The Next Level in Erotic 3D Dating Sims

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This is the third (or 4th?) look at other games similar to Date Ariane. In fact the creators of all 3 games mentioned Date Ariane as their original inspiration.

Of course once you make one game, you try and make something better than your last. My concept of improving was making better pictures and packaging it as a real downloadable game.

The following three authors are still going with the online model but are taking it to the next level in 3 different ways.

Jennifer

Written by Chaotic
Art by Chaotic
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Link to play and download

Chaotic and dsp3000 have been making dating sims like mine for a few years and they can be found at www.vdategames.com. You have to sign up for a membership to get the latest and greatest, but there are plenty of free to play games as well.

Jennifer is the most recent to drop to the free portion of the site, so I tried it out. If you played Date Ariane, you will find Jennifer to be very similar. The same plotless “dating experience” where decisions you make along the way open up different activities.

Here’s the next level: the game is voiced by an actress, and many scenes are animated in video rather than animated gif. A different experience worth checking out. If you need a walkthrough, you will find one here.

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Brad’s Erotic Week

Written by Wolfschadowe
Art by Wolfschadowe
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator with additional programming by kexter
Latest download Project Forum

This was suggested by at least two people in my last list of new games. From what I gather this is an ongoing project with new chapters released every few months. Currently we are up to chapter 5. If all goes according to plan the final version will be done around 2029, so you might just want to play what’s available.

The game is a little on the hard side in the first play through. My first play resulted in getting rejected by two women just when I thought I was getting somewhere. And that is even following a walkthrough. Of course the whole point of these games is to play them over and over until you get it right.

The next level is the ambitiousness of the project: a multi episode dating sim with new episodes released every so often is going to be fun to follow.

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Redemption for Jessika

Written by Tlaero
Art by Mortze
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Latest download Online Play 1 Online Play 2

This is the latest from Tlaero and Mortze after their successful first collaboration of Dreaming With Elsa.

While Brad may be having a good week above, Jessika’s week has not gone so good: a break up, a riot at a concert, and a bench warrant in front of a judge. You play the court reporter at the hearing, and find yourself involved in Jessika’s recovery from rock bottom.

The next level here is the story. This may be one of the most complex stories ever found in one of these games. The story itself is pretty linear with very few branches. Still if you want a walkthrough, there is one here.

But, it doesn’t stop there. There is a larger plot at work starting with Dreaming With Elsa and continuing with the next title Finding Miranda.  Elsa and Miranda make cameos in RfJ and a strange woman meets with Jessika in an epilogue hinting at how the stories tie together.

I’m definitely interested to see where this one goes.

More Erotic 3D Dating Sims Part 2

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It seems the most popular post on my blog is “A Few More Erotic 3D Dating Sims” so maybe I should do more posts like that. Here is a few I found in the last year and a half since that post.

Dreaming With Elsa

Written by Tlaero
Art by Mortze
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Link to Play  Link to Download

This may be one of the best games in this genre I have ever played. The art is perfection and the story intriguing.  I had this idea for a Rachel game that moves between fantasy and reality, but I abandoned it. This one is better anyways. Elsa is an introverted bookworm like me. I would definitely like hanging out with her. More info here. If you get stuck there is a walkthrough here.

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Brad’s Summer

Written by Fleet
Art by Fleet
Format Javascript/HTML built with Novelty Visual Novel Engine
Link to download

A third person perspective game where you play as Brad, an underachiever who needs money to keep him in school.

Fleet is one of the few people who, like me, write and do all the graphics. This is his latest. My only complaint is that it lacks an easy way to turn off the sometimes annoying music. If you get stuck there is a walkthrough here.

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The-VDates Trilogy: The Gym, The Physio, The Sniper

Format Javascript/Html
Website

The creator of these games seems to be anonymous, but the games themselves are getting good buzz and reviews. The writer has a good sense of humor, and the plots have their share of twists.

The graphics on The Gym are less than ideal, for a good while every girl looks exactly the same and exactly like Victoria 4.  There is a marked improvement in graphics in The Physio. The third volume of the trilogy has yet to be released, but is expected to explain the odd ending of The Physio. If you get stuck, the hosting website includes walkthroughs.

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DigitalEro: The Game Episode 1

Written by GiantKrill
Art by GiantKrill
Format Renpy Engine
Download PC and Mac

When I finished the Renpy version of Date Ariane, I decided to look for other games like Date Ariane that were also built on Renpy and discovered this one. It is comparatively short, you should see all  endings in a half an hours time.

