My Next Game: Ariane in Paradise

streetgym6

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”.

motel2

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.

beachsidel

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.

underwatertest

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.

motel25

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.

The Rachel and Ariane Story is Complete (for now)

nydpizza5

It was over two years ago when I released a story involving “Date Ariane” star Ariane meeting “Something’s In The Air” star Rachel meeting each other by chance at a Halloween party.  Parts 2, 3, and the first draft of part 4 were released last winter when I had a lot of time on my hands. After today, I am finished with part 5.

couchtalkend4

You might want to read the whole story or at least the ending before scrolling down and reading spoilers.

newyorktaxi

Last chance…

plane1

OK, Spoilers.

So Ariane really isn’t gay, and Rachel is asexual.  I more or less already revealed this a year ago in the badly written draft of part 4 I released last February.  I had some anonymous bartender break the news in a very awkwardly written scene that might exist somewhere, but I removed it from my web sites.

I spent the good part of this last year trying to rewrite part 4, and failing miserably.  My second approach was to make a game of this story and have the part 4 top club divide into three paths: one with the ending as it currently exists, one where Rachel and Ariane have sex, and one with the “Rachel is Asexual” reveal, but before I could illustrate it, I made a valiant attempt at writing it and completely failing.

topbar12

The problem is that a perfect stranger they meet at a sex club should not be breaking the news, even though it makes sense that there would be a lot of sex experts at a sex club.

The fix I came up with is 1.) for the three branches at the sex club to be one long branch, and 2.) to have Lydia make the reveal. It is much better with someone they know breaking the news.  There is a bonus reason 3.) The story comes full circle as part 5 chapter 3 feels like a repeat of part 2.  The last few pictures are even the same except the different hair styles.

At the end of part 2, Ariane reveals she sucks at relationships, and Rachel reveals that she has an odd fetish when it comes to sex — she can’t be herself, she role plays. Part 5 closes both of those story arcs with Ariane finally finding a successful relationship, and Rachel finally being herself in an intimate moment.

sita7

When I first designed the Rachel character I wanted her to be different than Ariane.  Two traits I originally imagined for Ariane, being a science geek and a secret supermodel, never came to fruition, so I gave those traits to Rachel.  I also got a comment once from a vegetarian player of Date Ariane, wondering why she was such a big meat eater, the comment inspired me to make Rachel a vegetarian.

But the biggest trait of Ariane is that she is really into sex, often on the first date.

So my original formulation of Rachel was to make her not really into sex, especially on the first date.  So the stories I came up with in Something’s In The Air didn’t involve sex. There was nudity at the dress shop and at her private photo studio, and at the house party though she didn’t get naked herself.

The problem, as all my beta testers informed me, is that erotic visual novels should have erotic scenes with the main characters. So I came up with this weird but geeky work around that Rachel will have sex when she pretends to be someone else. So I wrote two sex scenes with Rachel involving this quirk.

rachellarpweb

I later found out in my research on sexual fetishes, that there are people that fantasize about sex not involving themselves, and it is called autochorissexuality, and it is a sub category of asexuality.  Asexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone, but still may have a sex drive that can be triggered with the right stimulus. That is a pretty good description of Rachel’s quirk.  So Rachel has been asexual since I created her.

Part of the reason I needed to reveal this fact in this story is because asexual representation is rare in the media. It is estimated that Asexuals represent somewhere between 1% to 2% of the population, which makes them a pretty small minority. GLAAD points out that there are literally only 2 asexuals on TV.  Todd on Bojack Horseman is the most prominent, Raphael on Shadowhunters is a minor recurring asexual vampire. That’s it.

bedroomfinal1

Is this really The End for this story?

There is an epilogue to the story that I attempted to include in the last part, but it interrupted the tone of the story so I dropped it:

On January 2nd, Ariane goes back to work after her week vacation to face a stack of new bug reports to sort and file, while Rachel has a morning meeting with her agent to discuss the new contacts and job offers she got on New Years Eve.  Rachel is super busy with jobs and online classes for the next several months.  The two of them rarely see much of each other after the new year.

This could set up a “Part 6” in the future, or it could set up a future game. I really haven’t decided yet.

