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GDC 2023: Unity, Ubisoft, and King lead the AI game dev revolution

GDC 2023’s AI obsession is in full swing, with Unity, Ubisoft, and the developer behind Candy Crush delving into the possibilities it offers game development.

GDC 2023's AI innovations led by Unity, photo showing the company's booth at the conference, with a crowd of people milling about a large screen above.

We’re on the ground at GDC 2023, and while we try our best to ignore the loud shouts of blockchain and crypto, one other talking point is unavoidable: AI. There are, of course, many concerns around how AI can affect creation of any kind, but some big players are looking to integrate the tech and have shown it off at the developer conference.

Unity, one of the most popular videogame development tools, shared a teaser on Twitter, of what is most likely the integration of generative AI into its toolkit. The teaser shows text like “give me a large-scale terrain with a moody sky”, “add a dozen NPCs”, and “make them flying alien mushrooms”, being typed out on a black background.

Assumedly, this tech would then let the AI just generate this stuff for you – a wild possibility that could open a Pandora’s box of good and bad for how easy game dev becomes. If you’re up for opening up that box, you can apply to be a Unity AI insider for early access on the company’s website.

Meanwhile, Ubisoft has a less worrisome proposition: generative AI to create “barks” – the general chatter you hear from NPCs when milling about in an Assassin’s Creed or Watch Dogs, for example. You can check out the trailer for it below.

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To kick off the conference, King, the developer behind Candy Crush, presented a talk on The Future of AI at GDC. We had a chat about it, too, so be sure to check out our King Games interview to learn more about what the company wants to do with AI.

This all comes after Roblox’s generative AI announcement a few weeks ago, looking to offer something similar to Unity. AI is here, and loudly, so we better buckle up for some swift changes to game dev tech in the coming months and years.

For more beyond GDC 2023’s AI obsession, check out the latest news from the conference with Fortnite Creative’s UEFN addition, dot big bang’s Nintendo approach to online play, and the possibility of a Counter-Strike 2 mobile port.