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Face Factory

Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Abacus
Developer: Gedon Software
Media: CD-ROM/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Face Factory is a third-party add-on for The Sims that allows you to take photographs of people and turn them into faces for use in the game. Since this isn't a game, but just a tool used to create content for a game, it doesn't have the usual graphics and sound issues to deal with. It does offer a user interface that you must master in order to create faces usable in The Sims, though, and it renders the face on one of the bodies the program provides.

In terms of the user interface's graphics, overall the game's various screens are attractive if not a bit garish. There is no sound to speak of, and there really is no need for any.


Face production, or more accurately, head production, is completed using a wizard style interface. The program allows you to import photographs in a number of formats, including BMP, JPG, and PNG. You must import both a frontal head shot, as well as a side shot, and then manipulate them using the included tools. Steps include cropping the photograph so only the head and neck are visible, tilting the head, performing touch up work, removing the background, and setting face part hints. Hints allow the program to know where the eyes, nose, mouth, chin, and ears appear on the head.

Once all of the steps have been performed, then you can choose a body for your head, and finally, view your completed masterpiece. The program allows you to rotate the completed person, zoom in and out, as well as animate them to see how they will move. Once you are happy with your new Sim, you can export it into the game, and when creating a family and selecting a face in the game, you can choose your new creation.


In practice, the tools are a bit too confining. For instance, blocking out the background is a painstaking process better left to more sophisticated tools like those provided by Microsoft Picture It!. Zooming in and out, as well as scrolling, is cumbersome, and although it is possible to complete the process, it is slow and frustrating. Fortunately you can manipulate your photographs in other programs and then import them into Face Factory.

The worst part of the program, though, is that it just doesn't seem to work very well. Most of my attempts to convert photographs of my wife and daughter into faces suitable for The Sims resulted in mutated, disfigured faces, sometimes with huge white spots on the back of their heads! Although this resulted in much laughter, it did not allow my family to appear in the game. It is pretty clear from reading the manual that excellent photographs are needed, with well lit faces.

Game Mechanics:

Some aspects of the user interface are fairly well done, such as the help provided on every screen of the wizard. At least one screen doesn't really tell you why it's present, though, and its use is unknown. But even giving its shortcomings, overall the tools provided will work well enough for most people.

Face Factory is a well constructed tool, which provides an adequate interface, and holds your hand at every turn. Like most tools of this sort, you cannot take a mediocre photograph and create a face you will be proud of. However, with patience and hard work, you can convert your family members and friends into Sims. This can provide the potential for extending the game considerably, and as long as you are willing to invest the time, that makes the program worthwhile.

-Gordy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Gary Lucero

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 9X, ME, 2000, XP; Pentium MMX 233MHz; 32MB RAM; Graphics Card capable of 800x600, 16-bit; 200MB HD; DirectX 7

Test System:

Windows XP Home; Pentium 4 2.0 GHz; 256MB RAM; nVidia Geforce 4 TI-4200; 80GB HD; DirectX 8.1

Windows ET Phone Home Adventure Windows Freedom Force

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated