Date Ariane 10th Anniversary Edition is Done!

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There still may be patches coming in the future, but as far as I can tell everything works the way it is supposed to work, so I am fairly confident I can call it “done”.  Time for a much deserved celebratory margarita.

You can play or download it here. I have also uploaded a Something’s In The Air version 1.1 available here. Primarily, the only changes are a new touchscreen keyboard for name entry (a stumbling block for play on touch screen devices) and the last date flashback scene now uses actual pictures from Date Ariane.  Otherwise, it is the same game.

The Offline Web Security Problem

Since the last release of a Date Ariane download, much attention has been paid toward the running of scripts offline and the potential security risks they pose.  My version is safe, I assure you.

The problem is that certain browsers will no longer run websites with scripts offline.  Each major browser has their own way of handling it, but it means your browser of choice may not like the download version.

Firefox – Only allows offline content to run as long as it does not attempt to access any directories or sub-directories outside the one in which it is launched.  The Date Ariane download meets those rules, so it runs just fine on Firefox without any problem, in fact I built the game in Firefox.

Microsoft Internet Explorer – Follows the same rules as Firefox, except it will give you a warning as you start to play. Click “Allow Blocked Content” when you start the game and it should run fine. As the game now uses HTML 5 elements, it may not run on Internet Explorer 8 (the highest version you can run on Windows XP)

Apple Safari – I do not own a Mac, and the last version for Windows was Safari 5 which is 3 years old. Date Ariane runs fine on Safari 5, but testers are reporting issues in the latest Safari. According to one web site, the fix is as follows:  Enable the develop menu using the preferences panel, under Advanced -> “Show develop menu in menu bar”  Then from the safari “Develop” menu, select “Disable local file restrictions”.

Google Chrome – Google chrome, also known as Chromium has far and away the strictest restrictions to offline scripts: Basically, you can’t.  Well that is not entirely true, you can add a command line flag:

--allow-file-access-from-files

This is difficult to implement, however. In windows, you can edit the Google Chrome shortcut and add the flag to the target. In Mac you have to go into terminal and enter a long command.

The Web Server Solution

Note: There are some security concerns in doing this, please read notes in the comments before doing this. Another way around the security issue is a little more complicated, and may not be worth it, but I will show you a reason why you may want to below. It basically involves running web server software on your own computer, then accessing via http://localhost/

Here is a simple solution anyone should be able to do, these instructions are for Windows Vista, 7 or 8.1, but Mac or Linux should be similar processes.  There is a simple web server program you may already have on your computer built into a programming language that thousands of programs, including Something’s In The Air, is built on called Python.

    1. Download DateAriane.zip
    2. Right click and select “Extract All…”
    3. Extract it to c:\Users\(your username)\Desktop\DateAriane
    4. Open Windows Start Menu, and in the search  bar type in “python” without quotes, a black window should open, note the version, it should start with a 2 or a 3.
    5. If a black window does not start, or program is not found, you don’t have python installed, you can download and install it at python.org
    6. Close the python window.  Then click Start again. If the version you saw in step 4 is 2.something, then type this in the search bar:
      python -m SimpleHTTPServer

      if you are using version 3.something type this instead:

      python -m http.server

      You will get a black python window spewing a bunch of text you do not have to worry about.

    7. If everything is going according to plan, open up your browser of choice and enter the following address: http://localhost:8000/Desktop/DateAriane/dateariane/default.htm
    8. Play to your hearts content without lag or any 503 errors.

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Date Ariane In Other Languages

I noticed recently that Date Ariane has grown in popularity in countries where English is not a primary language.  I was curious to see how easy it would be to use Google Chrome, or any browser with a translation app, to view the game in another language.

The only language other than English I speak with any proficiency is Spanish. Until yesterday, I used special characters a lot in the text which would fail to translate, but I got rid of those and now the game should make at least some sense to anyone using an online translator.

To play the game in another language using Google Chrome you either need to play the online version, or play using the Web Server Solution above. Right click anywhere and select “Translate to…”.  Mine says Translate To English, because English is my preferred language, but if you click “options” you can do what you want. Set Page Language to English, then Translate Language to whatever you want, then click “Always Translate” then “Translate”.

