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Forgive me if I get a little over-enthousiastic with prying answers from you, but it's been a while that I have gone on a forum and recieved proper human responses. 

That being said, this question may say more about me than I would normally want in front of peope I don't know, but... yay, internet! 

So here's my thing. I started on my game story fully intending to add (graphic) adult content. Thus far the story has not allowed for such scenes and I've just been toying with adult ideas as mere side-quests, but I'm far, far from done and deeper "interpersonal relations" could still crop up.

What's your take on adult content? Because I think it's possible to add what people would consider porn without it interfering with the story, yet I have never actually seen it work. Take the first Leisure Suit Larry for example one: I couldn't tell you the point of the game, or the story without having to look it up, yet I can remember it was about a guy trying to get laid. Remember the Ken Sent Me-hooker clear as day. Remember the girl in the hot tub. No idea how I got there anymore. All I remember is that I played it because my buddy in school told me there was sex in it.

Dragon Age, example two: I remember that, sure. And that you had the option to get with party members. Only that just felt like it was tacked on. And again, at one point you're gonna do a playthrough just to see who you can get naked.

Do you think it's possible to add sex without detracting from the game? Is there any light at the end of that tunnel.

Maybe I shouldn't have used the tunnel thing in this context.

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I've seen games (more indie-ish stuff) that tackled the topic of sex in a reasonably mature and serious way, typically in the context of a "romance/dating sim" type of genre. Granted there's a lot of cheap porno garbage in that world too, but there are some serious attempts. I've also seen plenty of things that are just comedic or absurd, as you mentioned. God of War comes to mind as a mainstream game where the sex sequences are stupid.

Something that includes it in a fluid fashion, though... that's tough. The Bioware RPGs - you mentioned DA and there are others - tend to effectively have "relationship" side quests and they're typically quite PG-13. In a broad artistic sense, of course this is possible to do properly. Many other mediums - books, film, television, theatre - have done it for ages. I'm hard pressed to identify a game that handles it with the maturity and seriousness seen in those other creative worlds, though.

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23 minutes ago, Promit said:

I've seen games (more indie-ish stuff) that tackled the topic of sex in a reasonably mature and serious way, typically in the context of a "romance/dating sim" type of genre.

I do not have faith that if I'd do it, it would come off as mature. I have thought about adding on these side quests are a sort of dating sim element (but more as adventure puzzles) with a graphical payoff, but every solution to my "But I want sexy times!" problem ends up with imaginary reviewers going: "He's just doing it for the attention."

 

27 minutes ago, Promit said:

Many other mediums - books, film, television, theatre - have done it for ages.

Agreed, but if I'd do it like that I'd be censoring myself. I don't want naked bodies stacked in a flattering manner, I want the player to enter the dark alley, possibly encounter a girl providing a man... service for an eight ball and have the player uncomfortable by the look on her face when they click the loving couple. By my calculations that means they'll see some over eighteen material.

To be honest, I'm just fretting over problems that might not even come to be, but I like to worry ahead.

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Interesting. I was already aware of the oversexualisation issue though. Truth be told, I am fine with it would I indeed be playing DOA or some such thing and I expect it from God Of War and it makes sense for Lara Croft as she's a fit young woman, though granted, her initial attire seemed a little impractical.  But based on that clip I am even more tempted to just let go of the whole dating-sim sidequest idea. Which, the more I write it, the stupider it seems anyway. Beyond that I don't see alot of reason to veer off course on the rest. If such a scene comes up, I'll run it through a gratuity-checker and handle it.

Meanwhile, I'll go and try to find one of these womens I keep hearing about, see if they can shed some light on this.

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Normally this kind of content in games is avoided just because it's to hard to draw lines. So for stores there is no solid way to say "These are OK" and "These are not OK" so they just ban it all.

When adding adult content to your game it becomes much harder to market. If your just adding a few sexual scenes it's going to cause more pain than the scenes are worth.

