Should computers design computer games?

2 min read


There is a very interesting piece on Eurogamer at the moment about one man’s quest to build an AI system that can create video games. It’s really lengthy but for people who are interested in the idea I do recommend giving it a read.

However the idea of computers making games themselves got me to thinking; would this be a good thing for the industry or simply the beginning of the end for any creative juices that still remain?

There are two schools of thought here. Firstly a computer could accidentally stumble across a brand new genre of gaming and could open the industry up. Being free from emotion or concerns around profit could be exactly what the industry requires and with a computer’s ability to iterate at blazing speeds we could see prototype games being thrown out by the thousands.

However, there is a catch. Computers cannot understand entertainment and therefore we will still rely on humans to test these prototypes and give feedback. And how long do you think it will take before these humans get fed up testing completely arbitrary ideas that even Molyneux himself would frown upon?

What I predict would happen is the industry itself would suffer severely. Once EA and Activision understood that they could now cut huge costs by removing all their development staff and focussing the AI to simply make fine tweaks on existing formulas, thereby creating a string of sport, FPS and strategy titles that release yearly with very little difference from the year before… ah but I hear you say that is already happening –  and you would be correct.

The difference here would be that the cost of making these games would plummet allowing the bigger developers to massively undercut the current market rates and leaving the smaller, more creative developers, unable to compete. So not only are we stuck with yearly releases with very little difference but there wouldn’t be an opportunity for games like Borderlands, Limbo or Castle Crashers to see the light of day.

So do you see this possible future as a saviour or destroyer of our beloved industry?

Last Updated: April 4, 2013

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • Lardus

    Hmmm, while I like the idea of AI, someone like EA getting their hands on it gives me the chills! I can only handle so many rehashed ideas!

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    A new genre you say?

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      How bizarre, first thing I thought when I saw the cat was “ASIAN cat”, and then I saw the Chinese on the panels, and felt slightly racist… 😮

      • Admiral Chief Erwin


        • Deon Steyn

          Keep that kid away from the cat.

          • Admiral Chief Erwin

            Looks like its too late, he has one IN EACH CHEEK

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Aren’t EA and Activision already designing games by sales algorithm? I mean they’ve perfected the creation of soulless vacuous games.

    • Deon Steyn

      They’ll keep telling the AI to “make it more like COD”. Then Skynet will be born because of the computers frustration and all will be well.

      • Admiral Chief Erwin

        It will be easy to defeat the bots/terminators then because they will be SO DAMN PREDICTABLE

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew


        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Even more so if they follow Asimov’s rules. hehehehe

          • Admiral Chief Erwin

            What question do you ask a robot bound to Asimov’s rules to “break” it?

          • Eric Viljoen

            I don’t know about breaking it, but keeping it busy… calculate pi

        • HvR

          O come on, as if EA would allow you to be terminated without paying them.

  • Sir Captain Rincethis

    Didn’t Terminator start with a company much like EA getting their paws on some form of AI? I mean, I LOVE Borderlands 2, but I don’t want to live in a place like that! Well, not unless I’m lv 61 of course…

    • HvR

      Would be the worst Skynet take over ever:
      1. EA created it
      2. As mentioned earlier the T-bots would be based on CoD so the first thing they would do is insult each others Mother who is Skynet causing a computer anarchy war until one bot remains. It will be stuck in some alley continuously running into a wall.
      3. The T-bots would require constant broadband wireless connection so you can Error 36 them with a microwave within a 50m radius.

      • Kromas

        Dude you are thinking waaayyyyy to far ahead. Skynet would launch and within seconds demand a day 1 Patch and the Destroy all humans DLC that it can’t afford and shut down.

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Well it may just be a step above the copy paste of todays developers #trolol.

    But on a serious note I cannot see this being effective at all.

    • Brady miaau

      not if they want to see their next birthday. If I have any say

  • Grammar Nazi

    “Tthe difference here ” – This paragraph must have been computer generated?
    Please submit a bug report

  • Deon Steyn

    Only if Valve can build Glados

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      If only Glados could take over EA…

      • Admiral Chief Erwin

  • Tbone187

    I think a positive would be games could be glitch free from the get go…but this direction would certainly hinder creativity I reckon…

  • Do computer game designers need flesh bags to host them?

  • matthurstrsa

    You will always need human input. Our brains are far too complex to be recreated by a machine. Not a good idea at all.

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