The Bots Are Coming – Let’s Have Some Fun!

A Robot playing a boardgame with a student - manga style
Image produced using Midjourney in Niji mode

The outline of this article was created by ChatGPT. Some of the text was also written by ChatGPT, and all of the images except the code screenshots were generated in Midjourney.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in learning and gaming design has revolutionized the way content creators approach their craft. AI-powered tools provide game and learning designers with efficient and effective ways to produce high-quality content that engages learners and gamers alike. In this article, we will focus on two AI-powered tools – Midjourney and ChatGPT – that can be used to create game and learning content. We will also look at the burgeoning development of third-party apps and tools which utilise, in particular, the various GPT models, and which provided highly-focused resources.

Check out Ludogogy Learning’s offerings around AI for Learning and Games Design

Midjourney is an AI-powered image creation tool that can produce various types of visuals which can be used in game and learning materials. ChatGPT, on the other hand, is an AI text generation tool that can produce text-based content in a huge variety of formats and contexts. Both these tools are capable of creating high-quality content in less time and with less effort. This post will explore the features and applications of these two tools in detail and discuss how they can be used to create personalized and immersive games and learning experiences.

First – The Pictures – Midjourney

Midjourney is an AI-powered platform that can create high-quality images for games and learning materials. The platform employs machine learning algorithms that can generate images based on specific parameters. Midjourney’s algorithms go beyond mere image manipulation by creating new, original images in different styles and formats.

Painted pastoral scene
Midjourney’s take on a ‘Sunny Pastoral Scene’

Like most of the well-known AI tools, Midjourney is moving fast, and is constantly being updated with new modes and capabilities. In the last few months, for example, we have seen the addition of version 4 of the image generation algorithm, which generates images without many of the problems (long necks, double faces, general distortion) of the previous algorithms.

And where particular styles of artwork have proved to be popular, Midjourney has sought to smooth the path to creating quality images in those styles. The new Niji mode, for example, is especially designed for creating images with a Manga feel.

There are some limitations on size; a Midjourney image currently has a maximum size of 2048 x 2048 pixels. You can change the aspect ratio to make something of a different shape but still subject to the same size limit. Different versions have different limitations on size and which aspect ratios will work properly. But once you have a grip on that, the only other limitations are your imagination and your skill in creating prompts.

Midjourney created this image of Father Christmas by combining a passport style photograph with a text prompt
Midjourney created this image of Father Christmas by combining a passport style photograph with a text prompt

Midjourney can be used create different background images, icons, characters, and more. These images can be used in a variety of applications, including games, educational videos, e-learning courses, and instructional materials. My own experience of using Midjourney in learning game design includes:

  • Realistic photographic images of people of various ethnicities, genders and ages for a diversity and inclusion game.
  • Creation of photorealistic but ‘impossible’ exhibits for ‘:The Museum of Impossible Objects’.
  • A tarot style deck of cards with illustrations which look like they have all been created by the same artist
  • Illustrations for a high-fantasy style RPG game
  • Cartoon style illustrations of modern office life
  • Creation of an :asemic ‘alien’ script
Midjourney image of asemic text in an illuminated manuscript
Midjourney image of asemic text in an illuminated manuscript

Particularly useful in the context of game and learning design are the following capabilities:

  • Being able to apply a consistent aesthetic across a large number of images – ideal for creating card decks
  • Create images based on existing images, such as using a photograph for the basis of a new image of the same subject with a different theme
  • Merging two or more images together to create a new image containing elements of all of them.
  • Creating variations on a preferred image – for example dressing a character in styles of dress from different historical eras.

Midjourney allows you to choose from a dazzling array of art styles, image subjects and even replicates photography down to the level of camera and lighting settings.

It takes some effort to learn to use it really well, but the savings in both time and money in sourcing appropriate images for your projects will be well worth it.

Then – the Words – GPT and ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI-powered tool that can generate pretty much any kind of text-based content you require. The platform is built on the GPT3 family of large language models, developed by OpenAI, and seeks to create human-like text output.

