Creative Mood Swings

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Sorry I have not written in a while or posted anything.  The truth is I am having one of my creative mood swings, which is something I have been having for a couple of decades now.

For most of June and July, I was in creative mode working on the graphics update (see last post) and a thread for “Rachel and Ariane”.  As per usual, I started losing interest in creating and now I have swung into gaming mode, where all I want to do is enjoy other people’s games.  At some point in the future, I will get tired of playing and want more creative control, and will suddenly want to create again. It WILL happen eventually.

So to answer everyone’s question, I have no idea when the next game will be out, or when the android versions with the new graphics will be out.

The Android Copyright Problem

The biggest complaint is that people can’t download the android version directly to their android devices.  The reason is that Google has a strict copyright on APK files.  My file server that I rent from GoDaddy protects Google’s copyright. If it detects an apk file being downloaded by an Android device, it kills the download, hence the reason you can’t download the game directly.  I tried using a Google file server, but they stopped it in other ways.

So the only way to get the APK file for Android is to download it to a non-android device like a Windows computer or a mac, or a Chromebook, and then move it to the android device via USB cable or microSD card.  Sorry this is difficult.

The INTP Personality

I have an INTP personality. This is our greatest strength: We are good at stuff and know stuff. We find something that interests us, and we study the hell out of it until we become experts. We find a skill that we enjoy doing, and we master that skill.

This is our greatest weakness: When outside forces develop expectations for these interests and skills, our desire to improve to meet expectations goes right out the window.

I mention this, because I am having an INTP style dilemma.

To make a really successful indie gaming enterprise, I need to set up a Patreon, and find ways to release these games on Google Play Store and/or Steam, and I need to get them properly translated, because for some reason I have huge followings in Germany and Brazil. To do it properly turns it into a part time job.

The more I think about doing all this work, the less interest I have in finishing the actual games. It becomes a distraction that hinders my interest in even making the games.

So content creation comes first.  No Patreon, no Play Store, it’s too much work I am not interested in doing.

My number one motivation is to make these games for myself. It’s my hobby, my way to relax, my way to express myself.  I enjoy playing them as much as I enjoy making them.

I could either share them the way I have been: posting them on a file server and letting people download them with no support and no promise that they will work on your devices, or I could not share and just enjoy them myself.

So I choose the easiest route that benefits the most people and keep doing what I have been doing.

Anyways, to prove I’m still working on stuff, here’s some art you haven’t seen yet.:

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Date Ariane Graphics Update

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I am releasing a graphics update for some versions of Date Ariane. Currently this is for the English and German PC, Mac, and Linux versions.  Portuguese and French PC/Mac versions are now updated as well.  Let me explain this update Q&A style:

What has been updated?

About 95% of the pictures have been updated, over 1100.

I don’t see much difference, what has changed?

Lets start with Ariane. I am using an improved V4 model that corrects the shoulders and makes them look more natural and realistic.  You can pretty much tell the difference between the old and the new by simply looking at the shoulders. Also a minor clothing change, Ariane’s underwear is dark grey instead of tie-dyed pink. I also give Ariane some fun expressions that she uses in certain circumstances.

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Lighting has changed, there are a lot fewer hard shadows. Also reflections on glass and surfaces is more realistic. Since most of Date Ariane takes place at night, windows should reflect the interior light. Different locations use different lighting and rendering. Backyard is partially rendered in “superfly”, bedroom uses IBL lighting.

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I also created a more realistic look for Rebecca. Still “petite”, but she no longer looks like she is starving.  Also she has got a “bush”, since at least one of my characters should have one.

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Ariane’s SUV is the one I used in the Rachel and Ariane pictures. She no longer is driving the cartoon car I have been using since 2004. Her car actually looks realistic. The convenience store actually sells food now.

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With all of these moves toward realism, how come the pictures still don’t look real?

Because realism is not the ultimate goal, beauty is.

Why only 95% of the pictures, why not 100%?

