Friday, 14 November 2014

Beach Fishing

After I made a post asking how to design an AIF game with more female agency in it, several commenters said that it's easy to write a female sex romp. I disagree, but the commenters seemed pretty sure of themselves.

To find out if I was mistaken, I decided I would start writing one. That's the quickest way to find out. Sex romps aren't my strong suit. Everyone complains that my AIF games have poor descriptions and weak sex scenes. A female sex romp has lots of men needing sexy descriptions and lots of sex.

I don't have much implemented yet. I only have one sex scene so far. The game will be called Beach Fishing. It is about a woman named Madison fishing for cock at a beach resort. I'm still figuring out how the puzzles and challenges could work.

I'm also trying out a new sex engine. I love how that sounds, sex engine, ha! In the mini-comp, I tried cramming a standard parser AIF sex engine into Twine. Snowstorm did something similar too. All the normal AIF sex interactions were listed in a long Twine menu and you chose what you wanted to do. Having all the sex options in a big list just didn't feel right. The interface dominated the sex. It didn't feel sexy. It was also limited because your sex partner couldn't make sexual moves themselves. I feel this feature is important in a female sex romp because I want to let the protagonist be able to lie back passively and let the man do the work if that's how she wants her sex. It's regressive but I think some players like the idea of letting an experienced man guide her and pleasure her so that should be an option.

I've decided on a sex format where if you don't do anything, the sex scene will unfold by itself. The man will initiate all the sex moves. But you can click on words in the scene to take control and direct the sex scene in a different direction. It feels more Twine like. I'm not sure if it feels sexy though.

This is just a fun experiment. I likely won't finish it. I'll just continue until I get bored. Hopefully, I will find something interesting about how hard it is to write female sex romps along the way.


  1. This sounds interesting, I hope you get something to a release state. I have personally tried once or twice to develop a new 'sex engine' without very satisfying results, but I think partly that is the medium; there isn't a lot to be done to improve the sex scene model in traditional platforms but you might well find better results in Twine.

    1. Okay, I just tried the demo and I do like the sex structure. In order to satisfy players you'll probably want them to be a little longer, but otherwise I think it's a cool feature.

      Also as a male player I'd like to be able to check out the PC.

    2. Longer sex scenes are the bane of my AIF writing. Interactive Fiction is definitely made for writers who can even make descriptions of white bread sound interesting and atmospheric. My descriptions of sex remind people of premature ejaculation: short and unsatisfying. One of the main reasons I moved to Twine is that I couldn't handle writing all those descriptions that most people would skip over. I felt like I spent half the time writing descriptions about why certain actions weren't possible. The more limited actions of Twine mean that I can save time on the writing, but it's still not making those sex scenes any easier. I should probably learn Daz so I can just throw in some pictures for the sex scenes instead of having to actually write them.

    3. I'll give it a shot: "The serrated knife crunched through the crust of the fresh loaf, releasing a thick, wafting aroma from the fluffy, white bread."

      Anyway, writing all the little responses can be a real pain, I agree, so I don't see any inherent problem with rejecting the traditional AIF format; you just don't want your sex scenes to be finished before players are satisfied with the scene. Something like Daz probably would help, if that was something you were interested in - I can give you a few tips for places to find free content and some basic stuff that people (like me) do wrong starting out if you want. Alternatively you might be able to find someone who is willing to make some images for you.

    4. I might end up enjoying working with Daz but I suspect that making Daz pictures would take longer than just writing sex scenes. I will stick with text for now.

    5. Making the images themselves is usually not too bad; it's the initial learning curve, then designing your characters that take up time. Here are my previous articles on the subject, and the possibility of easier options, if you or anyone else is interested:

  2. I played it and I like what's there. You are right, I do think that the scene is a little short and it wouldn't hurt if the descriptions were a little more detailed (and I would argue that the same is true for Amy the Slut).

    But, again, what's there is pretty cool and I'd love to see more of it. The way you did the scene is actually damn impressive, although a little variation wouldn't hurt to make it a little more random and not have people see the same scene for three different guys (although I can't even imagine the amount of work that would take). Same goes, again, for Amy the Slut - Loved the development of the sex scenes but they eventually repeated themselves. But I didn't think the sex list was too bad.

    On the contrary, I think it fit the premise of the player being domineering and eventually being able, instead of carefully fondling and preparing the girl for sex, to just tear off her pants and stick it in.

    I'm looking forward to seeing more of Beach Fishing.
    And, on that note, I would absolutely adore seeing any form of continuation or expansion of Amy the Slut (anal, threesome, more to do with the money, perhaps?).

    1. Addendum:
      On the notion of female sex romps being hard... *chuckle*

      Well, everything is hard in some way or other. I would disagree that a sex romp is hard per se - You can write anything you want and call it whatever you want, let your characters do whatever and release it. That's not particularly hard.
      However, it is hard, really hard, to make it believable and (or at least) enjoyable.

