For over a decade I have swung on a pendulum between “creative” and “playing” and after three years of mostly being in “creative” mode, I seem to be in a deep “playing” cycle of video games.  Hence my lack of blog posts as I generally have little to say while in “playing” mode.

One of the games I have been playing is Dreamfall Chapters the third game in an adventure game trilogy spanning 16 years. The first game was The Longest Journey from 1999 which was mostly a 2D graphic adventure game with many puzzle solving aspects.  By today’s standards it is kind of cheap looking and way too long, but it has one of the most compelling stories of any adventure game at that time. It was followed up in 2006 by Dreamfall.

The setting of the three games is two parallel universes named Arcadia and Stark. Stark is a near futuristic “cyberpunk” world of technology, while Arcadia is a renaissance inspired world where magic is real. In between is a dream world that both worlds share. The hero of the first game is April Ryan, a Stark girl who has a natural gift to move between worlds.  The second and third games star Zoë Castillo whose gifts to move between worlds were not so natural but artificially induced to create a new vivid dream inducing technology. The third game is about this new technology and how it has become a drug of sorts.

The genius writer is Ragnar Tørnquist, a Norwegian fantasy game writer/designer who also was the head writer for the MMORPGs Anarchy Online and The Secret World.

Dreamfall was one of my favorite stand alone games of the 00’s filled with great characters and an imaginative story with one annoying flaw: a shocking cliffhanger of an ending we had to wait 9 years to resolve. That resolution finally happened in 2014’s Dreamfall Chapter’s: Chapter 1 which came out a few months ago. There are 5 planned chapters to be released when they get around to releasing them, Chapter 2 comes out on Tuesday, March 10th, which is what I’ll be playing next week.

Dreamfall Chapters is being done by an independent studio and relied on crowd funding to get made. Despite this, the game does not look cheap or low budget, the bulk of Chapter 1 takes place in a gloomy futuristic European city which is one of the most immersive places I have seen in a game.  Like the first two games, there is plenty of humor and mystery.

Also like a good visual novel, choices you make in the game will radically change the game play. Early on Zoë is given a choice of picking up her life where she left off, or starting over on something new.  If you pick the former Zoë dresses stylishly and has confident hairstyle, and does lab experiments with a “kidbot”, if you pick the latter Zoë dresses more conservatively, has a simple hairstyle, and runs around testing a salvaged robot named “shitbot”.  The former choice seems the better one, but “shitbot” has become very popular among players (“Welding, welding,welding”).

If you like games with good storytelling, this is as good as it gets.

cyborg

Between national news and recent personal experiences, I believe we are on the verge of one or more technical apocalypse. This could come two possible forms:

Either, technology advances to the point that it bypasses the need for humanity, or we grow more and more dependent on tech and internet connectivity and then a series of events causes the whole infrastructure to collapse.

We could also see first one and then the other.  I see both of these as very real possibilities, though I can’t say how likely.  I just want to briefly explain what we are up against.

The Vulnerability of Tech

On Christmas, my website vanished. The culprit seems to be a corrupt zone file which is used to tell the internet where my website is located. I got the site finally back up and then it vanished again due to extremely high traffic on the server. Not sure if that high traffic was directed at my site or the 30 other sites on the same server, but it took a move to a different server to get the site back up.

Two seemingly unrelated incidents in a week is suspicious, or just really bad luck. It is causing me to rethink my web strategies for the future, wondering if there is a better less vulnerable way to do what I do.

But that is just my sad story. How about the intentional takedown of both XBOX Live and PSN on Christmas Day causing much havoc in many households as many new games and consoles could not be played. Before that we all witnessed our first real cyber war between Sony and North Korea. Before that the very organization in charge of internet infrastructure was hacked. Before that was the #gamergate trolls and their malicious tricks directed against female gamers and their supporters. Before that hackers broke into private accounts of female celebrities posting private pictures.  These are just the headlines in the last 4 months.

We are looking at a new form of warfare / terrorism that is only going to get more common.  All tech is seemingly vulnerable. Even the supposedly anonymous and untouchable corners of the web have proven vulnerable in recent weeks.

Our dependence on internet connected tech is only going to get larger in the near future, which is going to make such actions more damaging.

The Vulnerability of Human Labor

We are at a point technologically where artificial intelligence, a sci-fi dream as long as I can remember, is becoming a reality.  This year we saw a chatbot pass the Turing Test, cars that can drive themselves are here as well. Those in the know say that the real innovation is machines learning themselves, which is becoming more real everyday.

