Facade + Half-Life 2 Alyx = awesome

Actually the above title should read:

Facades Natural Language interface + the fact Gordon Freeman doesn’t speak + the context from a given HL2 scene forming the conversation repository possible at that time = a seemingly true relationship to characters like Alyx.

The idea is this. Facade provides a natural language interface to communicate to the characters Trip and Grace. The input text is parsed and matched to an interactive script which is then played out. The main thing about facade is the simulation and display of emotions. If the player types something completely nonsensical, the characters react “weirded out” and display this reaction pretty well through the facial expression system (similar to FACS used in halflife 2) and simple body language.

The expression of emotion put Facade way above any other chatbot so far, because the displayed emotions “manipulate” the user to care about the effect of what he says. If Trip and Grace act weirded out by a random response, this is way stronger than a simple “I do not understand” or change of topic by a chatbot – because the player is made to feel stupid (and it does really work as long you have SOME will to suspend disbelief -for all you griefers out there…)

How awesome would it be to at any time, say anything to the characters and they would respond emotionally.¬†For battle situations the responses don’t even need to be that related to what the player said. As long as the emotional reaction is portrayed.

Thus I am daring Valve and Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern to work on the next Half-Life together to finally give Gordon Freeman a voice – your voice – and bring true interactive drama the likes of which we saw in Facade to FPS games.