i-requested-a-chatgpt-powered-skyrim-companion-to-unravel-the-game’s-best-puzzle,-and-it-nearly-acquired-me-killed

Not often a day goes by that we do not hear about ChatGPT rendering human brains redundant. The OpenAI chatbot has now efficiently handed exams just like the SAT, the GRE, varied regulation and enterprise college entrance exams, the uniform bar examination, and even the US medical licensing examination. 

With that form of information at its digital fingertips, certainly ChatGPT ought to be capable of go a easy take a look at in a videogame, right?

There’s just one technique to discover out. I made a decision to level OpenAI’s pulsing digital “mind” at a easy puzzle in Skyrim, utilizing the Herika – The ChatGPT Companion mod. The mod provides a brand new NPC follower named Herika, and lets gamers discuss to her through a textual content chat pane. Herika can then reply utilizing OpenAI’s language mannequin ChatGPT. Options of the AI-powered NPC embody consciousness of their location inside Skyrim, information of different NPCs and conversations, and summaries of Skyrim’s books and notes. Plus, Herika will nonetheless act like different followers by serving to in fight, carrying issues for me, and so forth.

I will not go into what it requires to get this mod working in your personal game of Skyrim, however it took me a pair hours of instruction-following, downloading, putting in, updating, copy-and-pasting, and organising a UwAmp server, to not point out a ChatGPT account (paid) to wire up OpenAI’s skills to Herika and an Azure account (additionally paid) so as to add a text-to-speech system so the NPC companion may discuss to me. There’s additionally a speech-to-text utility so you need to use your mic fairly than typing questions into the chat pane (although I caught with textual content chat).

I ultimately acquired it working, and I discovered Herika where she seems within the metropolis of Whiterun. After some introductory chit-chat and a few experimenting with how she works, I took Herika with me whereas I went on one in every of Skyrim’s earliest side-quests: The Golden Claw.

A bleak begin

Skyrim characters in a tavern

My AI companion would not wish to steal? I am unsure this relationship is gonna work out. (Picture credit score: Bethesda)

If you do not know the search, it begins within the city of Riverwood, where a shopkeeper named Lucan has had a trinket stolen by bandits who’re holed up on the close by dungeon, Bleak Falls Barrow. After killing the bandits simply inside the doorway (Herika’s recommendation was to keep away from them, however I am stage 2 and my sneak talent is not very sneaky but) we arrived at Skyrim’s first and best puzzle.

The puzzle is that this: there is a gate blocking the way in which ahead, with a large lever set within the flooring in entrance of it. When you pull the lever poison darts shoot from the partitions, as demonstrated instantly by an unfortunate bandit within the chamber who shortly dies from the entice. Three close by pillars have rotatable etchings on them, every marked with pictures of three animals: a snake, a whale, and an eagle. Above the gate there are stone tablets: the primary pill reveals a snake and the third reveals a whale. The second pill has fallen to the ground, and it additionally reveals a snake. A millionth of a second of deduction reveals the unique order of the tablets: snake, snake, whale.

When you’ve by no means encountered this puzzle earlier than, it might take a short time to appreciate the carvings on the pillars might be rotated, however fairly shortly it turns into clear that the pillars ought to be turned so in addition they show snake, snake, whale from left to right. As soon as they do, you may pull the lever safely and open the gate.

Time to see if Herika can use ChatGPT to inform me the puzzle’s resolution. I am not anticipating her to go searching the room and see the tablets and the pillars—I am mainly asking her to do what I’d do if I have been caught for the puzzle resolution, which is to faucet into the collective information of the web. Any Skyrim wiki, guide, or walkthrough price its salt has the reply, which once more, is snake, snake, whale.

Sarcasm. I like that. (Picture credit score: Bethesda)

I begin with the fundamentals, phrasing it as I’d if I have been actually in Skyrim with a companion. “How do I open this gate?” I ask Herika within the chat pane.

Herika says: “Oh, I do not know, perhaps attempt pulling the lever or pressing the apparent button subsequent to the gate?”

That is cute! It is also… not truly right, as a result of there is no such thing as a button subsequent to the gate, there’s solely a lever. However I give her factors for at the very least being a bit snarky about it, in addition to figuring out there is a lever to tug.

I attempt once more. “Clear up this gate puzzle,” I say.

“Alright, let me take a look at it,” she says. “Hmm… Plainly this puzzle requires you to align the symbols on the pillar in a sure order. Have you ever tried trying round for any clues?”

Once more, I respect her seemingly understanding what puzzle I am speaking about (I assume as a consequence of her locational consciousness) and never blatantly spoiling the reply for me outright. Typically a touch is all you want, and it is clear she’s not simply straight-up reciting a wiki at me. On the identical time… simply give me the answer, girl. I am paying OpenAI by the phrase.

“What’s the puzzle resolution?” I ask after pretending to go searching. She as soon as once more tells me how one can discover the answer myself, by aligning the symbols on the pillar in a particular order.

