More Info on “The Sequel”

Posted: September 1, 2011 in Something's In The Air
Tags: , ,

A lot of people have the wrong idea about “the sequel”, and it is probably my fault for calling it “the sequel”, so maybe I should take a post to clarify my master plan and set the record straight.  I suspect that, like the character update, there will be those that will say “That sounds awesome!”, and others that will say “That sounds stupid!”, but I am mostly doing this to satisfy my creative endeavors, not to please everybody.

So here is the deal.  The project is not really a “sequel” in the literal sense.  The truth is, the original Date Simulator pretty exhausted all of my ideas in regards to what can happen on a date that makes sense in the rather chaotic format that it was presented in.  There is nothing new to do in the confines of that format.

So I am changing formats.  Specifically, the new game will take the form of a Visual Novel, a game format I originally wrote about a year ago.  I am writing the game using a visual novel engine called Renpy, which can create playable programs for PC, Mac, Linux and Android.  (Technically speaking, the Dating Simulator is itself a “visual novel” but lacking sophisticated dialogue and coherent plot it is sort of an odd example of what they are like.)

Visual Novels are extremely popular in Japan and to a lesser extent Korea, but they have never caught on in America.  The primary subject matter of these visual novels is romance (renai), and sex (hentai), and a fairly large fraction contain erotic images (eroge).  Having played about a dozen visual novels (there are not that many available in English), it is obvious to me why they are not popular in America and everywhere else not Japanese.  Mostly it is because no one has ever created a visual novel to really try to appeal to people outside of Japan.  Not that there haven’t been attempts, but the creators of such attempts still fall back on visual novel conventions that annoy western audiences.  Lots of rambling chit chat, settings like prep schools that don’t really exist in America, Manga style art work, girls that are way too young looking to be “legal”.

My philosophical goal is to write the “Great American Visual Novel”, though that is unlikely to be the case in the long run.  A much less lofty ambition is to take the Visual Novel format and westernize it.  Like the most popular Japanese Visual Novels, mine will be about romance and sex.  Also like most popular Japanese Visual Novels, there will be a large number of potential dates.

Pretty much every other convention is being tossed aside:   First of all, potential dates are women, not girls.  Second, Manga art is out, 3D art is in.  Third, an actual plot, with good guys, bad guys, surprising twists, and humor.  Fourth, a focus on American style modern story telling, inspired by Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Joss Whedon and  others.  Fifth, instead of a story that takes weeks to develop your character and your relationships, it all takes place in a single day.  With all of this in mind, my current working title is Date Night in America, which I know is a bit cheesy, but it conveys the theme and philosophy of the project.  If anyone has a better title, I am definitely open to suggestions.

“The sequel” is a Visual Novel, and it is only a sequel in the sense that it is set in the same universe as the Dating Simulator, and time line wise set after the events of the dating simulator.  There are about 8 date-able women, there are about 4 others you can at least engage in conversation.  There are also at least 6 male characters that service the plot(s).  Ariane is one of those 12 female characters, so is Rebecca, and so are three others that make cameo appearances in the first Dating Simulator.  There are basically 6 major story threads, and I am purposely making all 6 very different in style from one another.   The  Renpy engine allows music, sound effects, video, animation, and special effects, and I plan to use all that I can.  A feature to save and load games is built right in (this is a heavily requested feature of the Dating Simulator, but simply not possible in the html/javascript format).

I still unfortunately have a long way to go.  I think of building the game like playing a video game.  I am currently “grinding” right now working to finish story #1, but I know I got a “big boss fight” in the form of creating an animation, before I can level up and move onto story #2.

Pictured above: Top row – The Smart girl, the Good Girl, the Rock Star, the Super Model*. Second Row – The College Student, the Athlete, Rebecca*, the Air Head  Bottom Row: The Artist, the Business Woman*, the Bad Girl, the Wing Man.  * = Appeared previously in The Dating Simulator.  Some of these are subject to change.

Comments
  1. arianeb says:

    P.S. There is a new upload posted for the Dating Simulator version 7.1, the only change is to the wall picture that you buy from the home store. I wanted to use that same picture in the new game but I could not secure the rights, so I found a public domain picture that is actually better. No other changes, and no plans to make any, except maybe to spell check the dialogue.

  2. Frank says:

    I see what you did there… Very nice. can we expect a beta version some time soon?

  3. Danny says:

    Well, after all the clarification, I’m on board, can’t wait to play. As for the title, maybe just mix it around, American Date Night or Dating: The American Way!

  4. sylakone says:

    Ah sounds good I made my first dating sim with renpy. Your virtual dating game inspired me. I am currently working on a html game using a great little tool called adventure game creator, which one of the members of a great little forum I frequent called sharks lagoon created. The user who was also one of the co-creators of Virtual date with keeley, Tlaero. You should visit the site there are a lot of like minded people creating lots of similiar genre games there. By the way loved your game and really looking forward to your next one.

  5. Nice. I definitly want to see this game. The easy part is the graphics, the difficult part is the game-play. And don’t rush it.

  6. v says:

    I am quite suprised about visual novel, because it means definitely more work that you had with ariane, but I am still looking foward to your work.
    Only one thing make worry that you threw away “new” Ariane model, which was quite neat and promising, especially, when you spend a lot of time working at it.

  7. Avast just told me they blocked a trojan at the 4shared download page, not in the download itself but in one of its banners. Better beware!.

    URL: http://best2banners.com/in.cgi?4shared
    Process: file://C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
    Infection: html:Framer-inf [Trj]

  8. tautha says:

    Wow… I’m exhausted just reading the blog! I really admire your drive, and can’t wait to see the results. Just wondering; is ‘American’ a crucial element in the title when considering suggestions?

    • arianeb says:

      Thanks. “American” is not a crucial element, in fact nothing is. The only reason why there is a “in America” in the current working title is because just plain “Date Night” is a recent Tina Fey / Steven Carrell movie.

      Maybe a more literal title, like “Man About Town”, or borrow some obscure title, like “Get Your Ya-Ya’s Out”. I don’t know, maybe a title will scream out to me later when I get closer to finishing.

  9. arianeb says:

    I have reached a major milestone, all the graphics for the first of six stories has been completed. I now have an “alpha” version of a “demo” that I can actually show people. Considering I have a good 10 months of work ahead (not including the inevitable long breaks I will give myself — for example when Guild Wars 2 comes out), I am in no rush to release the demo yet.

  10. [...] how ironic that I myself have been diverging my time away from Second Life to focus on creating a text adventure. I guess LL wants to keep me hanging around. __________________ ArianeB's Life in the Metaverse [...]

  11. Sara says:

    I hope that you include the huge amount of options and things you can do that the first game included. One thing that I liked more about your game than the Japanese visual novels is how much the player can affect the story and what happens. It was hard to go through the date and you had to do and say the right things.

    I’ve never seen another dating game do this and I hope you build on that :).

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