As you select options and play the game, each page will appear in English, but within a few seconds you will see the translation. If not there is a translate button in the address bar, it should be blue, if it turns gray click it again to turn translate back on. The translation is done by Google Translate which is often inaccurate, and it does not help that Ariane often speaks in slang, but the results should be good enough for anyone playing to get the idea of what is going on.

Walkthroughs and Other Stuff

Because the game has changed so much, many of the third party walkthroughs may be inaccurate.  I am attempting to correct this by posting a few of my own on my tumblr page.  UPDATE: I have finished my walkthroughs which can be found here: https://arianeb.com/walkthrough.htm

There are probably more bugs I have not found yet.  Post any you find in the comments, and I’ll patch them as quickly as I can.

Meanwhile, I’m ready to take on new challenges. I will no doubt post about later.

Date Ariane 10th Anniversary Edition is now in beta

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I have now finished updating 1155 pictures from Date Ariane. There are 5 pictures from the original game that have not been updated because there really isn’t a need. If you want to see a history of the updates, I documented it on my tumblr blog.

The original game had 1278 pictures, the majority of pictures I “cut” were from a rarely seen “Whiskey” drunk scene which had over 100 pictures in it.  I replaced it with a much simpler (and funnier) “Absinthe” scene consisting of 11 pictures.  There are numerous other places I added or removed pictures. Most of the time I added to enhance a scene, and most of the time I removed pictures because they were redundant.

What about the “Classic” version?

With all the changes to both the graphics and the interface, it looks and feels like a new game even with identical plots.  With that in mind I will continue to make the “Classic” edition available on my website as long as I have a web site.  For now, when you go to https://arianeb.com/dategame.htm you will have your choice of two versions.

Yesterday, I re-uploaded a fresh copy of the old version so you no longer have to play often outdated versions on 3rd party websites like this guy did.  I don’t know how popular the “classic” version will be in the future, but I’ll be monitoring it. Depending on how it goes, I will either move the old version to its own page accessible from the main page or just make it available as a download only.

Can I download the “10th Anniversary Edition”?

Not yet.  After spending a month changing all the hidden links to open links to make the game more phone/tablet/touchscreen friendly, then spending 9 months redoing all the graphics, there is still a final step of correcting text, moving text links to better places on the screen, and general bug squashing.

There are certain ways I want the game to flow following certain rules, and currently that is not the case.  Also, I need to make sure that every event in the game is reachable and every picture viewable through normal play.  There were a few months there when the couch make out scene could not be finished due to a missing quotation mark in the code.  Bottom line, I have not been very diligent in debugging during the graphics update.

That should change now that I’m done. I project another month to do debugging and text clean up, then I will make the game available to download.  It should be a 120 MB download when its done.

Date Ariane 10th Anniversary Edition (Part 1)

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So Renpy is out HTML is back in.  That is not to say there will never be a Renpy version of Date Ariane, I’m saying the HTML upgrade is a better use of my time right now.  I know this contradicts what I said here and here, but plans constantly change.

The numbers are in and Date Ariane is still popular.  A link on a popular Brazilian website has caused DA to go viral in Brazil.  I do not think a Renpy download version will ever achieve the same level of popularity, so I am concentrating on upgrading the HTML game.  As mentioned in my last post the resolution is now 1000 x 600, and the links are no longer hidden.  I have already made these changes and they are already live.

What I have not announced here is that I am bringing one change I had planned for the Renpy version and brought it to the HTML:  eliminating alcohol as a means to unlock content. Alcohol will still be needed to get to “drunk” scenes, and after two glasses of wine Ariane will decline to drive, but that’s it.

I am implementing a very simplified RP system to replace it. There are four personality traits you can demonstrate: nice, smart, funny, and sexy. The introduction part of the game (which was kind of lame anyways) has been rewritten giving you two opportunities to demonstrate a trait to Ariane.  The first is immediate and obvious: “Compliment her looks” = Nice, “Give her a hug” = Sexy,  “Say something smart” = Smart,  “Say something funny” = funny.  You then have a choice to kiss Ariane.  She will react negatively to the kiss, but you can explain/apologize in a smart, nice, sexy, or funny way.  Or you can choose to read a smart, nice, sexy, or funny poem.  These are less obvious.

The various dinner conversations, give you one to four more opportunities to unlock these traits when you “talk to” or “complement” Ariane.  The objective here is to demonstrate as many traits as possible, so ideally you should demonstrate all four before dinner is over.

