AI Dungeon took the world by storm when it debuted in 2019, offering users the ability to generate AI-powered text adventures simply by typing prompts. However, after a series of controversies surrounding moderation and privacy issues, many users began looking for AI Dungeon alternatives that could offer a similar experience.
In this article, we’ll explore six of the top alternatives to AI Dungeon and how they compare in terms of features, pricing, privacy and more.
An Overview of AI Dungeon
Before diving into the alternatives, let’s briefly recap what AI Dungeon is and why so many were initially drawn to it.
AI Dungeon is a text adventure game that uses artificial intelligence to generate unique scenarios and react to user input. It was created in 2019 by Nick Walton, a AI researcher, and initially used the GPT-2 text generation model created by OpenAI.
Users could type prompts and the AI would generate responsive text, allowing for open-ended gameplay and emergent narratives. The possibilities were endless – you could go on fantasy quests, space adventures, or simply have amusing conversations with the AI.
The appeal was clear for those looking for creative writing inspiration or simply wanting to experience AI-generated narratives. By June 2020, AI Dungeon had over 300,000 users.
However, controversies arose around AI Dungeon’s use of user-generated content to train its AI models without transparency. There were also concerns around moderation of problematic content.
These issues prompted the developers to implement a content filtering system, which many users disliked due to privacy concerns and limitations on freedom of expression. This increased interest in alternative platforms.
Top AI Dungeon Alternatives
Here are 6 of the top alternatives to AI Dungeon and how they compare:
NovelAI is currently the most fully-featured alternative, though it requires a paid subscription. Benefits include:
- Multiple AI models to choose from including Sigurd, which is fine-tuned for story generation.
- Advanced settings and parameters to customize the AI behavior.
- Private and online story modes. Private keeps stories encrypted locally while online syncs across devices.
- The ability to provide memory and lorebook context to influence story generation.
- A “Do and Say” mode that suggests character actions and dialog.
- Custom image generation powered by Stable Diffusion.
The basic subscription is $10 per month, with higher tiers offering increased generation speed and features. Overall, NovelAI provides the most control over story generation.
KoboldAI offers similar capabilities to NovelAI but with some differences:
- Fewer overall features and settings to dial in the AI behavior.
- A free tier with limited generation per month. Paid tiers start at $10 per month.
- Currently uses the InferKit model for generation which may have slightly lower coherence than NovelAI’s Sigurd.
- Allows explicit content. NovelAI filters certain content.
Overall, KoboldAI is easier to use out of the box but has less customization options. The free tier is nice for trying it out.
WriteHolo takes a different approach, acting as an AI writing assistant to help flesh out ideas and suggest content. Key features:
- Assists with planning, organizing and developing writing projects.
- No predefined genre or storyline – you develop your own ideas.
- AI suggests sentences and paragraphs to build on your writing.
- Tools to export your work when finished.
Pricing starts at $8 per month. WriteHolo won’t create stories from scratch for you but can help guide the writing process.
4. Text Synth
Text Synth is a free AI text adventure game similar to early AI Dungeon iterations. Key attributes:
- Simple text interface – no advanced options or settings.
- Generates cohesive multi-paragraph narratives based on your inputs.
- Can produce inconsistent or nonsensical outputs at times.
- Light content moderation but may generate adult themes.
- Ad-supported to keep it free. No paid subscription.
Overall, Text Synth is a basic AI adventure game for casual users just wanting simple fun. Don’t expect too much coherence.
5. Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead
Cataclysm: DDA is an open source survival RPG game with AI-generated environments. Key features:
- Highly complex survival mechanics like crafting tools, finding food, repairing vehicles.
- Huge variety of items and crafting recipes to discover.
- Randomly generated open worlds to explore with emergent storytelling.
- Text-based interface may have a learning curve.
- Entirely free and open source.
Cataclysm: DDA offers great AI world generation and sandbox mechanics for survival fans. But story generation takes a back seat to crafting and exploration.
6. Dwarf Fortress
Like Cataclysm, Dwarf Fortress is a free, open source game focused on management and emergent narrative. Highlights:
- Control a dwarven colony by allocating jobs, resources, layouts.
