Ariane in Paradise Progress Report: Early 2020

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There has been some chaos in real life that is causing me to struggle to finish Ariane in Paradise, but hopefully I’m on track to finish on schedule.  Part 3 of 5 has been released to Patreons.  I’m hoping to get part 4 up in September, part 5 in October, and a full beta in November, with the full game available to everyone in late January or February 2020.

Response from Patreons who have played the first 3 parts have generally been positive, and I’m anxious to let everyone see it.  It’s getting big, too, and likely to come in at around 400mb when its done.

Right now I am writing and illustrating “Day 3” and as you can tell from the picture above, I’ve gone a little crazy.  Day 3 is the main ending. I’m just trying to avoid the dreaded “Disappointing Final Level”

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll keep it vague.  Ariane in Paradise is modeled after Date Ariane, and basically has two endings.  Date Ariane’s two endings was either kiss Ariane goodnight, or kiss Ariane good morning after spending the night.  It’s basically like that — then you can start over again and play more paths.

Day 1 heads in 3 different directions. Day 2 starts in 3 directions, and ends in 5, with 8 possible variations.  Day 3 has 3 different paths, but only 2 are available based on what you did the first two days, and all these paths have different versions depending on past choices.  That basically adds up to (3 x 8 x 2) 48 major paths, but there are many variants based on your choice of character traits (business vs vacation, rich vs, middle class, outdoorsman vs. science geek).  Basically there are hundreds of ways this could go, though they end with one of two endings.

Adding Discord Rich Presence to Renpy Games

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I searched the web looking for a tutorial like this, and with a little help from Animadoria, the moderator of Date Ariane Reddit, I finally figured it out.

First thing you need is a Renpy game you are working on that you want to add Discord Rich Presence to.

Second you need to sign up your game on Discord.  First go here: https://discordapp.com/developers/applications/ and click on “New Application” and fill the info about your game.  You might want to add a 1024×1024 image to represent your game.  What you should get in return is an 18 digit “Client ID” which you will use a lot here.

(Note: You do not need to have your game reviewed by Discord, nor do you need to sign up for the developers license to do this)

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For this tutorial, I’m going to register “The Question” which is a free tutorial game that comes with Renpy. The client ID is 601663968288833536

While you are here, click on “Rich Presence” then “Art Assets” and upload some 512×512 images of the game. These should be safe for work and not contain sex or nudity as these will display publicly on Discord servers and you don’t want to get banned from Discord.

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Loading the Code

Step 3, if you have Windows.

  1. Install the latest version of Python from https://www.python.org/
  2. While installing, make sure you check the box “Add to PATH”, it may prompt you to use administration mode to make path longer if it is already too long. (this is left over from DOS which is next.)
  3. Click on Cortana, or your start menu search bar if you are not on Windows 10 yet, and type “cmd” without quotes.  Welcome to DOS.
  4. Open up a folder file and go to the directory where your game is stored, click on the white space after your name and copy the text (ctrl-c) of your directory name, like mine is C:\Users\(my name)\Documents\renpy\the_question
  5. On the command prompt window type “cd” without quotes, then a space, then ctrl-v your directory name, then press enter.

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If you have MacOS:

  1. Open your Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app)
  2. Go to the directory using cd [path to base folder of the game]. In my case, it’s /Users/[My account]/Documents/Renpy/the_question

Now to load the discord code we need to type two lines at the prompt and press enter after each. I made it so you can copy and paste if you want.

python -m pip install --target game/python-packages discord-rpc.py
python -m pip install --target game/python-packages requests

Your game directory should now have a new folder in it called python-packages and it should contain 13 sub folders including two starting with discord_rpc and two starting with requests.

Now to get your code to work in your game.  You will need to edit your script.rpy file.

We are going to start with the initialization code which should be put at the very top of the script.rpy file.

init -20 python:
    import discord_rpc
    import time

    def readyCallback(current_user):
        print('Our user: {}'.format(current_user))

    def disconnectedCallback(codeno, codemsg):
        print('Disconnected from Discord rich presence RPC. Code {}: {}'.format(
            codeno, codemsg
        ))

    def errorCallback(errno, errmsg):
        print('An error occurred! Error {}: {}'.format(
            errno, errmsg
        ))

label before_main_menu:
    python:
        # Note: 'event_name': callback
        callbacks = {
            'ready': readyCallback,
            'disconnected': disconnectedCallback,
            'error': errorCallback,
        }
        discord_rpc.initialize('601663968288833536', callbacks=callbacks, log=False)
        start = time.time()
        print(start)
        discord_rpc.update_connection()
        discord_rpc.run_callbacks()
        discord_rpc.update_presence(
            **{
                'details': 'Main Menu',
                'start_timestamp': start,
                'large_image_key': 'thequestion'
            }
        )
        discord_rpc.update_connection()
        discord_rpc.run_callbacks()

    return

You will need to change the red text to fit your own game.

