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RIYADH: Saudi tech experts are putting the latest developments in artificial intelligence into the hands of gamers attending a major international festival in the Kingdom.
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has partnered with the Saudi Esports Federation for the Gamers8 event taking place in Riyadh to showcase the latest advancements in augmented and virtual reality technologies.
And Ahmed Abdulrahman, the immersive lab manager for Ithra’s Creative Solutions program, thinks the futuristic AI seen in many current sci-fi movies could become available to audiences within five to 10 years.
The technologies presented at the festival focus not only on games, but also on interactive and immersive experiences, entertainment and learning.
Abdulrahman pointed out that the type of VR gadgets seen in Steven Spielberg’s 2018 adventure film “Ready Player One” are now readily available. Ithra even had a Tesla haptic suit and glove (a technology that can create a tactile experience by applying forces, vibrations, and motions to the user) that members of the public could try out.
“We can put people in games that use all the technologies together, where they can walk around and feel every stroke of the game. It’s total immersion. It’s not 2045, it’s 2022,” he told Arab News.
In Riyadh Boulevard City, where Gamers8 is thriving, Creative Solutions’ GameDev zone features game prototypes developed in 72 hours or less, as well as the program’s five previous winning designs from the cohorts, as well as video games developed at home. international scale.
Although the available VR experiences are not fully equipped, they still allow visitors to get a general idea behind the immersive stories.
One of the Ithra winners’ projects, “Anticipation of Rain”, allows people to feel the rain while wearing a VR headset. Its developer, Naima Karim, recounts how she became paralyzed at a young age, but discovered a love for painting under the influence of rain. “There were so many people who got emotional with it, they just took their helmets off to cry,” Abdulrahman said.
Other AR projects take users on a journey through the history of the universe or on a mission to find hidden objects, similar to the mobile game “Pokemon GO”.
Adjacent to the area’s five winners’ booths are a selection of internationally developed game programs, including “The Climb 2”, “Loco Dojo”, “Beat Saber” and a PS5 game room.
Filipe Gomez, curator of the Creative Solutions program, told Arab News: “There are developers pointing to a future where no screen will exist. Everything will be projected.
Amr Bogari, Concept Artist and AI Enthusiast, said, “It reflects a good mental picture over time, and that is what is expected of our government, as they are a big supporter of this development and of this progress which advances humanity.
“But, in general, it depends on the use of each. The abundance of technology can reduce the spiritual aspect, and this applies in many instances. Our role is to create a moderate space that combines reality and hypothesis.
On the GameDev zone, Gomez said, “The level of audience engagement was amazing. For me, it really reflects a desire to learn, grow and prepare. The creativity is there. »
The Ithra program team aims to create unique experiences that people from all walks of life can enjoy.
Abdulrahman said: “They are all proud. That’s the only word I can say. Anyone who tries them, when they see them, is just amazed at how well they work, even though we call them prototypes.
And the goal of the program was to make Saudi Arabia the leading immersive hub in the region, and perhaps the world.
“It depends on us and stakeholders like Ithra putting in place a specific program that really cares about the impact of this transformation on people, to prepare them to be good decision makers. When it comes to creative solutions, they create humanistic solutions,” Gomez added.