NPCx, a Florida-based AI startup, recently raised $3 million in a seed round, with Kakao Investment as the lead investor. The company focuses on creating AI-driven animations for non-player characters (NPCs) in games and developing player clones using AI. Co-founder and CEO Cameron Madani sheds light on NPCx's background, products, and their role in the gaming industry.
The company was co-founded by Cameron Madani, Michael Puscar, and Alberto Menache. Madani has been involved in video game development since 2000, working on various titles. After an attempt at game development in 2011 and a focus on the service side, he started Motion Burner, a motion capture and animation studio, in 2014. However, he noticed the repetitive and time-intensive nature of animation and decided to explore AI and machine learning with the help of Michael Puscar, who has a background in computer engineering and data science.
NPCx's technology stack includes:
- AimX (a motion matching system)
- TrackerX (a motion capture data cleaner)
- CloneX (which allows creating realistic player clones)
- BehaviorX (an AI system that observes and emulates player behavior)
The primary advantage of NPCx technology is reducing animation costs for video game developers. It enables the creation of more animations with the same budget or maintaining the same level of animation quality with significantly reduced costs.
Implementing NPCx technology depends on the specific product. Some, like AimX, require minimal integration, while others, such as BehaviorX, need more extensive integration into games. Developers provide their files to NPCx, which then processes and returns the data in the format required by the developer.
BehaviorX, a core component of NPCx technology, is a system that observes and creates behavioral clones of players in games. The system analyzes the actions, conditions, and style of players and uses this data to create a clone that can be used in various ways, such as co-op gameplay or as a composite of clones for specific roles.
NPCx is committed to an ethical approach and ensuring user privacy. Players' participation in BehaviorX would be opt-in, as NPCx does not want to observe players without their knowledge and consent.
The company is targeting 2025 for the release of an early version of BehaviorX in a title created by one of their investors. The technology will initially focus on 2D games, like puzzle games, and then progress to 3D games.
NPCx is at the forefront of AI technology in the gaming industry, specializing in creating realistic animations for NPCs and developing AI-based player clones. The technology has the potential to revolutionize animation production in the gaming world, making it more cost-effective. The company is committed to ethical practices and user consent when it comes to its BehaviorX system, which is expected to be released in early 2025.