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Buildbox wants to bring ChatGPT to making user-generated games. The company is updating its no-code game engine with generative AI technology dubbed Buildbox AI to boost creator productivity.
Jonathan Zweig, CEO of Buildbox owner AppOnBoard, said in an interview with GamesBeat that you can now imagine a day when you can simply describe a video game idea you have and artificial intelligence brings it to life.
This seamless collaboration between human creativity and AI is the future of game development and it will help the company reach its goal of democratizing game creation. Buildbox, used in over 180 countries around the world, is taking a significant leap forward in simplifying game development with the addition of generative AI to its software.
Buildbox has already enabled creators to have big success on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, with all-time hits such as Color Switch, with over 100 million downloads.
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“AI is really just the next iteration of no code,” Zweig said. “They call it prompt engineering. I think the biggest leap is that there are so many APIs and tools out there that you can blend together in your own proprietary way, resulting in good outcomes for the creators. And I think that’s what we’ve been trying to do for the last several months. This is our first addition to the industry’s evolution.”
He added, “Our goal is to build ChatGBT for games, and this is a first step around generative AI. Inside Buildbox, you can just start to type and describe the game that you’re building. And we start to build the assets for you. And there they can be used directly in the product itself.”
Buildbox will generate assets that you can actually use in a game, he said.
“That’s a big difference compared to other tools out there,” he said. “It’s all part of a journey. What I’ve enjoyed about the journey so far is it seems like the AI ecosystem is very collaborative. You see a lot of people putting stuff out as open source. A lot of the APIs are under licenses that just can be used and mixed and remixed. You see a lot fewer walled gardens, which I think is going to be good for this concept of the metaverse.”
Buildbox has given AppOnBoard a chance for a big pivot. Founded by Zweig and cofounder Adam Piechowicz, AppOnBoard started out in 2016, making playable ads for mobile games. The company acquired Buildbox in 2019 and then it made a version of Buildbox available for free. AppOnBoard is now a kind of side business and Buildbox is the main focus. The company has 25 people.
Now the company is adding generative AI features to Buildbox. This ground-breaking innovation will enable anyone to effortlessly create high-quality and unique in-game assets for their video games, redefining what is possible in game development, Zweig said.
With Buildbox AI, creators simply type in whatever is on their mind and then the AI takes over, creating virtually unlimited options of unique characters, game objects, and environments, crafted to fit their specific game’s vision, he said. This not only saves time and effort, but also sparks even more creativity and innovation, allowing creators to focus on shipping their game, Zweig said.
Buildbox AI is a powerful but simple “one-click-to-create” feature, creating game assets that are unique, personalized, dropped directly inside your game and ready to go. They can also be used in any other game engine such as Unity and Unreal. Buildbox is the first multiplatform game engine to enable the creator community to contribute to AI training, fueling continual learning and new game ideas.
Video game development has long been a complex and time-consuming process, but in this age of rapid technological advancements, the world of game development is continually expanding and improving. Platforms like Roblox — which also recently released a generative AI tool — have reached a critical mass by enabling a vast “metaverse” of user-generated content and fostering social connections.
Today’s announcement from Buildbox harnesses the power of AI to simplify and accelerate the game creation process, enabling anyone to be a game developer and bring their vision to life with ease, Zweig said.
“By adding generative AI features to Buildbox is staying true to our core mission of empowering creators and pushing the limits of what’s possible. Technology will always serve as a tool for unlocking human potential, and our latest innovation takes this concept to a whole new level”, said Zweig. “We invite you to join us on this journey as we explore the uncharted territory of AI-powered game development with this first of many steps. Together, as a community, we will help redefine the way games are created and shape the future by empowering anyone and everyone to build.”
With the power of generative AI, developers can iterate their ideas and designs at a much faster speed, enabling them to quickly prototype and refine their games. This increased efficiency will not only reduce development costs but also improve overall development lift and timelines across the game development industry, Zweig said.
Over time, Zweig wants game development tools to have a more human interface so it’s easier to describe, change, modify and add to a game.
“The more that the game engine can be as responsive as another human, the better,” he said.
In the past, Zweig said startups might need five or six people to make a prototype — an artist, programmer, game designer, a sound designer and more. But he thinks that tools like Buildbox AI will enable a single person to get to a prototype more quickly.
“It is collapsing into fewer people, but it also enabling more people to get into the industry,” said Zweig. “It should result in more game developers, which is our goal.”
At the recent Game Developers Conference, Zweig said generative AI was the talk of the show, with half of the people excited about it and half fearful.
“With any new technology, we should proceed with caution,” he said.
As for the possible disruption that could come with AI for professional game developers, Zweig said that’s a “tough one.” He noted that any technology is disruptive.
“It takes away jobs and it produces new ones,” he said. “You try to focus on the net. And so hopefully, this AI is just a net job creator for all the people who can now use technology to do these things. And it’s like, any technology in human history. It’s under the spotlight because it is so accessible. The math should work out into net new jobs. We believe so.”
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