Going to the Movies with Ariane

So I mentioned last time that I had a challenge in creating a crowded movie theater.  Challenge Met!!  I have no idea if or when I will finish this sequel, but I am having a lot of fun giving myself challenges and meeting them.  It is like a really different video game, with daily new mission and quests to get around.

In the case of the crowded movie theater, it turned out that the theater prop I bought for the occasion has an audience of low resolution patrons already included, they just look kind of crappy.  So instead of a mission to create lots and lots of people to fill the seats, the challenge became, how do I make the crappy looking people look less crappy.  The solution was a two parter. First, a darkened theater where the primary source of light is the movie screen, thus making the audience backlit helps.  Second, strategically covering the round heads with low res hair models I have collected over the years makes it look better than it really is.  If you look at just the silhouetted heads it looks like a theater of unique characters.  It is only looking at the arms and further away characters that give away the cheat.  Oops, now I told everybody.

Now I have thought about “going to the movies” as an option for a date since I started working on the first dating simulator, and I had always had it where, you talk for a bit before the movie, then two hours go by, and then you talk afterwords.  But since the theater turned out so easy, I took up a new challenge of doing fake stills of the movie you are watching as an entertaining way of saying “time is passing, and all you are doing is watching a movie”.  If you go to the movies, you choose between three movies: A romantic comedy, an action movie, and a sad drama.  The still above is from the romantic comedy (just kidding).

The action movie and romantic comedy consist of 3 screens each, act 1, act 2, and act 3.  So basically I am reducing a 2 hour movie to a 3 panel comic strip and finding it very easy to do.  The title of the generic action movie is “The Maguffin Job 2 in 3D”, and basically consists of picture 1: a gathering, picture 2: the conflict begins, picture 3: the conflict ends. This is picture #3.  In creating these pictures, I am making use of every model I can find in my poser library.  The giant robot, the drone planes, and the machine gun are all freebies that came with either Poser 5 or 7, I forgot.  The road is the model I used for the new trip to the look put point in the dating game, I am just reusing it.  The girl is a flawed character I got cheap, and the guy doing the driving is the generic “Michael 4” which I decided I would need later on, and DAZ was selling it this week at half price. The “jeep” I assume you recognize if you played the Dating Simulator

As for the explosion, I have wiki commons to thank.  The Department of defense likes to blow stuff up, and military personnel like to take photos of stuff blowing up, and by law photos taken on duty by any military, which is not classified, is considered “public domain”.  So the explosion you see in the background is your tax dollars at work.

Since these are supposed to be stills of a 3D movie, I’m tempted to do these as anaglyphs. Anaglyphs are easy with 3d rendering. Just re-render the same scene with the camera 5 degrees to the left, then lower the “red” on one picture (forgot which eye) 50%, and lower both the blue and green on the other picture 50%, then merge the pictures together with 50% transparency, and you have an anaglyph.  I haven’t done this yet, still thinking about it.

Finally there is the “drama” stills, and I decided to make the drama a little more dramatic, ultimately telling the story in 8 panels instead of 3.  Its a fairly generic story, and even with 8 pictures, it is still up to the player to make up their own plot for the stills.  I gave myself an even bigger challenge in that I made the pretend movie into a period piece.  The problem for the player is “Which period?”

The problem is that my 3D library is limited and that my budget for new models is small.  So in creating a period drama, I just just told myself to use anything that “looks old”. Hence the picture above features one girl in 30’s french braids, and another with a 60’s style beehive look, sitting in a 50’s diner.  The diner I have used before in version 7 of the date simulator.  The background is a street model I got on sale, and will be used later doubling as a college campus.  This picture was a complicated one to stage and render but turned out great.

A couple of the stills for the “period drama” ended up getting set in a medieval castle set (it is supposed to be a church), just to confuse time period purists. Needing an old looking house interior, I stole the wall paper from the diner, and put it on Ariane’s apartment set. So if the wooden double doors and antique hutch look familiar, they are.  I also reused Ariane’s bed just using a more traditional quilt covering and an antique looking headboard and foot board, which kind of look like they came from the 20’s just to confuse the “period drama” even further.

Not pictured are any stills from the “romantic comedy”, which I liberally used photos of my recent trip to New York.  Again only three stills for that one: The “meet cute” (at Rockefeller Plaza), the “fight” (from a high rise window with a fabulous view of the Empire State Building), and the “Makeup kiss” (at Times Square).

Anyways, my next goal is to finally finish all the pictures of ONE date from beginning to end.  With dozens, possibly even hundreds of possible dates (no where close to the tens of thousands of possible dates in the first game, just keeping it more real this time), completing the graphical work on just one of those dates is a milestone.   One of the half dozen options after the movie is a trip for ice cream, where the date can potentially end.  Haven’t built the ice cream parlor set yet, but how hard can it be? I already have an ice cream sundae model, just find a good table and chair set, one wall with a picture of a clown on it, and we are ready to go!

The ice cream parlor date is not a particularly interesting one, but it is a low hanging fruit in which to start.  One down, about a hundred more to go.