If you already have a “label before_main_menu:” section of your game, put the python block at the beginning, and whatever else in the section below it before the return command.

Now we need to initialize the RPC when you start the game. This is done at the “label start:” part of script.rpy

# The game starts here.
label start:
    python:
        callbacks = {
            'ready': readyCallback,
            'disconnected': disconnectedCallback,
            'error': errorCallback,
        }
        discord_rpc.initialize('601663968288833536', callbacks=callbacks, log=False)
        start = time.time()
        discord_rpc.update_connection()
        discord_rpc.run_callbacks()
        discord_rpc.update_presence(
            **{
                'details': 'At College',
                'state': 'Lecture Hall',
                'large_image_key': 'thequestion',
                'start_timestamp': start
            }
        )

        discord_rpc.update_connection()
        discord_rpc.run_callbacks()
    #the real start of the game

Again, change the red code to fit your game.

Next we want to add state changes as new paths branch off.  This code is a subset of the above code.

label rightaway:
    python:
        start = time.time()
        discord_rpc.update_connection()
        discord_rpc.run_callbacks()
        discord_rpc.update_presence(
            **{
                'details': 'You Chose',
                'state': 'Right Away',
                'large_image_key': 'thequestion',
                'start_timestamp': start
            }
        )

        discord_rpc.update_connection()
        discord_rpc.run_callbacks()

Now go ahead and launch your game with discord running and watch your status.

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As a bonus, I uploaded a discord friendly version of Date Ariane HD for Windows with these Discord tags.  Test it out. If it works, I’ll add it to the main game.

Website Updates!

Finally getting some money from Patreon (Thanks Everybody who helped!), I’m implementing a plan to get rid of complaints about bad downloads.

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The most common problem seems to be that when the zip file is extracted you are missing two directories.  You should be seeing this:

dir

In an effort to do everything I can on my side to fix these issues. I am recompiling new versions of every file and doing the following things:

  1. Using the latest version of Renpy (7.3.2) to create all new builds for the game. These will NOT be updates, so no need for new downloads if the game you downloaded already works, but should work better on systems that struggle with the current downloads.

  2. Upgrading my download server to Mediafire. This is what many indie game producers use for their downloads, and it seems to work better than the one I am using now.

I’ve managed to do this for every version of every game, including all the foreign language ones.

The hard part was the Android versions as Google insists on a new format for icons on apps, meaning I had to create new ones to avoid generic Renpy ones. Renpy also creates three optimized android files, I am linking all three on the English DA and SITA. If there is a demand I can do it for foreign versions as well.

I’ve added an android version for SITA Portuguese, so the only version of any game that doesn’t have android is Rachel Meets Ariane, and that takes a bit more work because the pictures are too big.

If it is still not extracting properly, it’s got to be the extraction software you are using, or over aggressive virus scan software. Native Windows 10 (Right click on Zip and Extract to…) works perfectly fine.

Virtualunderworld.net is gone

The old website domain which has spent the last year just going to arianeb.com, will soon no longer belong to me. I put it up for sale at https://auctions.godaddy.com/  There was some demand for the domain from a Chinese based gaming company, so I thought I’d try selling it.  If it doesn’t sell I will just abandon it as it expires next April, and I don’t need to renew it.

Erotic Visual Novels Part 7

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Miranda
Story and Graphics by Chaotic
Link to Play online or Download
Link to walkthrough

Miranda is an older game that Chaotic has decided to convert to Free to Play at vdategames.com.  As I have mentioned a couple of times, Miranda is the inspiration for Ariane in Paradise, so if you want to get a taste of what AiP is like, play Miranda.

Over a year ago, I was declaring Rachel Meets Ariane to be finished, and was looking for inspiration for my next project.  I started playing a lot of other peoples games, but I was getting frustrated.  The truth is, I have grown accustomed to playing Renpy games. Online HTML games were getting annoying.  So I did the only thing a programmer could do and converted some of these games to Renpy.

I converted many Tlaero Mortze and Chaotic games because they all were created with Tlaero’s Adventure Creator, though with different versions, so the results varied.  But now I have this great collection of games I can’t share because they are not mine to share.

