Talk about breaking out: After getting a lot of media attention, the developer of the artificial intelligence-driven text adventure AI Dungeon 2 has gone from a part-time hobby programmer to the CEO of his own company. The firm already has two mobile apps under its belt and it all happened in the span of less than two weeks.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we reported on an old-school text adventure called AI Dungeon 2 that uses artificial intelligence to take you on a journey that is non-linear with virtually endless possibilities and endings.
On Tuesday, Nick Walton, the creator of the previously browser-only program, announced that AI Dungeon is now available on iOS and Android. Mind you, this is not a web app that you play in your mobile browser, but a dedicated native app downloaded from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
AI Dungeon 2 is publicly released! You can download it on iOS now and Android in another day or two. As a holiday gift we've decided that it will be completely free till the end of the year so try it out now! https://t.co/bed8zMJrbr— Nick Walton (@nickwalton00) December 17, 2019
Walton was overwhelmed at the response the browser version received from the public when the media brought it to their attention.
“I thought people would enjoy it, but I’ve been really blown away by how much,” the developer told The Verge.
The reception of the program was so great that Walton said he has quit his day job, started a company, and has already hired a few employees to continue work on the apps. He has also created a Patreon account, which has already gained enough subscribers to earn him over $10,000 per month.
I got to test the iPhone version out only briefly and can say that the app is not without its faults.
First of all, I could not find it listed in the app store on my phone. A search turned up nothing. Instead, I used the browser to got to the website listing for the app and downloaded it from there. You may also find a link to it on Walton’s AI Dungeon website.
Second, the option on the app to sign-in using Facebook seems broken. It failed to start the game several times. Entering my email address and a password failed a couple of times before finally working as well. According to Walton, this might have been because the servers were getting overloaded, a problem he promised his team was working to fix.
We're pretty sure we've figured out the cause and are implementing a fix now.— Nick Walton (@nickwalton00) December 17, 2019
The app seems to respond to text entries a bit quicker than the browser version but is still rather slow. I did not encounter any exception errors in my short time with it, as I did on the web-based app, but some users have.
However, it’s worth mentioning that this port to not one, but two different mobile operating systems happened in a matter of just a couple weeks, and the web version was a work-in-progress to begin with. The fact Walton is devoting all his time and bringing on others to help is a good indicator that we can expect improvements are coming soon.
Walton also told The Verge that his newly founded company has “much bigger plans,” but did not hint at what those were.
AI Dungeon is free until the end of the year. Walton was asking for a one-time $5 donation previously. If you enjoy the app you should consider subscribing to his Patreon for $5 per month to help pay for the server costs.