Friday, 5 May 2017

2017 Mini-comp: Design Discussion

During the Minicomp 2017, authors are allowed to openly discuss their games at all times as long as they do not release any playable parts of their games before the deadline.

Do you want to get feedback on your game idea? Do you need help shrinking your ideas down to fit the minicomp restrictions? Do you just want to discuss your design with others?

Feel free to discuss things either here in the comments of this post or elsewhere.

If you are posting a comment anonymously, it is useful if you tag the comment with a nickname so that other people know who it is

31 comments:

  1. I currently have a few potential ideas for minicomp games that I've been considering.

    I've always liked sex games in AIF like strip poker or spin the bottle. The minicomp might be a good excuse to try my hand at making one. If there's no plot or story but only the sex game, then it might be small enough to fit the minicomp rules. I have an idea for a sex game where one person is blindfolded, and someone else touches them on the "face", and the blindfolded person has to guess who is touching them.

    I've been wanting to make another hypnosis minicomp game for a long time, but I haven't been able to come up with a good small scenario. After reading RLM's story "Deric's Wager," I've realized that a hotwife story might make a nice, small hypnosis game. I think I'll be able to control the scale of the game by having the only player interaction be the hypnosis itself. Everything else will play out automatically. I'm worried about the importance of the husband in a hotwife story though. If he is important, then I'll need to use him as a character and that will mean fewer rooms available.

    I've also been thinking about how to make an AIF game about a married couple. One scenario I've been thinking about is that the couple's vacation is ruined when the wife's office requires her at the last minute to do some remote work during the day. The husband then spends his days looking for things that the couple can do at night. Although the husband can make love to his wife at any time, the sex would be more adventurous if she's destressed and relaxed. It might be hard to fit the game in such a limited room count.

    I've recently heard some women raving online about the author Anita Blake. I perused some of her books, and they seem to be about some sort of vampire/succubus who can sleep with people to absorb some of their power and energy. It seems a little silly, but idea might work really well as a game mechanic for an adult RPG. The main character can run around having lots of sex with people to gain their powers. Although the sex scenes would be very short, I'm worried that I would need too many characters to fit the game into minicomp size.

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    1. In the end, I became concerned that the sex game idea might be too hard to program for the minicomp, so I'm going to go with the hypnosis game idea.

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  2. I'm with you in that I love sex games in AIF, so I'd be particularly excited if you decide to focus on that game. Your setup sounds excellent for a minicomp, and if its fleshed out enough it sounds like the kind of game I'd come back to over and over in the future.

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  3. One of the things I like about the mini-comps is that it makes me think about AIF concepts that I might never have even conceptualized. Without even realizing it, I fall into my standard areas of interest (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, etc) along with the sexual styles/interests that come easiest to me.

    It's neat to hear what other people are contemplating!

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  4. All the ideas I have thus far are rather simple - the sorts of ideas anyone has without all the extra 'stuff' that makes the game at all interesting. The stuff that makes the game move forward I guess.

    Like I thought of a game involving a car ride where your parents and neighbors go, but your folks are unable to go but your neighbor lady chips in and says you can join them. "Unfortunately" your best pal, her son, already left earlier with her ex-husband who played the cool guy to get his son to follow along.

    You end up in a van with his two sisters, perhaps a younger one that likes you (but you aren't as interested in, but easier to seduce) and an older one who at first doesn't think much of you other than her brother's friend.

    It could lead to a lot of hiding to avoid Mom's gaze and that sort of thing, and some sexy scenes, but it is all the middle stuff I don't have a clue on atm. =P How to make it interesting without being too simple. "Oh, you needed a pen? I found one, now suck my dick." I might expand on this game and the dialogue/examining things to work it out, but I dunno. Like I said, several of these generic ideas, but will have to actually figure one out a bit more and work on it.

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    1. Int he post-apocolyptic world of 2260, anyone who has a pen has the world at their fingertips. ~cue intense music~

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    2. This sounds neat, but are you sure the scenario works? How can you have sex with the sisters with the mom there in the car with you? Couldn't a simpler homework scenario also work where you've been assigned a joint project with one of the sisters, and you know the other sister from some extra curricular thing, and you're sitting with them in their basement? Maybe you could combine the role of one of the sisters and the mom? Perhaps one of the sisters is one of your former babysitters and college aged. Perhaps the older sister is supposed to chaperoning you, but she likes you a bit, and you've always had a crush on her?

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    3. If it were me I'd add an element of exhibitionism where the sister you dont pick watches what you're doing with the other sister. Maybe their responses would vary depending on what you did in the pre sex scenes. It'd give you a lot more options for good and bad endings, from telling on you to masturbating herself to even joining in. I really like your scenario, and I think you can easily make it work, but in a small environment like a car it'd be tough to have it make sense that the sister you dont pick just plain doesnt notice whats going on.

