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Nvidia and Ubisoft Are Bringing NEO NPCs to Life

In a creative experiment shown during GDC 2024, a team of game creators from Ubisoft explored the future of Non-Player Characters (NPCs), interactive gameplay, and emergent storytelling. Ubisoft is exploring new types of interactive gameplay with dynamic NPCs, a field that is being revolutioniwed with the emergence of generative AI technologies. “NEO NPCs”, the product of their latest research and development project are advanced NPCs designed to interact in real-time with players, their environment and other characters, opening up new possibilities for dynamic and emergent storytelling.

“AI is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance players’ experiences by making games more dynamic, immersive and unique,” said John Spitzer, vice president of developer and performance technologies at NVIDIA. “We are thrilled to partner with Ubisoft to leverage NVIDIA ACE in the advancement of digital characters.”

Developed by a multidisciplinary team at Ubisoft Paris, NEO NPCs are born from the close collaboration between Ubisoft creators and leading GenAI technology partners, NVIDIA and Inworld AI. Inworld’s Character Engine and LLM technology enable Ubisoft’s narrative team to build a complete background, knowledge base and conversational style for each NPC, while NVIDIA Audio2Face, part of NVIDIA ACE suite of technologies, is used to enable real-time facial animation.

Ubisoft showcased the capabilities of these NEO NPCs through three separate demo scenarios. Each scenario focuses on different aspects of NPC behaviours, environmental and contextual awareness; a spectrum of real-time reactions and animations; as well as conversation memory, collaboration and strategic decision-making. Combined, these discoveries through the experiment push the boundaries of game design and immersion.

“Gen AI will enable player experiences that are yet to be imagined, with smarter worlds, nuanced characters, and emergent and adaptive narratives,” said Guillemette Picard, Ubisoft’s SVP of Production Technology. “By partnering with NVIDIA on our NEO NPCs prototype: NVIDIA’s Audio2Face solution helped us to create deeper immersion through real-time facial animations for truly improvisational NPC conversations.”

With NEO NPCs, Ubisoft’s narrative and animation designers blended the reliability of scripted game elements with the dynamism of spontaneous player interactions, nudging the future of game development towards new horizons. Leveraging Inworld AI technology, Ubisoft’s narrative team created two NEO NPCs, Bloom and Iron, who have their own background story, knowledge base, and different conversational styles to establish these unique characters in the demo universe.   

Inworld technology also provides the NEO NPCs with intrinsic knowledge of their surroundings, as well as interactive responses courtesy of Inworld’s LLM. Audio2Face provides facial animations and lip-synching for the two NPCs’ faces in real time. NVIDIA also released a new Game Ready driver for Horizon Forbidden West. The latest Game Ready Driver primes gamers’ PCs or laptops for Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition. Featuring day-one support for DLSS 3, DLAA and Reflex, GeForce gamers should download and install this new driver for the definitive experience when using these technologies in the critically acclaimed game.

This Game Ready Driver also includes support for the latest DLSS 3.5 update for Portal with RTX which introduces DLSS Ray Reconstruction and NVIDIA RTX IO, 11 G-SYNC Compatible gaming displays, and 2 new Optimal Settings, enabling users to jump into the latest games with great performance and image quality, without the need to tweak settings manually.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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