Raph Koster’s Playable Worlds enlists ‘AI-powered’ character platform Popul8


Well now, this is a weird press release I did not expect to get: Raph Koster’s MMORPG “multiverse” company Playable Worlds has apparently signed on to use something called Popul8 to bolster its unnamed game. (“Multiverse,” incidentally, appears to be what they’re using now instead of “metaverse,” a term thoroughly spoiled.) Popul8 is an “AI-powered” “3D character generation platform” for game creation, built by Portuguese company Didimo and helmed by CEO Veronica Orvalho. If you’ve heard of Didimo and its tools before, it’s probably because it’s also being used by Jeff Butler’s MMO Avalon.

“Launched last year, Didimo’s Popul8 is a patented, AI-powered platform that automates and accelerates game production by enabling game developers and artists to quickly generate, edit, manage, and load thousands of specifically unique, diverse characters, into a game that matches its distinct style in minutes. For developers, this means a more efficient, less costly character creation process that saves artists time so they can focus on creating premium characters. For players, the ability to populate game environments with a plethora of distinct characters results in more robust and immersive gameplay experiences.”

The term “AI” is probably ringing all kinds of alarm bells right now, since it did for me, but this at least sounds like the relatively benign kind – like procedural generation but for characters. The company has previously stated it doesn’t use ChatGPT, Midjourney, or other open-source AI databases, telling an AI site last year that it was “trained on proprietary data and fully licensed sources.” In other words, it’s not rifling through the internet stealing and reselling everything that isn’t tied down.

Koster is quoted saying that the character customization tool will “help [Playable Worlds’s] character artists deliver their magic faster” and “enable players to create the full range of unique virtual identities a modern MMO requires.”

Source: Press release, Didimo
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