Game industry artist Martin Nebelong recently started experimenting with ChatGPT, and discovered he was able to quickly create an entire “choose your adventure”-style adventure game through the AI text generator. Taking that a step further, he then took the ChatGPT text and fed it into Midjourney, the AI image generator, which then created illustrations to accompany the game. (Watch above.)
“I was very surprised by how quickly the chat bot was in on the idea,” Martin tells me. “To begin with, it wanted to write the whole story including all branches in one reply. But when I asked it to serve them to me as a story bit with a few branching options, to wait for my selection and only then to move on in the story, it got that an started over with the correct format. When it wanted to wrap up the story faster than I wanted, I just asked it to do a more detailed story and it did so.
“I guess the most impressive part to me was when I asked it to describe the characters in high detail for the prompts I wanted to use in Midjourney. It gave very detailed descriptions of all the characters including their clothing, their look, personality, names etc.” (See an example below.)
But he was also impressed at how ChatGPT added descriptive flourishes he wasn”t expecting:
“I was surprised by how it ended the story on the note about our universe being a wondrous place:
You and the pirate crew must now face new challenges and forge your own path in this strange and wondrous universe.
“Found that to be almost poetic.”
Martin is an artist with Sony’s Media Molecule game studio, and from that vantage, he believes the process he just demonstrated is coming soon to the mass market: “I think it’s not unlikely that we will see 3D and texture generation happen directly in game engines, at a high level of quality, within a few years.”
And yes, he’s given some thought to how this will impact his own career:
“The core of what I want is to tell stories and convey emotions through visual experiences,” as Martin puts it. (See a sample of his 3D art above.)
“So even if these technologies do scare me in terms of ‘What will I do for a living?’, they also excite me because they’ll enable us to tell stories that are much grander, much more refined and ultimately more original than what is possible today. Especially when it comes to ‘AAA’ quality. Lots of great ideas never reach that level of production quality because of how expensive and risky it is to take on large productions like that.”
If anything, I suspect AI will create more work for human artists. It’s easy enough for a 3D image generator to churn out dozens of variations on a theme, but it will require a human curator to select the results which best fit a project’s theme — which will then go to an artist like Martin Nebelong to edit, expand, and polish the final results.