Like Midjourney, there is a requirement to get to know the platform, and spend some time  learning to create effective prompts if you are to use it well, but the potential returns in automating ideation and content creation are life-changing for people working in learning and game design.

GPT3 is not connected to the Internet (GPT4, underlying the Bing bot, is, but is outside the scope of this article), but nevertheless, its training datasets were massive, even though it ‘knows’ little about anything since 2021.

So you can, for example, be reasonably confident that it will have read most well-known books, which underlies this great set of tips on creating lesson plans for English Literature classes.

Chat GPT for Teachers

One thing you do need to do carefully, when asking ChatGPT to output material you are going to use with learners, is to check for errors. Because of the way that ChatGPT ,and the underlying models work, which is basically like a very sophisticated predictive text model, it simply decides what word to write next, one word at a time. It is an illusion that ChatGPT deals in anything larger than words. It certainly does not have ’facts’ at its disposal, and will frequently produce factually incorrect information.

For example, this is (part of) what it output about the year 1974 in British politics:

The year 1974 was also marked by tragedy. In the four and a half years leading up to the next general election, a total of 17 members of parliament died. This included some of the most prominent figures in British politics, such as former Prime Minister Edward Heath and Labour politician George Brown. The loss of these individuals had a significant impact on the political landscape, as it meant that new leaders had to step up and take their place.

Although most of the rest of the output was just what was required, it incorrectly claimed that Edward Heath and George Brown died during the years 1974-79.

GPT and Games Design

In games design, this ’hallucination’ is maybe less concerning, as we are frequently creating output which is fictional in nature. However, the hallucination aspect of this tool should always be borne in mind.

ChatGPT can be used in many parts of games design and production, right from initial ideation to playtesting, and there is pretty much no limit to the formats and types of output it will produce, from outlines, to finished prose, poetry, dialogue and stage direction, computer code, and even knitting patterns in both text and chart format.

One obvious application is to produce text-based components for games including:

  • Narrative such as backstory and scenarios
  • Character sheets and playbooks for RPGs
  • Plot summaries
  • Rulebooks
  • Card rubric
  • Etc

You can even play games directly in ChatGPT, such as text based adventure games, narrative games, including shared storytelling between the bot and a human, and even more complex games with dice throwing and tokens involved – if you get the prompt right.

ChatGPT’s ability to ’remember’ what has gone before in a chat means that played games can then be re-output in alternative forms, and I have done this previously, getting such output as a third person re-telling of a first person RPG, a screenplay with dialogue and even a report on how the player displayed leadership.

As the captain of the Star Explorer, the player has shown effective leadership throughout the game. They were quick to take action when the ship’s sensors detected a strange object, displaying a sense of curiosity and adventure. They also demonstrated effective decision-making skills when faced with the situation of the abandoned spaceship and the critical state of its reactor. The player immediately calls their second in command to discuss the situation and then ask their own ship’s AI to produce a risk assessment and to suggest appropriate personnel to send over if the risks were acceptable.

The player also displayed a sense of caution and safety when they decided to tow the ship back to the nearest space station instead of simply continuing the mission. This shows that the player is willing to prioritize the safety of their crew and the ship.

In terms of areas for improvement, the player could have been more proactive in communicating with other ships in the vicinity for assistance before attempting to repair the reactor. This could have been an opportunity to seek help from other ships and potentially prevent the high-pressure situation.

Overall, the player has displayed excellent leadership skills and judgement and has effectively navigated through the challenges faced during the mission.

…or code to play the game from a command line

Python code generated by ChatGPT
Python code generated by ChatGPT

…or code which can be copied and pasted into Twine to make a branching scenario game

Code generated by ChatGPT to be input into Twine

Where ChatGPT really excels is being given templates to work with and then being asked to complete those based on a theme or particular content. Here is what it produced when given part of a template for ‘Wretched and Alone’ games (This work is based on The Wretched, product of Chris Bissette and Loot The Room, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.)

