Replica Studios, developer of a leading artificial intelligence (AI) voice platform for video games, has announced Replica Studios AI Powered Smart NPCs (non-playable characters), a plugin coming to Unreal Engine later this year. Smart NPCs are powered by OpenAI or the user’s own AI language model, and Replica’s library of over 120+ ethically licensed AI voices, allowing game developers to develop games at scale and create new dynamic gaming experiences.
To showcase the revolutionary technology, Replica has released a Smart NPC demo experience utilising a modified version of Unreal Engine’s Matrix Awakens sample project to showcase some of the features that will be available with the plugin. Watch the trailer here.
“At Replica, we believe AI Voice technology has two-fold potential for furthering narrative-heavy games: eliminating critical bottlenecks in the development process, enabling studios to tell ever bigger and immersive stories, and allowing for the creation of never seen before living-world gaming experiences that shape around the player in real-time,” said Shreyas Nivas, CEO of Replica Studios. “Smart NPCs will allow smaller studios who don’t have the resources to script and vocalise on scale to dream big and scale their games 10x or 100x into the epic adventure they’ve always wanted to make.”
In Replica’s Smart NPC Experience, AI-powered NPCs will dynamically respond to the player’s in-game voice in real time. Characters will change their dialogue, emotional tone and body gestures in reaction to how the player speaks to them. Replica Studios’ NPCs now have a broader range of emotions thanks to Replica’s recent Style Morphing update.
Game designers can also alter the information provided to the AI characters to instruct them to behave differently or have certain personalities, or incorporate their own AI language models to suit their project.
“Just as live service games and battle royale have emerged as popular gaming experiences in the last decade, we see AI creating a new category of virtual experiences known for depth of narrative and dynamic storytelling with hundreds of characters, ever expanding quests and stories,” said Nivas. “When teams begin adopting AI to create these new experiences, we will see the role of writers and narrative designers evolve. Rather than writing complete narrative arcs, they’ll create and fine-tune the conditions that power these AI Smart NPCs – game lore, backstories and motivations – to add a human element that will lead to an engaging live player experience.”
When Replica’s Smart NPC plugin launches for Unreal Engine later this year, game developers will be able to integrate Smart NPCs into their own projects to begin scaling up characters in their games. The plugin integrates AI language model smarts along with Replica’s text-to-speech models and animates the characters in real-time by outputting sound phonemes and timelines to match an audio stream, while using a customised blend space for facial animations to power accurate lip sync, and custom animation blueprints to send body gesture messages for NPCs during their listening, thinking and speaking phases. The result is a natural looking and behaving NPC that can surprise and delight players with thoughtful, funny, and provocative responses, depending on their personal contexts as well as the voice input directly captured from players’ microphones.
The demo will initially run as a cloud based solution but is working towards a locally based solution to give a low latency, multi-user concurrent live experience.
“Within the next technology hop we will see AI powered Smart NPC live games and virtual experiences with hundreds of live concurrent players and NPCs all together, with no more latency than a zoom video call that has hundreds of participants,” concluded Nivas.
Access to Replica Studios’ Smart NPC playable demo is available on the official website. To sign up for the Smart NPC beta, please visit the registration page. For more information about Smart NPCs, please read the official blog post.
DFINITY Foundation Announces Strategic Partnership with The Game Co. LLC
The DFINITY Foundation, a not-for-profit research and development organisation and major contributor to the Internet Computer blockchain (ICP), announced a strategic partnership with The Game Co. LLC (TGC), the company dedicated to enabling gaming enthusiasts to enjoy and earn like never before.
The two organisations have partnered to seamlessly integrate TGC’s revolutionary gaming platform to the ICP’s decentralised ecosystem. This collaboration aims to provide gamers with a frictionless experience, leveraging ICP’s secure and scalable infrastructure to enhance the accessibility and performance of TGC’s innovative gaming solutions.
The partnership will facilitate the deployment of TGC’s gaming platform directly on the ICP network. This integration will harness ICP’s advanced blockchain technology to provide gamers with a decentralised gaming experience like never before. Players can enjoy their favourite triple-A game titles, connected to accounts including Steam or Epic, with enhanced security, transparency and reliability.
“By combining TGC’s creative prowess with our AI cloud gaming platform, we’re shaping a future where gaming experiences are not just streamed, but orchestrated directly from the web3 cloud, and adapt uniquely to every player. Through the interplay of advanced artificial intelligence and interactive gaming worlds, this new generation of gaming is poised to create dynamic environments that respond to players’ actions, offering them a level of engagement previously unimaginable,” Dominic Williams, Founder and Chief Scientist at the DFINITY Foundation, said.
