The Innovative “No Man’s Sky”

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Just when I thought I was done talking about original and innovative games, No Man’s Sky comes out, which is very different than any game out there.

I got the PC version, whose launch was problematic. I got a pretty good gaming rig, and ended up with frame rate problems that plagued many players at launch. After updating drivers, disabling the steam overlay, and setting frame rate to “max” it got a lot better, but it still randomly freezes.  No doubt there will be patches to fix this stuff eventually.

But graphics problems were not the only complaint I heard. It seems a lot of people had a false idea about what this game was. For some reason, a lot of people thought the game was multiplayerHello Games never said this, and no it cannot be.

Here is what the game is: Using “procedural generation”, they built a universe of over 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets.  For comparison, the universe is comprised of 10 billion galaxies, which on average contain 10 billion stars, for approximately 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. No Man’s Sky is about a 10th of the the size of the known universe, so adding code to make it multiplayer would be a complete waste of time, as the planets you visit are unlikely to be visited by anyone else.

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A procedurally generated landscape using Terragen.

What is “Procedural Generation”?

Procedural generation is the use of random numbers to make all the decisions, then using a known infinite random number, say the digits of pi, to create the same world every time.

This technique has been around a long time. Back in my Commodore 64 days, there was a space trading game called Elite that used procedural generation to generate the galaxies, the planet names, and the prices of commodities between planets.

Many other games use it to expand their game. The Sims 4 uses procedural generation to create new non player characters in the game. Star Trek Online uses procedural generation to create random missions in “unexplored” areas of the game.

And its uses are not just for gaming, Terragen is a program designed to create natural 3D environments. Many game developers will use programs like Terragen to create new maps, then edit them to the needs of the game. This is how “natural” environments in games these days feel more natural: they let the computer generate the placement of trees and bushes and boulders and grass.

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NMS: A “Procedurally Generated” Universe

In No Man’s Sky, every system, planet, resource, rock, creature, ship, etc are all randomly generated.

I have been to 6 planets so far. My first might have been my best as it was awash with caves filled with resources. The problem was I had to repair a ship that required a material that was “15 minutes” out of my way to obtain. The terrain was rough though, so it took a lot longer than 15 minutes. I think I spent 3 hours on that planet before my ship was repaired. At least it wasn’t boring or toxic.

Some of the other planets I have visited were boring or toxic. I found one awash with materials I could mine to get rich, but it was devoid of life. Another one had vast oceans, but some of the resources I needed were at the bottom of those oceans.

Procedural generation means you never know what you are going to get next.

The downside it this: After a while it all feels the same. Every planet has the same resources, the same bases, the same types of creatures. Even after exploring 6 planets, I already know what to expect on every other planet: mostly just slight variations of stuff I have already seen.

It kind of reminds me of exploring Second Life. In the early days, I could venture out and see new unexpected things people built, but after a while every lot had the same popular props and lots became generic.

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A very different RPG experience

Leaving the game up to procedural generation simultaneously enhances the gaming experience while also limiting it.

On the one hand, you have the biggest “sandbox” game ever made.  On the other, there are no NPCs to hand out side quests.  There are a set of “atlas core missions” which you will be invited to on your 4th or 5th hyper jump. A guy who got his hands on the game early said he finished these missions in about 10 hours.

Before and after that, this is a game where you make up your own missions.  Make money? Upgrade your ship? Upgrade your tools? Learn alien languages? Collect creatures for the exploration bonus? Find another way out of the cave you fell into? Battle a swarm of sentinel robots you have somehow managed to piss off? Become a “space pirate”?

As someone who likes to add stuff to my character definitions and not always stick to the prescribed path, I find this somewhat liberating. Many traditional “gamers” find it frustrating and are already giving the game bad reviews.  This game is definitely not for everyone.

Even for someone like me who can appreciate the game for what it is, I doubt my obsession with the game will last more than a week or so and it will drop to “fun diversion” like The Sims and Guild Wars have become: something fun to play for a couple of hours.

Ultimately, my impression is mixed. As a game that shows me something new and different and original, it deserves an A+, but as a game with long term playability potential, it is about a B-. It’s better than most games where once you complete the main game there is no reason to continue, but not as good as MMORPGs where you can roll a new character and experience content in a completely different way.

Edit to add: I watched a video of someone finally making it to the center of the galaxy only to find all it does is teleport you to a new slightly harder galaxy.  In other words, there really isn’t an end game to this game.

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I enjoy exploring. I found a planet I really like, and have been spending all my time on this one planet. I’m working on getting my ship and exosuit up to 48 slots, though for some reason I have yet to find ways to get better multi-tools.  I’ve unlocked over 100 Gek words.

