Switching Models Can’t Be Done!

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I’ve been tinkering with changing Ariane and Rachel from V4 based figures to La Femme based figures.

I’ve decided to abandon the project for a number of reasons.  First, no matter how close and recognizable the new versions were, they still didn’t look the same. Comparison test after test show V4 versions win every time.

I can say that at least the La Femme versions are recognizable. The one I tried using a Dawn  were not.  Despite the many advantages of using them, it feels like they are characters drawn by a different artist.  Caricatures rather than the originals.

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That doesn’t mean I will just toss them.  Sometimes a caricature is a good thing, but visual stories are best told with consistent looking art.

The Truth about V4 vs. La Femme

La Femme is a great model, I love working with it. Many difficult posing tasks are made really simple with La Femme.  This is why I used the La Femme version of Ariane as a stunt double during the Day 3 Gymnastics scenes in Ariane in Paradise.  This is why three new female characters in AiP: Christine, Lin, and Trish, were made using La Femme.

Poses are better in La Femme, hands are better in La Femme, so are feet, so are breasts, so is genitalia.  La Femme hands are very close to human, the individual bones in the hand are poseable, and the fingers look like real fingers instead of sausages.  But reality comes at a price: Getting the hands and fingers in just the right place takes more work.

Yet there is one key thing where V4 wins: Expressions.  V4 models are much better actors.  The faces are much more believable.  I learned a long time ago, faces are key to visual storytelling.  I need the V4 faces!

If you are starting with new characters, La Femme has some nice facial expression tools in those facial “chips”, but trying to use them to make realistic human expressions just doesn’t work.  I’m constantly making faces that look too exaggerated.  The slider model in V4 is just much more precise.

Superfly vs Firefly

Poser 11 has two different rendering engines called Superfly and Firefly. Superfly is a lighting physics based engine that results in often impressive realism. Most of Ariane in Paradise was done in it.

Firefly is based on ray tracing, the mathematics of light and shadow. The results are not as realistic as Superfly, but they are often prettier.  Pretty beats realism every time.

The three mini stories were a test of this, too. The first story was done in superfly. Impressive images, but they took on average 50 minutes to complete.  The second was done in Firefly, at an average rendering time of around 20 minutes.  Generally speaking outdoor images with few lights (especially just sunlight), should be done in Superfly. Indoor images (especially multi lighted ones) should be done in Firefly.

Bottom line…

 

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Time to go back to the old looks, and classic Firefly renders.

Moving In #3: The Puppy and the Hot Tub

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Rachel: Why did you set up the hot tub out here?  We have two empty rooms.

Ariane: I like it here by the big window, feels like I’m outside.

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Ariane: Dinky get down.

Rachel: I know you like to cuddle by us when we are sitting, but we can’t cuddle in the hot tub.

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Rachel: Oh no, Dinky!

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Ariane: Grab her, I don’t want her to drown.

Rachel: Dogs are buoyant and can dog paddle, she won’t drown.

Ariane: Yeah, but she’s just a puppy, I don’t know if she has ever been submerged in water before.

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Ariane: Sorry Dinky, the hot tub is off limits to dogs.  Now let me get you nice and dry so you are not dripping all over the floor.

 

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Ariane: She’ll be OK, she’s all scared a frightened.

Rachel: Poor Dinky, she looked so traumatized, I hope the experience didn’t scar her for life.

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Ariane: I hope she learned her lesson and won’t be trying it again anytime soon.

Full sized images:

 

Moving In #2: House Warming Gifts

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Rachel: Hey, how’s the painting going.

Ariane: I should be done with this wall by the end of the day.

Rachel: Good.  Remember when we talked this morning about each of us getting something new for the apartment?  I just bought something and I want to show you.

Ariane: Me too! Let me get down from the ladder and I’ll show you what I got.

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Rachel: So are you going to paint this whole room red like your house?

Ariane: No just that wall.  I was thinking blue for the wall near the stairs and green for the balcony.  I’m trying to decide between neon green and forest green.

Rachel: I like the green on your apron.

Ariane: Dark turquoise green.  Yeah that might work.  Haven’t decided on the columns yet, they are so inconveniently placed.

Rachel: Well they are keeping 20 stories of building from falling on top of us, so they are staying.

