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GalCiv IV: Supernova Dev Journal #11 - The AI Elephant in the Room

Published on Thursday, April 20, 2023 By Frogboy In GalCiv IV Dev Journals

Supernova makes heavy use of AI art generation. While our human art staff on GalCiv IV is the biggest it’s ever been, the art team has made a great deal of use of using AI to vastly increase the amount of variance of art assets in the game.

There are a lot of different types of AI generated content in Supernova including text, missions, AI dialog, citizen portraits and even the aliens themselves.

Some uses of AI are controversial. For example, one of the controversial aspects of AI art generation has to do with the art the AI was trained on. We’re not going to wade into that controversy other than to say that our AI generated art is trained on our own art. We’ve been making aliens for a long time, so we have a lot of them.

Training the AI on our own art has some benefits besides avoiding controversy. It allows our style to stay reasonably consistent. More accurately, it stays as consistent as we have been which is to say, not always very consistent.

For example, here is the Altarian leader from GalCiv III.

Now she was made with a variety of tools. But using AI, we can do a lot of interesting things with her.

But then you can do this:

It’s like the Korath and the Altarians had a baby. Which, in a way, they did here.

Now for our team, the AI stuff is just the next logical step. Obviously, I have some ambivalence on the issue since now, “some guy” can just crank out aliens putting all our years of hard-earned artistic experience at risk. But it is what it is.

Stardock used to have a big advantage because we knew assembly language extremely well and could make our games really fast and then, so-called “programmers” using C++ came in and just use compilers. We adapt.

Stardock has always been bullish on AI. GalCiv only exists because I wanted an excuse to make a multi-threaded AI back in 1992. Now, GalCiv IV: Supernova will be making full use of AI in every way we can.


Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova Dev Journals