I am actually working on a 2.0 version of the game with pictures that are more than double the resolution. In order to save memory, I am rewriting the code to reduce the number of images the game needs, mostly eliminating the “ending” scenes you want to try and avoid anyways. I mostly finished the images for this HD version, and decided to reduce them down to the non-HD size and update the graphics, but the current 1.0 still needs the pictures I have eliminated in 2.0, so in those cases the old pictures are still there.

Don’t be surprised if you occasionally see the old Rebecca, or the old shoulders, or the old underwear. I’m pretty sure I eliminated the old car pics, but I might have missed one or two.

If you are working on new code, why not incorporate it into the game?

Because complex changes to the game will mess up the translated versions. When 2.0 is finally done it is likely the translations wont work on it. I am trying to figure out a way to fix this, but it is going to take some time. 2.0 is no where close to ready anyways.

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Besides graphics changes, are there any other changes to the game?

I eliminated a bug in the English and German versions that under the right circumstances would allow Ariane to drive downtown naked, but there is no code or pictures to support it so it crashed the game.  I also eliminated the trailer for “Something’s In The Air” on the translated versions.

By the way, thanks to translator Thorston Frei, the English and German versions are the same game, the only difference being the window title, the default language settings, and the help page. In both versions, you can go into settings and switch between English and German. Note that some lines in the German version will appear untranslated. Only about 97% of the lines have translation, and the ones that don’t will appear in English.

I eventually want the French and Portuguese versions to work this way, but for now their code is unchanged.

Why are there no graphics updates for the android versions?

There will be eventually. Despite my efforts to control jpg compression, the new versions are now bigger in size than before. The android version was already pushing the limits of max size for an app, so I need to do some further size reduction before I can make new android versions.  The 2.0 HD version will never work on android, but I want the updated pictures to be available in app form at some point.

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Futurama: The Best TV Show Ever!

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I have decided that Futurama is the greatest TV show ever.

But what about “The Wire” that constantly wins critic lists? What about “Game of Thrones” which dominates interest online? What about “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” which started the current Golden Age Of Television we are still enjoying? What about “M*A*S*H” the highest rated non-sports show ever? Or “The Simpsons” soon to enter its 30th season?

All good shows, but I submit Futurama is better. What is it about this show that was cancelled and brought back twice (something I am pretty sure has never happened before) only to be cancelled again that makes it the best show ever?

Because it is the most rewatchable show ever made.

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Thousands of people watch at least one of the 124 episodes and 4 TV movies every day usually just before bed as a way to relax and unwind and often fall asleep to. Why do I know this? Because I am one of them. We even have a Reddit board with over 5000 members of people who fall asleep watching Futurama. Most of the board posts are “I can’t believe there is a board dedicated to something I have been doing for years”, meaning there are tens of thousands of other “Futurama sleepers” who don’t know about the board.

There is just something familiar and comfortable about the show which pokes fun at science fiction, and science in general. If you can get past the ridiculous premise, a pizza delivery boy is accidentally frozen for a thousand years waking up in the year 3000, then there is no way you won’t enjoy the show.  Because the show is set a thousand years in the future, it mostly avoids present day cultural references, giving it a mostly timeless appeal.

Matt Groening was asked about “Futurama Sleepers” and had this to say:

“Yes, I do know about Futurama Sleepers, and the fact that there’s a subreddit devoted to it is proof this is indeed a strange and wonderful world. The truth is I once fell asleep during the show, but it was during a late-night Futurama writing session, and the couch was so damn comfy….So whaddaya say we grab a six-pack and watch the end of the universe? Your pal, Matt”

Bad news everyone!

I bring this up because a fairly large portion of Futurama watchers get the show on Netflix, and at least the first 5 seasons will be removed from Netflix on July 1st. This has made some worry that they may never be able to fall asleep again.

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A lot of hatred is being aimed at Netflix, which streams the show, and Fox which owns the show and is the one pulling the show from Netflix. There is some speculation that because Fox partly owns Hulu that the seasons will move to Hulu, but that has not been confirmed.

The biggest question for most fans is “How can I continue to watch the show?”, which has led to discussions of legal and illegal ways of getting personal copies of the show, and had led further to discussing the status of streaming TV in general and how there are now too many “exclusive” shows on too many streaming services.