Ariane: Good point.  So I got us a Cubert.  This little robot guy is similar to Amazon Echo or Google Home in that it is a voice activated home assistant.  But instead of a boring can of beans shape, it’s shaped like a robot.

Rachel: Can it do robot things?

Ariane: It’s head will look at you when you ask it a question, and it’s arms do basic gestures depending on it’s response.

Rachel: It’s also got legs and feet, can it walk?

Ariane: Why don’t you ask it?

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Rachel: Hey Cubert, can you walk?

Cubert: No, but I am mobile. Can you carry me?

Ariane: Did I mention it has a bit of a weird personality?

Rachel: Awesome. I love it. Kind of cute, too.

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Rachel: But my gift might be cuter, let me get it out.

Ariane: What do you have in the box Rachel?

Rachel: I have…

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… a little doggo.

Ariane: Oh my god, you got us a puppy!  I love it!

Rachel: She’s a bit of a mutt, not sure what species, but she seems friendly enough.  She’s already been spayed and had her shots.  We just need to name her.

Moving In #1: The Model Loft

This is the first of a series of stories I’m throwing together whenever I’m in the mood.  I still haven’t decided what my next game will be, but I’m interested in carrying on with Ariane and Rachel, and adding a bit of sci-fi tech to the mix.

Note: If Ariane and Rachel look a little different than usual, it is because I’m using La Femme as a base model instead of Vicky 4.

Our story begins with Ariane and Rachel discussing moving in together now that Rachel is out of college and has quit modeling…

loftproject1aRachel: So what do you think?

Ariane: It’s nice, but it means living under the same roof as my mom.

Rachel: Ellison Tower is a huge building, I doubt you’ll even see her very often.

Ariane: I’m just wondering why we can’t move into my house. There is no pool here.

Rachel: The pool is expensive to upkeep, and you can only use it half the year.  This place is bigger than your house. We can even bring the hot tub.

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Ariane: I’m also closer to work, living here would save me a lot of money, and I really love this furniture.

Rachel: This is a model suite, we won’t have this furniture, but we both have furniture we can bring.

Ariane: Yeah, I guess. At least the view is spectacular.

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Rachel: We won’t have that either. This is model suite is on the 23rd floor. If we take it, our suite will be on the 5th floor.

Ariane: So our view will be…?

Rachel: A parking garage.

Ariane: Can I run around naked and give the parking lot patrons a show?

Rachel: Sure but the glass is one way so they won’t see you. This is high tech glass that traps solar energy and generates electricity.  It also has a TLCD coating.

Ariane: What’s that?

Rachel: Transparent Liquid Crystal Display, similar to color e-paper.

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(Rachel does something with her phone and suddenly the Pirate’s Cove from Duquesne appears in the windows.)

Ariane: The window is a video screen?

Rachel: It can display pictures, it is slow to refresh, so it can’t do video.

Ariane: So if we don’t like looking at the parking lot we can change the view?  Neat! Do the walls do the same thing?

Rachel: No just the glass.

Ariane: So I can paint the walls another color?

Rachel: That’s right, you are not a fan of white walls.  Sure, as long as I can hang my photos on them.

Ariane: Deal, let’s do this!

Links to full sized pictures:

Ariane in Paradise 1.03 – Teen Ariane

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Since the release of Ariane in Paradise, most of the comments have been very positive, so thanks for that.

The criticisms pretty much fall into two categories:

1. Bugs: The achievement scoreboard only lists 39 and you need 40 to get bonus content. Well the board left off the “Dead Parrot” achievement, which is one of the achievements that don’t come easily automatic.  It’s been fixed in 1.03.  Some android devices (primarily phones) have a dark bar across the screen when there is dialogue.  Thanks to Animadoria, it has been tracked to a default background picture for phones. We replaced the file, and that issue is now fixed.

UPDATE: Some devices still cut off text choices, this seems to be more prevalent on android phones, so I’m releasing a 1.04 version that moves menus to the middle of the screen for people having that issue. See download page or comments for link.

2. The controversial ending.  All paths lead to one ending: The vacation is over and you and Ariane say goodbye, probably forever.  For me it is the only logical way the game could have ended. The ending was heavily hinted at throughout the game. Every time you suggest getting together after the vacation, Ariane rejects it, and avoiding those questions is a major objective in Day 2.

Now I knew it would be controversial, because most all romance dating games end where the player and the object of affection declare their undying love for each other, the end.

