Polyphony Digital (Gran Turismo 7) and Sony have worked hand in hand to concoct an artificial intelligence that will “revolutionize” racing games.
The release of Gran Turismo 7 is fast approaching and the software intends to mark the history of racing games, like its predecessors. If fans will agree that the visual and audio aspects have always had an important place in Polyphony Digitaljust like the simulation dimension, the AI on the other hand has always been more or less subject to debate among players.
This is one of the reasons why was born Gran Turismo Sophy (or GT Sophy), an artificial intelligence presented as a “nugget” in the middle and who intends to change the game in the field of video games and even more.
Gran Turismo Sophy marks a milestone in the development of AI whose goal is not just to be better than human players, but also to provide them with a challenging opponent who can accelerate and kick players’ techniques and creativity into a higher gear – Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony AI-
Developed thanks to the close collaboration of Sony AI (sector of the parent company specializing in the design of AI), Sony Interactive Entertainment (EIS) and Polyphony Digital, Sophy is on the way to becoming a must-have on the market if we are to believe what the Japanese giant tells us.
Sophy, the AI future champion of Gran Turismo
Sophy was designed to learn, memorize and adapt to thousands of parameters mainly collected from players by analyzing their in-game behavior. A “deep reinforcement learning” approach that has been spread over years in an infrastructure entirely dedicated to the program, supported by 1000 PS4s running at full speed using on data collected via the Cloud. An impressive device that allowed Sophy to master all the subtleties of car racing.
A complicated task, especially since a circuit race is not limited to purely technical and physical parameters., but is also influenced by the psychology of the (human) driver, his ability to understand the layouts, the behavior of his opponents and fair play, which is often subject to personal interpretation. A reflection and an organic and difficult to encode logic, which Sophy had to learn the hard way as said in the magazine Nature, which dedicated an article on the subject:
Motor racing represents an extreme example of these conditions, drivers must execute complex tactical maneuvers to overtake or block opponents while operating their vehicle.
However, although the work is not finished, far from it, the objective is visibly achieved since Sony reveals that Sophy masters her subject:
- Race car control: GT Sophy has a fine understanding of automotive dynamics, trajectories and precision maneuvers to conquer difficult circuits.
- Racing tactics: ability to make quick decisions to adapt to rapidly changing race situations. GT Sophy demonstrated her mastery of tactics such as slipstream passing, crossover passing and even some defensive maneuvers like blocking.
- racing etiquette: to become a model of fair play, GT Sophy had to comply with very strict, but vague rules of sportsmanshipsuch as the avoidance of collisions by fault and the respect of the trajectories of the adversaries.
It has proven its worth, but the AI GT Sophy will not be in Gran Turismo 7
To validate her achievements, Sophy was confronted with 4 of the best Gran Turismo drivers through two major events in 2021. Thus, she was able to rub shoulders with Takuma Miyazono (2020 FIA Gran Turismo Championships Champion), Emily Jones(grand finalist of the FIA GTC 2020) Igor Fraga(FIA GTC Champion in 2018) Shotaro Ryu (one of GT Sport’s world tops). All are unamines, and some have even lost, Sophy is a formidable adversary and above all, with completely natural behavior.
I completely forgot that I was playing against an AI. I really had a blast. I would really like to run more with this agent in the future. -Takuma Miyazono-
GT Sophy showed us “new possibilities” that we had never imagined. -Igor Fraga-
In other words, Sophy is already a very solid opponent. However, she is not yet fully ready to hit the slopes and will not be there on Gran Turismo 7 on March 4 on PS5 and PS4. No information about its online release has yet been given, but Sony already has big plans for it since the company sees Sophy being used elsewhere than on its video games.
In addition to contributing to the progress of the gaming community, we believe that this advance is very promising for other fields such as autonomous racing, self-driving or high-speed robotics and AI control
A great step forward in the field which is likely to make people talk, you can also find a whole lot of information on GT Sophy directly on the official site.
As long as no one comes knocking on our door looking for a certain Sarah Connor, we’re fine.