From someone who studied this stuff for years this is all very exciting, but the big dark cloud behind the silver lining is what is motivating these developments:  companies want to replace human laborers with robots. When cars (and trucks and busses) that drive themselves prove to be cheaper and more reliable than human drivers, what happens to the 3 million people in the US that make a living as drivers?  Most likely their jobs disappear.

That’s just one example, hundreds of service occupations are vulnerable to automation in the near future. Because we have grown dependent on service jobs here in the US, what is the future of employment?

And where is this all going to go?  We have intelligent systems being developed to read through reams of legal documents to help lawyers with cases, we also have intelligent systems being developed to write reams of legal documents.  Eventually we are going to cut out the middleman and let all the intelligent systems handle all the legal decision making.

Then what?  A “small claims court” app where you can file a claim and have a judgement in minutes messaged to your phone?  So much for the need for lawyers.

Demand for doctors is likely to be in decline as well for similar reasons.  Neither will disappear completely, but job security will not be what it once was.

There will always be a demand for labor, but if these efforts to automate are successful, the demand is destined to go down, even while the human population continues to rise.  How do we create a society where an increasingly large segment of the population is unemployable. What kind of economy is possible if most of the population can’t afford anything?

Maybe we will build an intelligent system to micromanage a stable economy adjusting taxes and welfare automatically to keep the economy healthy for all.

Sounds like a good idea, until the the intelligent economic manager decides there are just too many damn humans to support (which is already true) and figures out a way to get rid of some.

It may sound implausible, but recognized geniuses like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are warning about this happening in the near future if we do not take precautions now.

The Clash of Two Futures

Foretelling the future is damn near impossible. I cannot say how much of either of these visions of apocalyptic futures are likely to be true, but I can guarantee both will happen to some degree.

The need for drivers will drop with driverless cars, that is inevitable.  It is also inevitable that some will try to prove their vulnerability by purposely causing automated cars to crash, possibly in retaliation for lost jobs.

Hacking intelligent systems is no doubt going to happen, and exploitation of vulnerabilities will result in an intelligent systems arms race.  Eventually hackers will build intelligent systems to ruin and destroy other intelligent systems, to what effect it is too abstract to see.

#rehash #rehash

Posted: December 6, 2014 in Gaming, Movies and TV
Tags: , ,

watyearisit

Why are we craving the past so much these days? This seems especially true in movies, music, and video games.

Lets start with movies: Remakes, reimaginings, and of course prequels and sequels seem to be the norm of movies, and the few non-prequels and sequels are based on comic books and novels people are already familiar with. Are there no original stories to film anymore?

The answer is “of course there are, but it is too financially risky”.  When I saw the trailer for the new Terminator movie, it seems they are just tinkering with the time line again. Why did they make this movie when there are plenty of really good AI vs Humanity stories available in sci-fi that are not Terminator?

The answer is of course, “Because it’s Terminator.”  Nostalgia guarantees a big opening day no matter how bad the movie is.

And this is where my problem lies. Nostalgia is dying. It has been turned into a marketable resource, but like many other resources its supply is limited by the rate new nostalgia is being created.

Is there any new nostalgia being created?  The media is so wildly diverse these days there is very little new material that is appealing to the masses.

What about music?

OK, yes, there is new music coming out every year and some of it sells well enough is heard often enough on Beats-Music to make it into the latest mix by DJ Earworm or the European equivalent Mashup-Germany.

But a troubling statistic I recently read about is that songs and albums 5 years old or older collectively outsell newer music by nearly 2 to 1. This is only a recent trend as in the 1990’s new music was still way more popular than old.

Music is diversifying to the point that 2014 has hit a new low in the number of Platinum albums (more than 1,000,000 sold): exactly one album has done it, and it has the nostalgic name 1989.

I like to listen to new music and see what is popular. One of the underlying trends is nostalgia. There are many new songs that sound like they came from the 1960’s, and many more that sound like the 80’s.  The missing 70’s are represented by “ghetto funk”, a growing club trend.

3arianes

And video games?

OK, one of the inspirations for this random post is this week’s South Park where Kyle discovers much to his dismay that watching people play video games online may actually be more popular than actually playing them.

I’m guilty of this myself as I have become a big fan of Co-Optitude on You Tube, a show where TV actress Felicia Day and her brother Ryon Day play retro video games. As someone who stuck to PC games and never bought a console, I am fascinated by the video games I missed.

Recently, I picked up the series reboot of Tomb Raider. (When it comes to prequels, sequels, and remakes, the video game industry is just as guilty of nostalgia as the movie industry).  It was a 2 year old game I picked up for $5, and it was totally worth it as I had a lot of fun.

