Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern created Façade, an interactive tale built on artificial intelligence. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Slamdance Independent Games Festival and has been shown at a number of international art events. The game was featured as one of the titles in the book 1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die in 2010. Because of its low-quality graphics, flaws, and weird answers, the game has been the focus of online ridicule.
Façade casts the player as a close friend of Grace and Trip, who recently invited the player to their home for cocktails. This beautiful gathering is marred, however, by the obvious domestic conflict between Grace and Trip upon the player’s arrival. Using the included language processing software, Façade allows the user to input sentences to “talk” with the couple, either assisting them through their difficulties, driving them apart, or getting booted out of the apartment.
Façade, which combines elements of video games and drama, uses voice acting and a 3-D environment, as well as natural language processing and other complex artificial intelligence algorithms, to deliver a rich interactive experience. As in an interactive stage play, the user can take an active role in the conversation, moving the topic one way or another. These stage plays are saved as script text files that can be viewed once the player has completed the play.
Façade was launched on PC as a free download from the InteractiveStory.net website in July 2005. The authors of Façade were working on a game named The Party in 2006.
Most playthroughs finish with Trip and Grace either reconciling and telling the player they need to be alone, or Trip being so outraged by the player that he or she is forcibly removed from the apartment. However, active intervention can motivate the two to rediscover their love for one another, or lead one to leave the other – occasionally admitting a past affair, one of several occurrences determined at random when play begins.
It has a certain amount of replay value because much of it is designed to simulate ‘on-the-fly’ reactions to the player’s or other characters’ actions, and because the scenario features a random series of events (such as what conversational topics are brought up, what drinks Trip wants to serve, etc.).
The parser, via which the player communicates with the actors, is especially renowned for its capacity to recognize, accept, and reply to a vast number of complicated commands. The system can fully analyze many questions, and the actors can answer in a number of ways based on their mood, random fluctuations, and the player’s previous activities. In one circumstance, Grace may respond positively to the comment “I love your decorations,” yet in another, she may perceive you are being condescended to her. Although not every comment made by the player is correctly analyzed, the engine will frequently pull relevant information and incorporate it utilizing the built-in voice-acting clips. As a result, appropriate spelling and grammar are virtually always necessary for an enjoyable gaming experience.
A single utterance of the word “melon” has been known to result in an instant disqualification in the game, as well as the player being removed from the residence. This action can also be triggered by the phrases “kill” and “pig.”
The texture of the ashtray was converted to PNG.
The Ashtray Texture: An ashtray texture may be found in the game’s textures folder. It isn’t visible in-game, but it was almost certainly going to be used until the last cancellations. While Grace and Trip argue, Grace may add that Trip enjoys “Fancy Cigars and nice wine.” This implies that Trip or/and Grace smoke cigars; it would make sense to store an ashtray on a balcony, which could explain why it is not visible in-game.
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