3 hours ago, Bakkerbaard said:

Do you think it's possible to add sex without detracting from the game? Is there any light at the end of that tunnel.

The whole point is there is no story to be told during a sex scene, all of the story happens before and after sex; not during. So you can just blackout or skip the scene.

The reason Dragon age and Mass effect have such tacky sex scenes is because that is the actual worth of the scene. The actual moment of sex has no use in a story. Even caught in bed trope can be done without the actual scene.

Sex scenes isn't worth it, no story needs it.

 

My advice is this: Either don't do it or make a full adult game, so that most people know what to expect.

Also when making adult games don't be childish, don't get mad when people don't like the scenes.

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19 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

Sex scenes isn't worth it, no story needs it.

I might disagree on this, but I have no counter-arguements beyond "Nymphomaniac" and that wouldn't be a very strong arguement anyway...

Oh, touching on the marketing-bit you said before this: I never really expected to sell retail. Does it also apply to selling online? Steam maybe? Getting it out there is so far away still that I really haven't given it more thought than: "Meh. I'll just harass people at Gamedev until they break and wanna see it." ;o)

19 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

Also when making adult games don't be childish, don't get mad when people don't like the scenes.

As far as this project goes, I'm throwing in one adolescent gag, with room to remove it. As far as creations as a whole go, I'm a realist. I don't expect to please anyone, which is the beauty of making a game targeted at me.

Edited by Bakkerbaard
Dumb spelling

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38 minutes ago, Bakkerbaard said:

I might disagree on this, but I have no counter-arguements beyond "Nymphomaniac" and that wouldn't be a very strong arguement anyway...

Easy to do without any actual sex scenes.

There is a huge amount of stories that cover sexual topics but never actually has any sex in them. Most of them are comedies or love stories, a quick internet search should net a view.

On the top of my head, one such I can think of is Nana To Kaoru a manga, difficult to buy. It's a S&M story often mentioned by writers who argue that 50 Shades Of Gray spoiled it's story with sex scenes.

By actually removing sex from the story, Nana To Karo places much more emphases on S&M and the love story between the characters.

40 minutes ago, Bakkerbaard said:

Does it also apply to selling online? Steam maybe?

Yes. Online stores are just as bad with this as retailers.

Steam is strange at the moment, they seam unable to decide if they are willing to publish adult content and remove adult games randomly, while keeping others. There is very little reasoning to there choices.

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8 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

by writers who argue that 50 Shades Of Gray spoiled it's story with sex scenes.

I can't say much about 50 Shades. Only half read the book so I could argue how bad it was if it came up and half an hour into the movie I was so busy sticking my hand in a blender to feel human again that I never finished the bastard. One thing I will say however, is that in bookform it is possible to include graphic sex, because of the added benefit of telling the reader what's going on in someone's head or giving details that matter, beyond "her body shivered with his touch", making it more relevant to the story you are telling.

16 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

Yes. Online stores are just as bad with this as retailers.

I'll burn this bridge when I get to it. By the time this becomes relevant to me, we'll all have jetpacks.

It's just too bad that as soon as an errant tit pops up things get categorized as porn.

 

This discussion is doing me some good though.

