While the whole world debates the value of ChatGPT, DeepMind and other generative AI technologies, this project is a perfect showcase of its potential: an endless source of entertainment.
A project called ChatGPT combines AI with text prompts to generate endless, unique levels of Super Mario Bros, the oldschool Nintendo game beloved by all gamers.
Based on the levels found in Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, MarioGPT outputs new and unique 2D Mario levels depending on the users prompt. It’s based on GPT-2, the precursor of the famous GPT3, because, as TechCrunch puts it, it’s “much more lightweight and easier to train”.
“Even a very large LLM won’t understand Mario levels natively, so the researchers first had to render a set of them as text, producing a sort of Dwarf Fortress version of Mario that, honestly, I would play.
Once the level is represented as a series of ordinary characters, it can be ingested by the model much the way any other series of characters can, be they written language or code. And once it understands the patterns that correlate with features, it can reproduce them.
Its output includes a “path” represented as lowercase x’s, essentially showing that the level is technically playable. They found that of 250 levels, nine out of 10 were able to be completed by the game-playing software agent A*,” explains TechCrunch.
For those willing to experiment with it and familiar with programming, the project is available for free on GitHub.
If you want to see how the MarioGPT project was built, this paper has all the answers.