Personally, I’ve set myself up already. I own all the DVDs often purchased the day they were released, and have ripped them all to 10 GB of MP4 files on a network drive that every device I own can access. It also fits on a 16GB micro SD card that I can take anywhere.  Unfortunately, not as many fans are as technically sophisticated as I am.

I have seen every episode dozens of times. I sometimes rewatch other shows, but not nearly as often. Even the weak episodes still have their humorous moments. It’s just a damn good show I can’t stop watching… just before bedtime.

Good News Everyone!

On June 20th, most of the original voice cast did a live table read of the episode “Proposition Infinity” to promote a new Futurama video game.  Here is a link to the video:

and here is a link to the game that will be coming out June 29th: https://www.youwillplayfuturama.com/

Dating Pretenders on iPhone

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Many people have been asking me about releasing Date Ariane on the Apple App store for use on iphones and ipads. I have not done so because the Apple App store forbids erotic games like Date Ariane in their store.

And yet where there is a demand, there will be someone to fill it. Two different “Dating Sim” apps have been put into the app store using artwork from Date Ariane.

I know what some of you are thinking: “How can they use art from your game in their game?”, and the answer is I let them by offering the 10th Anniversary Edition HTML version under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license.

Basically, art under the license is free to use in other projects as long as you disclose the source and disclose that it was used under the CC by 3.0 license. Both Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air use creative commons music and sound effects extensively, and per the license the sources and links to the license are documented in both the credits screens and the help files of both games.  I released the HTML versions of Date Ariane under the license as a way to “pay it forward”. Unfortunately, most of the people that are using my art are not crediting me, which makes me sad.

If people used my art in cool ways (see the “Related Content” links on this page), it probably wouldn’t bother me much that they left out the required attribution, but as a friend of mine pointed out: Creative commons doesn’t really have a provision for “only if you make good shit with it.”

Anyways, because I myself am an iPhone user, I figured I would download some of these pretenders and piss all over them give them honest reviews.

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Dating Kylie Lopez

I’m giving this app one star, and it only earned that star by being free. This came to my attention because a popular You Tube video series called “Reviewing Bad Apps” featured it in volume 4 at approximately the 11:45 mark. A reader of my blog and a good friend both posted me messages about it, so I had to download it.

While the images, text, and choices all look very familiar, as far as I can tell this app is a cheap joke app. (What do you expect for free?) As you can see, I managed to get “Kylie” into a swimsuit, went swimming, and ate a barbecue steak dinner. A couple of moves later the date was over for no explicable reason.

I think that is the whole joke, no matter what you do the date will end abruptly at some random number of moves into the date.

The app is only 41MB big with no extra downloads, a complete implementation of Date Ariane would be at least 150MB, so a lot of corners were cut. Steak dinner is pretty much the only one available, if you get that far. I suspect the dancing at the club promo image displayed above is an impossible goal. I’m also pretty sure nudity is non-existent.

If you try this app out, post screenshots of how far you got.

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Dating Simulator

This one is a near complete implementation, or more accurately impersonation, of “Date Ariane for iTunes”, and would totally be worth the $2.99 price if it weren’t for all the damn major bugs.

The game is only a 39mb download in the app store, but upon opening the game it downloads another 100mb or so of additional images from a 3rd party server to avoid the wrath of Apple. Make sure your iPhone/iPad has room.

Yes, the game includes at least some brief topless scenes of “Emelie” which is what the game calls her, though I have never managed to see much. I got her to flash her boobs playing basketball and at the dress shop when I handed her two skirts, but even after a flawless strip club show, she exited the stage prior to taking off her top. At least she won:

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From what I can tell, they set the variable that allows nudity to “never”. So far all the nudity I saw in the game including the completely nude “tennis instructor” routine is nudity that shows up when Ariane Emelie is not interested in being naked. This actually breaks the game in many places, like the photo shoot at the scenic vista does not know how to handle the situation with the variable set like that and the app crashes just when things were getting good.