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    4. Those sound like really erotic ideas, but I would be concerned that it would take too long to program. Once you use the phrases "their responses would vary depending on ..." and "a lot more options for ... endings," it probably means it will be impossible to finish the game before the minicomp deadline.

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    5. Yeah, like I said, just one of a handful of very early ideas I had (a sexy seance reaching the lustful dead? who knows!), not sure I will go with it yet.

      But it is good feedback. I guess off the top I was thinking more of watching and teasing/risky things more than full blown sex right away. One flashes a tit while the mom is busy or something. Also the back seat, a bench vs. two separate seats, could be more akin to a bed and some light under-the-covers situations could ensue (it is a long trip after all, some people lay down or the AC is too cold, etc.).

      Of course that would still likely lead to less than full blown sex - some hands working under the sheets, that sort. And you could maneuver the girls about to make it less obvious - mom needs one up front to navigate a city she isn't familiar with, etc.

      But all in all, still just ideas, so I may very well for simplicity sake of the contest go for a more normal house setting. Thanks for the input guys!

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    6. If you do want to go with the car idea, then maybe you could have it where the family takes a pit stop after youve been fooling around for a while, and then you're left alone in the car with the sister of your choice and a proper sex scene while the family is off stretching their legs.

      Doing it in a house is definitely easier.

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  5. In the current game I'm working on (for the comp) you play an apprentice wizard (Yeah, yeah, nobody has evvvver done that before in IF). As such you tend to be frail, and I was considering the following:

    Instead of discouraging dangerous actions by the character, let them do them - and then end the game. EXCEPT - make sure that the 'end game' msg includes an undo option. So, they can screw up as much as they want... and at the end, tell them how many of the possible death fates they met. In a way, seeing how BAD you can do also becomes part of the adventure, where-in the puzzles might otherwise be fairly simple. I'm even thinking of having the 'undo' message represent some metaphysical rewinding of time.

    Does that sound fun, or does the 'end game' msg (even if you can undo it) jar you as a player too much?

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    1. Actually, an end game message that clues you in of other paths is pretty good.

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    2. Having bad endings isn't a problem as long as the path getting there in enjoyable. If the bad paths are actually really awesome or sexy or funny, then players might even purposely choose the bad paths. Even if the bad paths aren't that much fun, some people love rogue-likes even though they die all the time. The original Dating Ariane was a minefield of dead-ends. I've heard that the visual novel "Long Live the Queen" was notorious for killing you off for arbitrary wrong decisions you might have made early on, but people still liked it because there were so many varied ways to play it.

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    3. Hah! I'm actually working on a wizard themed game too but it's about a retired wizard at the end of his career.

      But yeah, agreeing with the others here, as long as it's fun and restarting isn't too onerous bad endings aren't a problem at all.

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  6. is there a discord for this? learning twine for this comp.

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  7. I'm tentatively looking into putting something together, could someone point me in the direction of whatever AIF relevant TADS3 libraries are available?

    I believe chick.t/sex.t were the go to for a while, but that might have been a long time ago.

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    1. You might have better luck asking that question on the AIF Archive Yahoo! group.

      I think chick.t/sex.t were actually for TADS2. There might have been a sex3.t that was for an older version of TADS3. I think ProxyFive made a more recent sex3plus library for TADS3.

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  8. http://aifcommunity.org/resources/libraries/ has a couple of TADS3 specific libraries: xactor_t3.zip, s3p0.9.rar (the latter is ProxtFive's reworked version of sex3, referred to above).

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  9. So how is playtesting going to be handled? Can we do an open call for playtesters then send them the game directly, just as long as we don't post the game publicly?

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    1. Yep, can't see any reason why not - having others test your game is highly encouraged!

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    2. Yes, an open call is fine. My intention for the rule about not posting parts of the game publicly is to discourage authors from taking an existing game and submitting it to the Minicomp.

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  10. I have a rough introduction to my game done:

    "You have to leave? But we only just moved down here!" Jane complains to her husband Richard.

    "Honey, we both knew that my new job would involve a lot of travel," Richard says.

    "But we've been here for less than a month."

    "I didn't think that the first sales trip would be so soon, but it would happen sooner or later."

    "If you have to travel so much for the company anyway, I don't see why we couldn't have stayed in Pittsburgh," Jane pouts. She misses her old home and all her friends from Pittsburgh.

    Richard holds his wife's hand tenderly. "Honey, we discussed this before the move."

    "I know." When Richard received the job offer, they both knew that he had to take it. She didn't want to leave Pittsburgh, but the salary was amazing. Instead of barely keeping their heads above water each month, with his new job, she didn't even have to work. Richard would finally have a chance to use his degree in a company that valued him and gave him opportunities for advancement. It was Richard's dream job.

