Game News Gran Turismo: Sony unveils GT Sophy, a “revolutionary” AI exclusive to PlayStation
Despite undeniable qualities, the Gran Turismo have often been criticized for the artificial intelligence of the proposed opponents, which is not always relevant. After years of work, Sony announces GT Sophy, an AI that should change everything.
Push yourself there that I put myself there
Sony had teased the thing a few days ago, here it is now official: the manufacturer has just lifted the veil on GT Sophy, a “revolutionary” artificial intelligence, entirely designed for racing video games. Its own video games, moreover, since this very particular technology is concocted for the Gran Turismo saga and, a priori, no one else. It is the result of several years of work, carried out by Sony AI (a department of the firm dedicated to the field)Sony Interactive Entertainment and Polyphony Digitalthe Gran Turismo development studio.
Before explaining how Sophy AI has a good chance of innovating, the Japanese company took the liberty of to give detailat length, all the complexity inherent in car games. Why is it so difficult to build realistic and relevant NPC behaviors in the gaming environment? In fact, for many reasons. Make yourself comfortable and try to understand the why and how.
AI in racing games: a real fishtail for developers
In a racing game, a lot of factors come into play and these depend on a plethora of parameters. In fact, well beyond the established rules of the game – such as the prohibition against making a false start or cutting a turn – all the challenge comes from the physical control of the car, its behavior within a material environment and the player’s interaction with opponents. Driving results from a complex human intelligence to simulate.
“Estimating braking points, finding the best trajectory, looking for grip on the track to maximize speed and control are in themselves very interesting Machine Learning problems to study, but racing means that you are not alone on the track”details Sony in its official article. “Other drivers impact the dynamics of the car through effects that can help achieve speeds above the actual top speed”. Similarly, these same other drivers “significantly increase braking distance due to reduced downforce”.
But these concerns are in reality only of the purely physical order; as for the psychological aspect, it is another dimension that must be understood and interpreted.
Then there are all the tactical aspects. Drivers must find trajectories to overtake their opponents by taking into account their reaction to overtaking attempts. This turns racing into a complex back-and-forth between competitors that includes defensive behaviors, simulation as well as pushing one’s own limits on the circuit.
It actually seems very complicated to reproduce with an artificial intelligence. The challenges do not stop there, since other facets must be taken into account, such as the theme of tolerance for a pilot who does not respect certain rules… sometimes independently of his will.
Stewards review urgent race situations and determine potential time penalties for drivers. The rules are imprecisely specified and subject to interpretation. This makes them difficult to encode and difficult to optimize directly and there is also a concept of fair play.
But how will GT Sophy, Sony’s famous AI, manage to simulate this merry mess in a credible way?
GT Sophy, an AI already in pole position?
Where GT Sophy should make the difference is precisely in the very pronounced consideration of all these factors which have served as pillars for Sony researchers. Well aware of the problem, the developers have given themselves the challenge of imitating, after years of study and in particular on Gran Turismo Sport by working with amateur pilots and professional players, human behavior.
A demanding algorithm, supported by Machine Learning, i.e. automatic learning in real conditions: Sony has thus, thanks to a thousand PS4s, collected and analyzed millions of data via GT Sport players and races for years.
Above all, Sony then emphasizes the right balance that GT Sophy is supposed to find: “Running should be engaging and fun. From the start, our goal was to partner with the creators, and in this case the creators of Gran Turismo, to develop an AI that could not only race competitively against the best Gran Turismo racers, but would also be fun to race. challenge.”
Moreover, Sony does not hide having collaborated with certain figures in the field such as Emily Jones, world finalist of the FIA Gran Turismo Championships 2020Who “was inspired by GT Sophy to try new racing lines she had never seen before.”
Very nice words, yes, but a seductive speech that we will not be able to verify any time soon. : for the moment, Sony communicated a brief passage from Kenichiro Yoshida (the president and CEO Sony Group Corporation) to confirm the news, shared a dedicated website and even got a cover for Life Magazine… but no more (and some would say that’s generous enough). In fact, there is no release date yet.
Because GT Sophy will obviously not be integrated into Gran Turismo 7, the next highly anticipated hit whose arrival is scheduled for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on March 4. Or at least not immediately. To tell the truth, the integration of AI is still vague and we must be content with very nebulous precision: “Sony AI and Polyphony will see how to bring GT Sophy into future productions of the Gran Turismo series”can we read at the very end of the article. From there to think that at best, the technology will be brought late through an update in GT7 or, at worst, in Gran Turismo 8… there is only one tire.
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