After more than six years of work, Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern have released their long-awaited one-act interactive drama Façade for free download. The system features a 3D environment and voice-acted, AI-driven characters, and has been a testbed for research in and development of natural language processing, drama management, and control of character behaviors. Research that went into the system has been documented in more than a dozen academic publications by Michael and Andrew, as well as in Michael’s Carnegie Mellon University Ph.D. dissertation. A pre-release version of Façade made the finals in the 2004 Independent Games Festival, and one was also exhibited at ISEA 2004. The New York Times has called the system “the future of video games.”
More information and discussion about the release can be found at Grand Text Auto. Mateas and Stern’s press release about the system has more information. The initial version runs on Windows computers with processors of at least 1.6 GHz, and is available on CDs (sold at cost) or via BitTorrent download.