Can an artificial intelligence generate a video game? Perhaps not yet, although what has already been achieved is that it is able to generate a level of Super Mario Bros. based on premises that we select from among different variables. It has been a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen who has developed this tool that allows us to create our own screens in the style Mario classic: we simply have to access this demo and play with its possibilities.
Artificial intelligence, dubbed MarioGPT in the style of the famous ChatGPT (although in reality it is because it is based on the same tool, OpenAI’s GPT-2), it leaves us select how many blocks, enemies and pipes we want you to have our level of Super Mario Bros., as well as the degree of elevation. Once we mark the characteristics, we can click on the button ‘Generate level’ and wait less than a minute to receive our level fully playable.
How is this AI able to generate a level of Super Mario Bros.?
To offer us the final result, MarioGPT reinterprets our premise (prompt, in English) as a string of textual characters. That way, build the level with letters, numbers and symbols (ASCII style, if you will) before rendering the scenario with the graphics of the first Super Mario Bros.. Obviously, this is an oversimplified way of explaining it: its authors have published an article in which they talk in detail about this peculiar artificial intelligence tool, as well as a page on GitHub with which other programmers can understand it more thoroughly.
Of course, this tool is still somewhat basic and from time to time it gives unplayable results, although its creators claim that 88% of the levels can be completed from start to finish. In any case, it is a curious example of how AI could be applied in game development, either for rapid iterations of levels retouched by hand later or for procedural generation in the style of what is already done in games roguelike.
It should be remembered that the big video game companies are already showing interest in artificial intelligence, with sony developing one capable of beating professional players in Gran Turismo and Microsoft planting test AI video games.