It is the 6th Tomb Raider game I have played, and like all the other ones, I eventually got stuck on a puzzle and had to consult the internet.  But the text/screenshot walk-throughs I usually consult have been replaced by complete playthroughs online.

As South Park pointed out, these video game commentaries are big businesses, the top players making millions in ad revenue, for playing video games made by someone else.

And yes, Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air also have a fair number of video commentaries associated with them.

Conclusion?

There has always been a certain level of nostalgia in pop culture. The most popular TV shows in the 70’s were set in the 50’s, and in the 90’s we had shows about the 70’s.  Movie sequels and remakes happen every year.

And yet, while I can’t statistically prove it, I don’t recall a time when it has gotten this big.  What is it about society today that makes us extra nostalgic for the past?

Or maybe we are not nostalgic for the past, and nostalgia is just a marketing ploy to insure an audience.  Creating new products out of other people’s work is cheaper and easier than creating from scratch.

I am completely baffled at the conservatives here in America’s ability to get the Net Neutrality debate ass backwards.  Every statement from both conservative and libertarian sources gets it completely wrong.

Without Net Neutrality, government sanctioned monopolies will have the right to levy their own taxes on successful private businesses.

That is the TRUTH, that is why many Conservatives are supporting Net Neutrality.

I have posted this question to any politicians who are opposed to net neutrality: “So you are in favor of government sanctioned monopolies levying new taxes on successful businesses?”  I have yet to hear back from any of them.

The anti-net neutral argument made in practically every article I posted is that “Netflix takes up 33% of the internet bandwidth, so it is only fair that they pay ISPs to help support their traffic.”

Any good Conservative should see the fallacy of that argument, and every tech savvy person should also. So what if Netflix uses 33% of the bandwidth? They are providing a service people like and are willing to pay for as an added feature of their internet service.  Not only that, they are spending millions to make it easier for ISPs to handle their traffic by reducing the load on long distance lines, but that has not stopped ISPs demand for additional fees.

If ISPs levy additional fees on Netflix, then Netflix will just pass it on down to the consumer, and that is why it is a consumer issue.

Is that not the same argument raised by every anti-tax conservative against raising taxes on businesses?

And what about the 30 or so other streaming services that show up on my Apple TV? If Netflix is forced out by exorbitant fees, then that 33% bandwidth will just be divided up by other services, and then will ISPs go after them for fees too, even though they use significantly lower bandwidth?

What percentage of bandwidth is too much? At what level is charging them fair?

Then there is the future. That 33% is destined to fall even if Netflix continues to grow. By 2020 Netflix may only represent 10% of the bandwidth. Should ISPs continue to charge a premium? What about the hundred or so Netflix like services that haven’t even started up yet but will eventually? Can they compete if they have to pay fees to all the ISPs like Netflix? So much for competition in the market place.

Eventually the internet will grow so big that it will be able to easily support hundreds of Netflixes, and then the “Netflix is too big” argument will go out the window, and yet like all good taxes, the high bandwidth fees will continue to levied costing consumers and internet based corporations billions which could have been paid to salaried employees.

For the future of the internet, and I have been working in the internet field for 20 years so I know what I am talking about, there are ONLY two options:

1. Get rid of the government sanctioned monopolies and force ISPs to open their lines to competitors.
2. Get rid of their right to levy their own taxes on internet based companies, aka make them title II utilities like telephone and electric companies.

1. is not going to happen any time soon, but 2 could happen tomorrow if the FCC decides to.

What about fears of government regulation of the internet? That is a completely separate issue apart from Net Neutrality, it is just as likely to happen if ISPs become utilities or not. It is a completely separate battle, and yet the GOP backed by ISP money is using the confusion to claim they are the same battle, which is why there is so much misinformation on the right.

Why can’t we just leave ISP’s alone at their word that they won’t violate Net Neutrality? Because they already have. Twice. And they did it by purposely slowing down traffic. Net Neutrality will regulate these kinds of actions.  Without net neutrality guarantees, ISPs could slow or completely block internet sites they don’t like, or ask consumers to pay for access to their favorite sites.  This has not happened, but it is perfectly legal for them to do so.  This is why Net Neutrality is also important to free speech.

ISP’s say Title II would lower their incentive to improve the internet, AT&T says they will not expand gigabit services until the issue has been decided. Is this true? AT&T would not stop expanding if the gigabit service was selling well in Austin, but it seems most consumers are happy with the service they got. I’m guessing AT&T has already decided to slow down expansion for fiscal reasons, but decided to make a political issue out of it.

The truth is their political issue seems to have backfired.  It only points out how the lack of competition is harming the availability of really fast internet in the US. It is why US is in 27th place in internet speed.

