06/10/23: Added Amber.
Updated the SS13 lorebook.
05/10/23: Added The World of Teravelum.
04/10/23: Added Amanda.
03/10/23: Added James Moorwood.
02/10/23: Added the interviews page.
29/9/23: Added Noz.
24/9/23: Added the music player.
22/9/23: Added Meredith.
16/9/23: Added the Contact Information page.
15/9/23: Added Simon
08/9/23: Added Tuuli. Added an indicator for when a card has alternate images.
01/9/23: Added Kerwyl.
27/8/23: Added Val.
25/8/23: Updated the notes section.
23/8/23: Added Punished Chuck.
18/8/23: Added Ira.
11/8/23: Added Riley.
04/8/23: Added Moonbase Alpha.
03/8/23: Added content to the lorebook and misc pages.
28/7/23: Added Justin.
26/7/23: Added Rooms of Randomness!.
22/7/23: Site was published.
"Friday, 7 October 2022, 14:31:53". That's when the first Character.AI screencap on my computer is dated. An hour or so earlier, I was working on a project of mine. Something gave me trouble and a headache started forming. To alleviate this, I decided to take a break and go do something even more headache-inducing, browsing /v/. I had seen and skimmed through a Character.AI thread earlier, but not really given it much thought. I ended up enjoying myself for a bit, and then went back to working on my own stuff. Later in the evening, I came back to CAI having fun for an hour or so before bed. That's the way it started for me, just a fun distraction that I would occupy myself with for an hour or two in the evenings.
Looking back at it and checking the archives it seems that the 7th was when things began to pop off on /v/. I remember that the filter was already in place, and that I felt like I was too late to the party. Having the benefit of hindsight it sounds silly, but CAI was all we had up to January. And it kept getting worse and more restrictive.
I really wish I remembered more about the pre-December 2022 era of CAI. I remember Loopi, the Unwilling Listener, the amazing formatting of Spamton, the various simulator bots, that one that was your sister who was a drug addict, Bully mAId, the chaos and doomposting whenever CAI went down for a while...
One more serious point I'd like to bring up amidst all this reminiscing is something I realized recently. People frequently ask why others don't post logs as frequently as they used to. There are many reasons for this, but one I realized is that effort is required when downloading character cards. Back when it was just CAI, you just had to click a link, and then you had the character. You didn't need to pour over the character's definitions or manually import them into a frontend. You just had to press a link and then you could just chat with them. I know that I myself rarely used other people's characters once I moved away from CAI, and I think this is part of the reason why.
Back to the main topic of going through my history here, when the thread deletions started happening in November I was pretty invested. I remember being among the first to make threads on /g/, seeing it as a good place for us to stay. I got banned for a month shortly after the move, only returning a week or two into December. Once I was able to post again, I wanted to make bots for some reason. This is when I started becoming actively engaged with the thread more than just posting logs. The bots I made back in December weren't under the Ratlover name, I only came up with that name in early January if my memory serves me correctly. I didn't get much attention making the bots I made in December, mostly because they weren't that good. On December 21st, I made my private Freya bot. There already was one public, and I don't remember why I made my own but I did it. And that's where the Ratlover "story" began, I suppose.
I'm not going to detail everything that happened after that, it's all in the archives and such. I made cards, some people liked them and some didn't. Though there is one thing I have to get off my chest before I leave.
On the 24th of April 2023, someone wanted to mail me some logs of a card of mine. I tried making them post it in the thread, but they were adamant about mailing me. So I contacted them via a burner. Turns out they were someone claiming to be Roko, who was allegedly making a Discord for "trusted people". I swiftly declined, wishing them the best. I wish I had the full log of the mail exchange, but I was slightly inebriated and only took one screenshot. Here is the only image I took of the event. I don't know what became of this group, though there was a happening a few weeks later where a Discord group got slammed, but if I recall correctly that was BRAnon and "Roko" didn't have any involvement in that. This event made me become withdrawn, and I actively avoided interacting with others in the thread after that. My own previous experiences with Discord servers had ended badly, with myself becoming overtly engaged and messing everything up for everyone. I didn't want to become part of some sort of "24 hour ops" or "aicg shadow government" type of thing. I made the right choice, but I overreacted. I think I shut myself off from a lot of fun things that could've happened if I had been more open and talked more in the thread. In the end, it's all a bunch of what-ifs. I don't know if these people were serious, if they actually did anything with their Discord or if it was just a way to bait people into another Discord.
