Monday, November 29, 2021

What If An A.I. Wrote Your Favorite Games

You've probably heard that the machines are coming for our jobs … and eventually our bodies. But what does this strange, machine-run future look like? To gain a sneak-peek into that world, we asked the A.I.-based text generator InferKit to rewrite some of our favorite games, and the results ranged from hilarious to outright eerie. Below are the A.I. rewrites – the seed text is in bold, and everything else is machine-generated. Batman: Arkham Asylum The inmates of Arkham Asylum have been set free – and it's up to Batman to bring order to the chaos and take back the asylum. Along the way, he reunites with some old allies and discovers an even deeper secret: he isn't the only one with a destiny, and this time, his isn't a fairy tale. What you don't know? It was designed by God to save his people. It has the power to send every human back to Heaven and reunite them with God. So why does the Great Spirit keep it locked away? And what's with that smell, anyway?  The Last of Us Joel and Ellie, brought together by harsh circumstances, must survive a brutal journey across the U.S. in a dangerous post-pandemic world. Two best friends, Joel and Ellie, survive the end of the world in a semi-ancient survivalist park. Traveling across the United States in search of food and water and finding more unexpected friends along the way. Endlessly imaginative, inspiring, and sometimes terrifying, this is an original survival adventure, like no other. This is the first book in a trilogy. There are four books. Super Mario Bros. The Mushroom Princess is being held captive by the evil Koopa tribe. It's up to you to rescue her before time runs out. The green plumber's missions also include helping a doll-like Princess Kameeze find the Unicorn Rod. Going back to the original Super Mario Bros., Yoshi's sidekick is Super Mario Bros. 3's Yoshi. And in Super Mario World, the mushroom-shaped dinosaur is the gamer's little brother. These companions give Mario new abilities when he picks up the controllers or stomps on certain power-ups in games. Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. Alan Wake A dark presence stalks the small town of Bright Falls, pushing Alan Wake to the brink of sanity in his fight to unravel the mystery and save his love. Based on the comic book series If I Hadn't Met You Eduard, a husband and father who loses his family in a tragic accident, travels to parallel universes to seek a better fate for his beloved wife. This drama series tells the astonishing true story of Israel's most prominent spy who infiltrated the Syrian government in the 1960s.  Red Dead Redemption II America, 1899. The end of the wild west era has begun. After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. But at every turn, the traveling robbers find themselves faced with unintended challenges. Deep in the wilds of Iowa, they encounter the terrifying Mandrake, whose head is a hive of ravenous monsters … and who are on the lookout for fresh bodies. One by one, the members of the gang are picked off, revealing the truly terrible fate that awaits those who cross the Mandrake. Despite his unstable nature, Arthur is a gifted con man, as well as an expert marksman, skilled guitarist, master carpenter, and above all, a man of extraordinary cunning and resourcefulness. Trapped in a world where he never seems to fit in, can the mysterious detective help the dark-haired, blue-eyed half-Irish half-African boy realize his destiny, or will he become another statistic? Half-Life: Alyx The loss of the Seven-Hour War is still fresh. In the shadow of a rising Combine fortress known as the Citadel, residents of City 17 learn to live under the rule of their invaders. But among this scattered population are two of Earth's most resourceful scientists: Dr. James Vega and John Baxter. Dr. Vega builds a time machine and contacts John, offering his assistance and guaranteeing his safety. Together, the two of them make a plan: they will travel back to 1984, to try to convince then-President Elizabeth Shower to negotiate with the Combine. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt This world doesn't need a hero. It needs a professional. Enter the witcher, one of the last monster slayers for hire. Joslyn Mael: Most famous for the notorious Hollows murder case. I will not get too much into my life and profession. You'll have to make your own judgments. It's a long story and a very long time ago. Suffice to say, I grew up as a very strong child, and even though my parents were terrified of me, they also wanted me to know how to defend myself and use my right hand for good. I grew up, bought my own gun, got a job, and the rest is history. BioShock Infinite Indebted to the wrong people, with his life on the line, veteran of the U.S. Cavalry and now hired gun, Booker DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean. Escape the dark lands of Borderlands, a politically unstable nation in the not-too-distant future and repair his marriage before it's too late. His target? The mysterious anarchist villain Cipher. The result was Titanfall, a rebooted brand-new shooter where different modes could be combined together seamlessly. Set in the city-sized spaceport of Forward Operating Base, the map editors allowed for a dozen ways to play the game, from quick engagements to mission-based battles. Halo: Combat Evolved Bent on humankind's extermination, a powerful fellowship of alien races known as the Covenant is wiping out Earth's fledgling interstellar empire. It is a fight for survival. For their children's future. For the survival of the entire universe. A fight they are counting on you to join. In the original Halo, Master Chief leads a team of expert Spartans – along with an armored knight from an alien civilization – to face the Covenant in an epic struggle that will test your abilities, test your brotherhood and test the fate of the entire universe. Final Fantasy VII In Midgar, a city controlled by the mega-conglomerate Shinra Inc., the No. 1 Mako Reactor has been blown up by a rebel group, Avalanche. Avalanche leader Taiki Masaki has been seen walking amongst the ruins and filming the wreckage. In the Shinra Control Room, Shinra Corporate Executive Officer Hiroshi Amano tries to stop Shinra's CEO Tetsuya Tojo from starting a catastrophic weapon of mass destruction. Founded by three children born of Digimon-like monsters, Avalanche was believed to be destroyed when Mako Reactor 1 exploded, but the video footage proves otherwise. What do you think? Will we be playing A.I.-written games next year?
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    Read An Excerpt From Double Fine's 20th Anniversary Art Book

