Finishing Up One And Starting The Next
One last thing I wanted to do with Date Ariane was create some official walkthroughs. There are a couple of unofficial ones out there designed for Classic Date Ariane, but I decided with the changes I made they are going to be out of date. So I started posting walkthroughs at arianeb.tumblr.com, coming up with 24 that will pass through all 53 points of interest in the game.
I then created a page you can go to on my website: https://arianeb.com/walkthrough.htm containing links to the 24 walkthroughs as well as an alphabetical index of the 53 points of interest and where to find them.
One of the reasons I did these walkthroughs, besides the constant questions I get of “how do you do this?”, was to make sure every aspect of the game works correctly. I did find a handful of bugs, nothing major, but the walkthroughs will work best if you download the game again or use the online version.
Experiments for the next game
Another thing I did since finishing the game update was try out Tlaero’s Adventure Creator which is a tool designed to quickly and easily create the hundreds of html files needed for a dating sim type game like Date Ariane. I wish I had this tool before, because it would save me a lot of time and effort. Version 5, just released, creates pages which will highlight hidden picture links so you can play these games on tablets. Again, something I wish I had earlier.
That’s the problem with being a pioneer in the field, you don’t have access to all the cool tools that are developed later.
I tried out the program, first by doing some of the tutorials, and then by trying to create an HTML version of the Rachel portion of Something’s In The Air. I think the experiment was a success in that I learned that converting a Renpy developed project into HTML simply involves a lot of copying and pasting between a Renpy editor and the Adventure Creator. Graphic Puzzles are not so easy to convert as the scripting is in two different languages, but because the Rachel portion of SITA does not involve any puzzles like that it shouldn’t be difficult to convert it to online.
Why would I want to convert it to online? Popularity. It took a little over a year for SITA to reach 100,000 downloads. In the past year the online version of Date Ariane has been played by around 1 million unique visitors. Download reaches about 10% of what online does, a figure more or less confirmed when comparing online virtual worlds with ones you have to download a client first. Habbo, an online virtual world in 2D, gets 10 times the traffic of Second Life, which is in 3D and requires a client download.
I only finished about 10% of the conversion so far. I’m mostly doing it as proof of concept.
That concept being that Renpy is easy to develop games in because everything is laid out in a nice script, but once developed I can fairly easily convert it to HTML using Adventure Creator for online play. The download version would be the Renpy game which you could play without having to do stuff that breaks your browser’s security as it would be a stand alone game.
The next game?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what my next game would be like. I’m still thinking, actually.
The first concept I thought about and was actually planning to do (hence all my references to a Rachel game being next) is Rachel’s Fantasy Dating. The game would be played from Rachel’s point of view as she goes out with different people.
In SITA, I established she has a fetish for fantasy, so she goes on what seem like ordinary dates, but then she starts to imagine a fantasy scenario to make the date more interesting. Because you are seeing the date from Rachel’s perspective, the costumes and settings would suddenly change to fit the fantasy. The challenge would be to get your dates to play along instead of sit there very confused.
The first trouble with the concept had to do with this being a date simulator of Calvin and Hobbes. The scenarios would be difficult to write as I spent months and could only come up with two: a lake boating trip turns into a pirate adventure, and a particularly awkward date suddenly becomes an alien in Rachel’s eyes.
The latter made me realize this would work better as a web comic than a visual novel. Thinking also about the cost of new 3D sets and costumes for each date also made me realize this would work better as a hand drawn 2D web comic. So I am no longer going to do that project, back to square 1.
My next concept I imagined was an Ariane part 3, that starts where SITA ends: You and Ariane are on a trip together on a tropical paradise. I like the idea of taking Ariane somewhere exotic where nudity is not a big deal, and a new location might get Ariane to be more sexually adventurous.
Trouble with the idea came when I tried to come up with a conflict. Without conflict, the game would just be a bunch of tropical vacation slides. The only thing I could think of is Ariane’s fear of relationships has her undermining the relationship throughout the trip, your job would be to try to get her to stop and prove you are the one for her.
It is a good idea for drama’s sake, possibly involving probing Ariane’s psyche to get to the root of her fear of relationships. That’s a pretty dark concept and I learned my lesson in SITA not to mix Ariane and dark concepts. Bottom line I would not have fun making a game like that, nor do I think many would like playing a game like that. Maybe once for the sake of the story, but there is no replay value. Moving on…
My third concept is “Date (someone else)”. Create a new character and create new activities.