But they also made other game breaking changes.  The most annoying involves the dinners. All dinners in this game end when you drink wine, so if you want to talk or compliment, you need to do that before you drink. “Going out for dinner” seems to default to the “Drive-N-Dine” which doesn’t have a “drink wine” option, so if you go out for dinner, you end up in a loop until  “Emelie” gets tired of your company.  This is a bug that existed for a short while in the Renpy version, until I fixed it. I’d like to see the makers of Dating Simulator fix theirs because it breaks an important part of the game.

Another bug: Occasionally for no reason after eating a steak dinner, we get the pizza sauce ending.

Those are the biggest I found so far, the most annoying part of the app is that there is no save game feature. As is, I’m giving the app 2 stars. Fix the major bugs and I’ll make it 3 stars, add a save game feature and I’ll make it 4, give me credit for the art and get rid of the Facebook spam and I’ll make it 5.

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Dating Ariane.com

If you must play Date Ariane on an iPhone, how about the original HTML version? Someone (not me) is hosting it at datingariane.com, and it is pretty much a complete port of the 10th Anniversary edition to a website.  I had to take mine down a couple of years ago due to devastating web traffic, but this one seems to be on a more stable server.

So faithful of a port, that they left my cheating secrets in, which I never shared until now.

  1. Start the game at datingariane.com/default2.htm, this sets up “debug mode” that shows stats of the game on the right side.
  2. There is a secret dot on the lower left corner. If you hover over this dot with a mouse, it will show you the current game stats which refresh whenever the page number changes (see the first stat in debug mode). This has been replicated in the Renpy version by turning hints on in options.
  3. At the beginning of the game shown above, hover over the secret dot, then enter the Konami code on your keyboard (B A), and that will enable cheat mode, making Ariane pretty much agreeable to anything. (The Konami code works in the Renpy version, too but it makes it impossible to collect achievements when used.)
  4. On the first page of the default2.htm version, there are 7 pairs of “head start” dots, the first 5 skip over the dinners, the last two were scenarios I made for testing purposes, though I don’t know what I was testing in this version. Anyways, the real fun stuff in the game happens after dinner, so use the secret links to skip over the intro and dinner.

And that is what I found, so far. I searched Google Play store looking for imitators as well but since the game is available in android there don’t seem to be any, which is good.

Just remember: the Renpy version is copyright, meaning the art is NOT free to use in projects, and I hate filling out DMCA requests. Yes there is some art that crosses over, though that will change soon as I am making new versions of all the pictures, (see my last blog post).

Upcoming Game Projects!

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Sorry I haven’t posted much this past month, I figured it was enough to move my site to a new page, then I spent the rest of April very busy in real life.

Everyone keeps asking when the next game is coming out, and the truth is I don’t know. Here are a list of projects I am hopefully going to finish some day.

Project 1: Rachel Meets Ariane The Game

The story of Rachel Meets Ariane has already been written and shared here, however the game will add some variations and display it in a high definition presentation that is a little more aesthetically pleasing. It is “mostly done” except I am working on variations of choices in part 4 that result in variations of endings. Biggest obstacle right now is that I have yet to finish writing the alternate endings, then I still need to illustrate them.

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Project 2: Date Ariane HD

Basically this involves re-rendering all the images in Date Ariane to size 1500×900 and also correcting lighting and other aesthetic issues along with very low compression. The result should be the best looking version of the game ever, but probably twice as big for download purposes. This will be for PC, Mac, and Linux only as it will be too big for android devices. Status: I’m about half way done.

I was sent a new German translation that works with the latest English version, I will probably release this very soon for German speakers. It also has a feature to switch between German and English. I guess this means Pandorya will have to do a bunch more videos. I hope to move the German translation to Date Ariane HD as well when it’s ready.  Status: I just need to get around to it.

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Project 3: Unnamed Ariane Reunion Project

Inspired by Chaotic‘s choice to allow players to pick their gender, I thought I’d create a 4th Ariane game where players can choose to play as the male player character from Date Ariane and SITA, back from a lengthy business trip and anxious to reunite with Ariane, or play as Rachel, back from a lengthy business trip and anxious to reunite with Ariane.  So far, all I got is a concept that might involve some sort of adventure with the gaming guild that both Rachel and the Player are involved with.

