Two AI NPCs’ conversation turns uncanny with ChatGPT plugin for RPG Maker MZ

Image Credit: kotonoha* on Twitter

Game developer kotonoha* has used the ChatGPT_APIMZ plugin for RPG Maker MZ to experiment with what it would be like to have two AI NPCs talk to each other. It has caught people’s attention for the way it starts as a perfectly normal conversation before rapidly devolving into something rather absurd.

Image Credit: kotonoha* on Twitter

ChatGPT_APIMZ is a plugin for RPG Maker MZ, an RPG creation tool available for PC. RPG Maker MZ allows for a variety of different functions to be implemented into your games via user-created plugins. ChatGPT_APIMZ is one such plugin, and its official version was released only a few weeks ago.

Developed by Japanese free game development team kotonoha*, the plugin makes use of ChatGPT to automatically generate dialogue for NPCs or other purposes. For those unfamiliar with it, ChatGPT is an AI chatbot developed by OpenAI that uses the company’s large language models. It has the ability to comprehend questions posed by a human user and then provide contextualized answers.

Many have already explored ways of implementing the technology into the field of gaming, and the ChatGPT_APIMZ plugin is one example of this. Even at the time of the plugin’s official release, people were already taking interest in how developers were using it to generate NPC dialogue (related article).

However, despite how impressive the AI has shown itself to be, it appears to sometimes display some rather wild behavior. kotonoha*’s official Twitter account posted a video on May 9 showing an AI-generated conversation between two NPCs. The video shows two young female NPCs talking to each other in an RPG Maker MZ game, but the latter half of their conversation could be called a little unsettling.

Tweet Translation:
In our efforts to expand the capabilities of AI-dialogue generation plugin ChatGPT_APIMZ, we’ve showed demonstrations of the AI talking to the player and the player talking to the AI, but what on earth would happen if we made two AI NPCs talk to each other

Well, something like this…

The two NPCs in the video are named Eleanor and Seria, and the dialogue of both characters is being generated using the ChatGPT_APIMZ plugin. In the beginning their dialogue is completely natural, saying things like, “So many flowers have bloomed ♪” and “I love sweets!” It’s a solid textual output that takes into account the context of the scene.

However, at the midway point, the atmosphere starts to grow strange. When the conversation appears to have reached its end, the characters decide to meet again on another day and bring each other sweets. Seria says, “Well, I’ll see you later,” and Eleanor bids farewell in response. But then Seria says, “Right. I wonder what we should do next time? I’m already so excited♪ Well, I’ll see you later.” Eleanor repeats Seria’s line back to her, almost verbatim, saying, “Right. I wonder what we should do next time? I’m also really excited♪ Well, I’ll see you later Seria.” At this point, the conversation seems to be tinged with a touch of madness and creates an eerie feeling. It’s a little like the uncanny valley phenomenon but in this case for conversations rather than visual appearance.

Image Credit: kotonoha* on Twitter

The strangeness only ramps up from there, with both girls repeating each other’s lines in an unnatural manner until suddenly, they say, “Conversation complete,” “Conversation complete,” “The conversation has been completed,” and “Understood.” Both characters’ names have also stopped being displayed. At this stage of the conversation, it’s clear that the AI has discarded its young girl role and has started reporting on its tasks.

Seria then starts to speak in a very polite yet detached manner, saying, “Thank you very much. Please do not hesitate to let me know if there is anything you need.” Eleanor replies by saying, “The pleasure was mine. Thank you very much,” a response that is completely devoid of the emotion and warmth that the character expressed at the beginning of the conversation. This very formal exchange continues for a time before Seria finally ends it for good by saying, “Well then, a very good day to you!”

Image Credit: kotonoha* on Twitter

When discussing this phenomenon, the kotonoha* Twitter account stated that the AI conversation in the video was part of a test to see if it could be implemented into a social deduction game. They commented that it taught them the risk involved in having the AI say farewells to each other. On the other hand,   in a reply to another developer, they noted that if you leave everything up to the AI, it tends to abruptly end conversations on its own. They believe that providing the AI with suitable topics may be a good way to prevent the conversation from ending.

It is a rather eerie thing to see the AI suddenly stop playing the role of the two young girls and instead revert to its default state. However, the way that the two AI characters were able to hold such a natural sounding conversation—even if only temporary—was also very surprising.

In addition to ChatGPT_APIMZ, kotonoha* is currently developing an app for AI conversation called Ai say hello. It looks like they will continue to investigate AI technology in the future.

Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-05-13 09:30 JST)