And then given the prompt:

Using the following template can you write the ‘Who’ and ‘What’ sections of a Wretched and Alone game about working as a shelf-stacker in a supermarket:

This is what it output:


You are a shelf-stacker at a local supermarket, working long hours for minimum wage in order to make ends meet. You’re not sure how you ended up in this dead-end job, but you know you need to keep it in order to pay the bills. You have a few friends among your co-workers, but most of them are just as miserable as you are. The store is located in a rundown part of town, and you often deal with shoplifters, angry customers, and other hazards of working in a low-income area.


This is a solo GM-less journaling game in which you will document your attempts to survive your job as a shelf-stacker at the supermarket. You will face a variety of challenges, from dealing with difficult customers to avoiding the wrath of your boss.

During the game, you will roll dice, draw cards from the deck and read their associated events, pull blocks from the jenga tower, place or remove tokens from cards, and write about your experiences in character.

Failure is the most likely outcome of this game. If the jenga tower falls, you’ll be fired from your job and will have to find another way to make ends meet. If you draw all four Kings, you’ll be caught stealing from the store and will be arrested; the last King you draw will tell you how.

To win, you must draw the Ace of Hearts and complete the task that it specifies by removing tokens from it over subsequent days. For a shorter, easier game, place the Ace of Hearts on the top of the deck after you’ve shuffled it, so it’s the first card you’ll draw. The task specified by the Ace of Hearts will give you a chance to improve your situation, whether that means getting a promotion at work, finding a new job, or escaping the grind of retail life altogether.

What’s Next – Third Party Integrations

The use of AI in game and learning design has many benefits. For one, it allows for personalized and immersive experiences, enhancing the overall learning or gaming experience. Midjourney and ChatGPT both play important roles in this process.

Because of the speed of production and the ease with which many slightly differing versions of something can be made, this really opens up the options for creating differentiated learning – which was well demonstrated in the video at the beginning of the article.

This personalization can lead to increased engagement and motivation, ultimately leading to better retention of information.

One of the most frequent criticisms levelled at the use of AI in creative work is that what is produced is derivative and not very creative – lacking the human ‘spark’. While this is true to a certain extent, it is also true that AI has the potential to increase creativity. The actual production of text-based content may be the least creative part of the learning or game design and creation process, and if that can be automated and speeded up, it frees human designers to focus on the experiences they want to create, and indeed in coming up with yet more creative ways of using the tools to come out with innovative output

And nowhere has this creativity been seen more than in the 300+ third party applications which have integrated with the GPT API to produce targeted tools which further enhance capability in very specific tasks. A sample of these which might be of particular interest to learning and games designers are:

  • GPT for Sheets and Docs  an extension for Google Sheets and Docs which allows you pull input directly from GPT into your spreadsheets and documents.
  • AI Dungeon – Play in AI-enabled worlds-now enhanced with Stable Diffusion images.
  • Charisma – Storytelling powered by artifical intelligence
  • AIChannels – a social network platform which allows collaboration with AI agents
  • Debuild – Generative AI to build wep apps

Takeaways and Next Steps

Midjourney and ChatGPT are powerful AI tools that have the potential to revolutionise both the game and learning design process. This article has necessarily just scratched the surface of what is possible. If you want to know more, and attend some short course that are specifically targeted on AI for learning and game design, then check out Ludogogy Learning’s selection of upcoming courses which include all new material on using Midjourney and ChatGPT in your design process.

Editor at Ludogogy
Sarah Le-Fevre is a games-based learning professional who specialises in organisational learning around systemic ‘wicked problems’, and helping businesses spot and exploit opportunities for ethical ‘for good’ innovation. She works with tools such as Lego® Serious Play® and the Octalysis gamification framework to create compelling immersive learning experiences. She is currently writing a book outlining a systems practice approach to delivering impactful learning within organisations.

A real board games nerd, she is considering having her floors reinforced to support the ever increasing weight of the boxes. When she is not designing or facilitating learning games she is the editor of Ludogogy Magazine. Sarah lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, younger daughter, and a beautiful (but very loud) Bengal cat.

Ludogogy Needs You!!. It's a full-time job and cannot continue without support. Please become a patron to keep Ludogogy going and to access some great patron perks
Latest posts by Ludogogy (see all)

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.