NetGaming has produced one of the first serious online slots with the help of Generative AI for imagery. Wild Buffalo Bonanza is one of three titles released by various developers in April 2023 with an overall theme, individual iconography, and backdrops developed by large language model artificial intelligence in concert with human artists and directors – each has its own mix of elements and each has its own approach.
None of the three developers – NetGaming, BGaming, or Endorphina attribute anything other than presentation so we won’t second guess any other elements of the game to AI than what they have announced.
One of the Best by Many Metrics
While every player has their own preference in game mechanics, maths, etc., this reporter finds Wild Buffalo Bonanza to be the best in several respects. Although not an expert by any means, most likely like you, I have dabbled in the fad of consumer AI/Human-generated art. I have also followed the bigger issues for many years but will keep my observations confined to the subject at hand – some pretty darn awesome new slots that would not exist without pioneers following the trends of innovation and one-upmanship that makes online gambling so exciting today.
For an in-depth primer on the state of the Human/AI interface today, please see “Full interview: “Godfather of artificial intelligence” talks impact and potential of AI by CBS Morning News.
What we are looking at here is a hauntingly beautiful Buffalo-themed slot produced by NetGaming.
Buffalo-themed slots all have at least one thing in common but many of them also share certain mechanics. Therein lies most of the excitement – the games create a sort of rush after teasing the possibility. So in addition to American bison, with all of the genre’s backdrop and sense of place, anticipation is a huge part of the appeal. So much so that nearly every studio has either played on a variation or will try to come up with another theme soon to replicate it.
While arguably not as powerful and viral as “any-themed” Megaways slots, it was still a brilliant choice in thematics and playability for NetGaming developers.
Competition breeds innovation, excellence, and a better playing field for players.
Wild Buffalo Bonanza Slot
Buy Bonus: 94.51%
Max Win: x2,658
Min/Max Bet: €0.2/€80
Release date: April 27, 2023
So, it looks like any old game from the description. However, it is anything but that. The gameplay is simple and straightforward (not a bad decision for a genre-busting title), but the experience is sensational thanks to the artwork.
Having created thousands upon thousands of prompt-driven images since the first models came to beta, it’s easy to see that there is something far more innovative going on here. It’s as if the art department at NetGaming all became aware of the possibilities and asked – “What can we do better? How can we make a new game uniquely ours while leveraging this awesome new creative tool?”
“…more than utilizing prompts…”
The company explains some of what went into the creation of Wild Buffalo Bonanza in a recent press release: “It involved more than just utilizing prompts,” the company said. The creative team dove deep into the possibilities presented by interacting with prompts and results by playing around with everything from the overall style of art to 3D rendering styles and explored mechanical drawing, paintings, illustrative art, and various cinematic approaches.
According to some analyses, the end result is that the Generative AI came to interact with designers in such a way that it “understood” the flavor and feel of previous NetGaming productions to arrive at a magnificent “first contact” hybrid human/AI-generated game on the front end.
That approach also helps set the stage, as a proof of concept for others and perhaps a framework for the studio itself to create other games in the future using the same new skill sets and options as well as to implement new developments along the way.
As tempting as it may be to explore back-end elements that become possible in the mirror image, we’ll stick to the exciting possibilities of truly stunning and gobsmacking new works coming from NetGaming and other progressive studios in the near future.
The upshot is a deeply immersive in-game environment that was built by training the AI to understand NetGaming’s preferred styles. This development practice has allowed significantly improve the accuracy and consistency of the AI-generated outputs throughout, meaning that NetGaming now has a powerful pattern it could follow to produce future releases.
Continuing its brief commentary (why brag when you are shaking the rafters of an entire industry?), NetGaming said: “In the end, the entire process combined human ingenuity with a range of AI tools and techniques, allowing us to craft a game we are truly proud of.”
Unsuspecting players were treated to a sneak preview at Whitehat Gaming-powered online casinos on April 13, 2023. The rest of the world has had access since April 27.
While fruit flies like the bananas, time flies like the wind, and innovation occurs so fast in the realm of AI and Generative AI that it would seem Gordon Moore chose to leave the planet rather than re-iterate his 1965 law of transistor density to describe the development and advancement of Artificial Intelligence capabilities under large language models, and may he rest in peace. Or as Harlan Ellison might have said in his “trilogy of six books” when looking at the unknowable potentials, “So long and thanks for all the fish”.
We’re just getting started, folks. Be sure to tune in for a deeper look into BGaming’s Alen Fruits and Endorphina’s Joker Ra – two more AI-assisted imagery games released in April.
Source: NetGaming Leverages AI to Design Wild Buffalo Bonanza Slot, GamblingNews, April 20, 2023