A short visual novel has been created using Midjourney AI artwork

Independent Japanese game developer @8co28 has made a short visual novel called Hekimu that uses AI-generated artwork. It is a browser game that can be played on Game Atsumaru, a website where users can submit or play games that have been made with RPG Maker MV. (Note: Hekimu only supports Japanese.) The background images used in the game were created with the AI program Midjourney, which generates images based on textual descriptions. 

Hekimu is a short horror visual novel where the goal is to escape from a bizarre dream world. One day, the protagonist is trapped within a nightmare and finds themselves in a room with four creepy walls and no exit. While the protagonist is aware that they are trapped in a dream, they are unable to wake themselves. In order to escape from this nightmarish world, they must investigate their surroundings.

Players progress through the game by exploring the room using point-and-click gameplay. The game includes a number of bad endings, and @8co28 claims that completing all routes in the game takes around 15 minutes.

In recent times, AI-generated images have become quite popular on the internet, with many people posting the art that they have created using Midjourney or trying to explore ways that they can use Midjourney to generate the images that they need. @8co28 is one of the people who has experimented with using Midjourney in different ways.

In addition to Hekimu, they have created a range of other AI artwork, such as manga style images. They also post information about “magic words” (text used in the image creation) that help with getting the AI images to turn out as desired.  

Tweet Translation:
The text used to create the images that are used in the game:
image in japan room, window, thickets, wabi-sabi, –ar 16:9
Adding words like “Circle” (placing the word before “window”), “red,” and “lots of eyes” allowed me to make slight changes to the images.
It’s possible that wabi-sabi wasn’t incorporated very well and the program just treated it as “rust,” but I was happy with the result.

*The Japanese word “sabi” has multiple meanings and can refer to “rust” in addition to being part of the “wabi-sabi” world view in Japanese aesthetics.

If you weren’t aware that the images in the game were generated by AI, you might very well imagine that they were created by a human artist. AI-generated art has clearly reached the level where it is suitable for use as backgrounds in a visual novel. As AI programs such as Midjourney continue to advance in the future, we may even see more games made mostly or entirely of AI-generated images.

Another visual novel that was created using AI images is AI Kaiga. The game was made by Japanese developer HIJIKI and can be played for free on Game Atsumaru.

Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-08-13 16:55 JST)