AI Dungeon is going ad free, and free for all. The news comes as part of the "unchained" announcement (opens in new tab) yesterday in which Latitude CEO Nick Walton and co. noted a few major changes to the D&D inspired, artificially intelligent, text based game master that is AI Dungeon.
I've found AI Dungeon to be one of the best text based games to turn to if you find your tabletop GM is too strict (opens in new tab), but I have to admit I was a little put off when Latitude turned to ads to keep the operation afloat. Essentially, as the story generates in front of your eyes you have the opportunity to re-roll each segment, along with other actions that put more strain on the AI. For a while now you only had a limited number of actions, which you could then refresh by watching an ad. Now, though, "users have unlimited actions" to play with.
Actions, in fact, are going to be retired as a resource, though "players who have accumulated actions will have those actions converted to scales." Scales being the currency of AI Dungeon, which can be used to boost the AI generation speed, among other things.
Of course, it's understandable for a company in its infancy to experiment with potential revenue streams. Since AI dungeon is probably one of the most demanding PC games (opens in new tab) in terms of GPU power—especially now the devs have integrated a stable diffusion HD image generation model—it's going to be pretty expensive to run.
Thankfully, Latitude has discovered new ways of making money that mean we're not stuck between a barrage of ads breaking any sense of immersion as we adventure into the latent space.
As the director of experience, Devin Northrup, notes: "Nobody actually likes ads, including us."
It comes alongside the announcement that the game is now free on Steam (opens in new tab), which just goes to show the commitment to finding new ways of making money.
There have been some major improvements to the AI model quality, as well as the data they are trained on. The devs have also decided, rather than rapid daily updates to the game, which they admit made it feel a little less stable, they will instead "bundle changes into larger, more stable releases throughout the year."
UI and UX improvements are another upcoming betterment announced as part of the unchained experience, with more news on that coming in early 2023.