You need to unlock at least two to go on.  Unlocking only one leads to an end state:  Too smart = too pretentious.  Too nice = creepy.  Too witty = cant take anything seriously.  Too sexy = obsessed with sex or too desperate.

The game plan is this:  Various activities will require different combinations of these traits.  For example, it used to require at least one glass of wine to unlock dinner at the restaurant or picnic in swimwear. Dinner at the restaurant now requires the “nice” trait, and picnic now requires the “funny” trait.  (since these happen before dinner, you need to unlock them during the introduction.)

The thinking is that Ariane has all four traits, and she feels more comfortable with date partners that do too. It also gets rid of the game plot of getting Ariane drunk to get her to do stuff, which is a trope I apparently started, and would like to see end.

I’m explaining the game plan, because I want it to work a certain way, and it probably doesn’t right now, so if you are playing the new version trying to map the changes for a “walkthru” or something,  the way it currently works is subject to change.

Note this trait thing ONLY replaces the drinking requirement.  There are also “activity” requirements and “foreplay” requirements for many of the advanced content.  I’m not changing those.

Combine two or three traits together and you get a personality “skill”.  It’s these skills that drive the various assignments.

Funny + Sexy = fun loving.  Any activity involving the pool or hot tub will become easier with this skill.

Funny + Nice = creative.  Any activity involving dancing and the removal of clothing, whether at home or in front of a crowd,  is going to need some of this.  In front of a crowd might also need some Sexy trait, too, if you want to win.  In front of a fountain at the park, creative and Smart leads to more daring snapshots.

Funny + Smart = clever.  Astronomy lessons requires some cleverness, so does handling both Ariane and Rebecca at the same time.

Nice + Sexy = cuteness.  This is meant to be more of a “lost puppy” kind of cuteness.  With this skill Ariane is likely to be more forgiving when you walk in on her changing clothes.  Cuteness is likely to help talk Ariane into skinny water skiing, too.

Nice + Smart = romantic.  A little romance is likely to get you further on romantic walks on the beach, or drinking contests in the kitchen, for some reason only Ariane knows.  Add some Sexy talk on top of it for some hot and heavy couch action in the living room.

Sexy + Smart = luck.  Risk taking is Sexy, especially to Ariane, but risk taking is less risky if you play it Smart.  That is why Ariane is more likely to get naked in a public place, say the store or the park, if you possess these traits together.  If you also happen to be Funny too, you can make her feel more comfortable at the scenic vista in the mountains.

Meeting the drinking requirement before was just a matter of a glass of wine before dinner, then two more during dinner.  Meeting the trait requirement is picking two up before dinner, then talk and compliment during dinner.  Failing to get all four traits, means some content may not work on this date, but you can always start again.

Next Part II: A brief history of Date Ariane, the first “single character dating sim”.

Something’s In The Air 1.0

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After over two years of work, Something’s In The Air is finally done (for now), with version 1.0 now released. You can download it here for Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Two years seems like a long time for a fairly short game, but this was a very part time hobby, and I would not have bothered to make it if I wasn’t having a lot of fun making it.  This game is mostly for me.  If others enjoy it, well that’s cool.  If others hate it, well I don’t care, because I like it.

So the beta version has been out for almost 3 months and has been downloaded over 47,000 times, so most of you are already familiar with the game.

So what has changed from beta?

First of all the number of endings have been reduced from 40 to 25, but only 1 ending has actually been eliminated. That was the fake cliffhanger trailer “Do You Know Any Gymnasts?” ending which I decided not to finish, so I dropped it, and removed its content.  In its place I added 5 new “epilogues” which I will discuss later.

I also dropped 7 “bad” endings like “Game Over” or “Bus Ride Home”.  I didn’t actually drop them, they are still there, they just no longer count as endings.  Lots of beta players complained that when stuck on 39 of 40 endings, it turns out they were missing some stupid bad ending.  So now you don’t need to worry about that. I also merged 8 “redundant” endings with other endings. For example the 4 “Amusement Park” endings are now just one ending, since they were basically just different versions of the same ending.  Ditto the two Bonnie endings, and the two photo shoot endings, etc.  That’s a total of 16 endings dropped, and 40 – 16 = 24.

