Steam’s first fully AI-generated PC game was met with hostility

This AI-generated game on Valve's Steam was developed in part using tools like Midjourney.

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It had to happen. AI-generated artwork pops up in competitions, despite much controversy, and they are probably already flooding your social media feeds in one way or another. The big promise behind the ability to generate detailed images with just a few prompts and clicks, is the so-called democratization of creation. And on Steam, PC gameing’s most popular platform, the barrier to selling games is already quite low.

Enter This girl doesn’t exist, a recent Steam game with simple puzzle gameplay that nevertheless marks a huge change that will soon hit the gaming industry. The developer claims that everything from the art to the story to the music is generated by some kind of AI. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s not surprising given that the game currently only has one review on Steam, and it’s not a positive one. But the story behind the game is curious and indicative of greater tensions that will only become more visible in space.

This girl doesn’t exist is the product of a married couple, one of whom spoke to my box via Discord for this story. “mrspotatoes”, as she calls herself on the chat app, commented that upon entering her husband was concerned that people would “hate it” and “wouldn’t consider it not ‘real art'”, perhaps even “experienced as little effort.” ” on the same level as an ‘asset flip’. However, she was more optimistic when she went in, hoping that people would be curious about the “showcase of modern technology” and that players wouldn’t want to miss “the AI ​​train” that is currently engulfing the larger online discourse.

Read more: Creating AI ‘art’ is an ethical and copyright nightmare

Making a game with AI-generated resources comes with its own unique challenges, as she tells it. If you don’t have to make art from scratch, it does go faster, but since This girl doesn’t exist being a dating game, the player needed multiple attractive, persistent characters to achieve romance. Everyone has their own story, voice-over and imagery. Using the popular image generation AI called Midjourney, it took a lot of trial and error to find prompts that worked, and more trial and error to get useful comparable results in multiple iterations .

“This is something the AI ​​struggles with,” the developer told, “how to generate images of the same person, but in different poses/settings? I had to rerun many of the commands and try many times until I got a series of photos out of it who would be “the same person”.

After all was said and done, the pair sent the game to about 250 YouTubers, she claims. Hardly anyone bit. It’s by far the worst-selling of the pair, she says, despite having their back catalog of NSFW games that Steam hides if the user isn’t logged in. And it seems that the unusual way they created the game’s assets is a big one for some people.

“A [YouTuber] was doing a live stream, but during that live stream people hated it…not the game, but the AI ​​part,” she explained. out of the game.'”

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The response has been disappointing, she says, especially since the game is “revolutionary” in their eyes. Still, based on our conversation, the response doesn’t seem to stop the game-developing couple from exploring the tech further. mrspotatoes says it will somehow feature in their next sexy game, but AI will only help with some aspects of development. Perhaps minor details, she says, such as the user interface or the backgrounds.

“If I were to do an entire AI game again,” she mused, “maybe I’d try telling people after they’ve finished the game and see what the reactions would be, like I think with this girlmaybe people had prejudices beforehand.”

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