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September 16th, 2020

Introducing the BreakoutBot Diaries

  • portrait of Vincent Warmerdam

    Vincent Warmerdam

Back in the old days, computer games were text-based. Computers weren't fast enough to deal with graphical user interfaces, so these games purely relied on text as an interface. Despite being primitive, these games were viral back in the day and still have an active fanbase.

Over time, computers became cheaper, faster, and more capable. Computers didn't just get better at displaying user-interfaces; they also got better at understanding text-interfaces. So you could ask the question "What might it be like to write a text-based adventure today using Rasa?" There's bound to be something that the conversational AI technology can bring to the genre, and it would be a great way to explore some of the advanced/new features in Rasa 2.0.

This is why we are happy to announce a new YouTube series on building BreakoutBot. It's a digital assistant that also functions as a game. The goal of the series is to document how we're making a text-based adventure game using Rasa. We plan on releasing content in seasons such that each season can represent a theme or a milestone of the project. Each season will feature 5-minute videos that each explain a single topic quickly.

You can watch the first season right now. In the first season, we bootstrap an early version of the game such that it is ready for a demo. We've implemented a simple room that the user needs to escape from, an inventory system, and the basic commands that you can expect from a text-based adventure game. In future seasons we hope to use this project to explain topics such as conversational design, Rasa X, advanced features, deployment, maintenance, upgrading to Rasa 2.0, and modeling.

Would you like to take part in building BeakoutBot? We welcome ideas and contributions on Github so feel free to join! We'll make sure to document important lessons learned from our community in our series as well. All of the code is open-source, so you're also free to download it to make your own text-based adventure game.

Happy hacking!