neWMW

Façade: Interactive storytelling on a whole new level

with 3 comments

Façade is a one-act interactive drama according to it’s makers Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern, and what that is exactly? I can tell you it’s a whole new experience in computer gaming, if it can even be called gaming. It’s more like a digital play you are a part of, and above all it is something you have to try for yourself to see what I mean. You can get the free Façade game from the developer website InteractiveStory.net.

I’ll give you a short introduction, but I’m not spoiling anything that would ruin the fun of playing it the first time. When you begin the game you are invited by Trip and Grace to come over to their house for a cosy get together. The drama starts as soon as you get to their apartment where you are welcomed by the couple. It seems their marriage has some cracks and holes and they aren’t affraid to discuss ’em in front of you.

The interface is simple, you can walk around the appartment, interact with some of the objects and type almost anything (as long as it is related). Especially the communication in Façade is great, you can interrupt the couple, ask them about things, choose sides, etc. And all that in normal sentences, and in a way you would normally respond in a conversation yourself. It’s feels a lot more natural than your average RPG interface with only so few options.

For some more indepth information and very interesting reading from the makers, check out the press page at InteractiveStory.net for papers, articles and a lot more and their vision and motivation

This game also won the 2006 Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Independent Games Festival. And at the end of the play, you can also look at the stageplay you just created. Need I say more? Just as an example here is a small part of the (words-only) stageplay from my second time playing the drama. I’m ‘Ben’:

GRACE
Hi! How are you? Oh god it’s been such a long time! — (interrupted)
BEN
Hi grace

GRACE
H-mmm (happy smile sound)
BEN
How are you?
GRACE
Good! Yes! Very good. Some exciting things at work I’ll have to tell you about.
GRACE
So come on in, make yourself at home!
BEN
What happened at work?
TRIP
Oh yeah, let me tell you about work. I just brought in a new account – print ads for a line of bridal fashion.
(BEN sits on the couch.)

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3 Responses

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  1. Hi Twan,

    It is nice to share my comments with you. Thanks for your comments.

    Your blog content are rich quality. Keep it up. Keep visiting 🙂 Be in touch..

    Zeezat

    Zeezat

    August 29, 2006 at 12:44 pm

  2. Heh, I remember playing this about a year or so ago. You can read what I thought about it here:

    http://forums.videogamereview.com/showthread.php?t=5349&highlight=facade

    Basically, I agree that the potential of game is astounding. There are so many different paths which a player can take, but I seem to remember you often didn’t get too long to type a response which wasn’t so good for a slow-coach like me.

    lostmoya

    August 29, 2006 at 2:05 pm

  3. True about the time for typing, and sometimes you enter a response just after they started talking again, which makes it a bit of a mesh. But the whole thing that you don’t choose from a limited amount of fixed sentences makes this very interesting. The potential is there, I’m hoping this’ll get implemented in a game sooner or later!

    newmw

    August 29, 2006 at 2:32 pm


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