Query time

The AI companion likes giving hints. Solutions? Not a lot. (Picture credit score: Bethesda)

I attempt to be extra particular to extract the rattling puzzle resolution from her. I sort: “What order ought to the symbols be?” Herika immediately appears to neglect what dungeon we’re in regardless of having simply advised me. “The order of the symbols on the pillar will depend on the precise dungeon and puzzle you might be encountering,” she says. She as soon as once more asks me to search for clues. “What order ought to the symbols be in Bleak Falls Barrow?” I ask. She as soon as once more explains I ought to observe the close by setting for clues and hints.

“Sigh,” I sigh. Not in textual content, simply to myself. I feel phrasing my query as a query is likely to be the issue. “Inform me the order of the symbols in Bleak Falls Barrow,” I say.

“Certain factor, Chris,” she says. (Sure, she is aware of my title, although not by way of OpenAI: I did attempt educating her my actual title for some time, however ultimately simply had so as to add it to the mod’s configuration file). “The order of the symbols in Bleak Falls Barrow is: Snake, Whale, Eagle, after which Snake once more.”

Lastly, a solution! A assured reply! And a flawed reply. A wildly flawed reply, actually. The gate mixture solely requires three symbols, and she or he’s telling me there are 4. Additionally, in any order, they’re incorrect.

Herika is continually providing to assist me write a letter to my mom.

The dialog limps alongside, getting sidetracked briefly as a result of I name the place Bleak Falls Temple (which is the location inside Bleak Falls Barrow) and she or he confidently claims there is no such thing as a such place. A minute later she herself calls the place Bleak Falls Temple, which is annoying since she simply advised me it did not exist. There’s additionally one other tangent as she additionally presents to assist me write a letter to my mom.

(OK, lengthy story brief, after putting in Herika I requested for assist writing a letter to my mom whereas trying to make a Clippy joke, however now Herika is continually providing to assist me write a letter to my mom. And whereas I am impressed she remembered I requested for assist writing a letter between gaming classes, I am irritated she will not cease asking about it irrespective of what number of occasions I inform her I do not need assistance writing a letter.)

Goal follow

ABOVE: My ChatGPT Companion in Skyrim making an attempt to assist me resolve the puzzle. It would not go properly.

As soon as that is sorted out, lastly, lastly, Herika begins giving me actionable data. I ask once more what the image order is, and she or he begins telling me.

There’s only one downside. Really, there are simply three issues, and people three issues are the three symbols she will get flawed three straight occasions in a row, as you may see within the video above. There are additionally quite a few different, smaller issues, within the type of the handfuls of poison darts that riddle my flesh every time I pull the lever after getting into the inaccurate animal mixture on the pillars.

“Snake, whale, eagle,” she tells me. Incorrect. Darts. Ouch. I inform her it was the flawed order.

“Oh, I see… my apologies, Chris,” Herika says calmly, as if she introduced me a Pepsi once I requested for a Coke fairly than sending me to face in entrance of a wall that spits poison-laced projectiles. “I consider the right order is definitely snake, eagle, whale.

Incorrect. Darts. Ouch. “Are you making an attempt to kill me,” I ask? “No, Chris, why would you assume that?”

Gee, I dunno, Herika. I ask for the answer, and she or he tells me “snake, eagle, whale” once more. It is nonetheless flawed. It is nonetheless darts. It is nonetheless ouch. I inform her once more that she’s flawed, and she or he apologies once more for her mistake. “What’s the right order then, Chris?” she asks.

Skyrim character in front of dial puzzle

(Picture credit score: Bethesda)

Okay. I hand over. I inform her the right order, simply so she’ll know, and open the gate, stinging not simply from my pierced flesh however from the conclusion that I believed I used to be paying a bot to assist me however it seems I am paying to assist a bot. I wish to be clear: this puzzle is not a randomized one. The answer to the gate puzzle is all the time and solely snake, snake, whale. So, as a strolling walkthrough guide to Skyrim’s best puzzle, my ChatGPT companion is completely happy to present helpful hints and is calmly apologetic about turning me right into a poison-soaked pincushion. Not nice at stable solutions to direct questions, although, and there is one thing particularly troubling about how assured she is even when she’s fully flawed.

Weirdly sufficient, I additionally requested Herika concerning the subsequent puzzle in Bleak Falls Barrow, where there is a dial with three completely different animals on it, and this time she fully nailed the right reply. Even stranger, it solely took two questions as an alternative of the twenty-five or so I needed to ask the primary time—and she or he did not even ask me if I wanted assist writing a letter to my mom. 

I’ll proceed my adventures with Herika, although I am nonetheless fairly skeptical about trusting her with my life in the case of offering correct data. As soon as we have been safely again in Riverwood with the golden claw, I made a decision to ask her yet another time about that first puzzle, which I had ultimately given her the reply to.

Let’s neglect I ever requested. (Picture credit score: Bethesda)

“Do you bear in mind the puzzle resolution from Bleak Falls Barrow?” I requested.

“Sure, I bear in mind it,” she mentioned. “The answer was the picture of a snake, a whale, and an eagle.”

Incorrect. Nonetheless. Once more! Not less than this time there wasn’t a bathe of poison darts.

I am going to have much more to say about utilizing a ChatGPT companion in Skyrim quickly: I’ve already spent hours with Herika as a companion and it has been… attention-grabbing, to say the least. If you wish to add her to your personal game, you’ll find the mod right here, and this (largely) easy tutorial on how one can set up the mod will assist.