The City Voice writes about a lot of things, and several times in the past we’ve written about both Dungeons and Dragons and artificial intelligence. Today we’re writing about both of those things. Dungeons and Dragons, and other text based role-playing games, relies on the conversational interaction between players and game designers. As we discussed in our article a few weeks ago, in-person role-playing games allow you to do anything you can imagine, but the cost is that they require large groups of people to get together and invest a lot of time and effort in the game. Video games can be played by anyone, but they limit the options available to the player. To amateur programmer Nick Walton, this sounded like an opportunity.
Walton took the basic rules and principles of Dungeons and Dragons, fed them to an AI “Dungeon Master”, embedded the whole thing in an iPhone app, and turned it on. A week after launch, AI Dungeon 2 was supporting about 70,000 players per day. The game is amazingly fun because it combines the ease and accessibility of video game play with the limitless possibility of in person role-playing, with spectacular results. The game presents you with a blank screen, where you can type in any action. You can do anything you can imagine, literally, and the AI responds with the consequences of your actions.
While conversation with an artificial intelligence can be a built halting at times, the game almost always provides realistic, intriguing responses that immerse the player in a compelling story that is different every time. In my first play through of the game, I began my life as a wandering subsistence hunter, defended a village from a band of orcs, joined a cult, had a family of ducklings imprint on me, opened an ancient tomb, led a revolution, founded an empire, and fought Sauron before inventing time travel and retiring to the 23rd century. The game is completely free to play, although the designers are encouraging supporters to donate to their Patreon campaign to cover the immense service costs that the games many versions demand. The game is available in iPhone and Android apps, as well as a browser version. If you enjoy Dungeons and Dragons, or even if you don’t, you will likely love AI Dungeon 2!