By leveraging ICP’s decentralised infrastructure, TGC’s platform will become more accessible to a global audience. Gamers from various regions can expect reduced latency, quicker load times and seamless cross-platform compatibility, allowing for an inclusive and immersive gaming experience. In addition, with decentralised infrastructure and TGC’s platform capabilities, eSports season and tournament play will eliminate the necessity for LAN-based events.
ICP’s blockchain-based security features will bolster TGC’s commitment to user data protection. Players can trust that their gaming experiences are safeguarded from external threats, ensuring peace of mind while gaming.
“This collaboration underscores our commitment to redefining the gaming landscape and the limitless potential of decentralized, intelligent, and boundary-pushing technologies. We’re liberating a generation of gamers from the confines of geography, hardware limitations, and internet connections. The partnership will bring our creative vision to the Internet Computer Protocol is a significant step towards a future where gaming transcends the limitations of traditional platforms,” Osman Masud, CEO of The Game Co, said.
TGC will bridge their existing smart contracts and token functionalities to the ICP ecosystem. The two teams will work together to develop governance protocols for tournament related data and the growth of the ecosystem. Additionally, TGC will leverage ICP’s technology to implement advanced user authentication and ensure secure and transparent management of gaming sessions.
Game Development World Championship 2023 Summer Season Winners Announced!
The Game Development World Championship (GDWC) celebrated the 2023 Summer Season with an Awards Stream on Thursday, September 21st. At the event, GDWC announced winners in 11 categories for the Summer Season.
Watch the Award Stream recording on the GDWC youtube channel.
Indie Award Winner: Three Minutes To Eight by Chaosmonger Studio.
Studio Award Winner: Planet Cube: Edge by Sunna Entertainment
Hobby Award Winner: Wretched Depths by Wretched Devs
Mobile Award Winner: Boxville by Triomatica Games
Best Web3 Game Award Winner: Stella Fantasy by Ring Games
AR & VR Award Winner: Stilt by Rekt Games
Immersal SDK Award Winner: KramARkapellet by darteq
Made-with-Houdini Award Winner: Kristala by Astral Clocktower Studios
Procedural Award Winner: SULFUR by Perfect Random
Action Award Winners:
1st Place: Tactical Squad: SWAT Stories by Red Mountain Games
2nd Place: SpaceBourne2 by Dbk Games
3rd Place: DOOMBLADE by Muro Studios
Gcore Cloud Award Winners:
1st Place: Feudums by Kalamona Studios
2nd Place: Vaudeville by Bumblebee Studios
3rd Place: Retail Royale by DarxDev
All the Winning games of the Season can be found on the GDWC website, here: https://thegdwc.com/awards/
GDWC sends congratulations to all the winners and huge thanks to all developers who participated in the championship, and to all the sponsors and partners that made the GDWC 2023 Summer Season possible.
The GDWC 2023 Winter Season is currently open for submissions with the biggest prize pool in GDWC history, totalling over $660,000 in value. Prizes are spread across 12 award categories and range from swag & software licences to cash prizes, publishing deals and marketing & User Acquisition funding.
GDWC is free to participate and open to everyone from hobbyist & student developers to professional studios from all over the world. Games on all digital platforms – PC, Consoles, Mobile, VR & AR, Web & Browsers, are accepted. Developers can participate with a game they are currently working on, or with a game they have released, as long as it was released after August 1st 2022.
Opera GX, the Browser for Gamers, Surpasses 25 Million Monthly Active Users
Opera GX, the browser for gamers, today announced that its number of monthly active users (MAU) has surpassed 25 million across desktop and mobile devices. This milestone highlights Opera GX’s increasing adoption within the gaming community and its integral position within gaming culture.
“We are thrilled to announce this remarkable achievement of 25 million monthly active users, as Opera GX continues to prove its commitment to enhancing the browsing experience for gamers worldwide. With a passion for innovation and dedication to the gaming community, we look forward to sharing what the future holds,” said Krystian Kolondra, Executive Vice President of Browsers and Gaming at Opera.
Since 2019, Opera GX has been dedicated to delivering a distinct browsing experience for gamers. Its aim was to address the challenge posed by resource-intensive browsers during gaming sessions while simultaneously offering a unique aesthetic and enhanced customizability that aligns perfectly with gamers’ preferences. Today, Opera GX is at the forefront of innovative browsers, providing dynamic features like Aria, a free, cutting-edge generative AI service, solidifying it as a staple in the gaming environment.
Seizing the moment, Opera GX has taken advantage of its strong technology and platform capabilities to provide gamers with useful and entertaining tools, uniting a global community of passionate gamers and giving users a new and exciting way to browse the internet.
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