Miranda is a flawed game, but has a lot of potential, which is what drew me in.  My impression was, “With some improved graphics and a little expansion, this could be a great game.”  I was seriously considering doing just that, but with no access to the main model, I couldn’t do much.  Then I thought, “What if I remade it with Ariane?”, and started to do that instead.

All it took was that initial inspirational push and I went from there.  The initial scene, from the meeting at the pool, to the second meeting in the hotel lobby, is pretty much beat for beat the same in both games.  (Actually there is one MAJOR difference, but I’ll get to that after the public release of Ariane in Paradise).  From the lobby in Ariane in Paradise you go downtown shopping, from Miranda you go to a volleyball game.

I wrote Chaotic and sent her an early alpha test link. She noticed the similarity right away and appreciated the homage.

The other thing that the two games have in common is the objective:  Both games have two stats “influence or charm” and “sexy”, and you have to reach certain levels at certain checkpoints to advance the story. The other is you have to find out 4 things:

In Miranda, you have to find out she likes 80’s music, studies philosophy, likes to hike in the jungle, and is secretly a nudist.  You can also optionally meet her good friend Faye.

In Ariane, you have to find out she likes to dance, does gymnastics, has an interest in Astronomy, and likes the outdoors.  You can also optionally meet her good friend Rachel.

I’ll talk more similarities and differences later, but for now enjoy Miranda.

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Darkness Falls

Written by Tlaero
Graphics by Mortze
Link to Play online
Link to Download

From Tlaero: “Darkness Falls” is an episodic detective series set in the same universe as Dreaming with Elsa, Redemption for Jessika, Finding Miranda, and Saving Chloe. Today I’m releasing the complete Season 1 of Darkness Falls to the public. Season 1 ended up being 5 episodes as well as a bonus scene for getting all of the achievements.”

From Saving Chloe, we learn that a portal to another universe has caused humans in this universe to be gifted with super powers. Veteran Detective Blake, and his young hot partner Michelle Won work on homicide cases in this universe. They have no powers themselves except for detective brains, but start finding cases involving people that do.

There are cameos by characters from the other games, including a common event indicating that this game is on the same time line as the other games.  There are also a few new characters with different powers that arrive in the last case.

It sounds like Tlaero is leaving the scene, or at least taking a break. That means Darkness Falls may be the last Tlaero story we get.  She leaves with a novella called AAA, available for download here.

Message to Tlaero: Been there done that, I’ve taken long stretches off to clear the brain.  Doesn’t matter if you come back to the genre, or find a new genre to conquer, you are a great artist, looking forward to what ever you do next.

3D illustrator Mortze is now working with another writer Ikansabot who also writes games for Lessons of Passion.  They are working on a new project called The Science of Lust.

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Two Golden Hairs

Written and Illustrated by Fleet
Link to Download

I like to do three games with these posts, so I decided to find out what Fleet was doing. I’ve corresponded with him on various forms and he helped me beta test Something’s In The Air, so I’m kind of a fan.  His visual novels are simple and the low res graphics always seem to have a charming “handmade” feel to them.

He released this one about 6 months ago, based on folklore from the Brother’s Grimm, and of course putting an erotic spin on it.  It’s pretty short, but fun.

I’m Aromantic

aromanticJune is “pride month” in the US, and it is usually filled with corporations trying to show how forward thinking they are in appealing to the LGBT community.  For a while now, I have been thinking that I am part of that community myself.  The thing is I am not L, G, B. or T.

The current extended acronym is LGBTQIA+ or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer, Intersex, Aro/Ace Spectrum, and + for others.  I’m in the A group.  Took me a while to figure out where, but I finally solved the mystery:

I’m Aromantic.

What is Aromanticism?

Aromanticism is probably the least popular (less than 1% identify), and least understood sexual orientation, even by the people that are aromantic.

So what is it?  Here’s the definition from the AVEN Wiki:

An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships.

It is important to note that aromantics do not lack emotional/personal connection, but simply have no instinctual need to develop connections of a romantic nature. Aromantics can have needs for just as much empathetic support as romantics, but these needs can be fulfilled in a platonic way.

It is possible for an aromantic individual to be involved in, and enjoy, a devoted relationship with another person, but these relations are often closer friendships, naturally reflecting the closeness of the two individuals and not a purposely initiated monogamous separation as is often found in romantic couples.

Aromantics may experience squishes which are the aromantic or platonic equivalent of a romantic crush. When an aromantic gets into a relationship that’s more than friends – but less than romantic – that is known as a queerplatonic relationship.

Like all romantic identities aromantics can be of any sexual orientation.