Knowing there really isn’t much to do in this game outside of exploring puts a damper on my interest in venturing further.  It’s lack of an endgame means I probably have to give an overall grade of around “C”.  The game is not for everybody, and if it does not sound like a game you’d enjoy, I highly recommend waiting until the eventual price drop.

An Augmented Reality Dating Sim?

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With the huge popularity of Pokemon Go, it is inevitable that other “augmented reality” games might happen in the future.

I’m a fan of innovative games. Over the years I have seen innovations in games come and go.  Some have stuck around a long time, like first person shooters.

Others, like games for Kinect, kind of disappeared. Even the Wii controller with its motion control detection never got used to its full effect except by Wii Sports and a couple of other Nintendo titles.

The jury is still out on “Virtual Reality”.  Everyone thinks it could be the next big thing, but VR headset sales have not set any records.  Until a “killer app” arrives, adoption is likely to be lackluster. “Virtual Reality” could be the next big thing, or it could prove to be just an expensive novelty like Kinect. Billions of dollars are riding on this one, but that is another story.

I’m convinced that if it weren’t for the fact that everyone has a touch screen on their phone, touch screen based games would have disappeared by now. Tablet sales for Android and iOS are down across the board, so the only successful touch screen games are the ones that can be played for a few minutes at a time on a tiny phone screen.

And that is where “augmented reality” comes in. It takes advantage of the ubiquitous smart phones, almost all of which have cameras and GPS, and makes the real world part of the game.

Niantic, Inc. created the first fairly successful augmented reality called Ingress then after getting a license deal from Nintendo, they created the international hit Pokemon Go which in one month is the most successful mobile app ever.

The big question is: Is this just a momentary blip, or are “augmented reality” games here to stay?

Part of the answer lies in answering if other gaming genres could benefit by augmented reality. Pokemon Go was a natural fit, with people suggesting it during the early days of Ingress development. But can you imagine other genres of gaming benefiting from “augmented reality”?   If not, this whole thing could fizzle out in a year.

Could a Dating Sim work in Augmented Reality?

The only genre of gaming I am a certified expert in is Dating Sims, and after thinking about it an augmented reality dating sim could be very successful… Or not

On the “yes” side, may I put into evidence Love Plus, the wildly successful  Japanese dating sim for the Nintendo DS which included a couple of very simplistic augmented reality enhancements like the use of the built in microphone so you could say “I love you” to your virtual girlfriend, and use of the built in clock and calendar so you could schedule dates with your virtual girlfriend in real time.

Now imagine if the dating sim were enhanced the way Pokemon Go is. What if you had to go to an actual park, or bar or restaurant or gym or library to meet potential virtual dates? Google maps already has data like that labeled. What if your scheduled virtual dates involved actually going out to places like restaurants, parks, and theaters?

What if the game had 50 to 100 potential dateable characters (both male and female) with different personalities and looks, and you could potentially juggle multiple characters?

On the “no” side, fans of dating sims might not want to leave the house to play.

Still it’s a good idea that will probably happen eventually.

Augmented Reality is not a gimmick

That’s just one idea, there are plenty of others. There is already interest in a possible “Harry Potter GO” game.

I think a lot of people just like the idea of gaming in the real world as opposed to at home in front of a monitor.

That is not to say augmented reality will replace traditional gaming. I am 100% certain that will never happen. We fans of gaming like variety.

But my experiences with Pokemon Go has proven that games like this are fun experiences. The novelty has worn off so it is more of a casual game for me now, but it almost feels like that is exactly what it was designed to be.

Looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Date Ariane The Game: One Year Later

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This weekend marks the first anniversary of the release of the Renpy version of Date Ariane: The Game.

Since its release, it has been downloaded 2.7 million times, which is pretty darn good for an independently produced game. There may be some overlap as multiple versions were released, and people were updating, but in the same time frame I have had over 2 million unique visitors to the web site.

Some numbers: 55% were windows downloads, 38% were android downloads, 6% were Apple Mac, and 1% were Linux.

61% of the downloads were in English, 28% were in Portuguese, 8% in German, 3% in French, and 0.6% in Spanish.

Pretty impressive considering the foreign language versions have only been around since late March. The game has gone viral in Brazil, with 750,000 downloads from there in the last 4 months.

Date Ariane has a gaming channel on You Tube with over 100 videos listed. (almost all the most recent are in Portuguese). A general gaming search produces 473 videos currently.

I’m currently in the process of uploading new versions of the games that include over 100 new renders like the one above. Notice how the window reflects the interior now, which happens when it is dark outside. All the new renders are in the living room and the drive-in diner.

