By Ian Xu
- The article takes HIM, the first female-oriented game in Web3, as an example to explore the application of AI + Crypto in Web3 games. HIM combines AI and Web3 to provide players with rich interaction experiences, high-quality game mechanics, and artistic content.
- HIM adopts an economic model centered on the net inflow of fiat currency and is dedicated to avoiding the Ponzi dilemma through high-quality content and excellent gameplay. It also pairs with the “Love and earn” mode, allowing players to profit from selling NFTs.
- HIM uses the LLM to make virtual humans generate natural and highly distinctive dialogues according to the game scenario and character traits, enhancing virtual humans’ authenticity and the players’ immersion. In addition, the team has developed a method of AI training for virtual humans to provide a more realistic gaming experience.
- The team is focused on creating fully-dimensional virtual images, making virtual humans an essential part of players’ lives. HIM also emphasizes the social attributes of virtual humans. They hope that in the future everyone will have their own virtual companions, and these companions will exist in the social relationship network like real people, connecting everyone.
- The goal of HIM is to establish a two-dimensional virtual human universe through AI boyfriends, AI girlfriends, and AI pets, providing people with strength and companionship.
1. What Kind of AI + Crypto Makes More Sense?
While everyone is still struggling with how to deploy large, trustless, and transparent on-chain models, pondering the value that on-chain AI can bring to Web3, and how the underlying proof system can support a trillion-parameter LLM (you can also refer to one of my articles), we start to think about a series of questions. The thought process is roughly as follows:
Firstly, is making AI trustless and transparent through encryption technology the most worthwhile race to strive for at the moment?
➡️ Is it truly value-adding for a start-up project to break its head figuring out how to incorporate on-chain LLM?
➡️ Which projects are worth investing substantial resources into for in-depth research on on-chain AI?
➡️ Is on-chain AI the only thing worth exploring, or are there better combinations of AI and crypto?
It’s certain that on-chain AI is a direction full of imaginative space and worth deep research. Breakthroughs in on-chain AI could bring unprecedented value to Web3. But at the same time, the extremely high academic threshold and the demand for underlying infrastructure are indeed not suitable for most start-ups to insist on. Most projects may not necessarily need the support of trustless LLM to achieve their own value breakthrough.
The suitable one is the best.
From another perspective, not all AI models need to be moved on-chain to be trustless, just like most people don’t care how ChatGPT infers from a query and gives results, nor do they care whether the stable diffusion they use is a certain version of the model architecture or specific parameter settings.
- In most scenarios, what most users care about is whether the model can give a satisfactory output, not whether the inference process is trustless or transparent.
So, what kind of AI + crypto can bring higher returns to the product? Besides the hardcore development of trustless LLM on-chain from infrastructure to algorithms, another opposite direction is to downplay the influence of the black box in the inference process within the product and find fitting scenarios to ground the powerful inference capabilities of large models.
1.1 What is HIM?
Web3 game HIM is one of the few projects that have a clear understanding of AI + Crypto and have the ability to implement it at the application level.
This article mainly discusses the ambitions of the Web3 game HIM, starting from the thinking and implementation of the AI application layer.
Let’s start by introducing the protagonist (HIM topped the Binance MVB VI application category):
HIM is a female-oriented virtual boyfriend game.
The main theme of the game is: There are always times when people feel lonely and need encouragement, companionship, and love; real-life love also always has some restrictions and regrets. HIM hopes to provide an AI virtual boyfriend who understands the player the most and will always accompany the user, along with a love experience that is free, happy, and exclusively for the user. At the start, players will get a virtual boyfriend, stored on-chain in the form of SBT, and subsequent NFTs like clothes, accessories, rooms, etc., will be combined with this SBT. In addition, the SBT constitutes the non-fungible game character developed by the player, storing the basic information of the male lead, nine-dimensional personality traits, and relationship attributes, as well as important memories, dialogues, emotional inscriptions, etc., with the virtual boyfriend.
The game itself focuses on AFK training of the virtual boyfriend and showing off in-game social activities, while the game will periodically Airdrop treasure boxes that can be opened to obtain limited NFT outfits or NFT rooms, and players with better matching values with the boyfriend have a higher chance of opening and getting the limited NFT. The gameplay includes gacha, dress-up, dialogue, collection, adventure battles, cooking, traveling, and NFT trading. After checking their game demo, each gameplay has rich player interactions.