The Deal with “Rachel Meets Ariane”

rmatitle

Bottom line is this: I will not be releasing Rachel Meets Ariane The Game anytime soon, possibly never.  The good news is that the online story will be more complete, and a part 5 is coming, maybe a part 6.

The Rachel Meets Ariane game has always been nothing more than the Rachel Meets Ariane story I have been publishing in serial form for the last couple of years, but complete and with some minor added choices along the way.  The “game” version was just the same story but presented in a different format that emphasizes the pictures.

rmasample1

I was planning on putting it into game form because online you cannot view the full size art work properly. While the last two games had over 1000 images each, this one has less than 200. No sound or music and no animations, just an illustrated story.

People seem to be under the impression that this game was going to be all new. It was always going to be a rehash of older material, and I don’t want to mislead anyone.  Also, putting out another “game” is a lot of work, and there will likely be demands for different versions for different devices and different languages. Keeping the material “online” makes everything a lot simpler.

rmasample2

I came to this decision this week while trying to finish the game. The whole project has been experimental, and I am not sure the experiment worked. I have very limited experience writing stories of any sort, and I wanted to challenge myself in writing a longer narrative.

I was trying to finish “Part 4” which my idea was to have choices leading to 3 possible endings. I was writing a draft of the third ending — an ending that is supposed to conclude Rachel’s arc — and it was not working at all.  I was trying to squeeze too much detail into too short of a timeline.

rmasample3

After thinking long and hard about the narrative problem, I decided that the story works better in serial rather than in parallel. So path 1 will be the only path, and path 2 will be rewritten to be tacked on to the end, and the incomplete path 3 will either end the story, or take it in a new direction.

rmasample4

So, I just published the official canon “Part 4: Rachel and Ariane go to the Top Club” that is shorter and less complicated than the draft I released prematurely last winter and ends on a nice little cliff hangar.

I also updated parts 1 and 2, correcting grammar and spelling errors. Part 1 was written in the past tense before, I corrected it.

I will repost the multiple ending material I released before for part 3 as soon as I am able to convert the original HTML pages to WordPress format so you can once again see all 10 possible photos Rachel took of Ariane in the fall.

I’ll bounce the soon to be released Part 5 which takes place over Christmas and New Years off the end.

Sorry to disappoint about the game. Ultimately, This plan will work out better.

UPDATES!

I just finished updating the Rachel and Ariane pages.

1. The Rachel Meets Ariane page has been updated with new HD (1960×1080) renders that I created for the game.

2. The Rachel Takes Ariane’s Photo page now has all the original choices, meaning there are 12 different versions which you can read by making choices for Rachel.

3. All of the pages, including the 12 different versions of part 3, now have a gallery at the bottom, where you can see the full sized 1960×1080 versions of the pictures used in the story.

Upcoming Game Projects!

topbar5

Sorry I haven’t posted much this past month, I figured it was enough to move my site to a new page, then I spent the rest of April very busy in real life.

Everyone keeps asking when the next game is coming out, and the truth is I don’t know. Here are a list of projects I am hopefully going to finish some day.

Project 1: Rachel Meets Ariane The Game

The story of Rachel Meets Ariane has already been written and shared here, however the game will add some variations and display it in a high definition presentation that is a little more aesthetically pleasing. It is “mostly done” except I am working on variations of choices in part 4 that result in variations of endings. Biggest obstacle right now is that I have yet to finish writing the alternate endings, then I still need to illustrate them.

map1b

Project 2: Date Ariane HD

Basically this involves re-rendering all the images in Date Ariane to size 1500×900 and also correcting lighting and other aesthetic issues along with very low compression. The result should be the best looking version of the game ever, but probably twice as big for download purposes. This will be for PC, Mac, and Linux only as it will be too big for android devices. Status: I’m about half way done.