The graphics are done on a video game engine Garry’s Mod rather than the Poser/Daz Studio graphics of the rest. This makes them less realistic, but often more interesting.
More info

Something’s In The Air now works in Android

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It has been a long time coming, but Something’s In The Air is now available for Android. You can download it at https://arianeb.com/sita/download.htm

The early version of Renpy that Something’s In The Air was written in was not Android compatible, and when I tried to upgrade to the latest, it broke a lot of the game puzzles. After a couple of weeks of figuring out how to fix the puzzles and doing a full play test, I decided to upload it to my site, only to find out no one was able to get it to work.

I finally got a hold of an android tablet and confirmed that there was an issue. In my attempt to fix it I made a special Android only version of the game with smaller pictures and removing the player name feature (input prompts are a known bug in Renpy android). Neither of those were the issue as it turns out, and I finally found that the issue was a misplaced file. Still I am keeping the smaller pictures and no player name feature out of the Android version. I play tested all the potentially problematic puzzles and they seem to work.

It takes a while to load, and some of the animations stutter a bit, but it works.

The Other Updates

The PC, Mac, and Linux versions have been upgraded, taking advantage of the new Renpy features, as well as sharing the same “theme” as the recent Date Ariane version.

I am calling the newest version the “third edition” like a normal novel would. There have only been minor changes to the text and story, predominantly where it comes to events of the “last date with Ariane”.  I dropped the ability to import dates, it was not that popular anyways, and instead created 33 “last dates” that cover most of the major events from “Date Ariane”, I left a few events out and left out details to prevent “spoilers”  for players who play Something’s In The Air first.  Unlike previous versions, you can change the “last date” in the middle of the game. You used to have to start a new game.

Another change from the last version: No more on screen keyboard. It felt a little tacky and not Android compatible. However, there still may be issues with people playing on tablets who cant use their keyboard to type a name in.  As a back up, you can pick from a list of 48 male names.  Names can also be changed at any time in the middle of the game. (this feature is not in the Android version)

Also, buttons are bigger in height, smaller in width. This makes them easier to touch when playing on a small tablet or phone. I changed the main font as well to make it easier to read on smaller screens.  I also fixed a few pictures either because they looked bad or they were not consistent with the new Date Ariane.

A new added feature: You can turn off the “soundtrack” music without turning off the important to the plot music. Music in dance scenes, movie scenes and concert scenes will play as normal, but theme music and background music will not play when soundtrack is off.

Date Ariane is Now A Real Game

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I have gone ahead and released Date Ariane in Renpy. This is like the ultimate edition of the game that has been a dream since I started working on Something’s In The Air.  All the favorite moments are here on a format that is faster and smoother than ever before.

I have temporarily taken down the online version. My web traffic has increased 40% with the better graphics version and I could almost never get into my own website.  Since I don’t rely on advertising, traffic is not that important to me.

Now when you go to arianeb.com/dategame.htm you get a website where you can download the game. I made it available in Windows, Mac, and Linux, and there is an experimental Android version which I have no idea how to use.  You can still download the offline HTML version.

What’s so cool about the Renpy Version?

Aside from the obvious, no more “page not available” errors, you can now save games, auto advance, go back much more reliably, skip whole sections you have seen before, hear actual music when you dance which you can customize if you want, and the game is full of immersive sound effects as well.

Go to the options screen and you can turn on hints, go full screen, and turn off music and sound effects if you want.

A lot of this stuff is available on the lower right corner of the screen. Try clicking on “Auto”, it is probably the funnest way to play. you can control the speed of the auto advance in Options.  The lower right menu is very helpful if you are on a tablet as well.

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Anything else new?

There is also some new content, the majority being expanded scenes that existed before, especially in the museum, night club, and dress shop.  There is a short new “ice cream” scene, an a new little dance puzzle at the night club.  The museum and nightclub play a little differently depending on what Ariane is wearing.

There are also a handful of little surprises I won’t spoil.

I also added a new character, a pizza delivery man named Evan. An online friend for 12 years named Evan Kirk recently passed away suddenly, and as a tribute, I have immortalized him as an NPC.

Like me, he was way more famous online than off, with a sharp twisted sense of humor and a community leader.  He was a gay dude from Alabama which he joked about all the time.

