Unity releases deeply upsetting trailer for its new AI development tools

A close up of Orb, the uncanny AI generated alien
(Image credit: Unity)

Unity has announced two new AI tools for its development suite, both of which aim to bring powerful new technology to developers. 

Unity Muse offers AI-driven assistance for creators, offering a teaching and search tool for those using the Unity engine, while Unity Sentis allows developers to embed neural networks into game builds. 

Unity Muse is the most straightforward of the two products and essentially amounts to a sophisticated chatbot that will allow users to receive adaptive advice through the development process. That said, according to the announcement, the "eventual goal of Muse is to enable you to create almost anything in the Unity Editor using natural input such as text prompt and sketches".

If this were to be realized, it would allow developers to circumvent the programming process, by having an AI do the heavy lifting. However, whether or not Unity will be able to achieve this lofty ambition is another matter entirely. Even as is, though, Muse promises to be a powerful teaching tool that could do a great deal to assist developers.

Unity Sentis, on the other hand, will incorporate AI into game builds themselves. "At a technical level, it bridges neural networks with the Unity Runtime, but the possibilities that Sentis unlocks are near endless," claims Marc Whitten, Senior Vice President, and General Manager at Unity Create Solutions.

Currently in closed beta, Unity Sentis enables you to add AI functionality to your games. In practical terms, this allows you to have your builds generate AI driven content in real-time, be it dialogue, assets, or animations.

Judging from the trailer, the results are impressive, but still fraught with the sort of uncanny eerieness that you might expect from AI-generated assets. While promising, the technology very much seems to be a work in progress.

Unity is also adding "professional-quality" AI solutions to its store, which promise to enable "AI-powered smart NPCs, AI-produced VFX, textures, 2D sprites and 3D models, generative speech, in-gaming testing with AI, and more."

Though Unity's AI-based ambitions are exciting, they also raise concerns for workers. This form of generative AI could force a large number of people out of work if allowed to proliferate without adequate regulation. Unity's new AI products are undoubtedly impressive but could become a double-edged sword for game development.

Unity isn't the only company attempting to support developers. Microsoft's ID@Xbox program is set to offer support for independent developers for the next 10 years.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.