The Deal with “Rachel Meets Ariane”

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Bottom line is this: I will not be releasing Rachel Meets Ariane The Game anytime soon, possibly never.  The good news is that the online story will be more complete, and a part 5 is coming, maybe a part 6.

The Rachel Meets Ariane game has always been nothing more than the Rachel Meets Ariane story I have been publishing in serial form for the last couple of years, but complete and with some minor added choices along the way.  The “game” version was just the same story but presented in a different format that emphasizes the pictures.

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I was planning on putting it into game form because online you cannot view the full size art work properly. While the last two games had over 1000 images each, this one has less than 200. No sound or music and no animations, just an illustrated story.

People seem to be under the impression that this game was going to be all new. It was always going to be a rehash of older material, and I don’t want to mislead anyone.  Also, putting out another “game” is a lot of work, and there will likely be demands for different versions for different devices and different languages. Keeping the material “online” makes everything a lot simpler.

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I came to this decision this week while trying to finish the game. The whole project has been experimental, and I am not sure the experiment worked. I have very limited experience writing stories of any sort, and I wanted to challenge myself in writing a longer narrative.

I was trying to finish “Part 4” which my idea was to have choices leading to 3 possible endings. I was writing a draft of the third ending — an ending that is supposed to conclude Rachel’s arc — and it was not working at all.  I was trying to squeeze too much detail into too short of a timeline.

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After thinking long and hard about the narrative problem, I decided that the story works better in serial rather than in parallel. So path 1 will be the only path, and path 2 will be rewritten to be tacked on to the end, and the incomplete path 3 will either end the story, or take it in a new direction.

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So, I just published the official canon “Part 4: Rachel and Ariane go to the Top Club” that is shorter and less complicated than the draft I released prematurely last winter and ends on a nice little cliff hangar.

I also updated parts 1 and 2, correcting grammar and spelling errors. Part 1 was written in the past tense before, I corrected it.

I will repost the multiple ending material I released before for part 3 as soon as I am able to convert the original HTML pages to WordPress format so you can once again see all 10 possible photos Rachel took of Ariane in the fall.

I’ll bounce the soon to be released Part 5 which takes place over Christmas and New Years off the end.

Sorry to disappoint about the game. Ultimately, This plan will work out better.

A Few Updates to Date Ariane

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OK, first the big news, the graphics update I did back in July, is now available on Android on all versions. Use this page to download or click on the links for the versions in other languages.

Remember that due to copyright issues I explained in my last post, it takes a little work to install the android version.  You must download the apk file to a PC or Mac computer first then move the apk to your android phone or tablet, then install it.

There are at least 3 methods I know of to do this, though there may be more.  The easiest is to 1.) connect your android device to your PC using the USB charging cable that came with the phone or tablet. 2.) touch the top of your screen and swipe down to see notifications. 3.) There should be a notification saying your phone is charging via USB, tap on that notification and select file transfer. 4.) On your PC, there should be a new “drive” which is your android phone in file explorer. 5.) Go to your downloads folder on your PC, find the apk file you downloaded and move it to the phone “drive”. 6.) Use the app called “File Manager” or “My Files” and find the apk file on your phone, tap it to install!

The other two methods involve either a memory card that both your PC and phone can read, or a network drive that both your PC and phone can read.

Two possible issues if it does not install: 1.) Go to “settings” then “security” then “unknown sources” and allow installation of apps from unknown sources. 2.) If it looks like it is installing but doesn’t finish saying there is an issue with the digital signature, you might have to uninstall any old versions first, this will erase your achievements and saved games, so avoid it if you can.

Once it has been installed and working, you can remove the apk file to free up space.

Second big news, not only is the graphics update been done on the Spanish PC and Mac versions, but there is now an android version in Spanish. See the instructions above to install.

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Non-Android updates

I accidentally created a bug in the German, French and Portuguese versions when I removed the SITA preview, namely the history of Ariane crashed the game. This has been fixed, also the French and Portuguese versions the image used on the outside of Ariane’s house (see the image above) has been fixed.

There are no changes to the English version for PC, Mac, or Linux since the graphics update in July.  There will be new versions of these soon.

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.