The conservative position should be: We need competition so we don’t need to implement Net Neutrality rules.  But, the GOP politicians don’t seem to even mention that option. Until we get real competition, Net Neutrality is our best bet as consumers to insure free speech and consumer protection.

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Official walkthroughs

One last thing I wanted to do with Date Ariane was create some official walkthroughs. There are a couple of unofficial ones out there designed for Classic Date Ariane, but I decided with the changes I made they are going to be out of date.  So I started posting walkthroughs at arianeb.tumblr.com, coming up with 24 that will pass through all 53 points of interest in the game.

I then created a page you can go to on my website: http://arianeb.com/walkthrough.htm containing links to the 24 walkthroughs as well as an alphabetical index of the 53 points of interest and where to find them.

One of the reasons I did these walkthroughs, besides the constant questions I get of “how do you do this?”, was to make sure every aspect of the game works correctly. I did find a handful of bugs, nothing major, but the walkthroughs will work best if you download the game again or use the online version.

ac-sita1

Experiments for the next game

Another thing I did since finishing the game update was try out Tlaero’s Adventure Creator which is a tool designed to quickly and easily create the hundreds of html files needed for a dating sim type game like Date Ariane.  I wish I had this tool before, because it would save me a lot of time and effort. Version 5, just released, creates pages which will highlight hidden picture links so you can play these games on tablets.  Again, something I wish I had earlier.

That’s the problem with being a pioneer in the field, you don’t have access to all the cool tools that are developed later.

I tried out the program, first by doing some of the tutorials, and then by trying to create an HTML version of the Rachel portion of Something’s In The Air.  I think the experiment was a success in that I learned that converting a Renpy developed project into HTML simply involves a lot of copying and pasting between a Renpy editor and the Adventure Creator. Graphic Puzzles are not so easy to convert as the scripting is in two different languages, but because the Rachel portion of SITA does not involve any puzzles like that it shouldn’t be difficult to convert it to online.

Why would I want to convert it to online?  Popularity.  It took a little over a year for SITA to reach 100,000 downloads. In the past year the online version of Date Ariane has been played by around 1 million unique visitors.  Download reaches about 10% of what online does, a figure more or less confirmed when comparing online virtual worlds with ones you have to download a client first.  Habbo, an online virtual world in 2D, gets 10 times the traffic of Second Life, which is in 3D and requires a client download.

I only finished about 10% of the conversion so far.  I’m mostly doing it as proof of concept.

That concept being that Renpy is easy to develop games in because everything is laid out in a nice script, but once developed I can fairly easily convert it to HTML using Adventure Creator for online play. The download version would be the Renpy game which you could play without having to do stuff that breaks your browser’s security as it would be a stand alone game.

The next game?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what my next game would be like. I’m still thinking, actually.

The first concept I thought about and was actually planning to do (hence all my references to a Rachel game being next) is Rachel’s Fantasy Dating. The game would be played from Rachel’s point of view as she goes out with different people.

In SITA, I established she has a fetish for fantasy, so she goes on what seem like ordinary dates, but then she starts to imagine a fantasy scenario to make the date more interesting. Because you are seeing the date from Rachel’s perspective, the costumes and settings would suddenly change to fit the fantasy. The challenge would be to get your dates to play along instead of sit there very confused.

The first trouble with the concept had to do with this being a date simulator of Calvin and Hobbes. The scenarios would be difficult to write as I spent months and could only come up with two: a lake boating trip turns into a pirate adventure, and a particularly awkward date suddenly becomes an alien in Rachel’s eyes.

The latter made me realize this would work better as a web comic than a visual novel. Thinking also about the cost of new 3D sets and costumes for each date also made me realize this would work better as a hand drawn 2D web comic. So I am no longer going to do that project, back to square 1.

My next concept I imagined was an Ariane part 3, that starts where SITA ends: You and Ariane are on a trip together on a tropical paradise. I like the idea of taking Ariane somewhere exotic where nudity is not a big deal, and a new location might get Ariane to be more sexually adventurous.

Trouble with the idea came when I tried to come up with a conflict. Without conflict, the game would just be a bunch of tropical vacation slides.  The only thing I could think of is Ariane’s fear of relationships has her undermining the relationship throughout the trip, your job would be to try to get her to stop and prove you are the one for her.

It is a good idea for drama’s sake, possibly involving probing Ariane’s psyche to get to the root of her fear of relationships. That’s a pretty dark concept and I learned my lesson in SITA not to mix Ariane and dark concepts. Bottom line I would not have fun making a game like that, nor do I think many would like playing a game like that. Maybe once for the sake of the story, but there is no replay value.  Moving on…

My third concept is “Date (someone else)”. Create a new character and create new activities.