The biggest problem here is “What activities?” because there is very little I have not already done in either DA or SITA, so I would just be repeating myself a lot.
But I think I may have found a solution to this one: What if I set “Date (someone else)” in a future where the world is a different place? I could throw in a bunch of sci-fi concepts I have brewing around in my head as well as pick and choose concepts from many of my favorite sci-fi books and shows. Borrowing from the “Rachel Fantasy” concept, I want to make the game 3rd person as you play from the heroine’s perspective, and borrowing from the “Ariane 3” idea, I could make nudity and sexual openness part of the culture as well. I could also make up a bunch of new activities that are not possible today thus mostly avoiding the self repeats.
Here’s my first concept render for a main character and special tech clothes:
It’s a start, one that I am considering as I try to come up with enough ideas and stories and puzzles to make a game out of it. I’m not even sure if it will be an actual dating sim or more of a classic adventure type game, guess I’ll see how it plays out.
I’m actually interested in a part 3 of Ariane story. Yes it will we be less fun than the others, but it will add a “real” touch to the universe, make it more or less a believable human story.
What if you don’t set the story in a specific timeline, but in several different eras, allowing you to experiment and create several different situations, without any limits except for those in your own imagination?
what if Ariane travelled in time? and not only going through the motions in date/fliting but also experiencing the new world herself. I play 3D chat games. so ya. same old song all new instruments
rather than rachel go on real dates, have the new game be ‘rachel’s virtual adventures’, where you are rachel [or a player stalking rachel online] in various online virtual game worlds.
this way, every day rachel picks a different virtual world to be in [then you can be pirate, or space, future or past] and the player either plays as rachel being stalked by a real world love interest she knows [a stranger would just be creepy] or the player is stalking rachel in an attempt to meet her for a real life one night stand and proves himself by accomplishing tasks in the virtual world that impress rachel or distinguish him from the others to get and hold her attention.
a cheap, mechanical framework with a lot of creative potential within.
[a bit like watching tv with someone over the phone – pick a channel, discuss, if some critical event happens to motivate escalation, advance to face-to-face interaction.
I’ll have to think about that one.
Still very undecided.
Would like a third game with Rachel, for conflict why not add a rival in the mix? The rival could be one of those stereo-typical type of bastards who’s only looking to satisfy themselves, heck they don’t hide it letting everyone know that they would cheat in a relationship, Rachel’s fear of relationships could play into this allowing her to temporary fall for him to escape from committing to a serious relationship with the player. The player would have to pay attention to Rachel along with giving gifts and going on dates. And if the player is unfaithful their would be a chance of Rachel or the rival catching them. Good luck in your next project.
I’m thinking what I need to do is establish a format for any new games. Date Ariane and Something In The Air break new grounds in complexity, but they are way too big.
Whatever my next project it should be smaller. 500 pictures max, 4 scenarios and around 8 endings max. If I come up with a story that is too big, I should break it down smaller.
The Rachel segment of SITA is about right. 4 scenarios (movie, club, convention, amusement park) and 10 endings.
Your website won’t let me download any of your visual novels 😦
There is a rumor going around that Google Chrome is having problems identifying good sites from bad. Or it may not be a browser issue, its a security software issue.
I have tested the links myself in three different browsers and they all download fine.
I know that I cannot download almost anything through my iPad ( except for images or short text ) … I have to make the downloads from my computer and then transfer them via iTunes or iPad Mate.
Just to add another vote in favour of an Ariane Part 3 if I may – I thoroughly enjoyed the way the Arianeverse was widened out in SITA and would love to see it continue. In particular, my own preference was for a scenario where the “Blue” picture in the SITA bonus pin up set (Ariane and Rachel posing topless on a beach) somehow became canon. Something along the lines of Ariane getting a contract to provide tech support to a Rachel photoshoot and being invited to take part in a couple of pictures when another model drops out or something. Replayability potential presumably coming from whether the player ended SITA in a relationship with Rachel or Ariane, or crashed and burned with both girls…
As for the future scenario – whereas I’m sure any game that you produce will be kickass, you will need to take care. Nothing dates faster than the future after all – just look at original series Star Trek!
I still haven’t ruled out an Ariane 3, just need to figure out a better plot, and make sure I can keep it light and funny.
I’m finding the sci-fi thing a bit of a challenge plot wise as well. If you are going to make a sci-fi universe, you should have a viable reason that is essential to the story and a “dating sim” has no reason to be sci-fi.
