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AI and the future of storytelling | Inworld AI

Inworld AI: Shaping the Future of AI and Storytelling in Games

 

Kylan Gibbs, CEO and cofounder of Inworld AI, gave a talk recently at the TED 2024 conference. In the talk, he delivered is vision for the future of AI and storytelling in games.With the kinds of AI agents that Inworld enables, audiences can now step beyond the script and explore uncharted experiences. They’re set to transform stories from scripted narratives to worlds that the audience can co-create in video games and other interactive experiences. The impact of that transformation will be seen across a number of industries including entertainment, advertising, publishing, and gaming, Gibbs said.

“Like most kids, I loved immersing myself in fantastical worlds,” Gibbs said. “Whether creating stories with my Spiderman action figures, playing Final Fantasy or Halo, or reading Lord of the Rings, there was always something to explore within the screens or pages. I always wished I didn’t have to say goodbye to my favorite characters, and that I could take a more creative role in shaping the stories and worlds I loved.”

In March, Gibbs spoke about the potential of AI for storytelling at TED 2024: The Brave and the Brilliant. With the video of his talk being released this week, he wanted to share the opportunities and possibilities AI offers creatives – and how this will impact the future of storytelling.

 

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AI as a canvas for imagination

During the TED Talk, he hinted at what’s possible now – and what will be possible in the future with AI.

Today, even in the most immersive roleplaying games – players are always left feeling that something is missing. The core mechanics of games can’t currently replicate dynamic or social forms of interaction with characters or environments.

Rather than being nudged from one scripted interaction to another, AI offers the potential for real-time responsiveness – where every action has immediate and lasting consequences unique to the distinct choices each player makes.

Until now, it was challenging to pre-script meaningful and unique consequences for every variation of player behaviors. AI agents overcome this, allowing the world and characters to come alive – and inviting the audience to be co-creators of the story.

Storyweaver

Inworld AI is creating AI-driven virtual characters.
Inworld AI is creating AI-driven virtual characters.

For TED, Inworld partnered with Operative Games to build an interactive experience called Storyweaver to demonstrate the power of AI for storytelling. The goal was to replicate the experience Gibbs wished he had had as a kid – the ability to interact immersively with his toys.

In the demo, you meet Calub as he’s rummaging through your old toys. He asks you to tell him about your old action figure when suddenly the action figure comes to life and starts talking to you both. The experience leverages Inworld’s multi-agent feature to orchestrate AI-to-AI and AI-to-human conversations, Gibbs said.

AI agents also don’t just allow you to talk to your favorite characters, they’re also able to act autonomously to accomplish complex multi-step tasks without human intervention. The AI agents in Storyweaver bring characters to life with their own personalities, interests, goals, and emotions. They’re able to interact naturally with the environment while displaying depth, realism, and the ability to reason, Gibbs said.

But AI agents can’t autonomously create a fully realized story or world themselves without the input of a creative director or narrative designer. They augment human creativity and make entirely new ways of storytelling possible, he said.

The Storyweaver demo is just one example of combining human imagination and AI to produce richer narratives. But AI also offers the potential for new forms, game mechanics, and storytelling modalities by giving the audience the power to co-create their own story. AI storytelling doesn’t just bring characters to life, it also creates dynamic worlds where choices have meaningful consequences in the story – while still being grounded in a coherent narrative that is true to the author’s vision, Gibbs said.

What the future of storytelling looks like

Kylan Gibbs is cofounder of Inworld AI and a speaker at our recent GamesBeat Next event.
Kylan Gibbs is cofounder of Inworld AI and a speaker at our recent GamesBeat Next event.

The future of storytelling isn’t just expected to make your childhood dream of interacting with the characters you love a reality – it will also allow you to participate in the creation of the story in a way that’s never been possible before.

Having narrative agency over experiences has been found to increase enjoyment and other engagement metrics like flow, session length, and replayability. Experiments in cognitive psychology have repeatedly found a connection between a person’s sense of agency and their experience of a flow state in interactive experiences like video games, he said.

There are infinite ways to use AI to create novel interactive experiences – from extended digital experiences for movies to educational storytelling and brand activations. This is a new way to tell stories, where narratives are not just told, but lived, and where each interaction can lead to unique, memorable outcomes, Gibbs said.

“It’s early days, but we’ve seen glimpses of this future in experiences like Droid Maker (a prototype created in collaboration with ILM Immersive that was demoed during Disney Demo Day 2022), Niantic’s Wol, Nvidia’s Covert Protocol, Chronic Cellar’s AR sommelier, and Ubisoft’s NEO NPCs,” Gibbs said.

Extending human creative potential with AI

Inworld AI is working on AI tools that will work with popular game engines.
Inworld AI is working on AI tools that will work with popular game engines.

While there are a lot of great task-focused applications of AI, Gibbs said he genuinely loves working with creative teams across games, media and marketing who are bringing worlds, IP and brands to life. Every new engagement brings new insight into how far AI can extend human creative potential.

“AI agents aren’t limited to characters. They can go beyond dialogue to do things like analyze customer insights, understand or generate multimodal content like images and videos, or generate new content at scale,” Gibbs said.

In video games, AI agents can shape core mechanics, control in-game environments and objects, manage complex physics simulations, and adaptively narratives and quests to players’ unique behavior, he said.

“At Inworld, we help game studios, entertainment companies, advertising agencies, and brands integrate AI agents for the next generation of interactive media and games. We’ve worked or have partnerships with companies like Ubisoft, Xbox, NVIDIA, Niantic, NetEase Games, Shiseido, LGU+, Comcast NBC Universal, and more,” he said.

Inworld will help developers explore the potential of interactive storytelling with AI agents. To get started, try designing a character in the Inworld Studio or get in touch for custom plans, development, and support for use cases.

Author: Dean Takahashi
Source: Venturebeat
Reviewed By: Editorial Team
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