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This is the in-class activity for Thursday January 16.
The materials for this assignment are here:

In Class Activity: Play Text Adventure Games

Today in class you will play a couple text-adventure games in groups of 2-5 people, and answer some questions about them. We are going to play two games:

  1. Bronze. This is a text adventure game in the style of classic games like Zork and other Infocom games.

  2. AI Dungeon 2. This is a modern a machine-generated text adventure. It uses a neural network based language model called GPT-2.

Bronze: A Classic Text Adventure

The parser for Bronze has a limited vocabulary. This cheatsheet should guide to what commands are allowable in text adventure games:

Helpfully, the very first interaction with Bronze is a question asking you Have you played interactive fiction before? >. We recommend responding no. If you do, then Bronze will display a bunch of userful hints about what commands you can use at each location in the game.

Questions

  1. Draw a map of the game as you go. Drawing maps was a normal practice in classific interactive fiction games. Include your map in the document you submit to us.
  2. How many of the rooms did you explore in Bronze? This is tracked for you in the title bar at the top of the game. Did you solve any of puzzles?
  3. Keep track of failed commands. Write down or copy-and-paste a list of some of the commands that you tried that the game failed to understand. When you tried a command and it failed, were you able to re-issue a different command that the game could understand? If so, give an example.

AI Dungeon 2

Unlike classic text adventures, AI Dungeon will let you enter any command that you want to. Rather than having an internal representation of the game as a map with locations and objects, it generates its descriptions on the fly, based on your commands and what has been described so far. On the one hand, this demonstrates the power of modern neural language models. On the otherhand, it removes some of elements that are important to game play. For instance, if you come across a locked door in AI Dungeon, you can just say Pick the key up off the ground and unlock the door. Just by saying it, you will have created a key from nothing.

We recommend starting out with a game in the fantasy setting. Play along as if you are a character from Lord of the Rings.

Questions

  1. Keep track of bad responses. Sometimes the game fails to understand your intent, and sometimes it generates illogical responses. For a few instances of this, copy down what you said, and how the game responded. Write down why you think it was a bad response.
  2. Try to force the game off into a different setting. The game starts off as a Dungeons and Dragons-style adventure. You can get it off track quickly by not playing to character type. If you manage to make the game take a funny turn that breaks the theme, copy it down to share with us.
  3. While AI Dungeon 2 is fun to play, it clearly gets a lot of things wrong. What is the system lacking as compared to hand-crafted games?
  4. If you had near-infinite resources (for GPUs, to build datasets, to collect human annotations, etc.), how would you propose to improve AI Dungeon to make it more fun to play?

What to submit

Submit a PDF with your question answers to https://www.gradescope.com/courses/78405/assignments/331462 by midnight tonight. Your PDF can either be typset, or it can be a scan of your hand-written notes from class. Gradescope allows group submissions, and only one submissions needs to be made per group.