Michael Mateas & Andrew Stern

12 July 2005

Michael Mateas, Andrew Stern / 2005 / USA

“Façade” is unusual in that it is a game about real human characters struggling with the real human issue of a troubled marriage. It is also a study in the possibilities still unexplored in the realm of artificial intelligence and game design. The characters in “Facade” seem to have minds, dreams and goals of their own. They respond to the player based on the personalities that designers/researchers Andrew Stern and Michael Mateas programmed for them, which gives the game a dynamic and forward-driven intensity. Instead of programming their characters to “listen” for grammatical cues – the standard way game designers get around the language problems inherent in interactive sto- rytelling – Mateas and Stern programmed their characters to chain together islands of meaning derived from words and phrases in the player’s language. Though developed within the context of University-led research at the Georgia Institute of Technology, “Façade” has been downloaded over 500,000 times.