the end of the decade the majority of cinema will be AI-generated. Film writers and directors will be able to communicate ideas to cinema audiences. “
The amateurs and the professionals
User-generated content, when combined with generative AI, will close the gap between amateurs and true professionals, Nastaly said in an interview with GamesBeat.
“There are people who are very creative but don’t have the tools,” he said. “It will actually close the gap between the true professionals and the ones who are just somewhere in a community and want to create content. This gap will be never zero. But what generative AI basically does is to enable each and every one of us who is inherently creative in his or her own way to elevate their creativity.
Nastaly acknowledged there is some risk that generative AI will create work that infringes upon copyrights owned by artists and companies. Those cases will wind through the courts (and probably wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court), but Nastaly believes there are ways to minimize risks. For instance, the AI networks could be trained on public images or images that do not contain any copyrighted material.
“Some have already announced some major lawsuits. So yes, absolutely, this is coming,” said Nastaly. “However, with regards to that, we are extremely cautious with White Mirror.”
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