AI Advances in VR Gaming

Much of the recent conversation surrounding ChatGPT has focused on the AI chatbot’s purported threatening of human-created writing and its spurring on of what Time magazine has called the “AI arms race.” Songwriter Nick Cave even called the tool “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human.” In the world of gaming, however, ChatGPT has been quietly instrumental in new developments that could make VR gaming a more deeply immersive and endlessly explorable experience.

Expanding VR Worlds

The creator behind Art from the Machine, a YouTube channel focused on game modding, crafted a Python script that uses ChatGPT and xVASynth, an AI tool for “generating high-quality voice acting lines using voices from video games,” which can let players converse with NPCs in fluid, naturalistic ways. Using the mod, players can encounter and interact with NPCs that can remember past conversations, understand their own backstory, and converse on topics relevant to their own character and that of the player.

Skyrim players can now converse with NPCs thanks to AI
Skyrim players can now converse with NPCs like Nazeem thanks to a mod utilizing ChatGPT and xVASynth. [Image: Bethseda Game Studios / ZeniMax Media]

Although lip-syncing is not currently working, and the quality of the automated voices could certainly be made to sound more natural, even in its current state, such a mod has major ramifications for VR gaming – and, quite likely, for VR entertainment in a more general sense. It’s no stretch to imagine VR games adopting such AI-led toolsets to enable further expansion of their already intricate and deeply immersive worlds. Taking that concept into, say, VR movies and episodic shows could also provide near endless customization of fictional worlds based on the interests of the viewer. Find an intriguing side character in your favorite episodic VR series and start an interaction that deviates from the main plot and central characters. Enquire about such characters’ individual perspectives on the plot and potentially spawn new directions that, aided by AI video-generation tools, could be highly individualized.

A New Wave of New Works

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord had seen a similar mod developed by modder Bloc, who used ChatGPT to create dynamic dialog that overwrote the game’s default dialog and allowed players to interact with appropriately responsive NPCs. Like Art from the Machine’s Skyrim mod, Bloc’s mod isn’t completely flawless. It is impressive nonetheless and will, along with Bloc’s work, spur on other creators as they develop similar mods for a range of games. Just as it has been compelling to witness the growth of AI tools up to this point in time, the future will no doubt prove just as interesting and exciting.