Hello Obsidian Fleet! It is I, du Lac, with a bit of a brain dump of a blog! Today, I want to talk about a topic that has been getting a lot of attention lately: generative AI. You might have heard of it, or maybe you have no idea what it is. Either way, don’t worry, I’m here to explain it to you and show you how it can help you create amazing stories and scenarios. I’ll also explain what we’re looking to do with it in the future.
What’s AI, and what’s Generative AI?
AI means Artificial Intelligence. This technology is already many areas of our lives, from voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to personalized movie recommendations on Netflix. Smartphones use AI to help work out what you’re looking at on your phone camera, Nvidia use AI on their graphics cards to improve the quality of the picture and even create new frames in your games, credit agencies use AI to determine risk factors, the list goes on.
Generative AI refers to the use of machine learning algorithms to generate content – whether it be text, images or music – without human intervention. The idea of using generative AI in gaming is not new; game developers have been experimenting with this concept for years and AI’s been a thing in games for as long as we’d have games. However, with recent advancements in natural language processing (NLP), we are now seeing a new level of sophistication when it comes to generating text-based content.
I will stress here that Generative AI like ChatGPT isn’t the same as Artificial General Intelligence, which is what Skynet is in Terminator, AI is in The Matrix, HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc. You don’t need to worry about GPT style AI’s nuking you. AGI? Different matter …
So, let’s dive into some scenarios where generative AI can be used to enhance the experiences of creative writing games within Obsidian Fleet. For the sake of my personal sanity, I’ve picked five. I’ll declare now I asked the AI what it could do in each of these situations, and this is how it thinks it could help … pros and cons are mine.
Scenario 1: Dialogue Coach
Writing realistic dialogue is crucial for immersing readers in a story. However, many writers struggle with creating realistic or believable conversations. ChatGPT can help players by acting as a dialogue coach, supplying suggestions for how characters might speak based on their established personalities.
- Helps to keep dialogue consistent with character traits
- Prompt new ideas for dialogue
- Enhances immersion in the story
- May suggest dialogue that doesn’t fit the intended tone or direction of the story.
- Could discourage players from developing their own writing skills.
Scenario 2: Character Generator
Creating compelling characters is essential for any good story. With generative AI, players can use a character generator that analyses their writing style and suggests potential character traits, backstories and personalities based on what they’ve already written.
- Saves time on brainstorming.
- Generate unique ideas the player may not have considered.
- Help develop well-rounded and multi-dimensional characters.
- May suggest traits that don’t align with a player’s intended character development.
- Could limit creativity if relied upon too heavily.
Scenario 3: Generating Unique NPCs
Non-playable characters (NPCs) are an essential part of any RPG world. They help tell the story, provide background and serve as obstacles for players. However, creating unique NPCs can be challenging for players who want each character to feel distinct and memorable. With generative AI, players could input a few variables and have the system generate unique NPCs that have their own backstory, interests and personalities.
- Provides an endless variety of NPCs.
- NPC backstories will be tailored to fit every archetype created by ChatGPT.
- Non-human-generated content would avoid human biases.
- Generated NPCs may lack uniqueness due to being generated from data sets (and may not be entirely random)
- ChatGPT is limited to the knowledge and data sets it has access to, hence could lead to restricted NPC diversity.
Scenario 4: Creating Unique Mission Briefings
Traditionally, the game master (GM) would have to manually create these briefings, which can be time-consuming and limit the number of missions available at any given time. With generative AI, a simple prompt could be all that is needed for the AI to generate a detailed briefing including aims, obstacles and even give a GM an idea of who would be more involved in parts of the mission.
- Allows for an unlimited amount of mission types.
- Free up GM’s time
- Players experience unique challenges each time.
- Being a computer model, AI may lack creativity or coherence sometimes. One example we tested OpenAI’s Ada model with had a Trek game meeting the X-Men on a random alien planet. Got a few laughs, but still …
- Unlike with a GM, there would be no specific direction chosen. It could be too random.
Scenario 5: Grammar Checker
Even experienced writers make mistakes. It’s easy to miss typos or grammatical errors when you’re focused on telling an engrossing story or you’re laughing at your own jokes. A grammar checker powered by generative AI ensures that stories are free from embarrassing errors.
- Reduces errors and improves readability.
- Increases confidence in publishing work.
- Saves time on proofreading.
- Can translate your poetry into Klingon. Just be warned – vIghoSpu’ jIH vumDaq yabwIjDaq doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Wordsworth.
- May not catch all errors.
- Could limit the development of the writer’s own editing and proofreading skills
- Might spit out gibberish if it doesn’t understand Klingon.
Conclusion – and what we’re doing about it.
Using generative AI technologies like ChatGPT in our games gives us a new way to enhance the storytelling experiences. While there are pros and cons to using these tools, they could provide promising opportunities for writers to improve their craft, develop their skills and create more engaging stories. This is a good thing!
As with any technology though, it’s important to evaluate its usefulness in context and avoid over-reliance on it. Ultimately, the choice to use generative AI or rely solely on one’s own writing abilities lies with each player on each game.
It’s fair to say, the genie is out of the bottle on this one and we can’t ignore it. So, we’re starting some pilots in the Fleet Council to see how we can best utilise it. I would look at the list above for some of the ideas we’ve had already. If any of these scenario’s sound like the sort of thing you’d like to see us add, let us know on Discord.
We’ll also be featuring this as a roundtable topic in the very near future …