One of the inspirations for creating the game in the first place is to undermine the standard dating sim ending.  It a theme I weave throughout all my games.  Date Ariane was different from a typical Dating Sim by being a literal simulation of a date.  Something In The Air was a typical “harem” dating sim, but choices not taken on one path affect the other paths.  Rachel and Ariane was a “kinectic” visual novel that changed structure based on choices in previous games.

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Ariane in Paradise undermines the typical “romance” story by actually being an “affair” story instead.  True to life: if you meet someone on vacation and you have a lot of fun together, that will likely be the peak of the relationship. Trying to keep a vacation friendship or romance going after the vacation is over never works, and Ariane knows this for some unexplained reason.

But as I thought about that recently, I wondered “How come I never explained Ariane’s reason for feeling this way?”  So I invented a reason and created a flashback to “Teen Ariane” and her first crush during summer camp.  It’s a very short flashback, but I had fun writing and illustrating it, especially coming up with what Ariane would look like as a teen.  It was mostly done by taking the Ariane model and applying a “young” morph to her face and body, and giving her some messy and oddly dyed hair.

Before you ask, there are no nude or sex scenes involving teen Ariane.  I like my games to maintain an “R” or “M” rating, and be legal in most of the world.

The next problem was where in the game do I add the story?  In day 3 there are two paths with identical endings that I call the “Casablanca” ending.  So I decided to leave that ending on the “lake” path, and add the “Summer Camp” ending to the “beach” path.

I also decided to give in and include a more hopeful ending.  It is still not the “happily ever after” ending people are used to, but it is not a hard goodbye either.  It also ties to one of the bonus epilogues that open after you finish all 40 achievements.

The version 1.03 patch (6mb) available here if you have 1.01 or 1.02.  Patch notes can be found here.

For PC and Linux, extract the patch to the same directory arianeinparadise.exe is located, it should want to copy over 28 files, say yes, when you launch it should say 1.03 in lower right corner.

For Mac users, you can try extracting to arianeinparadise.app\Contents\Resources\autorun folder and let it overwrite.

Android users should just redownload.  The download page is here.

Ariane in Paradise is Now FREE!

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Happy New Years! Ariane in Paradise is now FREE!

Ariane in Paradise Download Page

Ariane in Paradise FAQ

Ariane in Paradise Screenshots

Ariane in Paradise Walkthroughs

Join your fellow Duquesne vacationers on our official Discord, for chat and questions.

There is also more info in the Wiki

UPDATED! 1.03: I am releasing a patch available here.  Patch notes can be found here. Android users should just download latest version.

For PC and Linux, extract the patch to the same directory arianeinparadise.exe is located, it should want to copy over 28 files, say yes, when you launch it should say 1.03 in lower right corner.

For Mac users, you can try extracting to ArianeInParadise.app\Contents\Resources\autorun folder and let it overwrite.

For Android users, when I installed new version, it said it was corrupt, it is not.  I had to uninstall and reinstall to get it to work, and lost all my saved games in the process, hopefully it works better for you.

I’ll post more extensively about the making of the game and a “Directors commentary”, but for now have fun exploring!

Ariane Through the 10’s

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There is a meme going around where people are comparing themselves in 2009 and today in 2019.  I made the above graphic to fit in.  The picture on the left came from Date Ariane 6.1 that was released in December 2009. The picture on the right is from Ariane in Paradise released this year.  I thought I’d post some of the in between pictures.

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2010: Version 6.4 brought some new Rebecca images into the game.

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2011:  DA 7.0 Replaced the video game screenshot downtown with an original 3D downtown model.

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2012:  First started working on the sequel Something’s In The Air.  I was still using the old Ariane model, but I created Rachel that year.

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2013: Finalized Ariane’s Something in the Air model, giving her a new haircut.

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2014: Did the remake of Date Ariane for Renpy with yet another new hair style.

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2015: Finished Date Ariane Renpy by replacing the ponytail wet hair with more realistic wet hair.

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2016: Began the Rachel Meets Ariane story.

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2017: Finished the Rachel Meets Ariane story, Rachel and Ariane both get new hairstyles.

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2018: Ariane gets yet another new look as I start work on Ariane in Paradise.

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2019: Finished Ariane in Paradise.

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2020?: I’m experimenting with a new model of Ariane based on La Femme instead of Victoria 4.