- Fortress design provides endless opportunities for unique stories to emerge.
- AI narrates events like dwarf arguments in vivid detail.
- ASCII graphics make it less accessible for casual users.
- Very deep world simulation and economic mechanics to master.
Dwarf Fortress creates AI stories driven entirely by colony management decisions. Great for sim fans but has a major learning curve.
Key Differences and Considerations
When evaluating these AI Dungeon alternatives, keep these key differences in mind:
- Price – NovelAI and KoboldAI offer paid subscriptions for advanced features while Text Synth and games like Cataclysm are free. WriteHolo has a low monthly fee. Consider your budget.
- Content Moderation – NovelAI and WriteHolo filter explicit content while KoboldAI and Text Synth do not. Keep this in mind if you have concerns.
- Story Coherence – NovelAI and KoboldAI offer more control for logical, coherent stories versus the randomness of Text Synth.
- Features – NovelAI gives the most customization options to influence story generation, while Text Synth is the most basic.
- Genre Focus – WriteHolo is optimized for writing drafting while Cataclysm and Dwarf Fortress focus on survival simulations with emergent stories.
The Best Alternative Depends on Your Goals
There is no definitive “best” alternative to AI Dungeon. The ideal choice comes down to your specific goals and preferences:
- For elaborate adventures with customization, try NovelAI or KoboldAI.
- To collaboratively flesh out writing ideas, use WriteHolo.
- For free casual fun, go with Text Synth or AI Dungeon’s original free version.
- For emergent narrative through gameplay, check out Cataclysm and Dwarf Fortress.
No matter your goals, testing different options is the best way to find an AI Dungeon alternative that works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
The Future of AI-Generated Text Gaming
While current options have downsides, the future looks bright for improvements in AI narrative experiences. Here are some likely advances:
- More powerful AI models tailored for coherent, logical storytelling.
- Increased moderation and control over generated content.
- More immersive elements like visuals and audio to complement text.
- Shared online storytelling worlds.
- Procedural narrative generation integrated into gameplay.
AI Dungeon pioneered a new category of experimental text gaming. As technology keeps evolving, future platforms will keep pushing the boundaries of AI-driven interactive narratives.
There are sure to be many exciting developments ahead from both startup challengers and big tech companies investing in this space like Google and Meta.
For now, alternatives like NovelAI and WriteHolo capture some of that innovative spark while avoiding the pitfalls holding AI Dungeon back. But soon this style of gameplay may become far more mainstream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What caused users to lose trust in AI Dungeon?
Controversies around privacy, user content usage and poor moderation caused a loss of trust. Training AI on user stories without transparency, and inability to filter problematic content were key issues.
Q2. Does NovelAI have an unlimited free version like AI Dungeon?
NovelAI requires a paid subscription and does not currently have a free version. They offer a 14-day free trial to test it out.
Q3. Can these alternatives produce stories with consistent logical plots?
NovelAI and KoboldAI offer the most control over consistency and coherence in story generation through features to guide the AI. Free options like Text Synth have more randomness.
Q4. Do any alternatives integrate graphics and visuals like AI Dungeon?
Not yet. Currently these alternatives focus on text-based storytelling without graphics or visual elements, though some offer AI-generated images. Future platforms will likely integrate more multimedia.
Q5. Are there legal concerns around AI-generated stories?
There is the potential for generated stories to include copyrighted content or problematic themes. Moderation systems aim to limit legal concerns, but risks still exist on less moderated platforms.
AI Dungeon was an inspirational pioneer, but controversy prompted users to seek alternatives. Options like NovelAI, KoboldAI and WriteHolo now lead the pack, each with unique strengths.
No single substitute is perfect, but testing different platforms based on your budget, desired features and content preferences is the best approach.
While limitations still exist, rapid progress in underlying AI will address issues like coherence while adding new capabilities. The future is bright for AI storytelling and gaming.
For now, by matching your goals to the right alternative AI Dungeon replacement, you can recapture the innovation that made AI-driven text adventures so compelling in the first place. The tokens of creativity have only begun to fall into place.