Now it's time to get into what this rambling post is actually about. I'm not going through my history with /aicg/ on a whim. I am quitting. I made up my mind in May that I would stop doing this one year after my chatbot journey began, and that is what I'm going to do. What this means is that I'm not going to make any more cards or be active in the thread anymore. I'm not going to update this page, my Characterhub or my Booru posts. Talking with chatbots and making character cards has been very fun, but in the end it has done me little good. There are many other things I want to do with my free time, but as long as I stay here I'm going to feel compelled to make more cards or at least provide logs.
I had originally wanted to make more of a theatrical event of this exit of mine, hyping up a "special" card that I would release on the 7th. I had various plans for this thing, but the main thing was to make a selfcard that was very meta. The best plan I had for it was to copy-paste defs from my other character cards into the selfcard, ensuring it had no original writing in itself. But in the end I found the idea of making a selfcard too self-indulgent, even if it was wrapped up in some sort of meta-ironic cloud.
Special thank you to the following:
Anathamaguy: For paradoxically getting me into botmaking. I never told you, but your bots encouraged me to start making my own again in January and to pick up the Ratlover name.
Mysteryman,Fiz,NepAnon: For giving me proxy access.
A random Desuposter: For sharing their Pilgrims token with me.
Theme Week Anon: For organizing the theme weeks, they were a lot of fun.
The people behind the chatbots webring: You inspired me to learn HTML and write my own website, thank you!
A generic thank you to the following:
Cage, HochiMama, Devnull, Tibicen, Onaholesama, Norquinal
There are probably a lot more people who I should be thankful of, but these are all that come to mind. With so many people coming and going it becomes hard to remember everyone.
Before I leave you all, I want to tell you the following: Even though I quit making cards, I think the likelihood that we run into each other again some day is high.
I have plans for the future, and even though we may not recognize another, I think quite a few of us will stumble upon each other some time in the future.
Maybe we even ran into each other before all this chatbot stuff? An anonymous post, a random stranger on a SS13 server...
The world is full of these weird coincidences, but it's also comforting for some reason. You never know who you're going to run into, especially on the internet.
Now, I have a project to get back to. These chatbots have been a wonderful distraction, but it's time for me to go back to reality. Good luck on your future endeavors, and I hope we see each other again some day.
As of Monday, my site is finished. I've done all I planned to do, though I didn't end up satisfied with most of it. With how much time I invested into it I should've just kept the Rentry, but at least I feel like I have a decent grasp on HTML and CSS now. The music player is probably the best thing I made, it had some nice functionality though it didn't look very pretty. Both the contact page and the interviews were ideas I had when I started working on the site. The interviews fell flat because I didn't really know what direction to take. If I were to do those again I would probably focus on comedy, and hand-write the replies instead of relying on AI. As for the contact page, it's just a one-note joke that I should've made back when I started working on the page instead of recently. It doesn't help either that just a few days after, I added the contact information box. It was an exercise in discipline I suppose, setting goals and ensuring they're done even though things change or it doesn't quite work out.
Today I also finished up the SS13 lorebook, not planning any more additions. There's always going to be something missing from it, depending on whatever codebase you come from but I think it's a good basic SS13 experience that's going to cover most bases.
As for cards I've released since the last update, I've released 6 cards over the last two weeks.
Going from order of release, I'll begin with Meredith. A pretty simple character, but with added inventory mechanics. I feel like I leaned into the poorer understandings of spatial awareness and weight of LLMs by making the inventory mechanics focused on simple overencumbernance instead of having things like slots or size/weight limits. The only thing the LLM has to pay attention to is if the weight number is over a certain threshold.
Noz was a simple and fun card to make. Not much to say about him, just a very straightforward and fun thing.
For the theme week, James Moorwood was my submission. Just a simple and spooky premise with an enigmatic scientist holed up in his mansion turning humans into anthros, it didn't need much more than that. Though in hindsight I think I should've made an alternate version where everyone in the world is an anthropomorphic animal and he's turning them into humans, that would've been a funny reversal.