English version build 112 has a number of fixes and tweaks to game play covered in detail here.

I can’t change the international versions much without killing the translation mechanism, so the minor tweaks I made to the English version are not in the International versions. However, the improved pictures are there, and also a new TITLE SCREEN! Once released the French, German, and Portuguese versions will no longer say they are in beta.  More build notes and bug fixes here. All versions should be updated by the end of the month.

Something’s In The Air has now passed 500,000 downloads. There seems to be a lot of call for a Portuguese version, but it would need 6 to 10 translators to do it right. I could release a machine translation that I know everyone would hate.

Got some ambitious plans for the future, including a 6 episode season of stories involving Ariane and Rachel where this is the first episode. I’m also thinking about new games involving SITA girls Paula, Wendy, and Janice. (You are probably trying to remember who Janice was, aren’t you?)

I’m also considering an HD versions of Date Ariane and SITA that I could make available for sale on Steam or something, that would be made from high resolution PNG files like this one or this one.

I think I got my work cut out for me.

Rachel and Ariane GO to the Park

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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.

What ISP “Data Caps” are REALLY all about

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Many major ISP in America seems to be talking about hard data caps. It seems to be a rather odd coincidence (meaning that it isn’t one) that this seems to all be happening in many ISPs all at the same time, like it is some coordinated effort or something.  The reasons are many but here’s the bottom line:

This is all about TV.

TV is dying, its old tech that some are saying will be history by 2030. Traditional Cable TV is the first on the chopping block. Almost every cable company is converting to “all digital” which basically means they will go from traditional cable to IPTV.

Traditional Cable TV feeds all the 500 or so channels through a cable at different frequencies that your tv tuner can pick up and display. On the other hand, IPTV “live streams” all the channels the same way internet “live streams” video, and an IPTV “cable box”is just a dedicated computer that serves the live stream to your TV.  In other words IPTV is just a dedicated function of your internet connection.

The most popular IPTV services in the US are AT&T Uverse, Verizon Fios, and CenturyLink Prism TV. They all use Internet to provide TV.

Now all the major cable companies are dumping their old traditional cable service and converting cable to a pure internet feed as well, thus distributing all the channels through the internet and becoming IPTV themselves.

The upshot is that there will be more dedicated internet bandwidth on cable internet service. The downside is that you will have to “rent” an IPTV “cable box” to watch TV. Hooking a cable directly to your TV will no longer do anything.

Current IPTV services are renting boxes at between $8 to $12 a month for each TV in the house.  My cable company which is just converting to IPTV wants to charge me only $3 per month per TV, which will no doubt be going up in years to come.

The FCC wants to allow customers to use any cable box they want including their own PCs or gaming consoles to do away with the rental fees. IPTV and Cable TV companies are fighting rule changes like this big time, as it means a major loss of revenue.

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I’m glad I cut my cable a long time ago, and I am not alone. But to Cable companies “cord cutting” is an even BIGGER loss of revenue, which IPTV providers are fighting with a new tool:

Data Caps

Almost every ISP in America has data caps*. This has been the case for many years. ISPs generally don’t want to discuss them because it makes customers mad. Data caps on cell networks are a necessary evil because cell service has limited bandwidth and it is expensive. High data users can slow down everyone cellular data service.

Data caps on home wifi make anyone who has paid huge data overage charges upset, so ISPs haven’t been talking about them. The only time they enforce them is when super heavy users download and upload huge amounts of data each month.

But ISPs, especially those that provide TV service (which is practically all of them) are publicizing them more, and keeping track of them. BUT (and here is the big kicker) ONLY on customers that DO NOT ALSO have TV!

When trying to explain their reasons, they will point out that IP based TV uses internet bandwidth and thus TV watchers would hit the data cap on a regular basis.

So really, the data cap is only directed at users of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Live, and HBO Now, etc. which provide alternatives to IPTV at much cheaper prices.  Only cable cutters are affected by data caps.

If you don’t like it, you can sign up for TV, or pay an additional monthly charge (usually around $30 a month) for unlimited home internet data, or upgrade to a “business” level account.

But before you start counting your pennies to get “unlimited” data, figure out how much you actually use.  Oddly ISP’s seem to be stingy with actual usage data, but you know you will get that data if you start to get close to going over.

ISP’s are currently setting these data caps really high by TODAY’S STANDARDS, that is to say that even families with large numbers of internet users in the household are unlikely to hit the data caps that are being currently set (on average 600 gb on 24 mbps broadband).

For now, only the gullible and paranoid will shell out the extra cash for “unlimited”, when less than 0.05% even need it, so that’s free money for the ISPs.