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Project 4: SITA HD

Like Date Ariane HD, this involves re-rendering about a thousand pictures in 1080 resolution so it looks a lot better, but also in the Rachel Meets Ariane game I am introducing a new choice system that eliminates the need for picking “prequel” choices, and I want to implement this into Something’s In The Air as well.

The Internet Is Becoming A Very Scary Place!

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In the past year, the Internet has changed. It is not as friendly as it once was. It has become a battleground that is threatening all of its users, and the companies that do business here. Worse, many rules we used to live by to protect ourselves, no longer apply.

There is a lot to write about here, and plenty of topics to cover, the links in the last paragraph all lead to really good articles about NEW issues and challenges facing the Internet today, and I recommend reading them.

But I am not covering those topics in this post. Instead, I decided to start with the one that is on everybody’s minds thanks to an amazing piece of stupid legislation here in the US: PRIVACY!

ISPs and FCC Chair Ajit Pai celebrate death of online privacy rules

There is absolutely no reason to give Internet Service Providers (ISP) like AT&T and Comcast the right to sell users browsing history. First of all, They are a self enforced monopolies that charge way too much for access already and don’t deserve other revenue streams.  Second, the selling of your browsing habits is already a major industry worth billions of dollars a year.  It is basically the primary revenue stream of both Google and Facebook, as they use user searching and liking data to sell targeted advertising.  Third, they still cannot sell browsing history of individuals, or history that can be tied to an individual, so all they can really sell is bulk group data which is useless, see reason 2.

I’m pretty sick of it, and I hope you are, too, because I am going to present some ways to stick it to the data brokers, especially the ISPs as they are the ones that bought and paid for the Republican Congress to pass the legislation.

Keep in mind that sniffer software, spyware which looks at the streams of data that is coming from your computer, is becoming more common as a hacking tool, sticking it to the ISP’s is also sticking it to spyware. So even if you think you have nothing to worry about with your ISP, it doesn’t hurt to protect yourself from others listening in looking for passwords and answers to security questions.

1. Use HTTPS Everywhere Cost: free, effectiveness in privacy protection: high, technical know how to implement: easy.

How it works: Your ISP doesn’t have ANYTHING that you do on a secure HTTPS web page. They only know which websites you visit, but not what you do on them. Once you have connected to an HTTPS server, your connection is encrypted, and only you and the website will know what you are doing.

This is why more and more websites are converting to https, this is why arianeb.com is now https.

Note: Some unprotected websites will not work with this browser plug in. These are probably the websites you want to avoid, but if you must, you can always temporarily disable it.

2. Use a 3rd party DNS server Cost: free, effectiveness in privacy protection: some, technical know how to implement: medium to high.

Domain Name Servers or DNS are computer servers that translate yahoo.com into “98.138.253.109” which is the actual internet address of yahoo.com. 97% of the users use DNS servers controlled by their ISP.  This is how ISP’s know which websites you are visiting, so by using a 3rd party DNS, you are making it a lot harder for them to get that information. This however does not stop spyware from knowing where you are going.

Using a 3rd party DNS server requires some technical know how of getting in your router and changing some settings. Yes, it is doable even on routers provided by ISP’s, but it may require some digging into the settings. Chances are the ISP support staff will not be helpful. (I highly recommend learning the best way to factory reset your router first, in case you screw up badly.)

Those two combined are pretty effective, but for real browser privacy:

3. Use a VPN service! Cost: free to reasonable priced for individuals, effectiveness in privacy protection: very high, technical know how to implement: easy to medium.

Virtual Private Networks are like mini internet services. Practically every business with more than 2 computers probably have their own VPN, and if you work from home you probably connect to work via VPN. VPN for personal computers, phones, and tablets are practically non existent as there has been very little reason to use them. But with the need for privacy solutions increasing, VPN may be the answer.

