What Is AI Dungeon? The Pioneering Use of ChatGPT in Gaming

"One lesser-spoken element of AI in gaming is the profound impact it can have on both the storyline and the storytelling in games, including features such as quest generation. AI Dungeon is this premise in its purest form; a game built entirely on the notion of an open world in every sense of the term."

Introduction

In the dynamic realm of gaming, few titles have managed to capture the imagination of players like AI Dungeon. This isn’t just another game — it’s a testament to the potential of artificial intelligence in reshaping entertainment. At its heart lies OpenAI’s seminal ChatGPT and in this article, we’ll take a look at what makes AI Dungeon unique and pioneering.

What Is AI Dungeon

AI Dungeon is a text-based adventure game that uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT to generate the content of each playthrough. The game is on Steam, iOS, Android, and now has a browser-based client (linked at the start of this section).

So, how does it work? Players first choose a setting for their adventure, for example, fantasy, mystery, or cyberpunk, and so on. Then, the player chooses a character class relevant to the setting. The player will have a story beginning presented to them and they can choose to continue through the story, letting it play out, or “Take a Turn” at any point and input something.

The inputs have four categories players can choose from:

  • Do: a verb and the player’s character will perform that action
  • Say: dialogue that the player’s character will say
  • Story: a description of anything that would progress the story or is important information for the AI to know going forward
  • See: a description of what the player’s character has seen

One other interesting element is that players can create entirely custom adventures where the game world is described beforehand, allowing a wide array of user-generated content.

A final component of AI Dungeon’s gameplay is that there is a multiplayer mode where each player creates a character within the same game and then takes turns inputting.

The Genesis of AI Dungeon

When the first lines of code for AI Dungeon were written in March 2019, the vision was clear: to create an adventure that was unpredictable, immersive, and driven by the player’s imagination. Traditional games followed scripts, but AI Dungeon sought to break the mold. The aim? To craft a game where choices were limitless and every player’s journey was distinct.

Inspired by the openness of the tabletop game, Dungeons & Dragons, Nick Walton, then of Brigham Young University’s deep learning laboratory, created AI Dungeon in a hackathon. Initially, Walton wanted to see if AI could function as the dungeon master, but the game quickly became even more open than that.

OpenAI: The Game Changer

ChatGPT became famous within the last year to the general public, but its earlier versions of one of the world’s leading language models date back far before that. In fact, at the point of Walton’s hackathon, an early version of OpenAI’s GPT-2 was available. At first, the player’s input in the game was restricted, with a list of actions that could be chosen from. Although this was still novel, it didn’t particularly break the mold of familiar RPGs, or even novels that allowed readers to choose their own paths.

By late 2019, the second version of AI Dungeon was ready and the restrictions began to lift. Here is a brief timeline:

Milestones in AI Dungeon

  • The First Iteration: AI Dungeon 1
    • This was where it all began—a text-based adventure that offered a new twist with every play. While it was rudimentary, it set the stage for what was to come.
  • The Big Leap: AI Dungeon 2 & GPT-2
    • Leveraging the capabilities of OpenAI’s full GPT-2 model, the game underwent a transformation. Stories became more coherent, choices more impactful. The gaming community took notice, and AI Dungeon 2 garnered a fanbase.
  • The Modern Era: Dragon Model AI Dungeon and GPT-3
    • In July 2020, a premium exclusive AI model named Dragon was released, utilizing GPT-3, boasting 570GB of text content — around one trillion words. This drastically improved the dynamism of the stories, the complexity of plot lines, and the model’s grasp of the characters.

The Future: AI Dungeon and Dynamic Storytelling in Games

With the trajectory AI Dungeon has charted, the future is rife with possibilities. As AI continues to evolve, so too will the game and other games. AI Dungeon might just be the precursor to a new era of gaming — an era where AI isn’t just a tool but a collaborator, helping craft experiences that were once deemed impossible. AI is one of the most powerful weapons to increase the replayability of games and this open-ended, dynamic storytelling is potentially revolutionary.

It’s no secret that companies are looking to create AI NPCs in games, with Inworld being one of the recent frontrunners to get funding and go viral within the GTA V roleplaying community. One lesser-spoken element of AI in gaming is the profound impact it can have on both the storyline and the storytelling in games, including features such as quest generation. AI Dungeon is this premise in its purest form; a game built entirely on the notion of an open world in every sense of the term.

Conclusion

From the fleeting idea of ChatGPT as a dungeon master in an RPG, AI Dungeon has taken on the role of something more profound: a first step. AI will fuse with gaming beyond separation in the next few years and when the provenance of that relationship is traced, it will inevitably lead back to the likes of AI Dungeon.

Robert Baggs
Robert Baggs
Full-time professional crypto writer and Editor of Token Gamer. Co-host of the Mint One Podcast. Obsessed with MMOs. London based. Primary holdings: WAXP, ENJ, & BTC. Secondary holdings: ETH, GALA, & MATIC

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