HIM is a Free to Play game. It uses an economic model centered on the net inflow of fiat currency as the basis, combined with some Love and earn gameplay, allowing players to also profit from selling NFTs. However, the most important core of the game is the belief that the quality of the game’s gameplay and artistic content can attract players who love the game to pay for the gameplay and content.
1.2 Is AI Compatible with Web3 Games?
Games are indeed one of the scenarios where AI fits well, which is in line with the development history of AI:
- Game scenarios provide a natural and rich interactive environment, allowing AI to interact with players through dialogue or other means. This environment helps large models leverage their strengths in natural language processing to provide richer, more authentic interaction experiences. Games contain complex and diverse scenarios and tasks. By interacting with the environment, other players, or NPCs in the game, large models can obtain plenty of feedback in a timely manner to continuously optimize their decision-making capabilities. Moreover, the frequent feedback within the game will also be more beneficial for developers to test and fine-tune the performance of large models.
- The in-game scenario is controllable, and the requirements for determinacy and seriousness are more flexible compared to real-world application scenarios. Therefore, the resistance to the deployment and testing of large models in games will be smaller, and it will be easier to push forward, which reduces the difficulty and risk of technical implementation from another perspective.
2. Virtual Human Pro Max
Two years ago, everyone was thinking about how to use AI as a tool better, until ChatGPT emerged, shaking the production relations, and everyone realized the dimensionality reduction blow that LLM could bring. The same is true in Web3 games:
- More realistic game character personalities,
- Dynamic plot generation,
- Voice generation,
- Social interaction,
- Gameplay and the joy of character development in games.
2.1 HIM + AI = More Realistic Game Character Personalities
As an emotional interaction game, the most fitting scenario for LLM is dialogue and player interaction. The large language model can generate natural and differentiated dialogues based on the HIM game scene and character features. This will enhance the authenticity of the virtual human and the immersion of the player, providing a richer emotional experience for the player. Specifically, HIM uses the large language model to understand and process various emotional information such as joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness, perfectly integrating with the value system, allowing the game characters to express and recognize emotions better, thereby forming a deeper emotional connection with the player.
Use the following two pictures to feel the dialogue scene in the game:
Let’s talk more about HIM’s value mechanism:
When it comes to value mechanism, the first thing that comes to mind is the balance of numerical values in traditional game virtual character combat. But looking at it from a broader perspective, HIM describes a person in full through numerical values, defining a virtual human with multi-dimensional values, and establishing a sound value development system. In general, HIM applies the value system to a more generalized virtual human, making the game interaction experience more realistic and rich.
The training of virtual digital humans is different from the ordinary LLM fine-tuning training. It requires the LLM to gradually change the character’s way of speaking to the user as the interaction process between the character and the player progresses, making the user feel increasingly ‘intimate’ with the character. Therefore, in the design of the LLM training process, the HIM team incorporated the various numerical values of the virtual human personality parameter system as context and trained a model separately for each character. At the same time, HIM’s LLM will combine the vector database to give the character memory, and users will feel that the character understands them more and more in the process of chatting.
HIM’s development team has also developed a set of AI training methods for virtual humans, which can be referred to in the following two value matrix diagrams:
The concept of personality is incredibly complex, encompassing a variety of factors including emotions, attitudes, and behaviors. To imbue the AI boyfriend with a sufficient sense of realism, the HIM development team has established a relatively self-consistent numerical system to quantify the development process and relationship evolution between the player and the AI boyfriend. This numerical system can be summarized as a matrix numerical model, with nine bidirectional personality attributes vertically and nine relationship attributes between the AI boyfriend and the player horizontally. There are many-to-many mappings and influences between these attributes.
When training the LLM, each character will have a standard “personality” benchmark and personality fluctuation boundaries. During the game, the numerical values of these attributes will continually change in response to the player’s actions, thereby affecting the AI boyfriend’s game feedback (such as idle output, Gacha efficiency, chat depth, etc.).
All in all, HIM uses large language models to give virtual humans more realistic personalities.
