Why a Renpy Recreation of Date Ariane Is Not Happening

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This weekend, I set myself a goal of recreating the first 10 “pages” of Date Ariane in Renpy.  I was going to call it my “Proof of Concept”.  I only got to page 3 before deciding it is way too freaking hard.

I’m not saying there won’t be a Renpy version of the Date Ariane story, I’m saying that the cool searching around the screen looking for stuff to click on aspect is simply not going to happen.  It is doable, but way too much tedious work, and not really worth it, especially considering that doing it that way will make it unplayable on touch screen tablets.

In creating just the first three pages, I learned an incredible amount about how screens work in Renpy, which is an alternative to the simple default menu system.  That is going to at least help me create a different interface than SITA, something touch screen friendly.

Since searching the screen for stuff to click on gave the game some complexity, there are other ways to make the game complex. What I am thinking about doing instead is rewriting Date Ariane, taking the “Done It All!” option in SITA as a model.  Every time you play, new dates and locations open up, and Ariane will remember what you did in the past and respond accordingly.  Something along these lines:

Date 1: Simple dinner out at the diner, followed by hanging out downtown.
Date 2: Hanging out a Ariane’s place, steak or spaghetti dinner, choice of park or swimming.
Date 3: Choice of backyard picnic (and Truth or Dare), or Romantic restaurant dinner (and trip to the lake)

After that the choices available open up wider.  Depending on choices Ariane responds with “Oh we have never done that before” or “That was fun last time, we can do that again” or maybe “Considering what happened last time, maybe we should wait before trying that again.”

I also plan to update in other ways. Disposable cameras are no longer cool, so I suspect one of the photo shoots will be done by camera phone instead.  Her portable stereo may turn into an MP3 dock.  And getting stuck without gas will mean a cell call to roadside service.  New technology has ruined so many plots.

This weekend wasn’t a total loss.  I created the first 10 Ariane re-renders, the picture above is the redo of this picture.  Now to start figuring out how to do this new plan.

9 thoughts on “Why a Renpy Recreation of Date Ariane Is Not Happening

  1. Catarina Ribeiro September 9, 2013 / 1:37 pm

    oh come on just make the images of the renpy version available for the fapping.

  2. just a fan September 11, 2013 / 9:12 am

    just use simple menus for options. having to hunt for the hotspot is not fun at all (esp when browser requires i leave the window to have the tooltip disappear; making it even more tedious) — find the hotspot is about as fun as the original “find the raptor” game (not fun.)

    the fun of the original “date ariane” was thinking about all the options and trying to decide if i should risk being cheeky at this juncture or if i should play it conservative and then see how ariane responds.

    just keep it simple (for you w.r.t dev) and i’m sure we’ll all love whatever you decide to put together.

    • arianeb September 11, 2013 / 11:52 am

      I’m sort of going that direction. I decided that since a new game is needed that I would try implementing the RPG ideas I was thinking about for a future Rachel game.

      Without getting technical, the idea is that every time there is a choice, there will be four choices. Sometimes it will be a choice of how to advance the story, but sometimes it will be a choice of 4 things to say: a “nice guy” choice, a “smart guy” choice, a “witty guy” choice, and a “obsessed with sex guy” choice.

      The idea is that as you play the story, you are also taking a personality test — not necessarily your real personality, but rather whatever “role play” you pretend to be while playing.

      Case in point, Ariane goes to her room to change. You can: wait patiently outside (nice guy), use the bathroom and change yourself (smart guy), wait a minute then walk in on her (witty guy), go outside to her bedroom window and try and sneak a peek (obsessed guy).

      Whatever personality profile you develop will open or close opportunities. Nice and witty guys are more likely to get romantic dates, but coaching Ariane at the strip club will likely need a smart guy or obsessed with sex guy to be successful.

      That’s the direction I am thinking, pulling it off is another matter.

      • just another fan September 13, 2013 / 6:56 pm

        The personality test approach sounds a lot like the way “Coffee for Keisha” (by Tlaero & Phreaky) plays. The play seemed a little “restrictive” though — in order to get a definitive ending, you had to be consistently (shy, assertive, pervy) and so the game was more about figuring out what actions/phrases your own character considered (shy, assertive, pervy) than getting to know Keisha.

        To making this personality test idea work, you ultimately need to realize that you’re building an expert system. If you choose boolean states like CFK did, and don’t provide enough states to choose from, you end up with a strongly mechanical feeling result (for the player.) The key is to move to a fuzzy model, and have/track a lot more states that can be blended together (in a fuzzy way) to determine outcome. but this is a bear for the developer — the combinatorics alone makes this an almost un-completable effort.

        as far as story/plotline map, see if you can find a review of an Japanese adult game named “Hitomi: Step Sister” — in that game, the storyline is illustrated in a sequence of snapshots connected by lines, with the branch points made obvious by the map. initially, all snapshots are black, and as you play through, the pictures reveal themselves. this map also serves as a “restore game” function — you request restore then click on the image to continue the story at that point (i don’t know how the game state is stored, but i suspect that if you map the finite state machine, there is a 1-to-1 correlation between the state and the image). in this particular game, gameplay is very linear and the decision points simply determine which branch on the map you follow next. because of this presentation, it made the game a lot of fun to play when it was “new to you.” but by the same token, it limited the joy in replayability once all the snapshots were exposed. just something to think about.

        the best non-linear game experience is still Zork 1. but it’s the limited interaction with the NPCs that makes that possible. in a game where you’re intimately interacting with a single character, that dynamic is A LOT harder to capture (again, it’s just a combinatoric issue.)

        just wanted to ensure you were aware that others have already tread where you might be headed next. good luck!

      • arianeb September 15, 2013 / 11:54 am

        Not boolean, purely fuzzy logic. Going too much in one direction is bad.
        Consistently nice guy is creepy guy.
        Consistently smart guy is pretentious guy.
        Consistently witty guy is cant take anything serious guy,
        and consistently obsessed with sex guy is trying too hard guy.

        If you can keep a couple of traits in the 30% to 50% range, that is ideal.

  3. glen miller September 20, 2013 / 11:48 pm

    I disagree that searching around on the screen for thigs to click was cool depending on screen res and mouse quality very prone to errors I liked the game and I admit I am not a programer heck I still have trouble with a universal remote perhaps renpy pictures and a simple menu structure but keep the story intact

    • Wagner September 22, 2013 / 4:16 pm

      Except for the basketball scene, searching around on scene was never really that difficult. The trouble is that the world seems to be moving away from mice and to touch screens, and while mice are not a possibility with mobile devices (aside from ancient laptops with a trackball), touch screens are horribly oafish. They are very low precision, making clicking on detailed areas of a screen difficult, but more importantly for this use case, they cannot (easily) allow the “mouse over” action. You would either need a second verification “do you actually want to click here” step, or you would not have any indication of where you actually can click. Neither of which are very desirable behaviors in an application.

      • norsegraphics September 27, 2013 / 5:47 am

        Well, then it’s probably text-menus at the bottom for touchscreens. It takes out some of the fun, granted.

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