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The Coming Wave of Beautiful (and boring) Games
By Topper Bowers
We are going to witness an explosion of beautiful, boring games.
With AI, the creation of stunning visuals is easier than ever. Coding, too, is increasingly simplified through the power of AI. These developments are opening the doors for an imminent explosion of gorgeous looking games. However, the art of crafting fun, will remain a profoundly human and complex task for the foreseeable future.
Art in the Age of AI
AI has dramatically revolutionized the world of digital art. From generating stunning 2D imagery to producing increasingly sophisticated 3D models, AI is making high-quality visuals accessible to more creators than ever before. This expansion into the realm of 3D is set to continue, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for game developers.
The AI Effect on Coding
Just as it has transformed art, AI is also streamlining coding. From language models that can generate code to advanced tools that aid in bug detection and code optimization, AI is taking over many tasks. As AI’s capacity grows, coding is set to become easier, enabling developers to focus on creativity and innovation.
The Unmatched Complexity of Game Design
Despite these strides, the art of game design remains a deeply human endeavor. Creating fun is a complex task that combines skill, art, and science. While the gaming market is brimming with derivative games — which isn’t a bad thing — generating novel game mechanics or even putting a fresh spin on established mechanics is a colossal challenge. This intricate process, rooted in understanding human emotion and creating engaging experiences, is where AI still falls short.
Fun: A Human Endeavor
In his book, “Theory of Fun for Game Design,” Raph Koster defines fun as our brains learning, adapting to new challenges, and successfully deciphering patterns. The narrative of a game serves to enrich its social aspect, attracting friends and fostering community. Some games become snapshots of zeitgeist, grounding points in culture, and creating shared experiences.
This essence of fun, the shared communal experience and the thrill of a brain engaged with novel challenges, is (for now) uniquely human. It encapsulates what games are about and highlights the areas that AI will struggle to replicate. While AI can generate visuals and write code, the creation of shared, engaging, and enjoyable experiences requires the touch of human ingenuity and imagination.
In the face of a wave of AI-generated beautiful games, the art of crafting fun remains a testament to the value of human creativity.