This game was created entirely using AI-generated graphics

This game was created entirely using AI-generated graphics ...

A small 2D shooting game created by an independent developer isn't very impressive, but it demonstrates some of the advantages and limitations of using AI to create art for a game.

"Nao_u" is the developer of the title Shoon, which was built over three days in order to see if Midjourney, an artificial intelligence image generator similar to Dall-E, could be used to create art for the game. Nao_u created a single level for a horizontal shoot-'em-up while generating the background, the player's ship, and the enemies with AI.

Even the title came from AI. When Midjourney was asked to design a shoot-'em-up logo, it generated letters that spelled "Shoon."

Nao_u developed the ship models by feeding Midjourney text prompts related to Star Wars and Armored Core. The creator compared the process to playing gacha games because they had to pull Midjourney's figurative lever many times until they made something usable.

Nao_u desired to do more levels with grassland, desert, and ocean backgrounds in the background.


One of the environment art's biggest limitations is that it's a single, static image. Nao_u couldn't separate elements like the clouds, buildings, and vegetation into the foreground, middle, and background to create the sense of perspective common in 2D games.

Shoon would have to be a horizontal shooter rather than a vertical one, which would require a top-down view of the environment. AI generators aren't well-known to produce images with this perspective, and it's unclear how well they can.

A further issue with static AI images is that the character sprites cannot be animated. A shoot-em-up that only uses static space ships can correct this problem, but Nao_u also created bug-like enemies by concealing their legs, which would not move.

Due to a lack of animation, games involving human characters are much harder to construct using AI-generated art. However, Nao_u notes new advances in 3D model AI-generation that allow for animation, expanding the possibilities for game development.

Depending on how the game develops, things like textures and models can be one of the most costly tasks. AI generation will probably not be perfect, but as the game develops, it may make certain sections simpler.

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