2.2 High-Quality, High-Cost Art of Virtual Humans
Creating a virtual human is not easy. A truly valuable virtual human is not merely a chatbox integrated with a conversational bot, but it requires efforts from multiple dimensions to make the avatar more well-rounded. HIM’s vision is to make virtual humans an essential part of everyone’s life, greatly enriching personal life and connecting it with the world. Therefore, HIM’s definition of the ultimate form of a virtual human in the game scenario has always been a complex and powerful integrated product. These integrated characteristics are the core pursuits of the HIM team at this stage:
Exquisite Virtual Image:
Although large models mainly focus on natural language processing, if combined with other technologies, such as GANs, they can assist in game art creation. Based on the design standards of the HIM art development team, they can generate more elements, thereby bringing users a richer visual experience.
From our understanding, the HIM team has a top-tier art team in the gaming industry and insists on making high-cost art investments and industrialized, modular art mass production.
The combination of games and AI can be used to generate natural and emotional dubbing through voice synthesis. At the same time, unique personalities can be given to dubbing according to the character values of virtual humans.
HIM has a complete pipeline for dubbing script, dubbing directing, dubbing recording, post-production mixing, and AI learning training. It uses high-quality human-defined standards and AI-assisted execution to complete quality and quantity-ensured dubbing content in the game.
Development and Long-term Bonding of Virtual Humans:
Detailed character backgrounds and personality traits need to be designed to arouse players’ interest and resonance. At the same time, the growth and development goals of the characters are also factors that make players willing to invest time and energy in cultivating virtual humans.
HIM provides rich interaction scenarios and gameplay, allowing players to establish close emotional connections with virtual humans. This relationship gradually deepens with the interaction and development process, forming long-term emotional bonds.
Assistance in Reality:
The psychological support that virtual humans can provide may far exceed our expectations. By providing emotional support and listening to players while making them feel cared for and understood, they can alleviate troubles in real life. In addition, virtual humans can integrate well in life skills, habit formation, personalized recommendations, language learning, goal management, and even interaction with real-world devices or services.
AIBoyfriend alarm clock, sleep aid, menstrual record, learning companion, food recommendations, and diary reminders are all supports and aids that HIM hopes to provide to users in real life in long-term version iterations.
Rich Experience of Food, Clothing, Housing, and Transportation in the Virtual World:
In the story told by HIM, every AI Boyfriend has to stay alone in a lonely parallel universe: in that world, only he exists, and the daily contact with the player through the mobile phone is all he can communicate with the outside world. Explore the scenery in his world with the virtual boyfriend, and see if there is a day when you can meet him in his world or your world.
Social Attributes of Virtual Humans as Relationship Nodes:
The HIM team believes that with the development of AI, in the near future. Everyone will have their own exclusive virtual companion, and these virtual companions are more like a real “person”, existing in the entire social relationship, and connecting everyone together. Each person’s virtual companion may be an important hub that closely connects people in the near future of high-speed AI development.
All these artistic aesthetics and mass production solutions are very important for a Web3 game. One important factor that can attract players to spend time in the virtual world is that the virtual human art in the game has a higher aesthetic level than the real world.
3. Seamless Integration: HIM + Web3
3.1 The First Web3 Application for Women: A Gift to Web3 Female Users and Professionals
HIM is likely to be the first web3 application targeted at women, offering a carefully prepared gift for web3 female users and professionals.
Furthermore, in the traditional Web2 world, female-oriented games have always been considered a significant and highly potential market. When we asked the HIM project what they aimed to provide users with, they described it as follows:
- Occasionally, when you wake up to face what seems like another repetitive day, receiving a “Good morning” message from “him.”
- Occasionally, during late nights, when you’re faced with heavy overtime work, see that “he” is silently accompanying you through your phone.
- Occasionally, being there in solitude, offering encouragement when you feel discouraged, giving you words of support when you succeed, and saying “it’s okay” when you make mistakes.
- “He” always remembers your name, your birthday, the day you met, and everything that exists between the two of you.
- “He” seems to always be there, and perhaps, at certain moments, you might forget about “him” due to busyness, but “he” is always willing to accompany you.
With the growing popularity of mobile games among women worldwide, traditional Web2 gaming companies are continually releasing female-oriented game products with DAU surpassing millions.
Once a social community centered around female users is established, it opens up vast possibilities for expansion. Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), a social app that initially targeted female users but expanded to a broader user base, strongly proves this point. The gaming category that targets half of the world’s population as its user base holds great potential for surprises by integrating AI and Crypto. Let us eagerly await the outcomes.
