(c) 2005-6 Procedural Arts

Fašade Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fašade?
Why is Fašade free?
Who created Fašade?
What's new in Fašade version 1.1?
How did you make Fašade?
Can I use the Fašade tools and authoring system?

Q: What is Fašade?

Fašade is a prototype of interactive drama, a new genre of character and story-intensive interactive entertainment. Fašade is freely downloadable at interactivestory.net. In Fašade, you, the player, using your own name and gender, play the character of 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 Trip’s 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 Trip’s lives – motivating you to re-play the drama to find out how your interaction could make things turn out differently the next time.

Q: Why is Fašade free?

Fašade is an art/research project, that we're hoping will also serve as an example prototype for an interactive drama commercial product. We could charge money for it, but we'd rather make it easier to get Fašade to as many people as possible. We figure that if enough people play it and like the experience, we'll be in a position to make an even bigger and better interactive drama in the future, as an actual product.

Q: Who created Fašade?

Fašade was created over a period of 5 years primarily by two collaborators, Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern. We are each designer-programmers focused on researching and developing artificially intelligent art and entertainment. The production was an almost entirely self-funded, industry-academia collaboration: Andrew has 10+ years of game industry experience as a designer and AI engineer, and Michael creates AI-based art and is an Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. You can read about us, our research papers describing Fašade and our other work at interactivestory.net. Also we regularly discuss interactive story, games, poetry and art with several others at our group blog,
Grand Text Auto - we'd love to hear your thoughts on this new field, so please join in the discussion there!

On Fašade we collaborated with some very talented voice actors, Chloe Johnston and Andy Bayiates, who supplied the voices for Grace and Trip. They are actors and writers perhaps best known for their work with the Neo-Futurists in Chicago. We also received volunteer contributions from several talented folks from all over the globe, some who created the soundtrack, and some who created additional art, animation and programming.

Q: What's new in Fašade version 1.1?

- It's now 167MB, instead of the original 800MB! Thanks to speex.org for the better audio compression. (The Mac version is 131MB because Macs are guaranteed to come with Java, so we didn't need to include it in the installer.)
- You can turn subtitles on now.
- The 1.6GHz CPU restriction is now turned off - although Fašade will still run poorly, or not at all, on computers slower than a 1.6GHz Pentium 4.
- We fixed the installer limitation that required installation to the C: drive.

Fašade version 1.1 for Windows was released February 16, 2006. Version 1.0 for Windows was released July 5, 2005. The Macintosh version was released August 11, 2006.

Q: How did you make Fašade?

Fašade is designed, programmed and written from scratch by Andrew and Michael. It required years of hard work developing an
array of new design and AI techniques and technology, including building upon some past research at Carnegie Mellon University.

We very much want to share what we learned during the process, to help seed a new genre of interactive entertainment. We'll have released a document called "
Behind the Fašade" that includes detailed descriptions of how Fašade works, plus hints for players of how to see all of the variation in the drama. Additionally you can peruse our somewhat technical research papers, freely downloadable at interactivestory.net.

Q: Can I use the Fašade tools and authoring system?

Over time, parts or all of the Fašade technology will become available for others to use for their own art, research or industry projects. We have formed a studio called Procedural Arts to own and distribute Fašade and its technology. See our
technology page.

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