I called it a "date simulator" because I heard the term used in reference to games in Japan, but having never played any, I just took the term literally. I made what I thought a date simulator would be like. Without realizing it, I created an all new sub genre of "visual novel". Date Ariane may not have been the first dating sim to only have a single character, or created using 3D graphics, though I don’t know any that predate it, and I wasn’t influenced by any.
Since then dozens of similar character romance games with 3D graphics have been released online and as downloads, many of the creators citing Date Ariane as an influence. It has become its own sub genre of bishōjo. The game sat on my website practically unnoticed for 3 years. It was a personal project, and except for a couple of forums I frequented, I did not advertise it anywhere.
In 2007, it got discovered by a popular fantasy football forum, and suddenly I had 3 million visitors in 3 months. The popularity surprised me, and my web server, forcing me to release it for offline play.
I started updating it every so often. The last "classic" update happened in 2011. Until then I was using a lot of screenshots from video games as backgrounds, which I decided was a bit tacky (not that the whole game wasn't already a bit tacky). Creating a city wide environment, means I had room to play and expand. I spent 2012 and most of 2013 creating a "sequel" called Something's In The Air which plays a lot more like a traditional visual novel with multiple potential women to date including a second date with Ariane.
Instead of an online game, I made SITA using the Renpy engine as a standalone game you had to download to play. Downloading made it less popular, as I knew it would, but in a gaming engine I could do a lot more than I ever could in HTML, and learned a lot of cool techniques.
The graphics in Something's In The Air were superior in every way to Date Ariane, and so I decided Date Ariane needed a graphic update, too. I spent most of 2014 making it, calling it the "10th Anniversary Edition", but since then I dropped the add on, and called the old versions "classic". Using the graphics from the new version I spent some of 2015 creating this Renpy version, a stand alone non-online version which is superior to any of the online versions in many ways.
Date Ariane has been played online hundreds of millions of times by tens of millions of people. I made this version to bring the game to Something's In The Air standards and set the bar for future games which will also be made in Renpy instead of online. Thanks to all my fans, contributors, 3D artists, and other artists who released stuff into the creative commons to make this game possible.
Thanks to PyTom for creating the awesome Renpy game engine and releasing it for free.
Source: "About Date Ariane" Date Ariane Gallery