Creative Mood Swings

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Sorry I have not written in a while or posted anything.  The truth is I am having one of my creative mood swings, which is something I have been having for a couple of decades now.

For most of June and July, I was in creative mode working on the graphics update (see last post) and a thread for “Rachel and Ariane”.  As per usual, I started losing interest in creating and now I have swung into gaming mode, where all I want to do is enjoy other people’s games.  At some point in the future, I will get tired of playing and want more creative control, and will suddenly want to create again. It WILL happen eventually.

So to answer everyone’s question, I have no idea when the next game will be out, or when the android versions with the new graphics will be out.

The Android Copyright Problem

The biggest complaint is that people can’t download the android version directly to their android devices.  The reason is that Google has a strict copyright on APK files.  My file server that I rent from GoDaddy protects Google’s copyright. If it detects an apk file being downloaded by an Android device, it kills the download, hence the reason you can’t download the game directly.  I tried using a Google file server, but they stopped it in other ways.

So the only way to get the APK file for Android is to download it to a non-android device like a Windows computer or a mac, or a Chromebook, and then move it to the android device via USB cable or microSD card.  Sorry this is difficult.

The INTP Personality

I have an INTP personality. This is our greatest strength: We are good at stuff and know stuff. We find something that interests us, and we study the hell out of it until we become experts. We find a skill that we enjoy doing, and we master that skill.

This is our greatest weakness: When outside forces develop expectations for these interests and skills, our desire to improve to meet expectations goes right out the window.

I mention this, because I am having an INTP style dilemma.

To make a really successful indie gaming enterprise, I need to set up a Patreon, and find ways to release these games on Google Play Store and/or Steam, and I need to get them properly translated, because for some reason I have huge followings in Germany and Brazil. To do it properly turns it into a part time job.

The more I think about doing all this work, the less interest I have in finishing the actual games. It becomes a distraction that hinders my interest in even making the games.

So content creation comes first.  No Patreon, no Play Store, it’s too much work I am not interested in doing.

My number one motivation is to make these games for myself. It’s my hobby, my way to relax, my way to express myself.  I enjoy playing them as much as I enjoy making them.

I could either share them the way I have been: posting them on a file server and letting people download them with no support and no promise that they will work on your devices, or I could not share and just enjoy them myself.

So I choose the easiest route that benefits the most people and keep doing what I have been doing.

Anyways, to prove I’m still working on stuff, here’s some art you haven’t seen yet.:

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Date Ariane Graphics Update

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I am releasing a graphics update for some versions of Date Ariane. Currently this is for the English and German PC, Mac, and Linux versions.  Portuguese and French PC/Mac versions are now updated as well.  Let me explain this update Q&A style:

What has been updated?

About 95% of the pictures have been updated, over 1100.

I don’t see much difference, what has changed?

Lets start with Ariane. I am using an improved V4 model that corrects the shoulders and makes them look more natural and realistic.  You can pretty much tell the difference between the old and the new by simply looking at the shoulders. Also a minor clothing change, Ariane’s underwear is dark grey instead of tie-dyed pink. I also give Ariane some fun expressions that she uses in certain circumstances.

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Lighting has changed, there are a lot fewer hard shadows. Also reflections on glass and surfaces is more realistic. Since most of Date Ariane takes place at night, windows should reflect the interior light. Different locations use different lighting and rendering. Backyard is partially rendered in “superfly”, bedroom uses IBL lighting.

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I also created a more realistic look for Rebecca. Still “petite”, but she no longer looks like she is starving.  Also she has got a “bush”, since at least one of my characters should have one.

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Ariane’s SUV is the one I used in the Rachel and Ariane pictures. She no longer is driving the cartoon car I have been using since 2004. Her car actually looks realistic. The convenience store actually sells food now.

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With all of these moves toward realism, how come the pictures still don’t look real?

Because realism is not the ultimate goal, beauty is.

Why only 95% of the pictures, why not 100%?

I am actually working on a 2.0 version of the game with pictures that are more than double the resolution. In order to save memory, I am rewriting the code to reduce the number of images the game needs, mostly eliminating the “ending” scenes you want to try and avoid anyways. I mostly finished the images for this HD version, and decided to reduce them down to the non-HD size and update the graphics, but the current 1.0 still needs the pictures I have eliminated in 2.0, so in those cases the old pictures are still there.

Don’t be surprised if you occasionally see the old Rebecca, or the old shoulders, or the old underwear. I’m pretty sure I eliminated the old car pics, but I might have missed one or two.

