Thursday, 2 October 2014

October Open Thread: Relationships

No posts in September, so I thought I'd kick off October with a nice Open Thread:

"Does anyone else have any comments on relationship building during your AIF games? Like it, leave it?"
~Blue Satyr, Fetishes and Kinks thread

Let's talk about relationships in AIF. I think most AIF can be split into two categories when it comes to sex: romps and relationships (many games fall somewhere in between, of course). Romps mainly focus on sex, with maybe some puzzles to get to the 'action', while relationships focus upon building a sense of 'character' about the designated lust object. This sense of character can come in multiple different ways, making the relationship believable (giving a reason the two characters wish to have sex), giving depth to the DLO (making the player care more about them beyond their just being sexy), and creating a sense of build/courtship (having the relationship develop over time). I'm sure there are many more examples, those are just a few off the top of my head.

There are really a lot of different ways that this topic could go and I don't want to limit people, but here are a few suggestions:
How important is developing a relationship with girls in a game to its overall enjoyability?
What detracts from relationship building in a game?
What is an example of a game that did relationships well?
What is your overall favorite relationship in AIF?


  1. I'm a partisan, I guess, because I make games a certain way, but I'll try to comment on the question a bit. I feel like relationship building is to some degree an extension of how long the game is. If you're doing a romp setup you'll still have a basic scenario; I'm bedridden in a hospital, and a slutty nurse is taking care of me - done. That may be enough of a setup, but if you make a longer game then you can probably improve the sex scene by doing some build-up scenes where she helps you dress or gives you a sponge bath or something.

    Once you get those extra scenes I can't help but want to have a little more of a connection with the character, because I feel like that improves the scene a bit more.

    It doesn't have to take too long to develop a relationship; I'll cite as an example of a good one Encounter 1: Tim's Mom.

  2. AIF has a pretty terrible track record on this score. BBBen's "Normville" games are pretty good in this regard, especially as the series progresses. I could never quite believe that the characters in One-Eyed Jack's various games are the same people. And Goblinboy was frankly terrible at it (which I guess means I don't care that much about this issue, since I love his games). "Camping Trip" leveraged a fair bit of interest by making Becky so virginal and innocent, but the hardcore payoffs at the end of the game, however satisfying in themselves, made no sense in terms of character or character relationships. (And everyone talks about Alison in "School Dreams 3" as an intriguing character, but she just seems sort of unhappy to me. She's better drawn than Becky or Melissa, though.)

    But here's one that I think did a good job: "Dear Brian." The relationship between Brian and Kiki is teased out over the whole game, and it seems both complicated and plausible.

  3. Relations add a lot of value to AIF for me, but I'm very easy to please on this front. It doesn't take much to convince me that a character and the player character are 'into each other'. Games like PAF where the player character spends time with girls and the relationship improves based on favorable traits comes off as very convincing to me. I tend to imagine that more happens then just gets displayed in text, the characters have conversations, grow closer, become more attracted to each other, etc. To me that mechanic, while simplistic in display if not design, is enough to convince me that there is something "real" between the characters.

    Additionally, if the author states at the beginning the characters have a relationship (becky and the player from Camping Trip) I immediately accept that. I don't really need it to be proven to me about why these two would be into each other.

    Summary: Relationship building is great and I'm easy to convince that it is happening. I get the impression that some others though need more 'content' to believe the characters.

    Additionally: On a sexual front, I think the best thing that can be added in is scenes before the 'big payoff'. I think School Dreams did this well with intermediary scenes with the 'main' girls (teasing, suggestive behavior, foreplay, seeing nudity, oral, but not full sex) during the course of the relationship build.

  4. Developing a believable relationship with the love interest is one of the most important aspects of an AIF for me. No game has even come close to what Palmer did with ESA in that regard, which is probably also why it was so good.

  5. A believable relationship is important but the bulding of a relationship depends on the game; Palmer has done an incredible work, but his game was all on this.
    Goblinboy, for example, tries to build the majority of his game on "choices", so with a protagonist's behaviour that depends on the player he cannot do the same.
    At the same time i think that his characters' personalities are done very well, even if he usually doesn't explain them completely but, after a bit of thinking, i usually find good explanation of their behaviour.
    For me Becky was virginal and innocent, because of the family ambient (read her mother's description in sd3) and Melissa was her friend, because she was a "free" girl, that Becky wasn't.
    It's Melissa's manipulation of Becky's love for the protagonist that lead to the orgy's ending (Melissa doesn't tolerate the virginal's attitude of becky), it's not a casuality that in SD3 Becky decides that he wants an exclusive relationship with the protagonist.
    Speaking of Melissa could be a bit lenghty, but you could think when she asks who does the better sex, her or Becky (and the moment she chooses to ask), or her comment on her sister's first time or on Allison, after she is a bit broken;
    in Meteor, if i remember well, you can have the threesome with jenny even if you lose your "power", for me also this is not a casuality.
    If goblinboy games are so good is also, because, the facts that happen aren't so casual, and the choice have importance, even if at a first sight you can have some doubts.

  6. Something I would like to see more of is when personality and relationship keep being important even after you lose your clothes. Way too often, the girl's personality just disappears when you get into her panties, and everybody turns into the same generic sex doll. Especially in romps I think this is important, as the sex scenes make up such a large portion of the game. It rarely goes further than a personal kink or two for each girl. And afterwards very little of whatever personality she might have had during the build-up is gone.

  7. I think it changes the dynamic and feel of the game greatly, but I have also enjoyed games with little or no relationship building.

    Some of the game out there have maybe a single character, no buildup, and little story/background. Basically just a sex simulator with text. These are probably the worst for me, but at the same time if written well it can be 'exciting' to read.

    A bit farther down the road is the romps with characters that have at least a personality or archetype/stereotype/whatever. You may not get to know them at all, but you know this one is the dom, this one is the innocent one, etc. It is similar to the above, they can be sexy if it is a fantasy of yours or it is written well, but that is about all you get out of it.

    Of course simply fleshing these characters and the world they are in can make it tremendously better IMO. Make them more of a person - how they act, how they fit in the world (who they are), a quick snippet of back story, and I am way more drawn into them.

    Having some teasing in there, getting to know more about the person, and generally spending time with them makes them all the more realistic and an attachment grows. As BBBen stated, length of game can have a huge impact on how this plays out. Likewise, the number of participants and the openness I feel can do the same.

    When you have a dozen beauties to bang, they can all have quirks and personalities but it is very unlikely the author will spend the massive amount of time to try and give them all a fleshed out, growing relationship.

    In the end, for me it is more about the total package and characterization than a necessarily well drawn out relationship. I would love to see more of them, of course, but I also understand their difficulty. But having people that seem to fit in the game for a reason and some smattering of background info goes a long way. Likewise, if there is some reason for sex it often goes a long way to help.

  8. Ok, example about strangers:
    Boy: Let's have sex. Girl: F*ck off!
    Girl: Let's have sex. Boy: Hell yeah!

    So that's why AIF author have to build ingame relationship from male POV.

    Teasing and flirt is just a part of game 'I'm not a slut' that women play all their life.