One of the ways to see how far technology has come is to look at the gaming world. Old games like Pong can’t compare to modern masterpieces like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or Elden Ring. Most people only look at graphics and tend to forget AI’s role in the entire mix.
Artificial intelligence is a form of programming that is always used in games. Usually, that involves the behavior of enemies, which makes it feel like they’re alive. AI is the program responsible for creating a fully immersive game, which makes solo games so fun.
What is AI?
One of the best ways to explain the role of AI is through Pacman, which is a game from the 1980s. When it came out, many people were trying to beat it. Pacman is a yellow circle emoji that’s supposed to eat all of the dots on a map, and four ghosts are trying to stop him from doing it.
But when you’re playing, it feels like they have their mind and are trying to ambush you. In the game code, all of the ghosts know Pacman’s location. Each ghost executes different commands based on that input. The first ghost follows him when he’s far away, while the second one moves randomly. The third one only goes in the same direction, and the final one tries to catch him.
Even though these are simple commands, it still feels like there’s someone else controlling the ghosts. In modern games, all non-playable characters are programmed with AI.
How does it affect the gaming industry?
Artificial intelligence isn’t limited to the behavior of in-game characters. Instead, it can also be used for destructive causes. The most popular example is cheating.
Of course, everyone is familiar with the unlimited money cheat in The Sims or the cheat codes in Grand Theft Auto. Those are features developers purposefully integrated to allow some deviations from the traditional way you’re supposed to play.
However, AI is becoming more competent, spreading to multiplayer games. Games like League of Legends and Dota 2 are supposed to showcase your skills against real opponents. Because of their popularity, people have invented a software that can play better than actual humans. If the developers don’t do anything about it, the game will become unattractive to players. The same thing is true about bot accounts.
What are the risks of it?
Eventually, AI will become smarter, and it will become tougher to distinguish it from real players. But that’s not the biggest risk. The major underlying problem is hackers trying to use the software in games to exploit players.
When playing a game, you send data from your device to a server. That communication channel can become compromised, even though it’s encrypted. If a hacker intercepts it and finds out your actual IP address, you’ll be in trouble.
Furthermore, hackers can also use the help of artificial intelligence to integrate malware into the game. To every player, it will seem like just a regular update. But, with the update, you could install a virus that can wreak havoc on your device and steal your personal information.
How can you protect yourself?
Gamers only care about one thing – gaming. They rarely think about what they’re saying when they’re rage-quitting a match. If you’ve ever been in a Call of Duty lobby, you probably know how it is.
However, what happens if your 3000-dollar custom PC catches a virus and you can’t play anymore? You’ll probably be angrier than losing a match. Using a VPN every time you’re connected to the internet is the only way to be protected against threats and hackers.
Most gamers avoid VPNs because they’re afraid of lag or FPS drops. But that’s a myth since the fastest VPNs don’t cause a significant change in your browsing speed. You’ll be killing enemies in 59 FPS instead of the usual 60. Your eyes won’t be able to tell the difference.