I was sent a new German translation that works with the latest English version, I will probably release this very soon for German speakers. It also has a feature to switch between German and English. I guess this means Pandorya will have to do a bunch more videos. I hope to move the German translation to Date Ariane HD as well when it’s ready.  Status: I just need to get around to it.

morelax7

Project 3: Unnamed Ariane Reunion Project

Inspired by Chaotic‘s choice to allow players to pick their gender, I thought I’d create a 4th Ariane game where players can choose to play as the male player character from Date Ariane and SITA, back from a lengthy business trip and anxious to reunite with Ariane, or play as Rachel, back from a lengthy business trip and anxious to reunite with Ariane.  So far, all I got is a concept that might involve some sort of adventure with the gaming guild that both Rachel and the Player are involved with.

wendybeach6

Project 4: SITA HD

Like Date Ariane HD, this involves re-rendering about a thousand pictures in 1080 resolution so it looks a lot better, but also in the Rachel Meets Ariane game I am introducing a new choice system that eliminates the need for picking “prequel” choices, and I want to implement this into Something’s In The Air as well.

Rachel and Ariane: An Experiment in Storytelling

halloween8

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.

rdapizzabooth3

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.

rdahottub1

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?

roadtrip4

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.

takephotonude3

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.

Rachel and Ariane GO to the Park

parkpokemon1

I’ve caught so many Rattata and Zubats in my house, I’m thinking of calling the exterminators.

Pokémon Go

For those that don’t know, Pokémon Go is a phone based game that requires walking around the neighborhood. Landmarks (public works of art or unique signage) are marked as Pokéstops, where you can get free stuff, and also use lures there to attract Pokémon that anyone can catch.

There are also Pokémon Gyms located at major points of interest, churches, and libraries. These are where battles take place, and can be controlled by three teams: Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), and Valor (red). If a gym is controlled by a different team, you can attack it and try to take over for your team, if it is already controlled by your team, you can (if it has the space) leave your Pokémon to defend it, and get stuff if it stays defended for 20 hours.

In my mind, Ariane is on Team Valor (the red one), and probably owned the gym before Rachel successfully took it. So that’s the punchline.

General Strategy and what to buy and what not to buy

I have been playing two accounts, one on an iPad, and one on an iPhone. One I have not spent a single penny on, and one I’ve spent about $20 so far. Here are my findings. Note many of the numbers are arbitrary as neither character is very high in level.

Here ultimately is the thing you need to know in this game: There really isn’t an “end game”.  No goal to shoot for except maybe “catching them all”.

Yes, there is a second goal of capturing gyms for the glory of your team, but that is ultimately a Sisyphean task as the gyms are never unbeatable and so the reward for capture is ultimately defeat, requiring a bunch of potions to heal so you can take it back again (as demonstrated in the comic above).

Many commentators suggest that if you are going to spend money in the game, buy lucky eggs which double XP earned. Especially do this early as the biggest rewards are for new Pokémon, and when you are just starting out, they are all new.

While I have purchased Lucky Eggs for this reason, ultimately Lucky Eggs are not worth it. No “end game” means no reason to earn XP fast. Leveling up fast just means you will have fewer Pokémon when you reach level 20, than someone who leveled naturally, and the more Pokémon you get the more resources you have.

Another thing you probably don’t want to invest in is egg incubators. Players talk that hatched eggs result in rarer monsters, but from what I have seen that is not true. Put whatever eggs you get into whatever incubators you get, but don’t put a lot of effort into hatching them.

It seems to me that the best general strategy is just one of collection for the first 15 to 20 levels. For the same price as lucky eggs, you can buy incense to draw more Pokémon to yourself. If you are playing with friends, buy lures and go to a Pokéstop and everyone will be rewarded.

Evolving and “powering up” your Pokémon is a waste of resources before level 20* or so as you will be capturing high CP stuff later and that is what you want to evolve and power up with the same resources. I’m guessing that when you start running out of space for new Pokemon (there’s a cap at 250 which I am not close to hitting) that it is time to start turning in low stuff for candy to upgrade the high stuff.

Avoid gyms before level 20* unless they are friendly and have space to park one of your Pokémon.You get additional rewards if the gym remains in control of your team for 20 hours, but since I started playing I have never seen that happen. When you do get high enough to attack an enemy gym, team with others to assure victory.

My gaming oriented brain says this is the best way to play: capture all the Pokémon you can until level 2o and never power level, save all your resources until you run out of space.

