Is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim the most modded game of all time? We don't have the exact numbers but it has to be right up there. But, while modders have thought of nearly everything to put in Skyrim, they can still surprise us.
Case in point, AI-generated NPC dialogue in Skyrim.
Using ChatGPT in tandem with xVASnyth and Whisper, a talented modder has taken the immersion in Skyrim VR further by making player-NPC interactions feel more genuine and life-like.
The modder took to Reddit to explain how they used the said tools to give each NPC a memory system that they can use to draw conversations from and make it seem like they can remember your previous interactions. The modder asks ChatGPT to roleplay as a particular NPC while Whisper converts the player's voice to text and then passes it on to ChatGPT where xVASynth then kicks in to simulate voice input and everyday language.
Basically, the goal of this memory system is to make conversations with the NPCs feel more organic (and so that you don't ever have to go outside ever again).
It isn't perfect and some have described the simulated voices with words like "unnatural" and "unnerving" but it does give a glimpse of what developers can do in the future once they figure out how to fully utilize AI chat tools in game development.
But, given the potential backlash, we're more likely to see something similar in an open-world RPG title by Ubisoft. Perhaps the next Assassin's Creed game could make itself more immersive with the use of similar technology.
After all, if ChatGPT can be used to write an entire episode of South Park, we're pretty sure in-game dialogue is mince meat for it.
Again, the tech has plenty of flaws and it's clear that AI-driven text, at least at the moment, can't hold a candle to the same conversations created by the human mind. But, with further refinement, you could argue developers can use this to add an endless stream of new content in games. The debate about whether or not the in-game conversations with NPC feel hand-crafted and genuine won't matter as much when the application is at a much higher level than what's currently available.
At the moment though, the tech to make NPCs talk for hours on end isn't as interesting if the conversations they generate are dull and out of place (how do you "call" someone in a world like Skyrim?)
For those who are interested, the mod isn't available for the public to try yet. We suspect it's only a matter of time before it's released for everyone.