That last sentence is really important.  There is a false impression that all aromantics are also asexual, but the truth is most aromantics, are very sexual, and come in all the flavors: Hetero, homo, bi, pan, and poly.  And yes, also asexuals.

Here are some of the symptoms of aromanticism.  This list is incomplete and just because you have felt some of these does not mean you are aromantic:

  1. You don’t have any desire to be in a relationship.
  2. You experience outside pressure to be in a relationship, but ignore it, or even fear it. The phrase “You just haven’t met the right person yet” gets repeated to you a lot.
  3. If you are in a relationship, you get accused of not loving or caring for that person, because you have no idea how to express it.  Most of your relationships end because of it.
  4. Romantic gestures, both giving and receiving, feel awkward and unimportant.
  5. Kissing, cuddling, and other non-sexual touching feel awkward and unimportant.
  6. When you “have a crush” on someone, your instinct is to desire to hang out with them and be their friend (We aromantics call this a “squish” or a platonic crush), rather than a desire to make out, have sex, or be their significant other.
  7. In fact “crushes” involving thoughts of physical contact or long term plans never occur. (aromantic) or very rarely occur (gray romantic).
  8. You have to get to know a person really well before you even start to think about a romance with them (the term is “demiromantic”)
  9. Shyness about asking someone out on a date are not about fears of “What if they say NO?”, but rather “What if they say YES?”
  10. Thoughts of being alone the rest of your life do not really bother you that much.

For more information, I found this great article. Here’s a quote:

Aromanticism means you cannot feel romantic attraction. Like any romantic or sexual orientation, it is a part of a person’s nature, and while attraction patterns can be fluid, no one can force their romantic/sexual orientation(s) to change, not even by behaving contrary to those orientations. Dating someone won’t make an aromantic person feel romantic attraction or love. Great sex won’t do it. Even loving someone strongly as a friend won’t suddenly flip the switch in an aro’s brain and lead them to feel romantic attraction. Either you feel attracted to someone in a particular way or you don’t.

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There’s a built in contradiction with this orientation. How do you know that you’ve never experienced romantic attraction if you don’t know what romantic attraction feels like?  It is a thought that many of us aromantic types try to deal with.

I consider myself aromantic. I have never been head over heels in love or any of that other mushy feelings described by authors and poets.  I do feel friendly “squishes” occasionally and I have a normal sexual libido. Is romantic attraction just some combination of the two? Because I have felt that, does that mean I am not aromantic?  This is part of the self doubt.

Based on what people say “falling in love” feels like, I can say confidently that no I have never felt this.

Now the romantics will say, “That’s so sad, that is so tragic, to never feel what romantic love is like.”

To me, never feeling romantic love, feels natural and normal, it’s the 99% who are romantics that are the tragic freaks.

Starting a Patreon Campaign

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I decided to start a Patreon campaign to help finance the game.  The link to the campaign is https://www.patreon.com/dateariane and like most Patreon campaigns, I want to make it worth your money.

Right now, signing up for a $5 a month “dater” tier subscription or higher will get you access to an alpha version of the first 20% or so of Ariane in Paradise, and I hope to release more chunks of the game on that site each month.

There are two other tiers: $1 “Watcher”, which I have posted 110 pictures, most not available anywhere, and a $20 “Producer” tier that will get you in the games credits.

Eventually I will release Ariane in Paradise to the public for free, but Patreon supporters are likely going to get first dibs.  So if you can help out, I would really appreciate it!

Become a Patron!

Taking a break

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I haven’t posted anything in a while, because I have been busy working on Ariane in Paradise.  I am basically two thirds done.  Not only did I finish all the segments mentioned in my last post, I finished two of the three “day two afternoon” segments, a casino segment and one above I won’t describe (but there are enough clues in the picture to figure it out).

These last two segments are kind of odd and break away from the themes and mood of the rest of the story. Generally segments like this are unpopular, but I think they serve a purpose of world building.  The island feels like a real place with lots of stories happening on it, and it does not have to all be about romance, sex and nudity.

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The third afternoon segment I have planned is sort of a “high seas adventure” on a sailboat.  Finishing it finishes day 2, so part of me wants to hurry up, but this is also in a way the main exciting climactic point of the game, and if I try to rush it, I could ruin it like Game of Thrones season 8 (sorry I couldn’t resist).

Bottom line is I need a break to think about this final segment, plus think about day 3 and where that is going.  Also Guild Wars 2 is releasing a new chapter on Tuesday so I suspect I’ll be spending a lot of time there.

If I do any work on the game in the next month, it will be to add sound effects and music and achievements, none of which I have even started on.

And that’s where I am right now.