Facade is an artificial intelligence experiment by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, an attempt to move beyond traditional branching or hyper-linked narrative to create a fully-realized, one-act interactive drama. Within this architecture they have built a dramatically interesting, real-time 3D virtual world inhabited by computer-controlled characters, in which the player experiences a story from a first-person perspective.
The character you play is a longtime friend of Grace and Trip, an attractive and materially successful couple in their early thirties. During an evening get-together at their apartment that quickly turns ugly, you become entangled in the high-conflict dissolution of Grace and Tripfs marriage. No one is safe as the accusations fly, sides are taken and irreversible decisions are forced to be made. By the end of this intense one-act play you will have changed the course of Grace and Tripfs lives, motivating you to re-play the drama to find out how your interaction could make things turn out differently the next time.
Somewhere between a video game and a drama, Facade takes advantage of voice acting and a 3-D environment, as well as natural language processing and other advanced artificial intelligence routines to provide a robust interactive fiction experience. Using full typed sentences the player can coach the couple through their troubles or drive them to be more distant from each other.
This work is unlike hypertext narrative or interactive fiction to date in that the computer characters actively perform the story without waiting for you to click on a link or enter a command. Interaction is seamless as you converse in natural language and move and gesture freely within the first-person 3D world of Grace and Tripfs apartment. AI controls Grace and Tripfs personality and behavior, including emotive facial expressions, spoken voice and full-body animation. Furthermore, the AI intelligently chooses the next story 'beat' based on your moment-by-moment interaction, what story beats have happened so far, and the need to satisfy an overall dramatic arc.
The player can take an active role in the conversation, pushing the topic one way or another to provide an interactive stage-play. These stage-plays are saved as scripts which can be saved after the game is finished.