    Double Fine Productions, the developer behind the Psychonauts series, Broken Age, and many more, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, Double Fine partnered with Indie By Design to release a comprehensive art book that details the visual history of every single game the developer has released over the years – including insights from developers, in-depth interviews, and never-before-seen concept art. 

    Read down below for an exclusive excerpt from the book, titled 20 Double Fine Years, giving a brief look at the design decisions behind Psychonauts 2’s Aquato family and the game’s many, many brains. We’ve also collected a handful of pages so you can see how the entire book is laid out. 

    If you’d like to check out 20 Double Fine Years for yourself, it is available in a standard and collector’s Legend Edition right here. Alongside peeks behind the curtain of every Double Fine game, the book also covers 2 Player Productions’ Double Fine Adventure documentary series, webcomics the studio used to publish on its website, its Day of the Devs events, and much more. 

    Lastly, for more on Double Fine, make sure to check out our History of Double Fine Productions story we ran back in July to read how the entire studio came together. 

    20 Double Fine Years is available now.

    Raz & The Aquatos

    “It was crazy addictive to be drawing these characters again,” describes concept artist Scott Campbell, art director on the original Psychonauts. “It was almost like being wrapped in this warm, comforting blanket.”

    Raz returns as protagonist in Psychonauts 2 and this time more of his family members are explored, with their lives and relationships shown in greater detail. Much of the joy for Campbell in designing them came from being able to build meaning into them, as opposed to creating them from scratch.

    “It’s like you’re pulling at an old family patchwork quilt that you’re also adding to at the same time. You need these characters to feel as though they’ve been brought here through the lore of the previous games. 

    “They can’t feel wholly new, you want them to feel like they’ve existed in this world and created their own place within it. Taking something that already exists and creating connections and history for it is really fulfilling.”

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    The Brains

    Psychonauts 2 takes us through an incredibly diverse set of brains, each one presented as a fully-formed level for the player to explore. These levels are connected in the sense that you’re always seeing them through the eyes of Raz and that each represents a character’s innermost thoughts, but visually they are strikingly distinct.

    “We looked back to Psychonauts to figure out what it was that made those different environments feel cohesive even though you’re jumping through all of these different brains,” explains environment artist Levi Ryken.

    “One of the biggest things is proportions. We have this thing that we call the ‘Psychonauts wonk,’ which is basically that you can include stuff that seems pretty normal and consistent but you can’t present it normally. It has to have the ‘wonk’ to it.”

    Parallel lines, for instance, are avoided for the most part. Characters are allowed to have two eyes that are essentially the same, but they’re typically presented as one being bigger than the other or one being higher or lower on the face.

    “It makes the whole world feel a little off at all times,” Ryken continues. “It’s almost as though it was drawn by someone who holds a pencil really haphazardly and is dropping it all of the time.”

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