Companies working in the gaming industry are always looking for that next big thing that could revolutionize some aspect of how games are made, or how they are played. Nintendo got people out of their seats with Wiimotes, with players doing the swinging and slashing for their characters in a given game. Electronic Arts is looking to patent a method to train AI through live player data, and now the company is looking at patenting a set of development tools and marketplace that could bring game development to the masses, similar to how Bethesda's Creation Kit gave people the power to modify Skyrim.
There have been plenty of programs that offer a set of tools for inspired game designers, whether that person is an amateur or a professional. From the various iterations of RPG Maker to modern toolkits like GameMaker: Studio. Recently, Media Molecule (the developer of LittleBigPlanet), released the game dev toolkit Dreams, which has produced a number of impressive projects. But EA seems to be providing a one-stop shop where users can create and publish a game in one place.
While in the very early stages of patent application, it looks like Electronic Arts is looking to create a game development service where users have access to a database of assets that have all been tested to work with one another, and can create games in a wide range of genres and styles. Much like how items in Mario Maker 2 can be used across the different Mario titles in the game (ie. The snake block originally seen in Super Mario World is compatible in Super Mario Bros. without issue, it has been coded to work in a game it did not originally appear in), these assets would be available to users and would interact with other assets without issue, creating a seamless development process with little error correction.
The service would also be a marketplace not only for completed game projects, but for assets and tools in the game development process as well. Folks engaged in creation could be solely focused on asset creation, and could charge a licensing fee for their assets to be used in a game. The goal of EA's service is to encourage people of all skill levels to participate in game creation.
The patent makes reference to several existing properties including Mario and Pac-Man, and it is a little unclear if EA is using the characters to illustrate a point or if the company intends to seek out third parties to have their characters and assets featured in the database. Given that Nintendo is quite litigious, this seems unlikely.
The patent is heavy with technical jargon, and features a number of elements that could be a challenge to actually develop, but at its core, a one-stop shop for aspiring game developers is an interesting idea.
As future technological developments continue to get better, the capabilities for these inventions keep evolving, as well. And when it comes to artificial intelligence development, there have already been major improvements to make this a common reality.
When it comes to gaming, companies such as Electronic Arts and its AI patent have strived to bring AI to the world of video games to make gameplay NPCs more realistic. Now, Microsoft has acquired a patent to develop AI technology in a different direction.