My current thinking is in a world where tech is more advanced, but important resources scarcer, a lot of “normal” activities may change, and the fun is putting an extra sexy spin on “normal”.
An example of sexy future tech: Movies are no longer shot single camera, instead you can move your point of view anywhere around the action. This means you can look anywhere you want during a love scene, which means all movies in the future may be shot as “porn” which could end up being more mainstream in the future as well.
An example of sexy resource problems: Water is carefully rationed, if you want to take a real water shower you have to go to a public bath that recycles its own water. This may involve a co-ed group showers.
These are all fun to think about, but incorporating them into a story is the hard part.
If I may humbly make some suggestions here.
Possible sexy scenarios:
1) In a scarce future (global warming? radiation?) wildlife might be so protected that you need to go through extensive body decontamination (with someone else?) to see it (See Andromeda Strain for a semi-realistic example)
2) Smart Dust or Utility Fog (two terms, similar idea) may permeate nearly everything in the medium term future. However, smart dust could also serve as a sensor that can allow you to see any area it is present (depending on technical ability, access rights)
3) It might be possible to rent an android with no consciousness (or does it have one? who knows?) for exploring group sexual experiences. But would a couple be okay with inviting someone that did truly look human even if it was non-biological?
4) Meeting up in a fully realistic all-senses VR, circa 30 years from now. But does the person you’re meeting actually resemble the real person outside of VR? What if they’re already in a relationship, the wrong sex, etc?
5) Mind reading as a sexual experience. You could even have the person pick up on images associated with a memory if they thought about it. This is not necessarily even that far off as MRI’s have been used to decode images of peoples thoughts.
On a different note:
If you want to find some way to bring a bit of closure to Ariane’s story without doing a full Ariane 3, all you have to do is make a flashback scene, and have your future sci-fi character be her granddaughter. The scene could be accessed by some specific combination of experience. You could do 30 or less pictures even that explain how someone finally broke through her emotional barrier, and end up with a romantic scene if you successfully broke through to her.
As a side effect, this gives a small reason you’re in a sci-fi setting, as it’s a continuity in Ariane’s family.
Thanks for the ideas, some of those I had thought of (cant do futuristic without VR and androids), some I hadn’t. the smart dust one especially has some potential.
Two ideas for tying DA/SITA universe to a sci-fi universe are: 1.) Sci-Fi universe is DA/SITA’s future (thus weather control is a future tech) OR 2.) Sci-Fi universe is a work of fiction in DA/SITA universe as well and thus characters that look suspiciously like Ariane and Rachel are just the real Ariane and Rachel playing different characters.
I’m also tossing around ways to make a Ariane 3: Tropical Island less emotional and more comedic. Less big emotional breakdowns, more lost luggage, sunburn, and mosquitos.
Out of the ideas listed, the tropical vacation one sounds most appealing to me.
In regards to the conflict/challenge for the player, maybe the aim could simply be for more daring scenarios. This would make sense with the long term narrative – you’re both in a semi long term relationship now and willing to try things you haven’t before.
You could have things like 1.) Ariane’s first threesome 2.) Public sex (something similar to convenience store sex from the older date game) 3.) A slightly public photoshoot. Somewhere where you have to sneak around and not get caught (maybe the hotel)
So, ending the day in bed with Ariane would not necessarily be that difficult, but the aim for the player is to persuade her to take part in the more daring possibilities.
I like the idea to do a game from Rachels perspective …
How about pushing her modelling career?
Bring her to different locations … exotic as well as glamorous. Take her to Europe, Russia, Asia, the Caribics.
Let her make good and bad decisions …
Making good decisions …
Picking the right jobs, going to the right parties, sleeping with the right Guys (and maybe girls) will lead her to be an international supermodell … or even being a playmate.
Making bad decisions …
too much drugs, hanging around with wrong friends, taking not the right jobs … will and up in the hands of the russian mafia doing porn.
Let her decide between fashion modelling and erotic modelling … or even walking the line between supermodel and porn superstar.
Well, maybe that’s a heck of a plot … if you need help: I’m a not-so-bad 3D-Artist, maybe I can do some rendering in your “Next Big Thing”. Have a look at my deviant website:
Okaaay, I’ve been meaning to do some “post-show notes” once I had completed SITA and now that I have, this seems as good a place as any to do it.
