While Ubisoft would probably twist itself into knots trying to claim its games aren’t buggy, I think we’ve all see those terrifying Assassin’s Creed Unity screenshots that prove otherwise. Fortunately, a new form of help for buggy games could be at hand,
Ubisoft has just announced Ubisoft La Forge, a new studio based in Montreal that will be working with various research universities like McGill, UQAM, and Concordia to develop smart AI that can fix bugs in games through deep learning.
Known as the Commit Assistant, its aim is to eliminate bugs as quickly as possible, even before the developers themselves are aware of them. Ubisoft estimates that as much as 70% of AAA development costs are absorbed by trying to fix bugs, and this system will, in theory, allow Ubisoft to predict and prevent bugs before they become a problem. What’s the betting all those cost savings don’t get passed onto the customer?
While it’s early days for the Commit Assistant, the more bugs and regressions it analyses, the more effective it can become. It’s combing through Ubisoft’s previous games and finding bugs, attaching unique signatures to them which it can then recall when it speeds any new code contributions with the same signature. Along with spotting bugs and passing them onto programmers, with time, the Commit Assistant will be able to use machine learning to learn how to fix the bugs for itself.
Ubisoft estimates this whole process will free up 20% more time for its programmers, time which could be spent on “additional game features”. It’s imperfect right now, and still provides plenty of false alarms rather than genuine bugs, but it could prove enormously helpful for speeding up AAA game development.
From the outside looking in this sounds pretty awesome, assuming the technology actually works effectively. The only downside with crutch technologies like this is that’s all too easy to become over-reliant on the systems at work, at the risk of overlooking bugs that could be spotted by old-fashioned hard graft.
What do you make of Ubisoft’s new technology? Could it finally be the answer to buggy games?