However, like all solo games, there is no “one” way to play, so do what you like.

Odd design flaw in the game

Throwing Pokéballs at monsters is way easier on my 9 inch iPad than on my 4 inch iPhone. What takes often 3 or 4 balls to capture on my phone usually can be done in 1 or 2 on my tablet.  Size matters.

*Level 20 is a bit arbitrary and that figure is probably lower right now (15?) as few people have hit level 20 yet, but as the number of level 20s increases so will that arbitrary level you need to hit for higher content.

tl;dr version:

Don’t worry about XP or your level, or the stats of the Pokémon you capture, just capture as many as you can and enjoy the outdoors and social opportunities the game provides you with.

Ariane and Rachel at Star Wars II: The Espresso Strikes Back

starwarspost1

A continuation of this story.
Note: this is basically a review of Star Wars the Force Awakens in story form, I avoid most of the major spoilers but if you want to avoid all spoilers, you probably want to wait and read this later.

So we all left the movie with smiles on our faces, eager to talk about the film we just saw. Rachel pointed her toy blaster at the coffee stand next door.

Rachel started, “So I can tell by our smiling faces that you all enjoyed the movie as much as I did.”

“I just have to ask,” interrupted Paula, “When did you get your hair done, Ariane?”

“Rachel did it in the theater while we were waiting for the movie to start,” I explained. “She said I needed a more Star Wars hairdo.”

“I wanted to do it with three pony tails like Rey in the movie, but I only had two hair ties,” explained Rachel.

“Cute,” said Paula.  “With that out of the way, am I the only one who felt like I was rewatching the original Star Wars?”

starwarspost2

I agreed, “Yeah, it felt like a remake with the serial numbers filed off. There are so many obvious parallels, a new Darth Vader, a new Grand Moff Tarken, a new Obi Wan, a new Death Star, a new Emperor and a new Yoda. They all just have different names, except Chewbacca. Props for gender swapping Luke and Leia.”

Rachel looked puzzled, “I get your analogy, you are saying Rey is basically this movie’s Luke Skywalker, complete with light colored clothes and a desert planet home, but who was Leia?”

I said “Finn” and Paula said “Poe” at practically the same time.

“I think you are both right.” said Rachel. “While the plot is note for note nearly identical to the first movie, it is not a perfect remake. Finn has more in common with C3PO from A New Hope than Leia. I’m not sure there is a Leia.”

“Noted,” I said, “Still the lack of originality in the plot is my biggest complaint.”

starwarspost4

“Not mine,” said Paula, “I know this is science fiction, and I know George Lucas has an explanation why 12 parsecs is used as a measure of time and not distance, but sometimes the liberties they take are just way too silly.

“You would think that after the first two death stars were so easily destroyed that the bad guys would have learned their lesson, bigger is definitely not better. Now they turn a planet into a space station?

“How does this ‘Star Killer’ move around the galaxy and still have an atmosphere?  The fact that they are creating artificial sunspots and sucking a sun’s plasma away would in and of itself destroy the atmosphere of the converted planet, but also the electromagnetic discharge of these artificial sunspots would fry all the electronics in the entire station.”

“Umm, good points,” said Rachel cautiously. “Excellent observations Professor as usual.”

starwarspost3

Rachel continued, “My biggest complaint is what was missing. Disney wiped out the Timeline of Legends also known as the Expanded Universe so they didn’t have to worry about continuity with the books and comics that continued the story after Return of the Jedi.

“Instead they dropped clues to a completely different timeline that is just as interesting. Luke disappeared? Han and Leia had a son? Where did this First Order come from and how did it get so powerful?  I want these stories dammit!”

starwarspost1

I had to laugh. “It seems we all have our own little biases that change how we see the world,” I said. “I like new and different, and complain when I see sameness. Paula is the scientist who views the world scientifically, and Rachel is the sci-fi geek who likes great stories.”

My statement created a lull in the conversation, Rachel and Paula both quietly took sips of their coffee and I joined them.

“Still…,” said Paula finally breaking the silence, “Good movie.”

“Yes,” Rachel and I said simultaneously before getting back to our coffee.