And what about TOMORROWS STANDARDS?

By setting cap limits so generous it is likely not going to generate many complaints to the FCC, and that is exactly the way ISPs want it. FCC complaints mean regulation, which is why filing complaints with the FCC is probably a good idea.

600 GB is a very high cap. It is the equivalent of 300 hours of HD streaming, or 10 hours a day for an entire month.  That is why 99.95% of the public will likely not even come close.

But what happens in the near future with 4K streaming? or 360 degree virtual reality streaming? or ever more complicated MMORPG streaming? or stuff we haven’t even thought about yet but uses a ton of bandwidth?

Data caps could become a serious costly burden on customers in the near future. The internet is our economy, and for many their livelihood depends on it. ISPs should not be allowed to tax economic progress.

*Verizon’s Fios cap is significantly higher than most others, high enough that there is practically no cap, but that hasn’t stopped some Fios customers from getting notices.

How the young Tech Savvy Generation is Changing the World

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I’ve been writing about how Internet has been affecting society for a couple of years now. One angle I have not touched on is that it is affecting younger generations way more than older generations.

Kids raised on the internet are now in their 20’s and early 30’s and their understanding of the world is radically different than generations before.

Social scientists in the US like to artificially divide Americans into “generations”. There are three dominant ones today: The Boomers (those that grew up in the 50’s and 60’s), Generation X (those that grew up in the 70’s and 80’s), and the Millennials (those that grew up in the 90’s and 00’s).  I am part of Generation X, the smallest and least powerful of the three.

All three generations have their technical savvy and non technical members, so what I am about to say is a generalization and not true of everybody:

Boomers are generally conservative and Christian. They love the suburbs, and beer, big houses, and driving trucks or SUVs, and watching cable TV.

The “average” Boomer is online but rarely use the internet. They do email and Facebook and Wikipedia and a few select sites.  It is a small part of their lives, and a lot more of their time is listening to the radio and watching TV, because that is what they have done all their lives.

Millennials are generally liberal and never go to church. They prefer city life, living within walking or biking distance of everything. If they have to drive, its economy cars or hybrids. They drink fancy coffee and box wine, and get all their media via streaming services.

The “average” Millennial is online practically all the time, thanks to smart phones and tablets. They are very internet savvy, and practically live online.  It’s where they work, its where they go to school, it’s where they play, it’s where they meet people. The internet is their world view.

In between is Generation X, the “average” is hard to pin down because it is so widespread.  It is somewhere between.  Gen X grew up before the internet like the Boomers, but has a stronger adoption rate than they do. Most of the big names involved in creating the Internet are Gen X, but this recent video of celebrities that are clueless about the internet contain mostly Gen X celebrities.

Some Gen Xers like myself think and live like Millennials, and some think and live like Boomers, and as a result our generation really has not developed its own identity other than our affection for console gaming.

The internet savvy Millennials are 100% in control of pop culture today, while politics is controlled by the former hippies now ultra conservative Boomer generation.  The fact that the Millennials do not seem to care about race, religion, sexual orientation, and are socially liberal on issues regarding sex, drugs, and punishment is hopeful, but their near universal apathy towards politics is worrisome.

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Shifting Demographics: What Election 2016 is REALLY All About!

As I write this, the status of election 2016 is that Donald Trump is, barring a party coup, going to be the GOP nominee, while Hillary Clinton is probably going to be the Democratic nominee, but Bernie Sanders continues to be a thorn in her side.

The next President of the United States is going to be a “Boomer”, and it is safe to say they will be the last “Boomer” President (Bill Clinton and George W Bush were both Boomers, too, Barack Obama is Generation X)

Conventional wisdom says that generations are always liberal when they are young, and get more conservative as they age, and that is a true trend in history, but there has never been a generation quite like the Millennials:

 Only 21% of Millennials are married, while 42% of Boomers were married at their age;

Almost 1 in 4 (23% to be exact) have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, making them the most educated generation (more demographic breakdowns of college graduates can be found here);

Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation, with 19% being Hispanic, 14% African-American and 5% Asian;

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Millennials are the most diverse, highest educated, and least likely to have a traditional family.  The odds are pretty good they are going to be the most socially liberal generation ever.  It also does not help that Boomers are driving Millennials to embrace democratic socialism.

Donald Trump’s main appeal is to those mostly white males who are afraid of systemic change as a result of demographic change.  White Christian males have been the dominant force in America for generations and they are losing ground demographically every year.

