In context: When it comes to video game AI, we tend to think of it in terms of how the computer-controlled enemies and NPCs react to our actions. But what if AI drove the narrative as well? Imagine an open world with endless possibilities generated by machine learning algorithms.
Artificial intelligence creating the narrative on the fly in a video game would genuinely open up the possibilities of real non-linear gameplay. If it could not only create the story, but also learn from the player's actions, the game could become a sandbox of infinite possibilities, with each playthrough being completely unique. Such a vision is creeping a little bit closer to reality with a text adventure game called AI Dungeon 2.
AI Dungeon 2 was developed by Nick Walton using an open-source text-generating algorithm created by OpenAI. He trained the AI by feeding it choose-your-own-adventure stories from the Choose Your Story website.
AI Dungeon 2 is done! 🐲— Nick Walton (@nickwalton00) December 5, 2019
This has been the product of hundreds of hours, but it's been completely worth it. AI Dungeon 2 is a first of it's kind completely AI generated text adventure that allows you to enter any action you can imagine.
Play it here: https://t.co/Fr8w82g1sG
The game plays a lot like a text adventure game (TAG) from the 1980s, such as Zork. The difference here is that you can pretty much do whatever you want. Old-school TAGs limited players by only allowing them to go in specific directions, perform a small number of actions, and had very linear storylines. AI Dungeon 2 throws all that out the window by responding to virtually anything the player types.
Walton said that the game took him hundreds of hours to create, but it was "completely worth it."
"AI Dungeon 2 is a first of its kind," he tweeted. "[A] completely AI-generated text adventure that allows you to enter any action you can imagine."
Users start by picking the type of adventure they want to play. Genres include mystery, apocalyptic, zombies, and fantasy. Fantasy is recommended because it is presumably the most polished of the styles with more stories of that type having been fed into the AI.
Next, players will choose a character type and enter a name. From there, the AI takes over and provides descriptions of the setting. As you can see from the above screenshot, I got a little bit stabby right off the bat (really, I'm a nice guy). Things quickly got weird as the person I stabbed died but didn't die. Wait. What?
AI Dungeon 2 is not without its flaws. My first adventure came to a screeching halt when the algorithm threw an exception error after only about five or six turns. Of course, in college, I was notorious for finding bugs and breaking classmates' programs, so your mileage may vary.
If you decide to try it out, be patient at the beginning as it does take a minute or two to load. It is an amusing diversion worth a look.