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20080118

Sense And Sensibility

Entry 366 posted in: e. Adult Oriented Games


So happy together! I quite like the Shark's Lagoon website that I once stumbled on, completely by mistake. It now contains 18 what is commonly called 18+ games. I shall not repeat what I already said in a previous post called Cyberhugging namely that they are witty but not too smutty (see now, now you've made me say that again anyway!).

A side effect of this all is that his bandwidth (or better said: website data transfer) is rocketing sky-high and that in the past couple of years he had to move his place a few times.

Another side effect is that his loyal fans tend to ask for more: A Late Night At The Office Part 2, Really Hot Sand Part 3, Fruits de la Passion - the lemon's revenge (before you click, I've made these up).  

I had a few infantile encounters with Flash programming as well and the following feeble experiments can be found on this place.  

  • Syd A Choo Choo was an attempt to create a click'n point game based on the album artwork of Pink Floyd. I gave up after their first album, and then decided to glue two entirely different animations together. You can read a bit about it on the A man called Syd post.
  • Douglas Adams' How To Leave The Planet aka The Abandon Earth Kit uses a build-in typewriter effect from SwishMax, so there wasn’t a lot of programming to do. Douglas originally wrote the text for an advertisement campaign although no one on the web seems to have been able to locate the original and the two main biographies about Douglas don't mention this text at all. It makes one wonder...
  • My last Flash based thingy is the Pink Floyd Pie Chart. This was basically a vehicle to test some programming tricks; more exactly to draw a 'dynamic' pie chart based on the results of the previous questions. Typing 1567 at the first question will open a debug screen showing how the points have been given.

Making these little silly things taught me one thing. In programming the big work is not in the creation of the main code, the big work lies in the fine-tuning, testing and debugging. This is the last bit of the process, only a few yards from the finishing line, but it takes forever to cross it. Those remaining 5% take as long as all the programming before.

Shark's latest creation is called Sensual Experiment or Expérience Sensuelle in his mother language. How does it come that things sound so much sexier in French? Expérience Sensuelle is much smoother than its English counterpart. Of course it could have been worse and the game could have been called:  'Das Sensuelle Experiment'. I've never understood how on earth Germans create offspring.

Anyway, Shark's latest mini game is a hit. Funny. Witty. Not smutty. Blah blah blah. But I observe some crackling side effects of this success. Time wasn't on Shark's side. Perhaps a few extra days of fine-tuning could have been used. I won't say anything about the music, if one can describe the annoying jingly loop like that, a button to switch that of would come in handy. But here and there are some minor flaws: a leg-part that could have been moved a few pixels, a boob job that could have been done better, the incredible voyaging nipple bit...  Perhaps it is about time that Shark would go commercial and create a full interactive movie-stroke-game.

But of course my main interest in Shark's games lies not in the boob fondling business. I am, naturally!, mostly interested in the technical side of his projects. The fact that these happen to include pictures of girls in different stadia of nakedness is only a bonus.

Shark uses Anim8or to create his models. Anim8or, to quote Wikipedia, is a freeware OpenGL based 3D modelling and animation program created by R. Steven Glanville, a software engineer at Nvidia. The main advantage is that it has a very smooth learning curve. Shark has been so friendly to put some of his 3DS files for download on his website. That makes it easier to experiment a bit.

Creating 3D models is not as easy as it sounds. If one googles for an open source 3D creation suite he or she will immediately stumble upon Blender. Blender, so everyone seems to agree, is the best and most performing 3D package for free. But, and also here everyone seems to agree, it looks quite intimidating. I downloaded Blender ages ago. From time to time I upgrade it, open it, look at the labyrinth of links and buttons on the screen, sigh a bit, and close the program again for the next couple of months. Blender was original an in-house application for an animation studio, designed by professionals for professionals and in those circles user-friendliness is about the last point on their wish list. I see that at work all the time. The more professional a package has become the more buttons you have to press before you can roll out a simple page on a nearby printer. 

Open the Blender workspace and you feel as if you're trying to fly a Boeing on your annual trip to Benidorm. This doesn't look like MSPaint at all. Open the beginner's manual. It takes you 128 pages before the text triumphantly exclaims: you have now drawn a ball on the screen. In another 300 you will have learned how to change its colour.  

If you want to experiment with 3D it might be a good idea to start with Anim8or first and only switch over to Blender if you start feeling what Anim8or lacks (Anim8or is about 10 times smaller than Blender). And if you are confident enough to release the inner Frankenstein you can always download MakeHuman and start creating your cyber world.


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