This is not a picture of him, this is a young Chris Pratt, who he idolized and used as his avatar. My tribute NPC uses the “Chris Pratt” look, which he would have appreciated.

The Gallery of Achievements

One of the things that people enjoyed about Something’s In The Air was the gallery of endings and trying to fill out the character notebooks.

That really won’t work with Date Ariane as there are basically only two endings, a kiss goodnight, or getting kicked out of the house.

Instead, I went the traditional route and created 78 “achievements” for you to try and achieve. They range from easy and obvious, which you will probably pick up naturally, to some spectacular failures, which some of you may get naturally as well but veterans may not realize are there.  There are also some hard ones that require some knowledge of the game mechanics to complete.

Speaking of game mechanics, besides the reliance of traits explained here, there is actually now a scoring mechanism. When Ariane says “On a scale from 1 to 10, you get a _”, that score is a real value, not just something made up like it used to be.  This score is used to calculate some of the achievements.

Once you complete an achievement, open up the gallery, and click on the name to see why you earned it.  There are some other cool “extras” in the gallery.

Here are the names of the 78 achievements, with some notes on the harder ones.  You can probably figure out the rest by their name:
Multidate achievements
1. kiss (1, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000)
2. sex (1, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000)
3. date (1, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000)
4. All 5 Dinners

House Achievements
1. Rochambeau
2. Couch Sex
3. Six Pack
4. Yahtzee
5. Dance Champion (dance at home until she won’t anymore, then dance at the nightclub)
6. Three Naked In Bed (a Rebecca achievement)
7. The Quickie
8. Green Fairy
9. Ariane Owes You A Favor
10. Lucky Spin
11. Impromptu Strip Show
12. Kitchen Disrobe
13. Cheap Thrills (before dinner touch her boob, then walk in on her while changing)
14. Boobie Prize

Backyard Achievements
1. Hide and Seek
2. Hot Sex
3. Hand Job (involves the hot tub)
4. Wet Clothes
5. Backyard Play
6. Steal From Rebecca
7. Wrong Breast (lose at Marco Polo)
8. You Got Mail
9. Swim Champ
10. Underwater Explorer
11. Voyage to the Moon
12. Squeeze Play

Downtown Achievements
1. Designated Driver
2. Dizzy
3. Trivia Buff
4. Devil In A Blue Dress
5. Topless Model
6. Bottomless Model
7. Twinkle Toes (win the new dance game without cheating)
8. Art Expert
9. Rebecca Shirtless
10. Let’s Go To The Mall (finish dinner at home with extra “nice” points and then let Ariane drive to town)
11. Shopping Spree
12. Downtown Nudity (a multi date achievement involving different locations)

Neighborhood Achievements
1. Nude Pics in the Park
2. Shutterbug (all 5 versions of the park photoshoot over many dates)
3. Three for Three (Ariane has to hit all 3 of hers, too)
4. Air Ball
5. Nice Uniforms
6. Naked Ball
7. Great Outdoors
8. Playing Without Pants
9. Playing Without Clothes
10. Naked Beer Run
11. Well Protected (involves buying lots of condoms)
12. Ice Cream Run

Lake Achievements
1. Ski Trip
2. Moonlight Serenade
3. Wet Dress
4. Head Stand

Scenic View Achievements
1.  Moon for the Camera
2. True Artist
3. Money Shot
4. Blow Job
5. Kiss Where it Counts

Cabaret Achievements
1. Amateur Night Victory
2. Win Without Nudity
3. Live Sex Act
4. Two Nude Dancers
5. A Dirty Mind

Special Dates
1. Casual Date (finish a successful date without changing clothes)
2. Friendly Date (finish a successful date “as friends”)
3. Perverted
4. Kiss you all over
5. Sex Endurance
6. Not So Smart (get a perfect 10 date without the “smart” trait)
7. Not So Sexy (get a perfect 10 date without the “sexy” trait)
8. Not So Nice (get a perfect 10 date without the “nice” trait)
9. Not So Funny (get a perfect 10 date without the “funny” trait)
10. Exceeding Expectations (finish a successful date with only two traits)

Any other hints to playing?

The walkthroughs have now been updated to the Renpy version.
Enjoy!

