Heavy Rain x Façade? games

Heavy Rain x Façade?Heavy Rain x Façade?

It has been a while since I lost my interest in adventure games. There are great titles in the genre, but I just got tired of the frustration of being locked in a room even though I have an axe in my inventory, or having to limit my dialogue to certain pre-defined options.

So I decided to wait for the next big evolution, something that would expand in a significant way the possibilities of interactions I had with these virtual worlds.

Note: read about my research on procedural expressiveness here.

One of the biggest advances in the field of artificial intelligence applied to virtual characters can be found in Façade (Michael Mateas e Andrew Stern, 2005). Even though it is not exactly a game, and despite its limitations, characters in Façade talk and interact with each other and the player in a relatively “lifelike” manner (except when they act like “brain-damaged” humans – which is also fun).

That is why I was surprised to see Façade mentioned in this article (via Noah Wardrip-Fruin) about the new game by Quantic Dream, Heavy Rain.

Heavy Rain made a good first impression awhile back, with the impressive “audition tape” video, but today we know it doesn’t bring anything really innovative to the gaming experience.1

At least in the article the author makes this difference clear:

Façade tried to solve this problem by replacing the parrot [(that is, a system based on a database, as opposed to an artificial intelligence solution)] with something more like a brain-damaged human; Heavy Rain, by comparison, is probably the best-trained parrot in history

He even quotes Michael Mateas, one of Façade creators:

It’s not a problem that can be solved by budget (…) With Façade, there’s lot of ways we failed, it’s a hard problem. But at least we tried to take it on for real, instead of trying to find some trick around it. We hoped people would move on from that, and they haven’t.

If they are so different, then why make the association in the first place?

[Posted on 2010/02/24. Edited in 2013/12/11 and 2015/11/19.]2

  1. As suggested by the hypemedia.
  2. Notes from 2015/11/19 edit: originally published in the category “research blog”, now moved to “blog” due to the more informal and personal nature of this post.

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