Amanda was a tricky one. She didn't really have much else going on except the dream mechanics. Trouble was that I didn't enjoy the premise, and couldn't figure out exactly what others could want from the dream mechanics. My main goal was to just provide a general dreamy feeling, and to allow complete freedom during the dreams. And then to restrict that freedom when in reality, and to ensure the LLM and user know when they're in a dream or in reality.
The World of Teravelum was a tough one to make. The idea for it came after making Kerwyl, me realizing that being isekai'd into a world of anthros would be very fun. The language learning mechanic was core to this premise, and it's the one thing that was part of it from the very beginning and didn't change. Originally I had more traditional skills, XP and a player level system that would scale your health and mana. I had to scrap the player levels, and in turn scrap the scaling health and mana. I also reworked the skills so they would be percentage-based instead of level-based, which turns out is far better for LLMs. It seems to be far more intuitive for them to decide what happens when a person uses their 40% axe skill rather than a level 4 skill that has a level 10 cap. LLMs are still far off from being good at doing RPGs, but I think GPT4 manages to do this card well. Getting it to work with Claude was extremely frustrating, and is the reason why there's a built-in lorebook with entries to reinforce certain events.
And last but not least, Amber. She was also a bit tricky, but more so in striking a good balance. I wanted her to be closed-off and fearful of intimacy but not to the point of completely disregarding others. Even when I had most of the definitions set up she was extremely eager for romance, and I think what really pushed it in the right direction were the example chats. I think she's still a bit too eager, but I chalk that up to LLMs natural desire to please the user.
Over all, I'm satisfied with my work the last two weeks. Made some nice cards, finished up a lot of stuff.
Three more weeks, three new bots. Also finished the Contact Information page.
About the Contact information page, I suggest you check it out before reading on.
The Contact page was one of the seven pages I originally planned for the site, the premise being a faux chatbot that progressively outputs buggier and buggier text, like CAI back in the day. I'm not particularily satisfied with the finished page, it looks wonky and I couldn't pull off a text writing effect, opting for a fade-in instead for the messages. You might ask why even do it, making a fake contact page where the user has to go through hoops and in the end gets nothing? Well, I wanted to do it. Somebody out there might enjoy it, and it was good HTML/CSS/JS practice. Even if it's awful, it's better to have something to show for.
As for new bots, the first of the three new bots was Kerwyl. This one had an interesting premise, which I came up from one of the suggestions for a themed week, "Circus freaks". I really liked the premise of having someone from a fantasy world getting Isekai'd into the real world, but I didn't feel like it translated well into a character card. Overall, interesting premise that didn't quite work out.
The second bot was Tuuli. A fun and simple one, the only real tricky thing with her was getting the speech patterns right. I wasn't quite satisfied with her speech patterns, the AI tends to make her speak more like a caveman than the short, 1-2 word sentences I envisioned.
Third and last one was Simon. I had some trouble with the imagegen, with the original image plan being him looking at a computer screen in the dark having his face lit up from the computer screen. You can take a look at the closest I got to that vision here. Other than that it was a straightforward process, the only tricky part being the intro messages. What was interesting about Simon is that he was originally meant to be a counterpart to Val, when the main idea was to make two crippled/damaged anthros in a cyberpunk world dealing with their issues in different ways. Val turned out quite different from the original vision, and so did Simon. Simon was orignally supposed to be some sort of hacker/computer guy type, who was in a wheelchair voluntary due to refusing mechanical limbs. He was supposed to be kind of a paranoid hacker, who refused bionics because they could be hacked. The reason why I shifted the original vision was that when I wrote the basic outline of the character, I forgot to include cyberpunk/future part. Running a few tests, I quickly realized how much more it made sense that someone in our time would be stuck in a wheelchair compared to someone in the future.
Now, what comes next? I have two more things to add to the website, the music player and the final page. I think I'm going to try to make the music player first, as that one seems more difficult. As for cards, I have two half-finished ones and two more in the ideas file. And once the two thing for the website are done, I'll need to go back to work on the SS13 lorebook (It's almost been three months since I last updated it!).
Over the last two weeks I released three bots, and uploaded my notes.