The Longest Journey Trilogy: The Best Written Visual Novels

For over a decade I have swung on a pendulum between “creative” and “playing” and after three years of mostly being in “creative” mode, I seem to be in a deep “playing” cycle of video games.  Hence my lack of blog posts as I generally have little to say while in “playing” mode.

One of the games I have been playing is Dreamfall Chapters the third game in an adventure game trilogy spanning 16 years. The first game was The Longest Journey from 1999 which was mostly a 2D graphic adventure game with many puzzle solving aspects.  By today’s standards it is kind of cheap looking and way too long, but it has one of the most compelling stories of any adventure game at that time. It was followed up in 2006 by Dreamfall.

The setting of the three games is two parallel universes named Arcadia and Stark. Stark is a near futuristic “cyberpunk” world of technology, while Arcadia is a renaissance inspired world where magic is real. In between is a dream world that both worlds share. The hero of the first game is April Ryan, a Stark girl who has a natural gift to move between worlds.  The second and third games star Zoë Castillo whose gifts to move between worlds were not so natural but artificially induced to create a new vivid dream inducing technology. The third game is about this new technology and how it has become a drug of sorts.

The genius writer is Ragnar Tørnquist, a Norwegian fantasy game writer/designer who also was the head writer for the MMORPGs Anarchy Online and The Secret World.

Dreamfall was one of my favorite stand alone games of the 00’s filled with great characters and an imaginative story with one annoying flaw: a shocking cliffhanger of an ending we had to wait 9 years to resolve. That resolution finally happened in 2014’s Dreamfall Chapter’s: Chapter 1 which came out a few months ago. There are 5 planned chapters to be released when they get around to releasing them, Chapter 2 comes out on Tuesday, March 10th, which is what I’ll be playing next week.

Dreamfall Chapters is being done by an independent studio and relied on crowd funding to get made. Despite this, the game does not look cheap or low budget, the bulk of Chapter 1 takes place in a gloomy futuristic European city which is one of the most immersive places I have seen in a game.  Like the first two games, there is plenty of humor and mystery.

Also like a good visual novel, choices you make in the game will radically change the game play. Early on Zoë is given a choice of picking up her life where she left off, or starting over on something new.  If you pick the former Zoë dresses stylishly and has confident hairstyle, and does lab experiments with a “kidbot”, if you pick the latter Zoë dresses more conservatively, has a simple hairstyle, and runs around testing a salvaged robot named “shitbot”.  The former choice seems the better one, but “shitbot” has become very popular among players (“Welding, welding,welding”).

If you like games with good storytelling, this is as good as it gets.

#rehash #rehash

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Why are we craving the past so much these days? This seems especially true in movies, music, and video games.

Lets start with movies: Remakes, reimaginings, and of course prequels and sequels seem to be the norm of movies, and the few non-prequels and sequels are based on comic books and novels people are already familiar with. Are there no original stories to film anymore?

The answer is “of course there are, but it is too financially risky”.  When I saw the trailer for the new Terminator movie, it seems they are just tinkering with the time line again. Why did they make this movie when there are plenty of really good AI vs Humanity stories available in sci-fi that are not Terminator?

The answer is of course, “Because it’s Terminator.”  Nostalgia guarantees a big opening day no matter how bad the movie is.

And this is where my problem lies. Nostalgia is dying. It has been turned into a marketable resource, but like many other resources its supply is limited by the rate new nostalgia is being created.

Is there any new nostalgia being created?  The media is so wildly diverse these days there is very little new material that is appealing to the masses.

What about music?

OK, yes, there is new music coming out every year and some of it sells well enough is heard often enough on Beats-Music to make it into the latest mix by DJ Earworm or the European equivalent Mashup-Germany.

But a troubling statistic I recently read about is that songs and albums 5 years old or older collectively outsell newer music by nearly 2 to 1. This is only a recent trend as in the 1990’s new music was still way more popular than old.

Music is diversifying to the point that 2014 has hit a new low in the number of Platinum albums (more than 1,000,000 sold): exactly one album has done it, and it has the nostalgic name 1989.

I like to listen to new music and see what is popular. One of the underlying trends is nostalgia. There are many new songs that sound like they came from the 1960’s, and many more that sound like the 80’s.  The missing 70’s are represented by “ghetto funk”, a growing club trend.

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And video games?

OK, one of the inspirations for this random post is this week’s South Park where Kyle discovers much to his dismay that watching people play video games online may actually be more popular than actually playing them.

