News Ubisoft's Ghostwriter: AI Dialogue-Writing Tool

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Ubisoft, the game development company, has announced their new AI dialogue-writing tool called Ghostwriter. The tool is designed to generate first drafts of NPC barks, which are the offhand remarks you might hear when running past NPCs in games. Ghostwriter has received mixed responses from the gaming industry, with some developers expressing negative opinions, while others have been arguing for its use cases.

The Capabilities of Ghostwriter
According to a GDC talk from Ubisoft La Forge researcher Ben Swanson, Ghostwriter still requires developer input and is mostly used for producing ambient dialogue. The AI tool has four main uses, including:
  • Generating variations of any bark
  • Creating barks based on an NPC’s situation
  • Generating dialogue between two NPCs
  • Creating throwaway lines heard while running through crowds
The tool addresses “pain points” in the development process, and it still requires work and input from developers, rather than replacing them. Ghostwriter spits out barks and writers can edit them.

Debate Among Developers
The announcement of Ghostwriter has sparked debate among developers. On Twitter, Radical Forge’s lead UI artist Edd Coates argued that this work could have been handed to a junior, making Ghostwriter seem like just another cost-cutting measure. On the other hand, a former narrative dev at Ubisoft Liz England called the talk about Ghostwriter "fantastic." They described it as the "Gold standard of how to integrate this tech into your development, in direct collaboration with writers and using their own datasets."

Some developers have also argued that writing barks isn't a pain, and ambient dialogue can be just as colorful as a climactic monologue. However, the use of AI in game development has been growing, with AI generation making headlines recently, such as Microsoft’s voice mimicking VALL-E and games using AI art to decorate walls.

Overall, Ghostwriter may be a valuable tool for game developers to generate NPC barks and reduce the workload of writers. However, it is still a controversial topic among the gaming industry, and it remains to be seen whether the tool will become widely adopted.

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