09 January 2019
NVIDIA has demonstrated what could be the future of video games' graphics rendering. It showcased a small demo of a game where all of the renderings have been done by artificial intelligence (AI). The idea behind the demo is to show that AI can be helpful in so many ways and it is not only about video games, it can be used for virtual reality apps/games and even movies.
The demo is basically of a simple driving simulator game where the player can drive his vehicle on a preset path and cannot exit from it. It should be noted that the demo is neither a finished product nor features a fun gameplay. It is merely there to show what is possible with the correct usage of AI capabilities.
The NVIDIA team working on this project started off by training the AI. It made use of open-sourced dashboard cam footages taken from autonomous vehicle training and divided each segment (frame) into different sections like cars, road, buildings, people, and trees.
Next, it made use of the Unreal Engine 4 to create a basic environment framework for the game demo scenario. This is the same game engine which is used in various popular games like Gears of War 4, Fortnite, and PUBG. This framework was used by the AI to start rendering graphics like where to put cars, trees, buildings, etc.
The most interesting part is that AI did all of it in real-time with the help of a single GPU called NVIDIA Titan V. It is the company's best and most powerful PC GPU worth $3,000 which means if you are someone who is not rich, you cannot really repeat what NVIDIA did.
Bryan Catanzaro, VP of Applied Deep Learning at NVIDIA, said:
“It’s a new way to render video content using deep learning. Obviously, Nvidia cares a lot about generating graphics. We’re thinking about how AI is going to revolutionize the field. The structure of the world is being created traditionally. The only thing the AI generates is the graphics. It’s a proof-of-concept rather than a game that’s fun to play.”
As mentioned in the beginning, the demo is not anything like one would expect in a modern-age game rendered using the Titan V GPU. It has blurry graphics like the games we used to play about a decade ago but things are only expected to get better as more improvements will be made. As far as the question is concerned when can we expect to see consumer games with AI-powered renders, there is still a very long way to go.