I’m guilty of this myself as I have become a big fan of Co-Optitude on You Tube, a show where TV actress Felicia Day and her brother Ryon Day play retro video games. As someone who stuck to PC games and never bought a console, I am fascinated by the video games I missed.

Recently, I picked up the series reboot of Tomb Raider. (When it comes to prequels, sequels, and remakes, the video game industry is just as guilty of nostalgia as the movie industry).  It was a 2 year old game I picked up for $5, and it was totally worth it as I had a lot of fun.

It is the 6th Tomb Raider game I have played, and like all the other ones, I eventually got stuck on a puzzle and had to consult the internet.  But the text/screenshot walk-throughs I usually consult have been replaced by complete playthroughs online.

As South Park pointed out, these video game commentaries are big businesses, the top players making millions in ad revenue, for playing video games made by someone else.

And yes, Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air also have a fair number of video commentaries associated with them.

Conclusion?

There has always been a certain level of nostalgia in pop culture. The most popular TV shows in the 70’s were set in the 50’s, and in the 90’s we had shows about the 70’s.  Movie sequels and remakes happen every year.

And yet, while I can’t statistically prove it, I don’t recall a time when it has gotten this big.  What is it about society today that makes us extra nostalgic for the past?

Or maybe we are not nostalgic for the past, and nostalgia is just a marketing ploy to insure an audience.  Creating new products out of other people’s work is cheaper and easier than creating from scratch.

The Sims 4: Same Old Same Old

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Feeling a little bored, and getting some good reviews from my friends, I decided to check out The Sims 4.  I have a long history with The Sims dating back to 2000 when I got The Sims 1 and eventually all 7 expansion packs until my computer could not handle any more. When The Sims 2 came out, I got that too, and the first 3 expansions, which also coincided with The Sims Online, my first MMORPG experience, in 2003.

This is about to the point where I got burned out. Really burned out to the point where I never got another Sims 2 expansion, and never bothered with The Sims 3.  It is also about the point I started working on Date Ariane, partly inspired by The Sims. In fact the first ever version of Ariane Barnes was in The Sims.  I even created an early web comic made in The Sims 2 using her.

The one thing The Sims brings to gaming that is nearly unique is avatar based gaming that is not violent, and often sexy.  That is what brought me into the game in the first place.

The Sims 4

Enter the newest incarnation, just recently released.  Some of the big changes include a much better character creator, and a much better house builder. Why are these such big changes? Because many Sims enthusiasts spend most of their playing time making new characters and new houses just for fun.  One enthusiasts site Mod The Sims has hundreds of celebrity look alike Sims and any house you can imagine for Sims 2 and 3, and eventually Sims 4 will have just as many.

And then there is the actual game play where they took care of us players biggest complaint: they made it possible for the Sims to do two or more things at once.  The first time I saw a character read a book, then decide to go to the bathroom and take the book with her to read on the toilet, I knew this was a major improvement and much realistic.

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I, of course, had to try and create myself.  None of the eyes or eyebrows were close enough to call it exact, so I settled for close enough. I also created a Rachel that was closer to herself. If you have The Sims 4, do a community search for “Barnes” and download the one that looks like the above two characters.  Ariane is a “Serial Romantic” with Active, non-committal, and goof ball traits, Rachel is a “Renaissance Knowledge” with creative, outgoing, and geek traits.

Like the people that create characters and build houses, I also tend to play the game wrong.  I turn off aging leaving everybody as young adult or adult.  then I like to build a giant dorm with 8 characters and not enough bedrooms or bathrooms, and watch what happens.

The answer: About the same thing that happened in Sims 1 and 2.  Despite the improved graphics, improved character creation and building, and improved AI, its still basically the same game.  They created this cool “multitasking”, then just re-balanced the game by making everything take longer.

This seems to be the main complaint with players of The Sims 3:  its just the same game with less stuff.  As someone who skipped over 3 and only remember 2, I can see their point, it all feels very similar.  Too similar, and that’s the problem, considering my 9 year hiatus.

The upshot being that I doubt The Sims 4 will drag me away from other projects, like finishing the Date Ariane update.  I’ll probably only play occasionally to avoid the inevitable “burn out” as long as possible.

Update Oct 3, 2014:

I assume it has to do with poor sales, but EA is now offering free upgrades, including the much requested “pools” and “ghosts” just in time for Halloween.