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.

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.

Ariane in Paradise Progress Report

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It has been a while since I made a progress report on Ariane in Paradise.  Last report was that I was a third of the way done, so I can now report that I am now more than a third of the way done.

I am trying to not upload pictures of days 2 and 3 (I’ve actually done work on both) as I consider them spoilers.  I’ve already released quite a few from day 1.  The photos I am posting here are “placeholder” pictures that are not even used in the game.

Day 2 consists of three paths with 5 events, all having some kind of puzzle aspect.  These basically work like the downtown adventures of Date Ariane, or the puzzles from the 4th story of Something’s In The Air.

One path is a hike to a waterfall.  I decided I wanted this to be an all day activity, and needed a really special puzzle.  My first thought was a classic adventure game where you have to build something to move on, my second was some kind of “escape room” type of puzzle.  I felt both were kind of lame, but then found a way to combine the two ideas, to make something really great, and I’ve been working on this path extensively to get it to work the way I want it.

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Path two consists of a day on a crowded beach.  If your game is set on a tropical paradise vacation, there’s got to be a visit to a crowded beach somewhere.

I haven’t written it yet, but I do have a puzzle figured out which you can succeed or fail at,  the thing is I am still thinking about what happens when you succeed and when you fail.  Besides swimming, tanning, drinking, and getting sand everywhere, what is there to do on the beach?

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Path 3 is a snorkel trip to a coral reef.   All I’ve really done on this one is enough set building to make this picture.  Not sure what I want to do, yet.

But I’m leaning towards borrowing an idea from Chaotic’s Miranda which involves a game of hide and seek in the coral.  Find Ariane before you run out of air.  Again, not sure of the rewards and punishments based on success and failure.

Two of these paths, beach and coral, are morning only.  I want to create two afternoon activities.  One idea is a trip to a casino to play roulette.  The twist on this puzzle: You actually play a game of roulette with a number of random success and failure outcomes, again haven’t written them yet.

Anyways, that’s enough updating, I better get back to work.

Ariane in Paradise Status Report: “Day 1” Done

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Ariane in Paradise is divided up into 3 days, each one being sort of a mini visual novel, which if successful leads to the next day.

I recently completed  “Day 1”, meaning I’m a third of the way done.  Day one, like act 1 of a story, is about establishing character and settings.  Day 1 objective is to learn 4 things about Ariane: She likes dancing, gymnastics, astronomy, and outdoor activities.  Of course if you play Date Ariane, you already know these 4 things about her, but it is all about getting her to talk about herself and ask the right questions. to get the right responses.

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Meanwhile, you can talk about yourself and make decisions about your character as you do.  The main decisions:  business trip vs. vacation trip, rich vs. middle class, business degree vs biology degree vs never went to college,  outdoor enthusiast vs science geek.  There are a couple of others, but they only affect minor dialogue choices.

Finally, Day 1 is about establishing the setting. There are three main paths the story can take.  One focuses on the island’s past, one on the present, and one on the future.  From a Date Ariane perspective, Day 1 = before and during dinner.

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It took me about 9 months to finish day 1. So far there are 235 pictures, and over 1000 lines of dialogue.

I practically have to start over to establish day 2.  From a Date Ariane perspective, Day 2 = downtown and outskirts.  Day 2 involves 5 new paths, 5 new sets, and different wardrobe and dialogue for each and a “game” of some sorts in each, without repeating myself from DA or SITA.

This last part is the biggest challenge.  One of the 5 sets is set in a casino, so creating a “game” challenge is pretty easy for that one.  Another one is going to a beach. Besides swimming, tanning, drinking and getting sand everywhere, what is there to do on a beach?  and how do you make a game of it?

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These are the challenges I give myself, and of course the fun is in solving them.  Maybe in another 9 months or so I can say Day 2 is done and then I can start Day 3.

More screen shots from “Ariane In Paradise”

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I’ve been posting random pictures I’m making for the game on other social media. Thought I’d collect them here in one post.

Here is a render I really like of Ariane eating a banana in front of a grocery store.  Some have pointed out that the banana looks huge. I think that if you are on a tropical island where bananas are grown you are likely to find bigger and better bananas. At least that is my story.