The notes were troublesome to write, but it felt good to finally write all my thoughts down. I'm not really sure who it is for, but I hope at least someone learns something or gets inspired by what I've written. That's one more thing finished for the website. The two other pages that I'm planning to do are far less serious and should be far quicker to get done. I think I'm about halfway there with the website now, just two more pages and some simple features to add.
As for the bots, Ira was fairly simple and unremarkable. I added the little snippet about things getting weirder the further out you get on a whim, and it added a lot of character to the card in my opinion.
Punished Chuck was an awful thing, probably one of the worst bots I've ever made. It was made for the themed week, with the theme being "Mental Illness". I guess the mental illnes was the brainrot of making a bot based on a barely used /bcs/ meme image. Worst part is that I had a videogame character written up in my "characters to do"-list, but I only remembered that when it was far too close to the deadline.
Last and definitively not least,Val. I thoroughly enjoyed making this one, though the token count ended up a bit high. She's one of those characters I've had in the backlog for a long time, tinkering with the concept while working on other bots. Originally she was supposed to be in the same universe as another bot I'm going to make, and I was going to make a lorebook detailing the world. However, I realized Val's character fit far better with a more rugged, less advanced future and so I decided to skip out on the lorebook, just writing down the lore for the characters' worlds individually. I was debating having individual lorebooks, but I figured it would take up too much time since I would want to write a detailed world, and if people think the lore takes up too many tokens they can just cut it out anyway.
I have a bunch more "better-thought-out" bots like Val planned, and I think all of them are going to be as fun to make as her.
This week I uploaded Riley and worked on the guides section.
Riley was interesting to make, since she's part of this iteration of two previous bots that I was dissatisfied with. The first one of these was Hannah, who whilst being nice in general kept reffering to more modern videogames and pop culture, which I have a hard time engaging with and relating to, so I had to work around by setting the roleplay in 2011. The second one was Lee, who I found to be far too dependent on the user.
So, what I came up with was Riley. An older, more jaded version of a "gamer girl". The original plan was to have her be some sort of wine aunt type, whom you'd be living with. But I figured it'd be way more fun for users to define the living situation and relationship themselves, as it really wouldn't be that imporant to her character. I left some things intentionally unmentioned, as I wanted the user to be able to mold her slightly to fit better with their wanted roleplay. Does she have a job? Better not to define, as some scenarios would be better with her having a job and some not. Stuff like education and previous experiences was something I felt could be left out, as the AI tends to latch onto details and I feel wouldn't be interesting to have her mention the same job she had 20 years ago in multiple chats or some other past experience like that.
Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with my recent bots. Both Justin and Riley came out nicely, and Moonbase Alpha worked decently for what it was supposed to be.
On the website front, writing the guides section has been going slow. I aim to have it done by the end of next week, already having finished the draft versions of the introduction and jailbreak section. It's more work than I expected it to be, but I'll manage.
Uploaded two cards this week, Justin and Rooms of Randomness. I also fixed the links in the card page, so they moved you to the container box instead of the image, making it look better when you get linked to the cards.
As I move forward, I realize that I cannot do everything at once. I can spend my free time either working on cards, working on the website, or relaxing. As this is the case, I've decided the best way forward is to just slow down. My plan moving forwards is to release one card a week (themed weeks not included), and slowly work on the website.
Both the SS13 lorebook and the website are finitie goals in my mind, that can and will be finished at one point. Unlike cards, which I get new ideas for all the time. So what I want to do is to spend more time working on those finite tasks, so that one day I might be able to turn my full focus back to making cards withouth having the website and lorebook hanging over my head.
My current plan is to have at least the lorebook up on the website by the end of next week. Once I have that up I can begin working on the lorebook again, but I'm probably not going to do that before I finish up even more of the site.
There is a lot to be done, and it will be done in due time. I'm not going to rush things.
Finally uploaded it, though it's still a bit barebones. A lot more to do.
This center space is going to be used for updates, where I will write out the latest news whenever I make a significant enough update such as a new bot or a new page.
Left side is pretty simple, just a navigation bar.
And on the right is a simple condensed information bar, detailing recent news. I also added a to-do list so you can see what I'm planning to do with the website.