This AI writes a text adventure while you play it

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(Image credit: Nick Walton)

It's easy to imagine advances in AI will have an impact on strategy games and digital versions of board games like Chess and Go, but one of the most interesting implementations of AI technology I've seen so far is a text adventure.

AI Dungeon 2 (opens in new tab) by Nick Walton uses OpenAI to simulate an old-school text adventure of the Zork variety, only instead of having to read the designer's mind to figure out what to type to use this thing on that thing, you write plain English and get results. It helps to start sentences with verbs but you'll get a response to basically anything, and that response is likely to be surprising. I played a wizard exploring a ruin and within a handful of turns I'd found out I was responsible for the state of these ruins and confronted a younger version of myself. 

Sometimes it doesn't work so well, and you might hit a loop or be stymied or it might even crash. But when it works it's intense, like having a conversation with one of those artificial therapy bots only it's actually a Dungeon Master running a surrealist game of D&D. Other players have been sharing their games, and I've seen a cure for zombie-ism (opens in new tab), an attempt at summoning dragons gone confusingly awry (opens in new tab), and a detective with laser eyes (opens in new tab).

You can play AI Dungeon 2 in your browser, but give it a couple of minutes to load. It's apparently using "OpenAI's largest 1.5B parameter model", and has been trained on the archive of interactive fiction at chooseyourstory.com (opens in new tab).

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.