“Epicerie” is French for Grocery.  Notice that the chalkboard sign is in French as well with prices in Euros. This is partly due to the grocery store prop came that way, but also due to a conscious design decision on my part.

If I am going to make a fictional tropical island, I need to make some decisions like what language they speak there. Looking at a map of the world and tropical islands there in, I decided that French speaking islands are the most common. French speaking islands exist in the Mediterranean (Corsica), Caribbean (French West Indies), the Pacific (Tahiti and the rest of French Polynesia), and the Indian Ocean (Seychelles, Reunion).

Therefore as a fictional member of Overseas France, most of the predominant signage should be in French, and prices in Euros. But to attract English speaking tourism, there will be a lot of stuff in English as well, like the “Come In We’re Open” sign.

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I dubbed the island “Duquesne” (pronounced “doo-cane”) after a tiny town in Arizona. It sounds French and a little exotic, even though it is also the name of a University near Pittsburgh.  I googled it to see if an island by that name exists, turns out there is one in a lake in Ontario Canada, which was the set of a fake documentary made in Canada.  (I had to change my VPN to a Canadian ISP to watch it, it’s hilarious)  That made me want to keep the name even more.

I also came up with a whole backstory to the island, but I’ll save that for the game.

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As promised Rachel makes an appearance or two. The weird pirate stuff in the background and Rachel’s goofy hat have logical explanations.

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Here’s the first actual screenshot of the game. As promised you can play as a buff and tan male or female, and you can name your character whatever you want. While most of the game is in first person, occasionally there will be moments where you can see yourself.

There will be scenes that only male characters get, and scenes that only female characters get.

An early objective of the game is to get to know Ariane.  As you do, she asks about you, and you get to make stuff up about yourself.  For example, the first question Ariane asks are what you are doing on the island. You can say “vacation” or “business”, and just like choosing male or female, there are things that only vacationers get to do, and things only business people get to do.  There are at least five other similar choices you can make.

This will likely result in confusion over choices, and make extra work for me in writing it, but it just adds to the fun of repeat play.

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I made this image for fun. Not sure if it will ever be relevant to the plot or not, but for now it makes a great loading screen.

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One of the joys of making your own game is throwing in the odd pop culture easter egg just for the fun of it.

My Next Game: Ariane in Paradise

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I have been hesitant to post anything about this, because I have a bad habit of starting something and then bailing on it half way through, but I am far enough along on this project to tell you about it.

If you follow me on Facebook and Tumblr, you may have noticed that my latest Ariane pictures look similar and she is dressed the same. That’s because I am making a new game.  Currently titled “Ariane in Paradise”.

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After experimenting with the genre with Something In The Air and Rachel and Ariane, I wanted to go back and do a second game like Date Ariane that is a little more chaotic and spontaneous.  My original thought was create a new character, but I like Ariane too much so I decided I just need a new setting.

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I thought about a tropical island game since I made the epilogue of Something In The Air, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Then I saw VDateGames has already done a couple of them,  Zoe is free to play if you want to get the idea of where I am going with this.

It also helps that over the years I have collected a bunch of tropical themed 3D sets that I have barely even used.

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The basic premise is this: Ariane follows Rachel to a fictional tropical island, where for Rachel it is a work trip: she is doing photo shoots for the entire week. This leaves Ariane all alone during the daytime hours to find some fun things to do.  You are on vacation alone on the same island where you meet Ariane at the hotel pool.

I don’t want to get into details, because they are likely to change, but I wanted to throw that premise out there to tie all the stories together.  You are not playing the same character as Date Ariane and SITA, in fact you can choose to be female if you want, that means you have to meet Ariane all over again.

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Also, Ariane only has free time during the day, which means that unlike Date Ariane and SITA, both of which primarily take place at night, this game will primarily take place under sun and mostly blue skies.

I made it a fictional place, because making it a real place could offend people that live there.  A fictional place allows me to, for example, create relaxed nudity laws. It also helps that my collection of exotic island sets include Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Polynesian looking props, so a generic tropical island in an unnamed ocean keeps the anachronisms down.

I have no time table of when it will be done. SITA and Rachel and Ariane both took around two years.  I’m doing this for my own enjoyment, and I hate deadlines, so it will be ready when its ready.