      An example of a romp that is really enjoyable (in my opinion) but absolutely insane is the "Rampage" on the Choose Your Own Adventure Wiki - People tend to die and have sex a lot in that story but it has a certain visceral appeal due to its premise that keeps it interesting.

      When it comes to believable female romps, the only one I can think of is A Dance with Rogues, not because of the sex itself but because it does such a fantastic job of building the main character and giving the sex, even when it's rompy as hell, context.
      If somebody can name other really good female romps I can't think of, I'd be grateful to play them, but I think that context and a certain depth for the main characters are what sets apart the fantastic and memorable AIFs and romps from the mediocre ones.

    2. Erotic NWN modules! And I thought AIF was pretty niche! I've lost so many copies of NWN and had to rebuy it so many times that I can't stand the idea of buying it again just so that I can try it out though.

      I'm not sure if I'll ever finish Amy the Slut. I'm horrible at finishing things. That's why I mostly focus on mini-comps. To be fair, sometimes it's hard for me to know how hard it will be finish a game until I've started working on it. Even part 1 of Amy the Slut needs a major rework. People just didn't like the idea of playing as Lance. I actually wanted part 1 to be played from Amy's perspective, but I couldn't figure out how to handle agency for a character whose role is to be helplessly seduced by another. That's why I was asking for ideas about female agency before. I actually have some ideas now for how to approach it, but getting the game mechanics right will be delicate.

      And the full story arc will need 5 chapters. Chapter 1 is about Lance seducing Amy. Chapter 2 is about how Amy has become smitten with her lover and how Lance takes advantage of that to introduce her to new kinks and mould her personality to fit his own desires. In chapter 3, Lance dumps Amy, and Amy uses casual sex to deal with her emotional issues. In chapter 4, she begins to realize that her life is beginning to revolve entirely around her sexuality, and she tries to reconcile that with the goals and interests she had in her old life. Finally, in chapter 5, she tries to get back together with Glen but ends up falling back into Lance's orbit instead. After a drunken gang-bang at a party, she is slut-shamed and ostracized by everyone at school. She must then decide whether to become a powerless plaything for others, embrace her sexual power with the realization that the boys shaming her would dump their girlfriends in a heartbeat for a night with her, start using her sex transactionally, or get back romantically with Glen by getting him to understand that she's still the same girl she always was, just really slutty too.

      This is just way too much work. I doubt I could handle writing all the sex scenes needed for chapter 3. I don't even know how chapter 4 would be represented as a game. Seeing how hard it was to make just chapter 1, I now think the story makes more sense as a novella or comic book than as a game.

      If I do revisit something, I'll likely revisit Entrancing Sin. I finally came up with a new hypnosis model that should make for a better game. I'm still stuck on plot though. The problem with a sandbox hypnosis game is that it's hard to figure out an ending or to work out motivations. When does a sandbox hypnosis game end? Why are people hypnotizing Ashley and making her do sexy things?

    3. Well, since you keep losing your copies of NWN, how about you buy the Diamond Edition on GOG? That's what I did when I decided I had to play A Dance With Rogues... and found that one of my NWN CDs had vanished from the face of the earth... :(
      It's dirt cheap, given what's in it (I'd forgotten how awful-looking and yet appealing NWN was) and I've spent hours and hours on ADWR, just on a single, slutty run. ^^

      Well, I'd be willing to help you with some of the revisiting/writing, if you can handle the programming and planning (well, I can help with the planning but what little I knew about Twine has vanished again, although I remember it not being too hard to learn). If that's all you need to hear to think about Amy the Slut Chapter 1 and 2 again, then consider it heard. :P

      As for Entrancing Sin (I never even heard of that one - Where can I find everything you made?), I'd point maybe to amalgam's "Mind Shift" - That one revolves around a main target with sandbox-y "side objectives" you can handle/hypnotize, most of them serving that main purpose some way or other. Achieving that goal and completely dominating her marked the end of Part I (he's working on Part II/Part I Extended now) although some might argue that that's where the real game begins. But I'd say that it's all about setting an agenda, a goal, especially in a sandbox game.
      And why would people hypnotize Ashley? Well, obsession is a good motivation for that. Knowing that you can own somebody who would be otherwise out of reach, control, humiliate and discard somebody, hell, making them humiliate themselves without leaving any trace of memory is a powerful fantasy. Obsession/"love"/lust/hate is the set of reasons that is as simple as it is logical.

    4. It might be fun to collaborate with someone on something. I'd have to experiment with rewriting parts of the game from Amy's perspective first to see if it actually works. I'm still not 100% sure if I can find enough interactivity to make a satisfying game.

