Search engine giant Google has introduced a Cloud-powered gaming service, Stadia, for the future of video games, and demonstrated an eye-catching feature, Style Transfer ML, at the 2019 Game Developers Conference. With style transfer, a Machine Learning method that recomposes images in the aesthetic of other images, it allows game developers to map textures and color palettes from artwork, photos, and still images to game environments automatically.
During the launch, the lead prototype at Google, Erin Hoffman-John stated that we’re doing our part to empower the artist inside of every developer. She further noted that what excites us and some of our partners so far, is how many playable art styles we can create just by feeding it more and more images. It inspires and empowers our artists to get the visions in their heads into games in a whole new way. Google also demonstrated its proprietary Stadia controller in three different color schemes. It links to Google’s servers through Wi-Fi, and it recognizes what screen users want to play on. As well as to the standard array of inputs, it also features two unique buttons, in which one enables users to capture game-play and share and save it to YouTube, while the other is a Google Assistant button that accesses the controller’s built-in microphone to get game-play advice from an assistant.
Moreover, Google has made other big moves into the video game space, with recently hired Jade Raymond, well-known for her work at Ubisoft and EA. Raymond will head up Stadia Games and Entertainment, a new first-party studio that will develop games exclusively for Stadia. However, Stadia will come into the market for customers later this year and will be available first in the US, Canada, the UK, and most of Europe.