VPN + HTTPS = near complete encryption the entire length of your internet connection. Even the CIA can’t get past good encryption.  That is part of the reason China has made VPN’s illegal.

The biggest source of protection VPN’s offer is hiding your IP address. Websites like this one  can track your location sometimes within a few feet if you have an unprotected IP address. The truth is EVERY website can track your location the same way.

With a VPN service, you share an IP address with everyone else on the VPN so you are impossible to track, and the location data will be that of the VPN server which can be located in a different state, different country, or on the other side of the planet. There are hundreds of VPNs to choose from, though if that list is intimidating, here is a list of the more popular ones reviewed by PC Mag.

This of course will mess with many websites that rely on location data. I now use a VPN and can locate my IP address in any of over 30 countries. Switching my VPN to Mexico and going to Google gives me Spanish language Google based out of Colombia. Switching to Canada lets me watch Space TV, where many of my favorite sci-fi shows air before they get to America. If VPN’s become commonplace, it could ruin the business models of most of the major internet sites, which makes me fearful that other countries could follow China’s lead.

I recommend staying away from FREE VPN servers as they tend to slow your internet service and limit your bandwidth. If you are serious about privacy and security spend a little money. Some offer additional bonuses like server based ad blocking that cannot be detected by websites. They cannot block site based ads, but they kill the notoriously bad ones.

4. Use STARTPAGE as your search engine. Cost: free, effectiveness in privacy protection: keeps your search history out of the hands of Google while simultaneously using Google, technical know how to implement: easy if you use Firefox, more difficult if you use Chrome (which insists on real Google) or Edge (which insists on Bing)

Ixquick is a search engine company based out of Netherlands. Their search engine gives the same results as Google because they use Google to provide the results (yes Google is aware of this and there are contracts involved), BUT they cut off your searches from actually reaching Google where they can track you and push targeted ads at you. It’s a very nice loophole, it is sort of the search engine equivalent of a VPN.

5. If you need Facebook on your phone, use mbasic.facebook.com in the browser. Cost: free, effectiveness in privacy protection: its still Facebook, but its not always running in the background watching your every move, technical know how to implement: fairly easy but unfortunately not as easy as just using the app.

Facebook may know you better than you know yourself. It’s pretty much their business model.  Want to find out what Facebook has on you? Log into Facebook and click here to find out.

The majority of the people use the Facebook app on their phone to get on Facebook. It is probably the biggest piece of spyware known to exist, and definitely the most distributed. If you want real privacy, don’t even use it. A bare bones interface to Facebook can be found at mbasic.facebook.com. It is designed for older phones that can’t handle the latest html standards, or lack memory for cookies, etc.

Another important privacy tip if you are using Facebook: NEVER “COPY AND PASTE”, ALWAYS SHARE! More and more viral posts ask you to “copy and paste” into your status instead of share because it supposedly makes you harder to track, but guess what, it is the opposite! Data brokers can search for key words and find who copied and pasted a post, thus making it easier to categorize people and sort them for advertisers. Sharing is much safer and shared posts can be deleted if they turn out to be false.

Of course if you REALLY are serious about privacy, stay the hell off Facebook.

6. Close your Yahoo! account. No Really! Their security record is abysmal. They have been hacked 3 times in the last 4 years and waited months to report it to users, leaving their accounts vulnerable. Here’s how!

Since Congress passed the anti-privacy bill, I have done most of these. It hasn’t slowed my internet down and I haven’t been blocked from doing what I want online.

The Power of Privacy

This is the new ARIANEB.COM

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That’s right, we moved! My wordpress blog is now my main site. A few months ago I added a lot of the main content from the old site to this site, accessible by the menus at the top.

Want info on Date Ariane? click the button at the top. Links to download are there, as well as the international versions, and my other games.

You can leave comments on any of the pages, something you couldn’t do before, and this site is more secure than my old site. Also as a WordPress site, there is a mobile version of this site now.

The old site is still available for now at http://virtualunderworld.net/arianeb/. Once I move everything over here, I will probably drop that site (this one is cheaper).

I’m sure there are plenty of broken links to fix. Tell me what you think.