Hillary Clinton is an “old school” Democrat, who often leans Conservative (most troubling even Neo-conservative) on many issues.  Her lack of appeal to Millennials could prove her biggest weakness.  Fortunately for her, Millennials don’t vote.

Bernie Sanders is a proven Liberal, who has run his campaign towards appealing to Millennials, and has succeeded. Many of the media wonder why he stays in the race even though his chances of a nomination are quickly approaching 0%.  The answer is he is grabbing the youth and exciting them into politics.  Sanders knows that Millennials are the future of this country, and it is time they take an interest in their own future.

Regardless of the outcome, Sanders’ message is going to win in the long run. Sanders is too old to run again, so this is his one shot. Ideally, some young Sanders supporters will start running for office and start challenging the Boomer status quo.

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The Cyberpunk Age is already upon us

Back in the 80’s before the internet, many of us Gen Xers would read books. One of the big fiction trends was “cyberpunk”, books often set in  dystopian but connected worlds. Neuromancer by William Gibson in 1984 was considered the first.  Later prominent novels were Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

These books took the early networking tech that was already developing at the time and expanded on it, thrilling our imaginations with future worlds we could only dream about.

Today we no longer have to imagine, the “cyberpunk” world has become our reality. These authors got a surprisingly lot of ideas right.  They also got many parts wrong, so reading these books today feels anachronistic.

One thing these books got wrong is that their heroes had unusually good prowess with digital information, and that prowess usually saves the day in the end. Prowess with digital information is proving not to be unusual at all, in the Millennial generation and whatever we are calling the generation after it (why not call it the cyberpunk generation?) prowess with digital information is the norm.

I saw my 2 year old nephew sit at a computer with a mouse and point and click away on a game as easily as a fish takes to swimming.  I didn’t even see my first computer mouse until high school.

Kids today are creating a new digital society and have little interest in preserving traditional ways. This is a world wide and nearly universal trend among the younger generation vs the “cold war” world view of their parents and grandparents.

The “fears” of the older generations are driving politics right now, but personally I’m excited about the changes.

The digital age is not a perfect one, but that’s another story. No age has ever been perfect.

The Next Level in Erotic 3D Dating Sims

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This is the third (or 4th?) look at other games similar to Date Ariane. In fact the creators of all 3 games mentioned Date Ariane as their original inspiration.

Of course once you make one game, you try and make something better than your last. My concept of improving was making better pictures and packaging it as a real downloadable game.

The following three authors are still going with the online model but are taking it to the next level in 3 different ways.

Jennifer

Written by Chaotic
Art by Chaotic
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Link to play and download

Chaotic and dsp3000 have been making dating sims like mine for a few years and they can be found at www.vdategames.com. You have to sign up for a membership to get the latest and greatest, but there are plenty of free to play games as well.

Jennifer is the most recent to drop to the free portion of the site, so I tried it out. If you played Date Ariane, you will find Jennifer to be very similar. The same plotless “dating experience” where decisions you make along the way open up different activities.

Here’s the next level: the game is voiced by an actress, and many scenes are animated in video rather than animated gif. A different experience worth checking out. If you need a walkthrough, you will find one here.

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Brad’s Erotic Week

Written by Wolfschadowe
Art by Wolfschadowe
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator with additional programming by kexter
Latest download Project Forum

This was suggested by at least two people in my last list of new games. From what I gather this is an ongoing project with new chapters released every few months. Currently we are up to chapter 5. If all goes according to plan the final version will be done around 2029, so you might just want to play what’s available.

The game is a little on the hard side in the first play through. My first play resulted in getting rejected by two women just when I thought I was getting somewhere. And that is even following a walkthrough. Of course the whole point of these games is to play them over and over until you get it right.

The next level is the ambitiousness of the project: a multi episode dating sim with new episodes released every so often is going to be fun to follow.

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Redemption for Jessika

Written by Tlaero
Art by Mortze
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Latest download Online Play 1 Online Play 2

This is the latest from Tlaero and Mortze after their successful first collaboration of Dreaming With Elsa.

While Brad may be having a good week above, Jessika’s week has not gone so good: a break up, a riot at a concert, and a bench warrant in front of a judge. You play the court reporter at the hearing, and find yourself involved in Jessika’s recovery from rock bottom.

The next level here is the story. This may be one of the most complex stories ever found in one of these games. The story itself is pretty linear with very few branches. Still if you want a walkthrough, there is one here.

But, it doesn’t stop there. There is a larger plot at work starting with Dreaming With Elsa and continuing with the next title Finding Miranda.  Elsa and Miranda make cameos in RfJ and a strange woman meets with Jessika in an epilogue hinting at how the stories tie together.

I’m definitely interested to see where this one goes.