If you are working on new code, why not incorporate it into the game?

Because complex changes to the game will mess up the translated versions. When 2.0 is finally done it is likely the translations wont work on it. I am trying to figure out a way to fix this, but it is going to take some time. 2.0 is no where close to ready anyways.

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Besides graphics changes, are there any other changes to the game?

I eliminated a bug in the English and German versions that under the right circumstances would allow Ariane to drive downtown naked, but there is no code or pictures to support it so it crashed the game.  I also eliminated the trailer for “Something’s In The Air” on the translated versions.

By the way, thanks to translator Thorston Frei, the English and German versions are the same game, the only difference being the window title, the default language settings, and the help page. In both versions, you can go into settings and switch between English and German. Note that some lines in the German version will appear untranslated. Only about 97% of the lines have translation, and the ones that don’t will appear in English.

I eventually want the French and Portuguese versions to work this way, but for now their code is unchanged.

Why are there no graphics updates for the android versions?

There will be eventually. Despite my efforts to control jpg compression, the new versions are now bigger in size than before. The android version was already pushing the limits of max size for an app, so I need to do some further size reduction before I can make new android versions.  The 2.0 HD version will never work on android, but I want the updated pictures to be available in app form at some point.

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How to Make Ariane in Daz Studio

dazariane1I have had a few people ask about getting a 3D model for Ariane, so here’s how to do it.

Shopping List:

My folders are organized for Poser so they will not be in the same place as the default locations for these products. Use the search feature if you have to.

In the library, do a search for Victoria 4 and find the “Actor Victoria 4.2”. When you click to load, it will give you a dialog box, put a check on morphs++ to load those as well.

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Next, find MRL Ariana and load “AriBody1 INJ”and in the subfolder PoserDazMATs load “Ari_MAT”, in the sub-subfolder Ari_Lips load “AriLips01”, and under Ari_MakeUp, load “AriMU01”

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Next, find Andromeda and open “!AndromedaHead INJ” then under “PoserDazMats/And_Eyes” load “AndEyes07”  Note: Andromeda also comes with a bunch of custom expressions designed for the Andromeda head, I use these a lot.

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Next, do a search for reby and load “RebyGlam Victoria 4”

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On the right hand adjustment panel (your interface may vary) click where it says Victoria 4.2 and a menu will pop up, select Reby Glam Victoria 4, then on the library window (left side) find the “AprilRebyGlam” directory  and apply “2 M Black” and “1 handles off”

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Now, on the right side, you need to select “RebyGlamVictoria4 : neck” then in the Parameters menu select “custom fits” and raise “hairline” to 50%

That’s it, you are done. I have added other features like moles and realistic anatomy, but the above is close enough.

Rachel, by the way is just DMR Ella, though because this older texture does not have the latest settings, I have been using MRL Eris skin

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Now, on the parameters menu reselect Victoria 4.2, apply a pose then on the render menu, select “render” and soon you have a picture of Ariane.

Rachel and Ariane: An Experiment in Storytelling

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After finishing the Renpy version of Date Ariane back in July 2015, I have been tinkering with the idea of what would happen if Ariane (of Date Ariane fame) and Rachel (of Something’s In The Air fame) were to meet.

I made both games for my own entertainment, and I am glad they have been successful. So I started tinkering with Rachel and Ariane being the third part of the trilogy.  I’ve never tried writing a story like this, and so I’m not sure what I am doing, and kind of making things up as I go along.

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So far it is coming off as “official fanfic”. I struggle with the writing part, but I am really having a lot of fun doing the pictures part, which is why I keep going.

I released part one in October 2015, a piece at a time until the final part was released on Halloween, when the story was set.

It starts with a “meet cute” as all rom-coms do, in this case they show up to a Halloween party dressed the same.  As they get to talking they discover they are the same in a few other ways as well.

After Ariane finds out Rachel is a supermodel, Rachel takes Ariane home and tests her in a few ways. Ariane passes the tests, and they end up getting drunk together.

It ends with Ariane revealing her never before revealed job: game developer. Rachel, being a game addict herself, is intrigued and wants to get together again.

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Rachel Dates Ariane is set about two weeks later, or mid November, though there was over a year before I released it in November 2016.

It almost follows a typical “Date Ariane” date. Rachel comes over, and they play video games (tying back to the end of part 1) then they go out for dinner. This time to a pizza place they both like (Pizza Mia shows up in both games). Then back to Ariane’s and some naked hot tubbing.

