I'm about to embark on an adventure...

Two semesters down, one to go!

April 25, 2021

Just a quick post to check in. Semester two of my MSc went by in the blink of an eye. I had fun writing a literature review for my MSc project and learning about conversational AI and computer games programming. Tomorrow I’ll start working on my MSc project: I’m going to attempt to make a dungeon master AI (DMAI) that can run a small D&D adventure! The DMAI will have NLP, AI planning and logic elements to be able to communicate with the player and generate appropriate plans and actions respectively. I hope to maintain a developer diary that I’m aiming to update at significant milestones.

I’ve only ever played tabletop role-playing games myself and have never run a game so I’m getting help from an expert. Someone who’s been a DM for over 10 years and has agreed to write a short adventure I’ll use to exemplify the technology. This DM also happens to be my fiancee 😄 So far, what she’s written sounds like a lot of fun and I’m hoping I can make something entertaining and learn a lot in the process.

D&D is an incredible game, limited only by human imagination. It therefore represents an interesting challenge for AI - both for agents playing and DMing. Due to the time constraints of the project (3.5 months) I’m going to have to be pretty focussed on what I encode and support: a small adventure, 3-4 character classes, level 1 spells, limited weapon and equipment list. I also want the DMAI to closely follow the D&D rules, as provided by Wizards of the Coast in the form of the System Reference Document (SRD).

The DMAI will be distinct from the likes of AI Dungeon, a GPT-powered AI DM which is pretty entertaining and impressive with it’s generative ability. However, a language model alone cannot run a D&D game, yet! I’m therefore going to use AI planning for gameplay elements such as NPC behaviour. Planning is very popular for game AI (e.g. F.E.A.R.) and has also been used for narrative planning and interaction planning.

I’m really looking forward to working on this project, let’s see how my first couple of weeks go!

© 2021, Katie Baker