The 25th ending is a new Ariane story which you will have to find on your own.  If Whiskey made Ariane act a little crazy in Date Ariane, wait until you see what Tequila does in SITA.

In place of trying to reach all the endings, there is now a new “completionist” task of filling out a “Player’s Notebook”.  As you play the various stories, you collect info on 12 different major and minor characters. It is possible to finish the 25 endings and still have lots of blank spaces in the notebook to find.  Instead of collecting endings, you collect info.

A couple of rule changes: First, the 4th story is not available until you unlock at least 5 of 6 “clues” which help you discover the over all plot of “Something’s In The Air”.  You can find out how you are doing with unlocking these clues in the Gallery section.

Second, after you completed the 25 endings, and view the complete list of endings in the gallery, you are given a choice of only one of five characters to pursue a further relationship with: Ariane, Rachel, Bonnie, Wendy, or Paula.  Whichever you choose, you will jump into a short epilogue featuring that character, and what happens next.

Why do you only get to choose one?  Because Something’s In The Air is sort of an Americanized version of Japanese dating sims, and most Japanese dating sims make you choose one girl to go steady with at the end, I decided to make my own version of this type of ending.

In real Japanese dating sims, once you made your choice, the only way to make another choice (and see other endings) is to start the whole game over again.  I made it easier:  Once you made your choice, you can go through the ending list again, and see the other 4 endings.  Your choice of character is noted in the notebook, otherwise it does not matter what you pick.

What else is new?  Besides the new story and epilogues, I improved some of the graphics, corrected dialogue mistakes, and added sound effects during the sex scenes.  This was a widely requested addition, so I figured, “Why not?”  If you do not like them, there is a file in the game directory called “customization_notes.html” that tells you how to remove them, or make your own.

Also in the game directory, you will find all the pictures and renpy files for the game.  Note that just because I made these files easy to view and edit does not mean you can make and release your own version of the game. It does mean you can customize your own copy of the game however you want.  I love modding games. so I made SITA easy to mod.  What you wont find are the audio files.  They are locked up in an archive for license and copyright reasons.

For you Renpy geeks, beta used version 6.14.1, final uses 6.15.7.  People that could not run the beta might have better luck with the upgraded Renpy.

Hope you enjoy the final version. Note that due to new variable names old saved beta games will not work in the 1.0 version, but 1.0 uses a different save directory, so you should not run into any conflicts there.

If you find any bugs or mistakes, post them in the comments.  If I get enough bug reports, or a serious bug is found, I’ll release a version 1.1 to address them, but my game plan is to mark SITA as “done” and start working on the next project.   (Anyone interested in a “Girl’s of SITA” calendar?)

What’s New With Ariane

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I thought I’d take time out from working on Something’s In The Air, to show some changes to Ariane.  If I get around to updating Date Ariane, I will be using these models.  So this is more of a preview of the prequel remake, I think.

Ariane’s looks have changed once again. This time I changed the shape of her face slightly.  Not only is she a little cuter, she looks a little more like the Date Ariane version.  She was originally supposed to look like Audrey Hepburn, but now she looks more like another British actress, though I’m not sure if it is Gemma Arterton, Michelle Dockery, or Jenna-Louise Coleman.  Dockery is probably the closest, but if you put Coleman’s eyes on Arterton’s head you would get a closer match.  (OK, you got me, Kim Kardashian’s eyes on Arterton’s head would be closer, I just happen to be a Doctor Who fan.)  If you want to see more pics, I rerendered all the portfolio pics with the new face. Eventually, the whole website will use the new look.

Anyways, enough about that, lets check out the house. Above is the living room couch, now white cloth with blue throw pillows instead of the old black vinyl and no throw pillows. Behind her is the dining area, and that orange section in back is the kitchen.

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Yes the kitchen is a bright orange, with black counters and appliances and dark brown wood cabinets. A nice change from the apricot color kitchen that looked a little too 70’s retro for me.

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If you turn around and look back towards the living room, you will see that the bay windows have moved to the side. In its place is a TV and a bookshelf filled with great works of literature.  OK, the first shelf are great works of literature the rest are trashy romance novels.  The old “boom box” is still there, because there is an area in front for dancing.

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Last but not least is the bedroom.  Goodbye pink painted stucco, hello beige yellow wallpaper.  I moved my computer in here.  I have some gymnastics memorabilia on the shelves, and a print of Monet’s Water Lillys at Sunset.  Behind you unseen are some glass doors opening to the patio and pool area.