Rachel then makes a (intentional?) move that results in the two of them in bed naked together.  Can two mostly heterosexual women find love? or is it doomed to “friendzone”? Is that necessarily a bad thing?

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I just released part 3: Rachel Takes Ariane’s Photo. I tried to make it more game like with choices to eventually turn it into a game, which I actually made, and found it repetitive as most of the choices end up in the same place.

So I just converted it to HTML and posted it all at once. It’s about 23 HTML pages total using simple links to the choices you pick.

It takes place still in November, with still autumn colors (which is part of the plot). The two key scenes for me are the “short cut” and Rachel setting up cameras.

I establish in the games that Ariane is a bit of a dare devil or “Action Girl”, but never get a good opportunity to demonstrate it. The short cut scene is Ariane demonstrating that part of her personality to Rachel, who being a science geek is not all that thrilled with that side of Ariane.

Then when we get to the the actual picture taking, Rachel is the one demonstrating her personality, talking about photography in a geeky way and having it go way over Ariane’s head. The photo session itself is very clinical and very professional, the way a supermodel likes it, and with the exception of one version of the photo shoot, no where near as sexy as the ones Ariane did in Date Ariane.

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Control of what happens to the photos is in the hands of the photographer, or the party that commissioned the photos in the first place. That means Ariane has no control.

The objective here is to add a little bit of conflict. Differences that could get bigger later.

I’m working on a part 4, which basically would be act 3 of a typical 3 act story: Things get worse before they get better. It’s tough to write characters I like struggling with stuff, so I am struggling writing it. I don’t know if it will be linear like parts 1 and 2, or whether there will be multiple versions based on choices like part 3.  Depends on what works best.

Even if you don’t like the writing, I think I did some great pictures here. The pictures are actually bigger than they display on the web page, parts 2 and 3 are 1960×1080. Just right click and view picture to see the full sized images.

The 3D Figure Community: Everybody Hates Daz3D

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As I reported a few months ago, the 3D graphics community consisted of a friendly rivalry between Poser users and DAZ Studio users, which did not really matter that much until the newest DAZ 3D released content dubbed Genesis 3 was incompatible with Poser and could only be used on DAZ Studio software.

In the few months since then much has happened. New versions of both programs, DAZ Studio 4.9 and Poser 11 were released, and then DAZ started something that has made everybody mad: encrypted content.  There is a lot to cover.

Beautiful Fake People

Let’s get to what this is all about, it is creating pictures of beautiful fake people. There is some commercial applications to this, like illustration, animation and game development, but it is also a growing hobby.

The best 3D models come from DAZ 3D and they can generate the most realistic pictures like the one above. Each new figure they have released has been more realistic than the last. You can usually tell Genesis 3 figures from their realistic hands like in the one above.

Except that the picture above is not Genesis 3. It’s not even DAZ 3D. In fact there is not a single figure or prop in the picture from DAZ 3D. It is the Dawn model from Hivewire3D, specifically Elisa character with enhanced realistic hands. It was rendered in Poser 11 Pro.

My point is that you do not need DAZ products and software to create incredible images.

Poser 11 Pro Review

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A Superfly Render (click for full size)

Back in November Smith Micro released Poser 11 and Poser 11 Pro.  It continues to be the best software for this kind of work. Poser 11 adds a physics renderer called Superfly which is comparable to IRay or LUX Renderer but the materials can be built in the materials room like the Firefly renderer. My own experiments have been mixed.  The biggest flaw in Superfly is that the results don’t come anywhere close to the preview, but the same thing can be said about IRay.

Among the other new features not found in DAZ Studio is “Subdivision surface morphing” which allows a better control of the face (or other parts) for the purposes of animation.  There is also a new tool for adaptable figure weighting making it much easier to create new figures, and an easier way to share new morphs.

Poser continues to add tools to support import export to Maya, Blender, and other 3rd party software making it more desirable for professionals.

That’s why it costs $400, but the cost is the reason most hobbyists are going to DAZ Studio instead.

DAZ Studio 4.9

Meanwhile, DAZ Studio has released a new version 4.9 which except for some minor improvements is basically 4.8 with “DAZ Connect“.

What is DAZ Connect? It enables searching for products, purchasing, and installation of DAZ3D content directly in DS, without ever leaving DAZ Studio. What it really is is a DRM system to encrypt future products.