Oh yeah, and to any internet-hobo-passerby-ers who may see this post and haven’t done SITA yet, HERE YE BE SPOILERS…read on below at your own risk!! 😉
I like the variety of stories and how the timeline is consistent and “Groundhog Day…ish” it’s neat-o to see how the different stories play out over the course of the night. What? You smell a but coming, how’d you know? 😉
You have a few characters whose stories go nowhere. Like Heidi, I get the feeling you intended bigger and better with the ” rich secret society” thing, but then, zip. Suki the makeup girl’s side-scene seems like pointless padding. (And I don’t even smoke. I risked virtual cancer for that?! 🙂 )
Then there’s Professor Molly Ringwald…errr…I mean Paula, Paula (that’s not meant an insult, just what I’d call her when I couldn’t remember her name. I dig Hughes movies 🙂 ) But yeah, you see Prof pop up on the load screen all the time, and you the reader/player wonder when she will eventually show up in ze script, then when you finally DO unlock her story it doesn’t seem like there’s enough options there.
Don’t get me wrong, Story 4 is interesting stuff, but this is a character that begs to have more to do throughout I mean she has a whooole backstory with the protagonist. I wanted her to have more of a fighting” chance for choosing her epilogue, but here was no real interactions before that time with the protag, no dates, nada,”I” did all the fun stuff with your Ariane alter ego or Rachel. Young cute Ringwald genius on a playable date knowing everything she secretly knows about the MC would be fun (or scary, scaryfun 😛 )…but noope. She’s nearly totally in the background.I sort of get why you went in that direction, but her character deserved more “screen time” IMO.
Also, considering the audience (mostly dudes 😉 ) you should have at least one “hot” ending for every dateable character. You have a lot of variety here, different types of women to appeal to different tastes, which is cool, but your readers will all have their “favorites” going in, but then be disappointed when there’s no way to get a different outcome with that favorite. (Sex wih Veronica, Sex with Wendy, Sex with Stacey, Sex with self LOL j/k on the last.) It doesn’t have to be much, but it would make it more well-rounded if it was there. (You could use the “Bonnie technique” ) That would particuliarly make sense leading into the Wendy epologue, as there really isn’t much reason for the player to choose her ending, or for her to want a relationship with the MC/Protag. They didn’t do anything intimate or have a history together other than gym/volleyball stuff. No chemistry.
Not trying to be a longwinded “ball buster” just suggestions, from one storyteller to another.
All that said, SITA was a fun experience. Much more story and possibilty than I expected. Your alter ego came off likeable and funny. (her date call and Drunk Partying back at her place always got a laugh, nice touches, Smitty!) Rachel was cool too, weeeeeird, but cool. Like Ariane’s “Lugi” if that makes any sense. lol
Finally, SITA has inspired me. (No really! ) I’ve had a snarky little urban fantasy/rom-com story of my own on the back-burner forever, and the VN format might be just the ticket for it. I thank you for sharing your hard work with us and for the inspiration.
Hang loose, young blood and keep at it! B)
Thanks for the kind words.
I’m still stuck trying to find a story for my next game, good luck with yours.
You should try the Unity engine. It can definitely be used for a date simulator. It would be nice to see some more stories about Rachel and Wendy. I like them
Hi! First off, I just want to say how amazing all of your work is. The Arianeb date game is one of the most detailed and re-playable dating game online, still after many years. THANK YOU so much for all the hard work you have done and continue to do.
Is there any update on your new game? Have you made a decision on what path you’re going to go. I’d love to see the 3rd Ariane date game. I know you probably do subject yourself to suggestions, but, I’m just throwing this out there. As I read in your blog, you couldn’t think of a conflict. Maybe a conflict could be Ariane and the character’s relationship is on the rocks. They’ve been having trouble lately, losing interest and need to get some excitement back. Along comes a new character, maybe Ariane’s great looking brunette in friend wearing orange in the gym (from SITA) comes by and she decides to come along for the tropical trip. Or make another attractive character or characters, maybe a waitress, a hot bartender, or a supermodel doing a photoshoot. So the conflict would…is the character going to give into the dark side and cheat with one or maybe all the girls (maybe theres’s an Ariane’s suspicion meter??) or will the character stay true to Ariane and try to do adventurous things to help save the relationship? Anyways, I just wanted to throw it out there.
Again, thanks again for all that you do!!!
From a huge fan!!
sorry, the hot gym girl from SITA wears a white shirt. My bad.
I think I have found a bug.
When I’m using 7874f (which probably has as much sex as possible), the “Hey beautiful, watcha wearing?” Ariane’s option still has her terminating the call.
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