The biggest problem here is “What activities?” because there is very little I have not already done in either DA or SITA, so I would just be repeating myself a lot.

But I think I may have found a solution to this one: What if I set “Date (someone else)” in a future where the world is a different place? I could throw in a bunch of sci-fi concepts I have brewing around in my head as well as pick and choose concepts from many of my favorite sci-fi books and shows. Borrowing from the “Rachel Fantasy” concept, I want to make the game 3rd person as you play from the heroine’s perspective, and borrowing from the “Ariane 3″ idea, I could make nudity and sexual openness part of the culture as well. I could also make up a bunch of new activities that are not possible today thus mostly avoiding the self repeats.

Here’s my first concept render for a main character and special tech clothes:

scifi3

It’s a start, one that I am considering as I try to come up with enough ideas and stories and puzzles to make a game out of it. I’m not even sure if it will be an actual dating sim or more of a classic adventure type game, guess I’ll see how it plays out.

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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/ If you have Windows, you probably have IIS on your computer, or Linux, you probably have Apache, which can also be run on Macs and Windows as well, but these are networking engineer level server software programs that are too complicated for hobbyists. 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 DateAriane10AE.zip
    2. Right click and select “Extract All…”
    3. Extract it to c:\Users\(your username)\Desktop\DateAriane10AE
    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/DateAriane10AE/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.  So far I have five, which all end just after dinner. I have a list of 37 post dinner events I plan to do walkthroughs on, which I’ll post eventually.

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.

map8c

Once I announced that I was done with the graphic update on Date Ariane, the traffic on the website shot up as expected, resulting in many 503 and 404 errors.  I know from experience that the best way to alleviate the traffic is to release a downloadable version, but the state of the game was not good enough to do so immediately.

In the past two weeks, I managed to debug enough issues in the code to call it “good enough”, and just released a beta download of Date Ariane, which will hopefully drop the site traffic enough to reduce the 503 errors.

The download link is available at the usual place: http://arianeb.com/dategame.htm and click to download the 10th Anniversary edition.

One big change made is how “maps” work (where you decide which room to go to). The original game was an overhead view of the house which is impractical with the new model, and not really needed now that links are obvious and not hidden.  Until now they were replaced by a wide shot of Ariane and her house from the living room looking toward the dining room. There are now 3 new angles: “kitchen” view is seen when you and Ariane were in the kitchen, or outside previously, “Entry way” shown above is if you came from a drive or a trip to the park, and “dining view” is if you came from dinner, dancing, bath, or bedroom.  If you come from the living room, you will still see the living room view.  This adds some variety as these views are at angles rarely seen. Some one off maps have their own angles as well.

Social Media Update

I have had a rather disorganized social media presence as of late, and I am trying to organize it better.  This wordpress blog will continue to feature approximately monthly posts about whatever I want to blog about.  My Tumblr blog I have designated a “developers” blog, to talk about stuff I am working on or stuff directly related to my web site.  My Facebook page is mostly for promotion purposes primarily directed at players of my games.  I now have a twitter feed @ArianeBdotcom which will aggregate all 3 sources, you can follow it if you want all the latest updates.  The hashtag #DateAriane will be the official hashtag to post to.

A Social Media Feature

With that in mind, there is now a social media feature in the game available in both the download and online versions.  Basically, I am repurposing the rarely used Something’s In The Air date experience code, giving players a way to share their Date Ariane experiences.

At the end of the date you will see on the bottom right a “date experience” followed by a 1 to 9 digit hex number that is also a link. Click on the link and you will get: 1. a link to see a summary of the date you just had, 2. a text in red you can copy and paste to tweet or post to your favorite social media so others can see what you did on the date, 3. instructions to add the date to Something’s In the Air, which practically no one does, but still a feature I’ll keep around.  The text looks like this:

I went on a date with Ariane and here is what happened. http://arianeb.com/d.htm?1 #DateAriane

Clicking on the link will show what happened on your date, as well as an invitation for whoever clicks to go on their own date.  The date summary will not show everything that happened just the broad highlights, it may not be in chronological order, and it will probably not display the exact same images you saw on your date, most commonly Ariane will be dressed differently in the summary in some scenes.

Its my attempt at viral marketing the game, so share your favorite dates.

Report Bugs In The Comments Here

The download is still a “beta”.  If you find bugs, missing pictures, spelling or grammar errors, text that does not look right, or links that are too hard to see with their background, the comments section of this blog or the Tumblr blog are the best places to post for me to see them.

I’ll keep everyone informed when a significant upgrade is available.