This ChatGPT Skyrim Mod Levels-Up NPCs With Generative AI And It's A Little Freaky

Skyrim's Danica Pure-Spring NPC standing outside.
If you play The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim long enough, you'll inevitably run into repetitive dialogue, such as every guard with a sob story about having taken an arrow to the knee. Beyond that, however, it's easy to plow through the rich story and dialogue trees to where conversations become less interesting. That could change with a clever Skyrim mod that infuses NPCs with OpenAI's ChatGPT language model.

The infusion of generative AI into NPCs opens a whole new world of possibilities, some of which is showcased in a video demonstrating the mod. It's being developed by a modder who goes by Art From The Machine on YouTube, and it leverages ChatGPT with a couple of other technologies—xVASynth, which is an AI app for creating voice lines using neural speech synthesis, and Whisper, an automatic speed recognition (ASR) system.

Check it out...

The mod, which is not yet available for public consumption, is being designed specifically for Skyrim VR. It's a little rough around the edges in that some of the dialogue definitely has a synthetic flair that might give you more nightmares about robots. But it's a promising demo of where game development could be headed with richer NPC interactions.

Using ChatGPT, characters are aware of their in-game surroundings, including the time of day, and can offer endless dialogue trees. We see this in the video where a shopkeeper responds to a question about the time and his opinion about a sword the player whips out of their inventory.

"Let me think. Let me take a closer look at that sword. It seems to be a well-crafted iron sword with a soul gem embedded in the hilt. The enchantment on it allows the wielder to capture the souls of their enemies," the shopkeeper says.

Not exactly mind-blowing stuff but it's a cool interaction all the same. The video goes on to show various other snippets of conversation, including an unintentionally hilarious scene involving the NPC Danica Pure-Spring. She rambles on about Kynareth, the goddess of nature, while a patient lays nearby in agony. You can hear him in the background in clear pain saying, "I can't bear it, make it stop!" Which is the same thing you might find yourself saying during some of the longer speeches NPCs are inclined to make.

There's definitely room for improvement. Namely, multiple examples start off with, "Let me think" followed by a long pause as ChatGPT fetches a response. It appears as though the video edits out some of the wait time, too. But keep in mind that this is just a mod and not the finished product of a design studio. There's a world of opportunity here, we'll just have to wait and see if and when game developers tap into it.