This has the whole community up in arms, both Poser users and DAZ Studio users. DRM will restrict the use of content. Despite the fact that they are no longer compatible, people still move between DAZ Studio and Poser, adapting and creating content for both. DRM destroys that.  This last month DAZ released their first “freebie” for DAZ Studio users that is only available in DAZ Connect. This has become the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of people.

If DAZ3D continues down this road, it could kill all compatibility between DAZ and other 3rd party software and 3rd party content resources.  Many people have attempted to make this point on the DAZ forums only to have their posts removed.

DAZ3D is currently saying that all their previous content will continue to be available as non-encrypted and they have no plans to make new content connect-only. They have also stated that all encrypted content will be released after 1 year as unencrypted. This has calmed some upset users, but there is a worry that they will change their minds in the future.  Why have it if you are not going to use it?

The problems with DRM in an open community

Meanwhile, Charles Taylor the lead programmer of Poser, let his opinion of DRM be known in an interview with Renderosity.

The problem with DRM is that it is indiscriminate. It doesn’t know a legitimate user from a pirate. All too frequently legitimate users are prevented from using the product they have a valid license to use. Also, every DRM system is eventually hacked, so the only piracy it truly prevents is casual piracy.

Yes, it prevents some piracy. Would these people have purchased the content any way? We may never know that answer.

Ultimately DRM is no more effective than a padlock. It will keep the honest people honest. Anyone with a big enough hammer will steal it any way. The question that remains is, “Do you make your customers deal with the padlock every time they want to use the content they paid for just to keep the honest ones honest?”

At this time, we at Poser have no intent to introduce DRM to content. We think our customers are already honest.

DRM has its place. I don’t think 3D content is one of those places. Especially given the myriad of available export options in most 3D programs. With a click of the mouse, Poser content can be exported to something like FBX. DRM is so easily broken, it’s going to prevent very little piracy. It’s not worth the trouble for the company, the vendors or the customers.

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NVIATWAS

Here is my own feeling on DRM in the 3D art community. I have been doing Poser since Poser 2 in the late 90’s. It takes a while to learn this hobby and get good at it. It can also be an expensive hobby.

Irregardless of what tools you use, there is a learning curve in this hobby that requires some practice. “Free” DAZ Studio has brought a lot of new people into this hobby and that is a good thing. New people are just getting their feet wet and are not interested in spending lots of money.

NVIATWAS is what we sometimes call new amateurs, it’s an anagram of “Naked Vicky In A Temple With A Sword” which is the biggest cliché in the field. But it is a phase everyone goes through until they get good.

It is at this amateur level where you desire as much free content as possible whether it is DRM protected freebies or stolen “warez” which is what DRM is designed to protect, you want it all.

I went through my NVIATWAS phase, too. The above pic is not mine, its actually good, my own are not. I’ve never actually downloaded/used stolen 3D models (mostly because when I was in this phase there wasn’t enough interest to share them). My thing was using screenshots from video games as backgrounds, examples which you can see on the Date Ariane Wiki. It may not be as bad as theft, but it is still passing off others art as my own.

Eventually, you get good and want to do something more commercial, maybe even potentially sell. I reached that point about 5 years ago when I decided using video game screenshots in Date Ariane was amateurish.

I wanted to start creating stuff I could sell and that required purchasing new content and paying attention to licenses to make sure renders of models could be used commercially. Every prop and figure and texture in the current downloadable versions of Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air, that I did not make myself, was legally purchased.

I didn’t need DRM to keep me honest, it was the desire to keep things legal that kept me honest. DRM would make things more difficult because in some cases I had to go in and change some textures and figures on some of my purchased models and props to fit my needs.

In summary, amateurs don’t care about DRM and its existence or non existence will not get them to buy more, while the professionals who actually do make a lot of purchases are actually harmed with DRM and are unlikely to buy DRM protected models.

So, in this community, DRM really has no place in it.

DAZ3D Buys RuntimeDNA

In the latest bit of drama, the largest 3D product website just bought out the third largest, Runtime DNA.  This has of course created a lot of mixed reactions, especially by the independent artists that broker products at RDNA. Some are happy for the change, thinking DAZ3D will bring in eyeballs and more sales.

Others, for reasons I explained above want no part of DAZ and are looking to move their products somewhere else. There does not seem to be a shortage of places: YUR Digital and CG Bytes seem to be advertising themselves to former RDNA artists, though Renderosity, Hivewire3D, and Content Paradise are better known.

Just more drama for the 3D Community to get over.

