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Ivaylo Karmazov, senior vice president at GAN, talks about how the studio is harnessing the power of generative AI to ramp up game development and production.

There has been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence in recent months and the impact it will have on the industry and, indeed, the wider world.

Some are concerned about the machines taking over, while others are excited about the opportunities this cutting-edge technology provides.

Despite the recent chatter, AI has been around for many years now.

At Silverback Gaming we are already using generative AI to drive efficiencies across game production while ensuring the quality of the games we produce, and have built our reputation on, is not damaged in any way.

So, what is generative AI and how can it be used in slot development?

We see generative AI as a creative companion. It’s a branch of AI that uses machine learning to whip up new and original content, so no rehashing of existing ideas and creatives.

This can be for anything from text to images and music. For us, it also covers core elements of online slot games.

The generative AI learns from a given data set and then uses this knowledge to create new stuff that is similar but at the same time, different.

This makes it incredibly helpful when it comes to creating an online slot game. It’s like having an extra colleague in the room helping with brainstorming, popping out endless concepts, graphics, sound effects and game rules.

That it can do this quickly shaves off huge chunks of time compared to developing concepts and games without the support of generative AI. For me, the sweet spot is using it to come up with visually exciting and engaging slot themes and unique features that are sure to engage players.

Another huge benefit is the excitement and productivity boost that it provides to the team. That it can come up with such creative concepts, graphics and sounds provides never-before-seen concepts for them to work with and this is incredibly motivating.

Generative AI can then be combined with other tools such as ChatGPT, DALL-E and MidJourney to revolutionise the development process.

ChatGPT in particular is a powerful idea generator, delivering countless game concepts and rules. Then DALL-E and MidJourney add the visual spark to the game, creating diverse and appealing graphics based on textual descriptions.

This ultimately improves game development across three key areas.

Speed: Generative AI is like putting all your designers into turbo mode. It generates ideas, concepts and themes much faster than a human can do which means we can create more games in less time – and games that have never-before-seen themes and illustrations.

Scale: AI can spin hundreds of plates at the same time whereas humans can only spin a few before they start dropping and smashing on the floor. For Silverback, this means we can ramp up game production and add more quality slots to our portfolio.  

Smart decisions: AI is data driven so the decisions it makes are based in fact and not on a creative hunch. By looking at player data, it can make well-informed decisions about what games players will likely want to play, taking out much of the guesswork.

Personal touch: Generative AI also has the ability to create custom gaming experiences for different players, making each game feel as though it has been designed to meet their playing preferences. In a world where personalisation is a must, this is a game-changer for slot developers.

Generative AI is clearly a powerful tool for developers but it’s important not to lose sight of the value of the human touch. The best way to use AI is to combine it with humans, maximising the potential of the technology and combining it with a real passion for producing games.

This also helps to ensure the quality of games is not only maintained but improved through the use of generative AI. Yes, AI can come up with a wide range of new game themes, sounds and features, but humans need to piece this together.

Humans understand players in ways the AI can’t yet, and that’s why the combination of AI and humans is the most effective. This approach ensures that games are visually striking but still deliver the experience that players are seeking. Relying on AI alone will not achieve this.

So, what impact will AI ultimately have on slot studios and the incredibly talented designers, audio specialists, mathematicians and developers that work for them?

It is my belief that AI will change the way we work but it will not replace talented, skilled, passionate humans.

AI can do the grunt work, but when it comes to setting the strategy, making key decisions and quality checks, there is nothing better than a human.

AI enhances our skills – a bit like a superpower – and frees us from mundane tasks so that we can focus on the fun, creative parts of game development.

And ultimately, this leads to better games for operators to stock in their lobbies and for players to play.

The sky really is the limit when it comes to AI, especially as the technology and our understanding of its capabilities and how to use it improves.

Right now, AI is great at making assets and mechanics and using player data to guide development.

In the future, we might see AI taking on even more complex tasks and ultimately full game design. But no matter how advanced AI becomes, the best games will also require the human touch.

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