Wednesday, 30 March 2016

AIF Writing Salon Proposed Schedule

Here is the proposed schedule for the AIF Writing Salon. Authors will have three months to put together their work for the AIF Fest. There will be weekly events that will guide new authors through the process of creating a small game with a single sex scene. Experienced authors are welcome to post progress about their own works at these events too.

May 1-7 - Pitch your story ideas
Have an idea for an erotic adventure? Have a steamy sex scene that you want to write down? Have you ever wanted to 'ship your favorite fictional characters? Pitch your ideas and get feedback from others. We'll spend time talking about how to flesh out concepts and simplify ideas.

May 8-14 - Choose an engine
If you want to program interactive sex, you need a game engine to run in. Discuss your choices or come get advice about your options. Choose one, install it, and start it up.

May 15-21 - Introductions
Every AIF game needs a sex scene. We're going to concentrate on writing a game with only one sex scene first. Later, more chapters can be added on to create a longer work. Choose one sex scene from your game and write an introduction that summarizes everything in your story leading up to that sex scene. Post these teasers to get feedback and to generate excitement about your full game.

May 22-28 - Program that introduction
Cut & paste that introduction into your game. When you start your game, that introduction should appear, drawing players into the story.

May 29-June 4 - Room descriptions
When your game starts, the player needs to know where he or she is. Establish the setting. Write a paragraph describing where the sex scene takes place. Is it an empty room, or do you want to have interactive objects in the room too?

June 5-11 - Program the room description
Add the room description to your game so that players can look around.

June 12-18 - Character description
Write descriptions for the player and partner. What do they look like? What are they wearing? What do they look like naked? Do you want to let players examine individual body parts?

June 19-25 - Program the character descriptions
Add character descriptions to your game so that characters can be looked at.

June 26-July 2 - Sex transcript
Write a sample playthrough of your sex scene. List the commands that a player will do and write the responses that will happen. Think about alternate commands that the player might try.

July 3-9 - Program the transcript
It's time to get interactive! Add the commands from your sex transcript into your game. You should be able to play through your game now.

July 10-31 - Fleshing things out
Now that you have a playable game, it's time to flesh things out. Add more commands to your game. Add extra rooms. Add puzzles and plot. Add a conclusion.

What do you think? Does this schedule seem reasonable?


  1. The first year will probably be one of feeling things out, but here our my initial thoughts:

    1: Combine story ideas and engine into the first week or first ten days together (or reverse the order). You risk losing momentum if the group pitches their ideas and then instead of progressing into the game we spend time discussing engine design.

    2: Combine the room introduction and program the introduction. Further I would call this something like introduction and game setup (or outline). At this stage of the design process I think the author should be starting to figure out not just the intro but the overall game plot, what (if any) variables they will need, and probably the major points of the game.

    3: As I've kind of been saying, combine the character write/program and sex write/program portions so the programming isn't separated out. I think splitting these will really hurt the ability to focus on what we're talking about.

    4: I'm cutting the schedule down so things I would add (some of which are in fleshing things out but seem important to cover before that)
    Objects and variables: When I first got into AIF I found objects a lot more troublesome than rooms.
    Puzzles and choices: What are the obstacles the player has to deal with?
    Plot points: What are the major points that you want to get to during the game?

    5: At the moment you have it designed as a weekly changing schedule. I think that is fine, but I'll just offer a monthly alternative (which could be every ten days):
    May: Cover design, ideas, engine choice, and plot outline
    June: Writing and programming rooms, variables, objects, and characters.
    July: Sex scenes and fleshing the game out.

    1. 1. I am also concerned about losing momentum, but I think there are advantages to organizing the Salon around the idea that it's possible to put together a game with a small amount of work each week. The pace is slow, but authors only need to write a couple of paragraphs each week. Authors are free to jump ahead early to later steps if they have a burst of energy.

      The four weeks at the beginning is especially important because authors are always too ambitious at the beginning and will propose ideas involving too many characters and an orgy. It takes some time before authors have enough distance from their ideas that they can be talked down to one room and two characters. I tried to pad out the early schedule as much as possible to allow room for this.

      2 + 4. For a full game, those topics would be important, but I was thinking that the Writing Salon would deal with only a single sex scene. My goal is to have everyone finish something by the end. A series of puzzles with no sex isn't really a finished AIF game. A simple interactive sex scene with no puzzles is a playable AIF game. There's several weeks at the end where authors can make their games more complex with plot points and puzzles. The core of the Writing Salon will just be on getting a single sex scene completed.

      I will also heavily encourage the use of Twine for first-time programmers. That will avoid the problem of objects. I will try to find some scripts to make Twine behave more like a traditional AIF world model though. The Twine version of "One Last Pay Day" used a multi-pane system that felt very similar to the original TADS version despite the lack of a text parser. I will try to figure out how he did that.

      3. I think of the writing and programming as being a single two week block. There's one week for writing, and a second week to get feedback on that writing. People won't have time to give comments until the weekend, so there needs to be a two week period for people to get feedback on what they're working on.

      5. For a full mini-comp game, your schedule would work better. I am worried that full games are too ambitious for new authors, which is why my schedule focuses on just a single sex scene and moves at a glacial pace. I'd rather aim low for the initial Writing Salon and see how things play out.

    2. re: OLPD's multi-pane layout

      I can't take any credit for the concept or execution, that came from this thread:

      I just tweaked some CSS for the aesthetics. From what I recall it isn't restricted to just two panes; I think I toyed with an inventory pane along the bottom. I only took a cursory look at Twine 2 at the time, so I've no clue if it works for that or not, if that's the version you'd plan to promote. Maybe it's more feature-complete a year on.

      (Even after one-and-a-half games I still feel like a new author, so I might join in the salon at various points, particularly since I'm having writer's block with my sex scenes recently.)

  2. Where are we meant to be posting these ideas for feedback? are we using the Yahoo group?

    1. Please don't use the Yahoo group. Anything else! :D

    2. I was thinking of creating a Wordpress blog that different authors could post to (or they could simply post their ideas in the comments section).

      It might make more sense to simply run the Writing Salon on AIF Central though. Let me ask ExLibris's opinion.

    3. I'd be happy for you to use AIF Central.

      The one drawback I can see is accessibility. Anyone wishing to post needs a Google account, which is a slight barrier to entry. Also, I need to manually issue invites, so ideally anyone wishing to take part should contact me in advance.

    4. How about Reddit? It's a popular & common platform and it should be easy to navigate and keep track of posts and replies, etc.

    5. Using some sort of blog or forum makes more sense than using the yahoo group or AIF central. If wasn't down, we could've used that. I am a new author, so I'm definitely entering the salon.

    6. I'll probably use AIF Central for this year. Dedicated forum software would be better, but Blogger is simple to use, allows for anonymous posting, and provides a useful structure for organizing things. The primary advantage of AIF Central is that it receives regular traffic so I'm hoping for some drive-by commenting from others. Another advantage is that it is long-lived, so we don't have to worry a few years from now about all the content and posts getting lost and dying out. The AIF community is 18 years old, and it's nice that a lot of the old content is archived in a few places instead of scattered all over the place. If the Writing Salon survives in future years, it can be moved to a different location. Right now, I'm more worried about whether anyone will join in at all than about whether the discussion system is disorganized.

    7. Good point. That's why I love blogger.