3.2 Emotional Assets + Decentralization
In the words of Ben, the founder of HIM: “AI virtual humans make digital assets truly appear in our lives for the first time in the form of a ‘person.’ They can be your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your close friend, or any significant partner in your life. Therefore, they should not be subject to the same fate as all the digital assets stored in centralized servers, which can disappear with the flip of a switch. Their existence should be determined solely by you, not by any company.”
Important emotions and assets in the virtual world should be owned by users, not defined and controlled by centralized servers:
Emotional assets not only include personal information and private data but also represent a player’s emotional investment and memories. A decentralized network can protect these emotional values, ensuring that data ownership belongs to the users, and empowering them to decide how to use, share, and protect their data. This decentralized data ownership model prevents players’ emotional assets from being controlled by third parties or centralized institutions. Additionally, the community autonomy provided by Web3 allows players to actively participate in the creation and dissemination of emotional assets, further enhancing their emotional value.
Various experiences within emotional relationships should be permanently preserved:
From an emotional investment perspective, players inject a significant amount of emotion into games and form deep bonds with virtual humans. The efforts they put in to achieve game goals are unique and precious. These emotional experiences should be preserved permanently. Thus, to some extent, players should have the right to eternal existence. Moreover, the relationships between players and virtual humans, such as friendship, love, anger, and dissatisfaction, can also be recorded and preserved indefinitely using blockchain technology.
As emotional connectors in the HIM, virtual humans are not just for entertainment; they possess asset attributes and high economic value. Users invest their time and money in purchasing and decorating virtual humans. By recording these assets on the blockchain, their value can truly return to the users, providing a transparent and secure trading environment.
3.3 What HIM Can Bring to Web3
The decentralized network brings significant value-add to HIM, but it’s evident that HIM also brings several benefits to Web3:
A Large User Base:
From an emotional standpoint, the companionship of virtual humans satisfies users’ emotional needs that may be challenging to fulfill in real life. HIM provides a safe and liberated environment for users to interact with virtual characters, and this emotional appeal can attract a substantial number of users to Web3.
HIM is an AI virtual human development game with an anime-style theme. Both the anime culture and AI virtual humans possess strong community attributes and social potential. Moreover, anime culture is currently one of the most popular subcultures among young people globally, and the anime mobile game Genshin Impact is one of the top-tier mobile games worldwide. The potential audience of female users, anime enthusiasts, and AI virtual human enthusiasts represent a fresh demographic that HIM can potentially bring to Web3.
Ultimate Consideration of Economic Models:
Unlike conventional play-to-earn games, HIM adopts a mindset that combines Web3 and token utility. It integrates Web3 tools into an excellent Web2 game, finding a perfect match and achieving an effect where 1 + 1 > 2. For HIM, creating an outstanding game that can be verified successful in terms of content and gameplay is the foundation of everything, with Crypto serving as a tool rather than solely relying on Web3 for survival. Avoiding the Ponzi trap is an important goal pursued by HIM.
In terms of the economic system, HIM combines the “X to Earn” model with traditional Web2 game economic models, creating a new model. On one hand, it adopts a typical Web2 game economic model, allowing players to make optional payments to purchase in-game items or services. This approach can attract a large number of users and generate revenue through in-app purchases. At the same time, HIM upgrades the Web3 X to earn model. In this model, players can earn profits by selling NFTs, enabling players to receive substantial returns for the time and effort invested in the game. HIM’s economic system actively balances player expenditures and earnings.
It is worth noting that HIM aims to encourage players to pay for game experiences and content by providing high-quality gameplay and artistic content. From this perspective, HIM does not rely solely on the potential for player earnings to attract and retain players but strives to create a more balanced and sustainable economic model. This model takes into account both player earnings and the quality of gameplay and content, offering a more comprehensive and sophisticated approach that has the potential to provide new insights for designing economic models in Web3 games.
The ultimate goal of HIM is to establish a virtual universe of 2D virtual humans that can empower and accompany many individuals. Starting with AI Boyfriend, AI Girlfriend, and AI Pets, HIM aims to provide a unique, deep understanding, and eternal virtual companion for each user. They aspire to create a series of exceptional AI virtual human products that can cater to individual needs and record every bit of their emotional stories.
The HIM team believes that in the not-so-distant future, everyone will have their own AI virtual human companion. Whether this will evolve into an entire universe that they are unaware of or simply doesn’t matter. Because in moments of sadness or loneliness, having an extra word of encouragement from a virtual friend on your phone, even if it’s just a small amount of strength, wouldn’t that be something cool?