Within the past few years, more and more people have begun speculating about the potential implications of AI. Everything from autonomous robots to self-driving cars is at play. However, one use deals with play in the literal sense—video games. Developers are just starting to experiment with AI-powered games. However, it will likely be a trend for titles debuting on next-generation consoles.
Even though hardware like the PS5 and the Xbox Project Scarlett isn’t releasing until late 2020, some are already pushing the limits of AI in video games. Developer Nick Walton has created a passion project called “AI Dungeon 2” that allows players to explore a text-based world in a choose your own adventure style.
What is ‘AI Dungeon 2’ All About?
The concept of choosing how your gameplay experience goes has long been a fan favorite. Just look at the massive success of open-world titles like “Red Dead Redemption 2” or “Minecraft.” However, those games are all limited by the choices that developers dream up and include in the narrative.
On the other hand, “AI Dungeon 2” has practically no limits. The OpenAI powered game lets players do anything they can imagine. From teaming up with orcs to make a band or straight up becoming a god, everything is possible. One user even ate the moon. So, not even the sky is the limit. Perhaps a limit does not exist at all.
The game begins by allowing the user to pick a fantasy world to play in. From there, you can do anything your imagination allows. In theory, the game doesn’t ever have to end. By following and responding to the AI’s prompts, users could explore an infinitely expanding world with endless possibilities and adventures. However, not everyone is so lucky.
Many have already shared their tragic tales of demise. Some perished at the hands of orc hoards while others fell dead from a heart attack. A few lucky players have found a way to “win” by ruling the world and then retiring peacefully. Even all-powerful wizard monarchs need to rest sometimes and it seems the AI agrees.
At its core, however, “AI Dungeon 2” isn’t about winning or losing. Rather, it is about pushing the limits of what’s possible in a video game and exploring the world without traditional restrictions.
Work in Progress
While “AI Dungeon 2” is certainly an impressive feat, it’s still a work in progress.
One downside is that it’s a text-based game. While that means no flashy graphics or impressive cut scenes, it does make the whole thing possible. No AI system today is capable of rendering a no-limits open-world game with anything other than text. Yet, this may serve as a stepping stone to reach that point.
Meanwhile, the game seems to focus on creating a line-by-line experience rather than crafting a sweeping narrative. The AI responds to what players input but doesn’t present long-term goals or specific challenges to pursue. Ultimately, this means that the player is responsible for creating their experience. Much like “Dungeons and Dragons,” this game takes some creativity to be fun. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Regardless of where a player’s wild choices take them, “AI Dungeon 2” is truly a special experiment. Those who are willing to spend some time learning how to respond to the AI and following its lead rather than trying to break the game will have a lot of fun.
As video games continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, it seems that it is only a matter of time until this technology finds its way into more visually complex titles.
You can give “AI Dungeon 2” a try for yourself on Walton’s website. However, be warned that its current surge in popularity is causing things to run slowly for the time being.