The GAME in Essen now has her own horror Heidi: AI was apparently used for the images in the app, tickets and posters. The channel “Board Game Wire” previously reported that Friedhelm Merz Verlag had confirmed the use of artificial intelligence to him.
Using artificial intelligence for the creation process of board game illustrations – this idea is met with criticism from fans. Fryx Games and Stronghold Games, among others, recently announced their intention to use such technologies. The topic has been discussed since August.
The child with the six-fingered hand
One would assume that the leading trade fair for board games – SPIEL in Essen – should stand up for copyrights, especially of illustrators. Friedhelm Merz Verlag confirmed this to representatives of the “Board Game Wire” channel - in the end, artificial intelligence was used at least for the creation of some marketing graphics.
Admittedly, you have to look very closely at the AI images to see the oddities. The techno look in the advertising material from Friedhelm Merz Verlag for SPIEL'23 in Essen is not quite as obvious as in the AI video “Cursed Heidi”, but some details, especially in the images in the smartphone app, are suspicious : What is initially strikingly strange are the overly friendly facial expressions of the players in the illustrations. Eyes wide open and a laugh that made Dr. Best had tears of joy in his eyes, irritating. Deformed body parts are the clearest indication that AI is being used. The young girl with glasses has six fingers on her right hand; the hip game man has a club hand; and only the computer knows why the table surface has been put together in such a strange way.
And ultimately it was apparently exactly that: According to Board Game Wire, Friedhelm Merz Verlag is said to have outsourced the work to an agency, where the art design was then created and presented to the organizer for review. The style was liked and the works were approved. The organizers wanted to test whether the advantages of artificial intelligence could be used, but at the same time they also wanted to explore the limits of the technology.
Friedhelm Merz Verlag makes it clear in the interview that protecting the rights of artists is a priority. Nevertheless, it had to be admitted that Merz Verlag did not know which works of art were in the database that the AI used to create the images. With a view to the future, however, we want to keep an eye on such technologies and investigate how they can be used in the best possible way.
For Friedhelm Merz Verlag, the use of AI was initially an experiment - and fundamentally also an impetus to discuss the technology topic at all. The way AI content is handled at the trade fair is correspondingly different: they don't want any restrictions until the topic has been discussed - including from a legal perspective. The final word on AI has not yet been spoken.
Whatever: SPIEL'23 in Essen has its own horror Heidi.
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