Competent AI opponents are the key to a good singleplayer race. And with this week’s update, Gran Turismo 7 is getting an AI upgrade as Sony rolls out its Sophy AI agent as a permanent feature of the game. The entertainment company tested water earlier this year for a few weeks in a limited test, but when the GT7 Spec II update rolls to the consoles tomorrow morning, Sophy will be able to play 340 of the game’s cars on nine of its tracks.
Ideally, you want the AI in the racing game to be good enough that the race is challenging, but maybe not so bad that it’s a fool’s errand to try to win.
That’s harder than it sounds to be right—the older gamers among us will remember the AI in its earlier stages GT, which becomes mostly a ready-made line with little concern for where you, the human player, want to put your car. Microsoft’s long-running Go ahead The franchise actually had its origins in neural network testing, and more recently, its developers used each human player to train an AI agent that would reproduce their friends’ games, albeit with imperfect results.
Sony AI introduced Sophy to the world in 2022, publishing a book in the journal Creation explains how the company trained AI to be able to beat humans better GT players around the world. At the end of February of this year, a limited-time version added a series of four-on-one matches to Sophy set to different difficulty levels, as well as a game where the AI is completely unleashed—and it almost completely invulnerable, at least to us mortal players.
“One of the challenges that really stood out was trying to find a good balance between having Sophy’s car respect the opponents around it – so have good sport – but at the same time be competitive in a race and see sure he tries to take advantage of the situation,” explained Kaushik Subramanian, senior research scientist at Sony AI.
“Finding that gap is a fine line,” Subramanian told Ars. “Because you don’t want to be too aggressive. You can try to be too aggressive to get the position but at the cost of a very poor race ethic. And our team has gone back and forth trying to find a way to go that way. line because (a) the line is not clearly defined, and (b) people have different interpretations of that line. has different meanings.”
It’s not quite as simple as just replacing the old in-game AI with instances of Sophy, however; You will only be able to race Sophy in Speed Race mode (née Arcade mode).
“The technology allows us to run 20 cars at the same time, so it’s a standard,” said Peter Wurman, director at Sony AI. “In the past, we have a policy that you can drive a car or small cars, as in the race together last February. And this is not the size-as one car at a time across all musical groups. So we’ve been. working to make policies that can drive many, many cars.”
“The research goal is to get an agent to the point where it can completely replace the built-in AI and make the racing experience more realistic and more fun for all players of all types. The current plan is mostly ‘chasing the rabbit.’ scenarios, and you have to go online and race people to get real race mode, but that’s still its own complicated mess. If you can do that yourself with AI that is in the game, it’s going to be a lot more fun, I think,” Wurman told Ars.
The update also adds seven new cars (including the Lexus LFA, Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II, the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and the Tesla Model 3), a new snow track with three bases, some additional events from complete , with 50 new license tests, and four-track racing (only on PS5).