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In my game, I've wanted to create an encounter with a demonic succubus. I really liked how Dark Messiah played with the idea of a demonic succubus sharing the mind of the protagonist/player. I think there's a lot more landscape to explore, and the topic of demonic possession fascinates me in some ways. I have listed out a bunch of demons and the vices they use to prey on mortals as a means to corrupt and possess their souls. This is partially inspired by Dragon Age : Origins, with their pride demons, lust demons, rage demons, etc. So, I think it would be a really fascinating, interesting exercise to try to use each of the various vices to try to tempt and corrupt the player. The underlying motive is to examine our own susceptibilities to real life vices and get a better understanding of our own human natures. Some people could, feasibly, have their ego and pride stroked in such a way that they become enslaved by their pride. Maybe other players are constantly enraged by troll NPC's, who then become pawns of a rage demon. Also on the list, would be a succubus demon who uses sexual desire and gratification to entice the player into temptation. In each case, demonic domination would be a gradual descent into oblivion rather than something that just happens instantly. I want the player to be a frog which swims in water, but never realizes it's starting to boil. The descent into irreversible demonic possession is gradual and hard to see. I think this deeply speaks to the human condition and the human experience, and if its done right, can become a very powerful take away which causes players to carefully examine their own lives and make more informed decisions about their own actions and how they might affect others. I'm a bit wary about the sexy succubus. In order to do it right, the succubus would have to be legitimately sexy and tempting to the player and be flirtatious and tempting, using every means of seduction available to bring the player under their control. In some ways, the succubus would have a dominatrix style of relationship with a submissive type of player, and that could be a fun way for players to explore their own sexuality and interests. The way I see this gradual demonic possession working (in all cases), is that the player is like a fish and the demons have baited fish hooks, and if the player bites at a baited hook, then the demon slowly starts reeling them in. If you know anything about fishing, you know that you need to play the fish a bit. You need to know when to reel them in and when to release some line, but you're gradually reeling the fish in more than you're giving out line, and eventually, you can lean down and grab the tired out fish. In the case of the succubus, it has to play the player like a fish. To reel in the player, it needs to seduce the player into having sex with the succubus, and the experience the player has needs to be rewarding enough that they want to keep that hook in their mouth, but not so rewarding that they're done -- the succubus has to keep reeling them in, more and more, enticing the player with greater and greater temptations, while also playing the player by slowly asserting dominance and issuing commands. Does the player obey the succubus to get subsequent sexual rewards? Or does the succubus have to release some fishing line to keep its fish thinking its free? The other really interesting area to explore is what happens to the player after they have become fully possessed and dominated by a demon. What happens if the succubus finally catches the player and the player can't escape? The player can't resist coming back for more, over and over again, and can't deny the succubus its demands (ie, "Go kill this priest! For me, baby!"). As you can imagine, there's a lot of darkness to explore, and what kind of scares me about all of it is that it can hit close to home for a lot of people because it exposes their own inner darknesses, possibly stuff they didn't even know existed? This itself could be even more shocking to the audience than the sex acts with the succubus. When it comes to the sex acts, I'm particularly wary about how its presented. What I *don't* want is to have the sex act to be pornographic in nature and style. That would mostly undermine the narrative and philosophical intents and just cause the game to become cheap and seedy, and any deeper value the player gets out of the experience would be lost. And yet, the experience has to be somewhat pornographic at the same time in order to fit the reward of the succubus? It's a very challenging and delicate line to balance. Obviously, there would have to be nudity and a gradual escalation of sexual interactions. But, how do I do this in an artistic way such that the entire game is not seen as just a flimsy pretext for video game porn? And even more concerning, how do I make sure that my game isn't censored from the various online distribution channels such as Steam, GOG, etc just because it has sex acts and nudity in it? Would they be willing to touch a game which helps people discover and explore their inner darknesses, including the vices of sex, even if it informs the human experience and presents a new life perspective for players? Are American's too puritan to even seriously consider it?

The other consideration I'm thinking is that my players may also be female, so if that's the case, then I need to have an equivalent male lust demon to entice the female player into being seduced/tempted. That's particularly challenging because the things which seduce men won't seduce women in the same way or to the same effect, and I am... a bit too clueless on how to effectively seduce women, and any online resources I find lead me to the "pickup artist" bullshit everyone hates.

Anyways, I looked at a the content guidelines for Steam and a few other distribution channels for guidance but it was very vague and unhelpful, so I'm mostly just holding off on this for now. What happens if my game is currently rated for teens, but a few months down the line, I release a content update which causes my game to be rated Mature or Adult? What happens to the teen customers when the rating of the game changes and they (or their parents) would no longer find the game suitable for their age group? Should I rate the game as Mature/Adult, just in case I want to go down this road in the future?

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