This Angry Birds clone made entirely through AI prompts makes me wonder what the future of small-scale game development is going to be like

 Title screen of the game Angry Pumpkins made entirely by generative AI.
Title screen of the game Angry Pumpkins made entirely by generative AI.

The use of generative AI in the development of games has been hitting the headlines for some time now, but typically in the context of AI tools being used to assist with game development. One person has now made an entire game solely through the use of ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Midjourney.

Spotted over at Hot Hardware, AI enthusiast Javi Lopez used three generative AI tools to create the visual assets and code to make Angry Pumpkins, a deliberately obvious copy of Angry Birds. Beginning with the sprites, backdrops, and title screen, he used DALL-E 3 and Midjourney to create the images, referencing the original mobile game in the prompts.

Once happy with the results, he then turned to ChatGPT, running the GPT-4 model, to churn out the necessary Javascript code to turn it all into a playable game. You can check out the results for yourself here, though you should note that mobile browsers will probably struggle to run it.

At no point did Lopez manually change the graphics or code. It was all done by tweaking the prompts to make the generative AI systems correct mistakes, with the whole project apparently taking no more than 12 hours to complete. An experienced solo developer, proficient in art and programming, would struggle to achieve the same, starting from scratch.

Sure, it's just one level and the physics is very basic, but it demonstrates just how much can already be created (or copied) with modern AI tools. It's an achievement in that respect, but it's also a little unnerving. In terms of revenue, mobile devices are the largest gaming platform and by a huge margin, and it's the prime target for individuals and unscrupulous publishers looking to make a quick buck.

We're a very long way off being able to replicate something like Baldur's Gate 3 this way, but it would be foolish to believe that the tiny games market isn't going to get flooded with AI-developed projects. And it isn't going to end there: Game developers worldwide are being laid off in fairly large numbers and I have no doubt that some companies will leverage generative AI as far as they can.

News that Microsoft recently partnered with Inworld AI to build "AI game dialogue and narrative tools at scale" went down like a lead weight among the gaming workforce. I don't believe that generative AI will cause the collapse of the game development industry as we know it, but it will change it, perhaps dramatically.

But we can take comfort in the fact that PC indie developers are fairly unanimous in their views on generative AI and while we're probably going to see endless Dave the Diver clones and the like, all made via AI, the handcrafted cream will always rise to the top.