And that’s the five cent tour. There is also a gray colored bathroom and a second bedroom you will probably never see, as well as a garage.  Now back to work.

Date Ariane aka Date Simulator 7.2 The Final Update

I knew after doing the 7.1 update that I would do one more update to Ariane’s Dating Simulator, or as I am now dubbing it Date Ariane.  This update consists of three or four minor changes, mostly updates of the home store and the dress shop.  Also the “Date Experience” code shows up at the end of the date.  The date experience is a 1 to 5 digit hexadecimal code that you can enter into the Something’s In The Air sequel game (when it finally gets released) to unlock some custom content related to the first date you had. I explain more here.

You can get the full 79MB new version via links here, or if you already have a stand alone 7.1, you can download the 1MB update file here.

This is a screenshot of the new dress shop.  It is designed to match the one in the sequel.  The old dress shop was made from a screen shot of The Sims 2.  Above is a picture of the new “Home Place” store, an IKEA like box store, the old pic was a screen shot from a furniture store in Second Life,  the new is a bunch of assorted furniture and picture props I have thrown together, which looks a lot nicer.  The two photos over her left shoulder are the options to choose from for Ariane’s living room wall.  The painting over her right shoulder is the one hanging in my real living room wall (the real one is hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York).  The “New Poster” section are posters that show up in SITA.

With these updates, I have now eliminated all video game screenshot backgrounds from Date Ariane, with the exception of one location: the grass and trees from the park scenes come from Second Life.  It’s all freebie library grass and trees and all the park foreground is 3D models so I don’t feel obligated to update.

This will be the final version in HTML format.  The 800 x 500 graphics are too small to bother with better graphics, and making larger pictures would use up too much bandwidth.  One of these days I may release a stand alone version with HD quality graphics, maybe for the 10th anniversary which isn’t for a couple of years yet.  Meanwhile, I still have the sequel to finish.

The “Sequel” Has a Title

It has been about 6 months since I actively started working on the “sequel”, so you are due for an update.  The biggest news is that I have settled on a title, which is quite an accomplishment considering that the original Date Ariane Simulator never really had an official title.  After toying with “Second Date” (which is the project folder name) and the lame but descriptive “Date Night in America”, the title I have finally settled on is “Something’s In The Air“.

Not only is it a more poetic title, which evokes a romantic feeling, but like all good titles it is actually descriptive of a couple of different plot points, which I am not going to describe here.  Above is one of 7 title screens which circulate when you get to them each showing 2 to 3 characters you will meet along the way.

I’m now in mood for development again, and doing as much as I can while the feeling is still here.  Above is one of the pictures I did this week.  Part of the fun I am having in doing these crowd pictures is putting in little stuff in the background.  In this scene, you are in a bar chatting it up with the girl in blue, while your friend Dave is hitting on the owner of the strip club next to her.  At one point, he disappears, only to return with a copy of the magazine she is in.  Meanwhile, the red headed dude in the back is ogling the bartender whenever she is not looking at him.  None of this is in the dialog, it is just fun throwing in little details like that.

The game plan is 6 main stories, each with a different style, and different objectives.  The first story is The Second Date, and its style is similar to the first date.  Traditional date stuff, with a slightly surreal twist.  The second I can only describe as “noir” featuring two women, one poor, and one rich.  There is a mystery to solve here, too.  The third I have decided on a “storybook romance” theme between a rock star and a temp “roadie” (you). I have not written this one yet, and I may even outsource it.  I’m using this story as inspiration.  The fourth is a true “visual novel” storyline involving many possible paths, probably the most complicated one with lots of possible endings.  The fifth has two possible women, I decided to do this one comic book style: occasional multi-pane, and dumping the first person perspective for stylish angles, flashbacks, and onomatopoeia action descriptions.  The sixth and final story is “video game epic”: an adventure game in the style of an alternate reality game.  Its the “end game”; you can only play it after playing the other 5 (which can be played in any order).

While I have done some work on all 6, only story 1 is near completion.  My plan is to release story 1 (the second date) as a demo within the next 6 months.  Depending on what I have done and the rate of completion, I’ll decide how to release the rest of the game.

Here’s the other 6 title screens: