The Current State of AI Gaming as we see it: Generative Text RPGs, AI Storytellers, and Games with AI NPCs

7/9/2024By William Liu
The Current State of AI Gaming as we see it: Generative Text RPGs, AI Storytellers, and Games with AI NPCs
AI Gaming

We’ve been building Friends & Fables for just about a year now, and since then we’ve seen a bunch of other AI games pop up. We’ve been wanting to have some better vocabulary to categorize and describe these AI games, so this is us taking a stab at that! To be clear, we’re not trying to tell anyone what they should call their own game, these definitions just are just our own views and opinions around how we see the space.

Within AI Games, we are seeing a few categories which we are going to call:

  • Generative Text RPGs
  • AI Storytellers
  • Games with AI NPCs
  • Generative Text RPGs (GTRPGs)

    Generative Text RPGs are a new type of RPG, made possible by the proliferation of LLMs. A GTRPG is a game that uses LLMs to translate natural language into game state. A key part of this definition is that there must be game state tracked and save somewhere (outside of the LLMs context window). If someone created a farming simulator that used an LLM to track the number of chickens a player had, it would be considered a generative text RPG. GTRPGs do not necessarily need to have an AI game master running the game, but they need to take natural language as input and use LLMs to alter game state.

    Examples of Generative Text RPGs

  • Friends & Fables (Mar 2023)
  • Chad RPG (Apr 2023)
  • Forge Saga (May 2023)
  • AI Realm (May 2023)
  • AI Roguelite (Oct 2023)
  • v3RPG (Nov 2023)
  • Hidden Door (In Development at time of writing)
  • The Promenade (In Development at time of writing)
  • AI Dungeon Heroes (In Development at time of writing)
  • In all of these games, there is state being manipulated and saved outside of the LLM’s context window such as stats, inventory, or other game data.

    If you’re interested in GTRPGs, come join us on r/gtrpg.

    AI Storytellers

    AI Storytellers are more focused on developing an interesting narrative rather than playing within a game system with constraints. AI Storytellers do not have constraints or game state, but instead run everything through an LLMs context window. For example, if your character gains 10 HP in AI Dungeon, this isn’t stored anywhere except in the LLMs context. In AI Dungeon Heroes (a GTRPG), your character’s HP will be tracked just like in a normal video game, except it can now be updated by the LLM. Storytellers have a stronger focus on customizing the output of the LLMs, so users can get the style, themes, and narratives they want in their story.

    Examples of AI Storytellers

  • Novel AI (Jun 2021)
  • AI Dungeon (Jul 2022)
  • Narrator (Mar 2023)
  • Saga RPG (Apr 2023)
  • Bonfire (Oct 2023)
  • Games with AI NPCs

    Like the title suggests, these are regular games like Stardew Valley, Skyrim, etc. except the NPCs are powered by AI. We’ve seen some examples pop up here and there, but to our knowledge there is not a game that is available to play yet. We’re really looking forward to more games in this category to come out!

    Examples of games with AI NPCs

  • Mantella Skryim (Aug 2023)
  • Cygnus Enterprises (Dec 2023)
  • Stardew Valley with AI NPCs - Stanford’s Generative Agents: Interactive Simulacra of Human Behavior (Apr 2023) - This one is a research paper, not a game, but you get the idea!
  • In Conclusion

    The AI Gaming space is starting to heat up and we’re super excited about where it’s going to go. Now that there are a number of games in each category, it’ll be useful to have common terms so that it’ll be easier for everyone to understand our products. If anyone has suggestions for better ways to categorize these, let us know!

    This work includes material taken from the System Reference Document 5.1 (“SRD 5.1”) by Wizards of the Coast LLC . The SRD 5.1 is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
    We are not affiliated with Dungeons & Dragons or Wizards of The Coast in any way.
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