    "You'll finally have the apartment all to yourself. You won't have to step over me all the time," Richard jokes. The housing was a lot more expensive here than in Pittsburgh, so they had to move into a small apartment in a "gentrifying" neighborhood.

    "I don't know anybody here. I don't know where anything is in the city. I won't have anything to do."

    "I asked Douglas to help you get settled in. He said that he would drop by after work every day while I'm away to make sure you have everything you need." Douglas was Richard's boss. Douglas was actually an old acquaintance of Richard. He helped Richard get this new job. He helped them move down. And he regularly dropped by to check in on them.

    "I'll miss you."

    "I'll miss you too."

    ***
    Later in the week...

    Jane strapped the new watch on her wrist. She was sitting around the kitchen table with her husband's boss Douglas.

    "You'll love these new lifeWatches," Douglas said. "I loved them so much, I bought one for everyone who works under me at the company. I gave one to Richard before he left. I had some extras, so I thought you might like one too."

    Jane looked at the lifeWatch. It looked sleek and high-tech and trendy. "What does it do? Besides tell the time, of course."

    "It has a whole computer in it that monitors your biorhythms 24 hours a day."

    "Oh, it's like those exercise watches that record your heart rate when you exercise!"

    "It does that, and a lot more too. It's the first watch with electro-cardio-neuro regulation!"

    "What does that mean?"

    "It doesn't just monitor your biorhythms. It can use electro-stimulation to smooth them out and keep you at your peak performance."

    "That sounds complicated. Is it safe?"

    "Yes. The electro-feedback uses a very low amount of power that it's 100x lower than the natural electrical signals flowing through your body. Your body barely registers it. The watch only applies it once per day too."

    "If the power is so low, does it actually do anything?"

    "The frequency and shape of the regulation signal is more important than its power. People with lifeWatches have reported better sleep, more regularity, greater endurance during exercise, a lesser need for coffee and tobacco, and better adherence to diets, among other things."

    "That sounds amazing. How does it work?"

    "The manufacturer is very secretive about it. Something about AI. You know these high tech companies. I read on the Internet, something about excitation pushes and a phase dampens, but I didn't understand."

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    1. I'm going to make a game where you gradually change Jane's personality with "pushes" to get her excited about something that's happening. The same events will repeat each day, but they play out differently depending on how her personality has changed. To keep things simple to start with, I will limit the game to a single room, the two initial characters, and a single personality trait, love. If that works, I will expand it if there is time available.

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  11. Game is nearly done. Email me at nhlwright@gmail.com to be a playtester.

    It's called Control, an aif take on a wizard saving a princess from a dragon.

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  12. Im not so worried about game length as long as I feel that my scenes are more than just filler. Im making a game with the character the player is and a woman and then im going to use the 8 rooms and create a bunch of non interactive scenes.

    Velsomnia

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    1. Im already freaking myself out though, im going to be using Harley Quinn as my main character in a sort of adult misadventures game. I have to get her personality just right and decide what characters from Gotham need to be there. Obviously I cant use Joker since he would instantly kill anyone that touched Harley so finding a good backstory is going to take some work. Plus I have already tried Quest and Tads 3 and both crash on me so now I have to try this in Adrift 5.

      Velsomnia

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    2. It's theoretically fine. I just feel that you're being too ambitious and that the game will end up being weaker because there's too many characters to do a good job on it. The limitations of the minicomp aren't supposed to block you from making games. They're designed to help you focus on what's important. In your case, it seems like the important part is Harley Quinn's character. If you can make a small game with a fun, believable Harley Quinn, then you have a successful game. It's not that important that the game lets her have sex with lots of people as long as her personality is right. Throw the Joker in Arkham, have Harley out in the city alone, and work out a fun, small scene with her. Then, try to grow it into a larger game once you have her character down pat.

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    3. Im wanting to aim more for a game where Batman catches Joker and Harley has to go find him, along the way I was going to throw in a few people that she needs to get information from in various ways. Thats the idea of using a lot of rooms and characters, it would be 1 or 2 interactive scenes and maybe 5 non interactive scenes.

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    4. If it's your first game, the best approach is to always start with the smallest game you can possibly make. It always takes a lot longer to make this smallest game than you think. Then add extra scenes to it if you have time leftover.

      You should first decide if you're okay with the player being Harley Quinn herself. Harley Quinn is a very versatile character with a lot of agency, so it should work story-wise and it means you will need fewer characters. If it doesn't excite you though, then that obviously won't work for you.

      Then, decide on one person she can get information from. There's no need to have 5 of them. Start with just one. Write a description of Harley. If you can't physically describe her, then the game won't work. Write a short scenario for what information she is getting and how she gets it. Then work from there.

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    5. Very good advice. Those are the things that consistently trip up new authors.

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