Virtual reality

Skyrim VR Mod Adds NPCs Powered By AI Technology

Artificial intelligence could take role-playing games like Skyrim to the next level, especially when paired with VR technology.

Earlier this week, a YouTuber going by the name of Art from the Machine shared footage of a new mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR that introduces non-playable characters (NPC) powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

According to its creator, the mod uses the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, the AI-based voice generator xVASynth, and voice recognition software to generate natural responses to a player’s questions in real-time, offering more realistic conversations with in-game characters. The latest version of the project adds Python scripting, resulting in a number of impressive NPC advancements, from lip-synching to in-game item detection.

For example, NPCs will comment on certain items you’re holding during a conversation as well as your in-game actions, whether you’re looting a chest or picking a flower. They’re even aware of the time of day as well as their current location.

Credit: Art from the Machine via YouTube

In the video provided, we see Art from the Machine interacting with a handful of NPCs in a variety of different scenarios. At one point the creator asks their companion to recite a campfire story, at which point the character “thinks” back to a story her father told her during a hunting trip when she was a child.

The technology shown is pretty impressive. That said, it’s not without its fair share of limitations. According to Art from the Machine, NPCs take around 15 seconds to respond to an inquiry. The voices also sound a little rough, but at the end of the day, the mod shows how AI technology could take role-playing video games to the next level.

Credit: Art from the Machine via YouTube

“When everything is in place, it is an incredibly surreal experience to be able to sit down and talk to these characters in VR,” said Art from the Machine in a Reddit post. “Nothing takes me out of the experience more than hearing the same repeated voice lines, and with this no two responses are ever the same. There is still a lot of work to go, but even in its current state I couldn’t go back to playing without this.”

For more information, you can check out Art from the Machine’s full Reddit post here.

Feature Image Credit: Art from the Machine via YouTube


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