Thanks to everyone who responded to the Big AIF survey. Based on some of the responses I've done a brief follow-up survey that you can answer here. This is the accompanying big analysis.
The purpose of this survey was to figure out what responses are redundant and which are important to players of AIF. For a lot of people, the quality of an interactive sex scene is not the most important part of a work of AIF, and judge a game based on what kink it caters to, quality of the writing, characters, things like that. I totally understand that. But, such ephemeral qualities are beyond the scope of this study. The question I want answered is a much more pragmatic one: should I, as an author, bother writing a lengthy description if the player tries X, when I could be writing one for when the player tries Y. That way, more keystrokes, hours, whatever are put into writing stuff that's more likely to be encountered by the average player, whereas fringe actions get more throwaway responses.
Surveys on what kinks people have would be interesting, but not very useful (to me, at least). Catering to people's kinks when the author themselves don't have it is a recipe for "not good". For example, it would be almost impossible for me to write a game with tentacle rape in it. I'm just not into it. Hence, it would suck even if there's a huge demand for it in the AIF community. I feel like authors should write what they like and then try to incorporate some feedback that enhances rather than detracts from that. So just to be clear this survey isn't designed to pidgeonhole authors into a specific way of doing things.
Asking about gender and sexuality was not strictly necessary for my purposes, but I was curious so I asked for it. The responses told me basically what I didn't need a survey to figure out: that the AIF community is overwhelmingly made up of heterosexual men, with the audience split between totally straight and mostly straight. The next biggest demographic is bisexual men, which I'd say is about 6% of the AIF community. About 3% of the AIF audience is female, a depressingly low number, but ultimately not at all surprising. The smallest demographic is gay men, of which there are literally 0. That's not surprising because I can only think of one game at all with m/m in it (Bareback Mountain).
It would be nice to have a little more variety in this respect. It might happen as AIF starts growing, and there are more authors and games.
The first two questions ("Quality and quantity" and "length and variety") were designed to pinpoint what level of interactivity the audience expects on average.
There was a strong preference for quality over quantity and a strong preference for varied responses over lengthy responses. I interpreted that as there being a general expectation of interactivity and depth in sex scenes, as opposed to just having a cut scene or a CYOA sequence.
However, when asked which sorts of features they like and dislike, results indicate they aren't very picky about the sort of interactivity. When the "other" responses are removed and only the major AIF features are counted, players are even more ambivalent.
Roughly, here's a breakdown of how people voted. I've converted each statement to a number, with -3 being "It ruins the scene for me" to +3 "I can't play a scene without it."
As you can see, strong opinions are pretty rare, with mostly no strong trends toward any feature. The most important appears to be arousal, which isn't surprising. The least important is layered clothing, which does surprise me, as I usually think of layered clothing as being one of the iconic features of AIF games. Interesting.
Layered Clothing Specific
The two most common activities appeared to be rubbing body parts through clothing and re-examining body parts after stripping a character. I'm not surprised by the first but I am surprised by the second, because I generally don't do that. Examining clothing itself and opening garments are also popular actions and come in close third and fourth. About 1/3 of players immediately take off all clothing during a scene, so that means layered clothing is generally well-used when it crops up.
I was hoping that players would tend towards either self-stripping or NPCs stripping each other (which would only require one description instead of two) but they didn't. Nevertheless, people slightly preferred to have characters undress each other, which is to be expected.
The third question was inserted to test a hypothesis of mine that people generally like a bit of clothing on the NPC even during sex. While watching porn I'm sometimes like "No, don't take her skirt off!" Stockings, boots, hats and those sorts of accessories are all hot. I'm glad I'm not alone on that.
The community is remarkably evenly split on erections, with about 50/50 to each side. I find it kind of annoying, honestly, but it's nice to know both approaches are equally valid.
Overwhelming, the community prefers unlimited orgasms. I am actually quite fond of limited orgasms, but I'm in the minority on that.
Body Parts and Actions
The mouth came well ahead as the most popular optional body part in AIF, so I can't help but wonder: is it because lots of people are typing commands like "fuck mouth", "rub mouth", "x mouth", or is it because they tell an NPC to "lick cock" or kiss them and they count that as interacting with the mouth?
Following behind are nipples, clits and legs. Personally, I rarely interact with nipples and clits specifically, but I do go for the legs sometimes.
It should be noted that most "other" responses were for an asshole, as differentiated from the asscheeks. The only reason it didn't appear on there was because I forgot to add it, but if I ever redo this survey it will definitely show up again.
As for actions, there's a relatively even split between most except footjobbing, which was a distant last (surprisingly). One of the things I forgot to include was peeing/pooing, because while I will never release a game with either of those two things, if enough people try it, it might be worth whipping up some interesting rejections.
I don't really have the time nor inclination to summarize all the different sentiments expressed here, but I did read them all. Wow, what a lot of feedback! The responses are available for reading on the summary page and are definitely worth looking through.
Thanks a lot for participating, there was a lot of really interesting insight here and it's going to save me a lot of time writing responses. I've come up with some vague ideas of how to organize a sex scene differently to save myself some time without compromising quality.
Now, if you excuse me, I've got a dark room to labor within. A demo might be coming out soon....