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

Ariane and Rachel Go See Star Wars

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I was on my way to the local premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens when I was accosted by a stormtrooper.

“Halt right there, let me see your pass!” the stormtrooper said, though I could tell it was Rachel under there.

“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” I asked.

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“Ha, good one!” Rachael said as she was taking off her helmet.

“Thanks, you look ready to see this. Are you excited?” I asked.

“Of course.” she said, “By the way where is your costume?”

“This is my costume,” I said, “Can’t you tell, I’m Jessica Jones.”

“Ah, of course. I just have a couple of problems with that.” she said.

“First, I recall you wore the same outfit the last time I saw you, and second, Jessica Jones is part of the Marvel universe, and we are here to see Star Wars so you are supposed to dress like someone in the Star Wars universe.”

I of course knew this would come up. Rachel is a sci-fi geek and tends to go all out. I decided to have a little fun.

“I can’t help it if Jessica Jones happens to dress like me, besides isn’t the Marvel universe and the Star Wars universe the same thing?”

Rachel gave me an odd look, so I continued:

“I mean Star Wars and Marvel are now owned by Disney, and if all the Marvel comics are set in the same universe, and Marvel published a bunch of Star Wars comics in the ’80s, then they have to be the same.” I did my Google searching before I arrived.

“Nice try,” said Rachel. I knew some geekiness was about to come. “The Marvel Star Wars comics did not contain any references to other Marvel characters, and even if they did, they are not canon, and even if they were canon, they would be part of the old ‘expanded universe’ which are now called ‘The Timeline of Legends’ which Disney decided to drop for the new movies. Also since 1991, Star Wars  comic books have been published by Dark Horse Comics.”

“Sorry,” I said, “I didn’t understand most of that.”

“That’s OK,” replied Rachel with a sigh, “Someone who is better at explaining stuff is on her way here now.”

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I turned around and a red-headed woman dressed similar to “Rey” from the trailers with a BB8 droid rolling beside her.

Rachel made the introductions “Hello Professor, I’d like you to meet Ariane Barnes, the friend I was bringing.”

“Nice to meet you Ariane,” said the professor, “Just call me Paula. As you can guess I teach at the college, and Rachel has taken a couple of classes from me.”

“Well nice to meet you too,” I said, “Nice droid.”

“Thanks,” said Paula, “When I heard that they made a droid like this for real for the movie, I figured out how it works and built one for myself in the college robotics lab. It’s not perfect but it’s a work in progress.”

“Uh, Paula,” said Rachel hesitantly, obviously she prefers to call her Professor, “We were just discussing if there were any connections between the Marvel universe and the Star Wars universe, what do you think?”

“Sure, that’s easy,” said Paula who grabbed a smart phone from a hidden pocket and tapped away for a good minute or so at an impressive speed. Even more impressive is what happened next.

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Paula’s BB8 droid turned around and displayed a holographic projection into the street, then Paula started to explain, “As stated in the introduction of every film, Star Wars is set ‘in a galaxy far, far away’ while the outer space adventures in Marvel are primarily set in our own Milky Way galaxy mostly on Earth but also other planets in the galaxy in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, or even parallel realms like Asgard in the case of Thor. So Star Wars and Marvel could be in the same universe, but on different galaxies which explains the lack of crossover.  Any questions?”

“Yeah I have one,” said Rachel, “How the hell did you just do that?”

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“Just some new tech we’ve been working on, I decided to add it to my droid here, even though it still does not work in daylight or under bright lights,” explained Paula.

“What generated this question in the first place?” she asked.

“Oh I didn’t have a Star Wars costume to wear so I just dressed like normal and told Rachel here I was dressed like Jessica Jones.  She as expected, geeked out on me with trivia,” I explained.

Paula laughed, “Rachel actually knows more about this stuff than I do, I’m not even sure who Jessica Jones is.”

“A TV show on Netflix that came out last month, based on a Marvel character, it’s really good if you get a chance to check it out,” explained Rachel as she put back on her stormtrooper helmet. I agreed it was good.

“Oh, maybe I will,” said Paula, “I don’t watch much TV, my spare time has been spent working on BB here.”

“Well good job on BB8, I’m thoroughly impressed with him,” I said.

Rachel agreed, then said, “I think it is time we go in and find our seats.”

stormtrooper and BB8 TM Lucasfilms Ltd.
Female stormtrooper and BB8 by rduda
Jessica Jones TM Marvel Inc.
App enabled BB8 droids are available from Apple