"Don't Lose Hope" is an automated slideshow website modeled after the DSHW web storytelling format used by Dozerfleet Comics for various Sims storytelling projects such as The Battle for Gerosha and the Ciem trilogy. It was inspired in part by the song "Photograph" off of the Nickelback album All the Right Reasons.
"Don't Lose Hope" was created by the Dozerfleet founder around the same time that the 2005 version of Ciem 3 was attempted. Because Ciem 3 was going to be considerably shorter than the previous two entries in that series, the story was packed with several extra short stories. These included Star Flops: Curse of the Medium Side, Lo-Mun's Cooking Adventure, and The Blue Face Film Strips: The Sims 2 Edition.
Of that collection, Lo-Mun would later be re-made and released independently of Ciem; as would be the fate of Blue Face:TS2 since it became an entry in the Volkonir universe.
"Don't Lose Hope" was the only piece that would ultimately not be adapted for release to the web in the form of either a website in the Dozerfleet Comics Free-for-View section or as a video distributed on YouTube by Dozerfleet Studios. Star Flops and the When Bikes Argue series would be adapted as videos.
Around the time that the Corando "video" was made, the Dozerfleet founder was friends with an Ardana Noyes of Morrice, MI. The two had expressed a mild interest in dating. After Dana acquired a job at the Meridian Mall in Okemos, MI; she had a change of heart and rejected the founder's offers. The two soon drifted apart both as romantic interests and as friends.
Connections to Ciem 3Edit
The characters of Dillian Stentz and Tina Nares that feature briefly at the end of the 2005 version of Ciem 3 are designed in the likenesses of the Dozerfleet founder and Dana, respectively. Tina Nares in particular featured in the 2005 version of Ciem 3 as an office worker at the Stanley-Tinsel Corporation headquarters where Donte applies for a job while Candi is busy protecting a promiscuous teenager named Amelia Kinto from Milp. This fictitious organization existed as a parody of a similarly-named and similarly-designed organization in the MLEK soap opera Sims story Arrendale Heights. This was made back when Sims fan MLEK of the Sidewalk Sims Forum at EZBoard was still friends with the Dozerfleet founder.
Since then, all references to either Dana or MLEK and her fiction have been removed from the Ciem trilogy. References to MLEK were removed for both personal and legal reasons, whereas references to Dana were removed merely for personal reasons.
Back when the founder and Dana were still friends, the Nares Bachelor's Paradise House was submitted to Mod The Sims and was accepted. After the Dozerfleet founder years later still could not get over the hard feelings Dana had caused, the house was removed from that site. This was in spite positive reviews for the house.
Dillian Stentz and Tina Nares, along with the members of the fictitious "band" of Sims making up "Corando," gather to tell the story within the song. Dillian Stentz was set to later reappear in a cameo role in the 2009 version of Ciem 3. Tina Nares is not set to return, much less ever be seen again in any Dozerfleet media, ever again.
Story within the songEdit
The fictitious band in the song call themselves "Corando" so that they sound similar to "Colorado" without actually naming themselves after a state. They are not to be confused with any real-life band by that name, as stated in the slideshow's intro's disclaimers.
The last names of the band members have since been forgotten, and the secrets are locked away on a hard drive left over from the Dozerfleet founder's now-defunct HP Pavilion 8700 desktop PC. This same hard drive is also believed to hold the secrets to the last name of Valerie's family in Grillitan Diner.
In the story behind the slideshow, Jerry is the name of the lead singer. He is a man prone to hallucinations. It is unknown if these are the result of drug use or an inherent problem with his brain chemistry. His visions inspire his music. His voice is modeled after that of Chad Kroger.
His sister Jenny operates the drums for the song, and is seeing wearing a "Generation:Hot Coffee"-brand T-shirt. She is secretly dating the bass guitarist, Spike. However, rumors about them having a relationship have leaked into the public. Jerry seems indifferent, so long as they can help him make music.
Dillian and Tina are depicted in numerous scenes throughout the footage that serve as metaphors for fear, doubt, and loneliness. These include a forest, an abandoned park, a prison cell, and similar settings.
The song's focus is on the tormented state of mind of lonely individuals, as well as the need for communication and an unwillingness to give up on the ideals of love and faith as being critical for surviving the dark parts of one's own mind.
When the couple's members are apart and dwell on their own misery, their states of being grow gradually worse. When they finally reach out to one another, they are able to break free from the prison and escape from the forest. In the beginning, Dillian was in the cell and Tina was lost in the woods. As a caution to readers of the consequences of disregarding the path to hope, Jerry reverses Dillian and Tina's predicaments to show that the metaphors of being lost in the woods of life and being lost in the dungeon of one's own mind are virtually interchangeable ideas.
Welcome to the dungeon / of the lonely mind! /
But some never seem / to be able to leave! /
Welcome to the forest / of the lonely heart!
The sea of life leads drifters straight into it!
I've been told that God / hates it when / loneliness wins! /
So when life / feels like a hole... /
Will the endless work / substitute for love forever? /
Cracking all the world's books / can't replace tender looks! /
Duty is great; / but the hour grows late!
In the end, where will the heart be?
In the end, where will the mind be?
Even with the best of plans, / failure's all around! /
If not for each other then / we'd eat ourselves alive! /
But there's one way to hold on...
And then the mind won't have to be its own grave...
And the heart can flee the woods so depraved...
And we'll enjoy / our every cup of lime! /
Yeah if only this were all the time...
Till then let's make the most of time...
So we're not lost till end of time...
Inside the dungeon of the lonely mind...
Inside the prison / of the lonely heart... /
The introductory background info page informs the readers that the site was assembled with the aid of Photoshop Elements, Advanced Browser, Firefox, Notepad, and The Sims 2: University. The slideshow was created in December of 2005 before the Dozerfleet founder had been able to successfully purchase the Nightlife expansion for his copy of The Sims 2.
The slideshow effect was accomplished by having meta elements in the pages that refreshed from one page to another every ten seconds. Photoshop was used to create some of the blur effects for a dreamy, surreal effect consistent with what Jerry would see in his visions. The browsers and Notepad were used as the primary tools for assembly of the code.
There were few good tools available for development of websites to the Dozerfleet founder until January of 2006. Come that year, Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 with a Visual Basic .NET development suite was provided along with a book on how to program in VB.NET. This came with a class being taken at Lansing Community College that same year. Since then, major web projects such as the Ciem trilogy have been developed under the Dozerfleet label using versions of Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express.
Page 18 of the slideshow lists the following Mod The Sims artists for their contributions in production. All game modders whose works are visible in the end products get credit for their work at the end of most Dozerfleet Sims comics.
- A custom in-game camera by GunMod was used to get the angles that were used.
- This was before the 2007 version of Ciem, in which CaptFalcon007 's camera became a more popular choice.
- The prison doors used were designed by Atavera.
- The colored lights (which were not normally possible in The Sims 2 before the release of Nightlife) are the result of custom light creation and scripting by the MTS user known as JGWhiteus.
- The sky effects were accomplished using Oberkorn 's sky projector.
- Tina Nares' nose ring was created by the user known as Siren, who also had a male version of the ring which didn't feature in this piece.
- The female nose ring used in this piece almost perfectly accentuated the nose ring worn by the real-life Dana who inspired Tina Nares' likeness.
- All the skintones and freckles featured were designed by popular Sims artist Helaene.