      For me, the hardest part of making an AIF game is the sex scenes. I'm mostly interested in the seduction and the tease. For the sex itself, I'm happy with "and then they had sex". I might throw in a couple of sentences about thrusting and climaxing too. I know a proper sex scene should have more acrobatic sex, and foreplay, and descriptions of touch sensations, and the raw emotions flowing between lovers, and chemistry, and poetic metaphors. Like all guys, I'm usually satisfied and asleep before even reaching the foreplay. If someone else could write a few sex scenes as a normal linear story, I could then just chop it up and integrate it into an AIF game. If you're interested, just drop me an e-mail, and I'll let you know if I get around to looking at Amy the Slut again.

      I recompiled my earlier AIF games for the latest TADS 3 and put them on the IFDB. Entrancing Sin is a 2010 mini-comp entry. It was a hypnosis story where you gradually change Ashley's personality through hypnosis. If you changed it too quickly, she could notice that she was behaving strangely and run away. The game is unplayable because Ashley's personality model is too complicated for people to figure out, so no one can tell when they make a mistake or not. She had four personality traits, and each could be influenced independently. I could fix the problems by showing her personality statistics in the game, but it would be a different game then. It would be better to just write a new game.

      The problem with using obsession/love/hate as a motivation for sandbox game is that it has no tidy ending. When is the obsession sated? With the minicomp, I stopped after having sex the first time. But if you go further than that, then there is no narratively satisfying ending. Do you stop after having sex twice? Threesome? There needs to be something more.

  3. How would you have handled player agency in the other chapters of Amy the Slut? From your brief synopsis, it doesn't sound like there is very much agency for the character at all to begin with. It sounds like you've got a very specific plot and path for the character to take, and the player involvement would likely be restricted to some puzzle solving or cosmetic choices.

    And really, nothing wrong with that. Most AIF are actually very linear, despite appearances. In order to get anywhere you often have to do very specific things that the author wrote, with no room for deviation.

    1. The story arc will be fixed. It will always be a coming of age story where Amy discovers her sexual identity. The agency will be in the details and choices along the way. The game system will be designed so that she will always end up at the same end. Her personality and the people she hangs out with will make her fate inevitable. The player makes the story their own by choosing how Amy gets to the end. Perhaps agency is the wrong term. I'm trying to provide meaningful interactivity. Some people call that agency.

      The game is a dating sim, so the player will have control of the dates. I'm trying to design the dating simulation to always push the player in a certain direction but still provide enough agency so the story will unfold differently for different players depending on their choices. It's very possible that there will not be enough choices available to the player and the game becomes linear. I won't know until I actually make the game unfortunately.

      For chapter 2, I was thinking of a guilt mechanic. Amy feels obligated to please her boyfriend because of all the good things he does for her. Amy is deeply in love with Lance and is afraid of losing him like she lost Glen. On dates, in her mind, Lance is being a good boyfriend to her and she must repay that kindness by being a good girlfriend to him. Since Lance is only interested in sex, being a good girlfriend means having lots of kinky sex. This might be too complicated. A simple love mechanic might be enough. AIF players will naturally want to push Amy into having kinkier sex anyway, so there's no need to make a mechanic that forces her down that path. I only need a mechanic that provides a challenge.

      The idea for the game system for chapter 3 is that Amy is devastated by being dumped by Lance. She falls into a downward spiral of depression. Her friends encourage her to go out and meet new people. Her happiness and confidence go up when she goes to parties and boys romance her. Who doesn't like being fawned over by good-looking people? The only way that she can escape her depression is by sleeping with lots of people.

      I don't know how chapter 4 could work. Chapter 5 is short and naturally has different choices in it.

  4. I played Splendid Ostrich's work-in-progress called NewLife. There is no need for me to finish Beach Fishing. NewLife has most of the things I was thinking about for Beach Fishing. It has a clothing system, varied sex scenes, many men to have sex with, and more. Although it bills itself as a transformation game, after the introduction, there's nothing about transformation ever again. You play as a woman who can dress up to pick up guys in clubs, go on dates, get boyfriends, get pregnant, and possibly even get married. Everything is very procedural. Yourself, the men, the sex, the personalities, the dates, the events. It feels different from anything else I've played. You end up going to clubs, hoping to meet a guy who's attractive, has a good personality, is good in bed, won't get you pregnant, and won't leave immediately after sex. But you just don't know. You have to put yourself out there and go on many lousy dates and have lots of mediocre sex before you find someone good. Some men are very aggressive. Some are kind and timid. Some will purposely knock you up (the pregnancy stuff is very overbearing in this game). Most will have sex with you and leave, never to be seen again. Others will ask to be your boyfriend without even having a conversation with you first. Some are romantic but can never bring you to orgasm. Others are rough and mean but can give you multiple climaxes. It looks very promising. I'm worried that it will be hard for Splendid Ostrich to add a lot of content to the game because it's all written in Java. Also, the sex becomes repetitive after a while. But what's there is incredible. That game definitely shows what a female POV sex romp should look like.