The innovative AI Dungeon lets players experience an endless text adventure and could change how games tell their stories in a MAJOR way.
There’s been a ton of AI-related projects appearing on the internet as of recent. These projects are often used to experiment with machine learning, such as simulating voices or auto-generating images of humans that don’t exist. However, AI has recently been used to create a truly unique gaming experience that could redefine how video games are experienced.
AI Dungeon is a web-based AI text adventure that aims to generate an original adventure each time it’s played. AI Dungeon’s AI model responds to the player’s inputs and attempts to create a fitting response that still fits with the tone of the story. The best way to describe AI Dungeon is that it plays like a sandbox text adventure where the player can quite literally do anything they can think of.
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When players open up AI Dungeon, they’ll be presented with a series of themes for the text adventure. These include settings like sci-fi, mystery, fantasy and even custom, where the player can input their own prompt for the AI to create a text adventure out of. The pre-existing prompts are certainly the focus of the AI’s generation, though the custom prompts can still provide a fantastic experience.
After selecting their theme and a class, the player is given a basic prompt and sometimes a quest to begin their adventure. These quests are completely optional, and the player can simply go off and make their own story. Granted, the AI works much better when the general tone and quest of the prompt are followed, but there’s plenty of ways for the player to get the AI to work in their favor.
AI Dungeon includes a few tools for the player to help build the model. This includes the “remember” feature, which allows players to type out specific details of their adventure for the AI to remember. Players can also directly add parts of lore to the world that they deem to be important for the adventurer. This helps guide the AI to hold the point of the adventurer just a little more coherent since despite how revolutionary it is, AI Dungeon does have some faults.
AI Dungeon can sometimes require a more specific direction than what’s enjoyable. The AI will also sometimes attach itself to a specific plot and do anything it can to force said player onto the plot. AI Dungeon can sometimes feel like it’s the AI vs. the player, rather than the AI working with the player to tell an engaging story. However, when the AI flows with the player’s decisions, AI Dungeon is an incredibly innovative experience that may reflect on the future of video game storytelling.
It’s no question that having a game’s plot directed completely with AI isn’t something players can expect quite yet. One of AI Dungeon‘s biggest setbacks from a development standpoint has been funding. Companies that provide funding for AI projects can easily lock developers into contracts that hike up pricing the more uses an AI project has. AI Dungeon has recently run into funding issues that have threatened to shut the project down.
There’s been a resurgence in how storytelling in video games has been seen recently. With series like The Last of Us proving that games can have cinematic stories, it seems as though plenty of developers have been putting more of an emphasis on developed and emotion-focused plots. Players have also shown their appreciation for well-written stories, with games like Sekiro and Final Fantasy XIV being praised for their narrative elements.
In addition, games where the player’s choices have also seen a huge boost in popularity. The Dark Pictures Anthology is a prime example of how giving the player choices can impact a game’s narrative experience. However, the main downside to this is that choices are limiting by nature, as some players will always be able to think of solutions that the game doesn’t present. Games like the mobile-focused Choices do find ways to capitalize on the limiting nature of choices, though there’s a sense of freedom that would come with a true choices matter philosophy where the player can make any choice they could think of.
AI Dungeon could very well set the stage for video games having limitless choices. AI could be used in story-focused sandbox games to help account for player freedom, accounting for player choices that developers may not have thought of. AI could also be used in procedurally generated rouge-likes to give each run an original story or create unique lore for each run.
In short, AI gives developers the ability for their content to adapt to players in real-time. This real-time adaptation could help stories feel more personal. Granted, this kind of AI storytelling will probably take a long time to even become viable for developers to implement. In the meantime, there’s always AI Dungeon. The basic version of AI Dungeon’s AI is available for free, with an updated “Dragon AI” model available for players who support the game.
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