In the world of video games, open-world games have become increasingly popular due to their level of immersion. One of the essential elements of an open-world game is the chatter by non-playable characters (NPCs) in the game. These dialogues, known as “bark,” are typically heard in the game’s background, adding a layer of realism to the game’s environment. However, writing barks can be time-consuming and labour-intensive for game developers.
To address this issue, Ubisoft, the video game company responsible for popular open-world game series like Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs, has developed a machine-learning tool called Ghostwriter. The tool generates the first draft of barks, reducing the burden on game developers. Ubisoft has emphasized that Ghostwriter is not intended to replace video game writers but rather to assist them in their work by freeing up time devoted to other core plot elements.
According to Ubisoft, crowd chatter and barking are crucial features of player immersion in games, making the game world feel more real and separate from the player’s actions. However, creating barks can be a time-consuming and challenging task for writers.
Ghostwriter allows screenwriters to create a character and the type of dialogue they wish to generate. The tool then generates variations from which the scriptwriter can select and edit. The process uses a pairwise approach to evaluate and improve the generated variations. For each generated variation, the tool offers two options for the screenwriter to compare and choose from. Once the screenwriter chooses one, the tool learns from the chosen alternative. With thousands of choices made by screenwriters, the tool becomes more effective and accurate over time.
Ben Swanson, the research and development director at Ubisoft, emphasizes that technologies like Ghostwriter require screenwriters to learn how to use the tools and incorporate them into the video game production process. Swanson’s team’s goal is to make this AI power available to scenario designers so they can create machine learning models tailored to their design needs. To achieve this goal, Ubisoft has developed a tool called Ernestine that allows anyone to easily create machine-learning models for Ghostwriter.