Friday, May 25, 2012

How Smutty should you make Your game?

Just for clarification, if you are making a game strictly for your own enjoyment, and don't really care if anyone else wants to play it, feel free to ignore this essay and make your game however you please.

On the other hand, if you intend to make a game for a playing, and possibly paying, audience, this is my advice.

 How  Smutty
should you make Your game?

Before you can even approach this question, first you'll need to decide:

WHO is your target audience?
  • What Age bracket are you aiming for: 
    • Under 18? 
    • Over 21?
  • What Gender
    • Male? 
    • Female? 
    • Both?
  • What Type of Gamer
    • Those who prefer Story over Game-play, or 
    • Those who prefer Game-play over Story?  
    • Those who prefer Story and Game-play equally balanced.
    • Those who prefer Art Galleries with as little story or game-play as possible.
    • Other
  • What kind of Story do they prefer: 
    • Angst
    • Slice-of-Life
    • Romantic Comedy
    • BDSM
    • Horror
    • Psychological Thrillers
    • Mystery
    • Comedy of Errors
    • Supernatural
    • Sci-Fi
    • Steampunk
    • Fantasy
    • Yaoi (M/M)
    • Yuri (F/F)
    • Other
The wonderful thing about smut is that it can be used in any genre.

Once you know WHO your target audience is, how smutty you should make your game depends on these major factors:

1) Your Target Audience and THEIR Expectations.
What level of graphic smut does your target audience EXPECT in their games? 

Designing your game toward what your target audience likes and wants is the easiest and most effective way of guaranteeing that they'll adore your work.

As a professional erotica author, my target audience are the readers of my novels. They expect extremely detailed xXx work from me because that's how my novels are written.

2) Your Skill Level in Art and/or Writing.
Can you draw or write Good smut?

Realize your strengths, but more importantly -- your weaknesses

I don't have the artistic skills to draw smut well, but I Do have the skill to write very good smut, so I handle my smut scenes with one static R-16 (suggestive) image paired with very detailed R-18 text. This has proved very effective for me because a static image does not distract my audience from the extremely detailed smut they are reading.

3) The level of smut YOU are comfortable producing.
How smutty are you willing to go?

I'm comfortable with any level, from sweet romance to xXx smut, but that's just me.

If you are not comfortable writing or drawing smut Don't Do It because that discomfort will show in your results.

4) The Story.
Would smut Add to the story, or Ruin it?

Smut is all well and fine, but if your game doesn't actually need a full-on smut scene to get its point across, then a simple kissing scene is smutty enough.

Out of the six games I've made, two are not R-18 because those two games would not have benefited from R-18 material. In both cases, smut would have distracted the players from the actual point of those games.

Make the Smut COUNT!
Just like every other element in your work, Smut needs a Purpose, a reason to be in the story. 

Show something:  
The type of smut a character prefers, and how they choose and gain their partners, can easily be used to reveal a character's Base Personality: tender, sweet, attention to detail, aggressive, humorous, serious…

Prove something:  
Smut scenes are an excellent tool for visible demonstrations of a couple's progression from mere passionate attraction to protective and supportive love. They can also demonstrate the downward spiral of a destructive relationship, such as one that starts with attraction and ends with irrational obsession.

Make something Happen: 
The best way to make smut work in a story is by having the smut trigger a shift in the plot. The traditional use for smut in Romance fiction is to make or break a relationship, but that’s not all it can do.

Smut can cause Transformations.
  • Vampirism and Lycanthropy as STDs. 
  • Demonic or Spiritual possession as STD
Smut can trigger Psychic or Magical ability.
  • Initiation rituals
  • The classic hentai game Bible Black uses this.
Smut can be a Distraction that allows someone else to accomplish something nefarious.
  • The modus operandi of the classic Femme Fatale.
Smut can show a radical change in a character's Personality. 
  • The classic novel, Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde does this.

    I like about you pointing out the weak points (mine is definitely the level of written smut), many tips only talk about what to do and not what there is to realize before. :D

    Well, if you know where you want to end up, you're more likely to actually get there. That means having the car pointed in the right direction from the very beginning. (If you're going to California and Route 84 won't take you there, don't get on Route 84.)

    I'm firmly of the opinion that any weakness can be worked around. You just have to be clever about it. However, you can't work around any limitation if you - 1 - don't acknowledge that it exists, and - 2 - Plan for it.

    There is a work-around for a weakness in writing smut!
    • First, read some good smut and Collect It. Seriously, collect GOOD smut novels and bookmark the appropriate pages.
    • Break out your highlighting pens and Highlight the Action and Description parts of those scenes. Skip the dialog because you won't be needing that.
    • Write all those highlighted pieces into a document - only DON'T COPY the exact words! Paraphrase them by swapping out that writer's words with your own. Don't forget to elaborate on what you have by adding plenty of adjectives. (A thesaurus is very handy for this.)
    • Add bits of scenery description and YOUR dialog.
    • Rewrite and polish to suit your work. By the time you're done, the scene will be twice as long and Entirely Yours.

    Before you freak out...! 
    It's only plagiarism if you are using the exact same exact phrases

    What you're doing is using a successful MODEL to build your own work on. Eventually, with practice, you'll be able to create without a model to work from.

    Just so you know, this is a REAL writing exercise practiced for years by Romance authors and Horror authors. It's one the Big Secrets they don't like to share because it WORKS.

    Art is taught the same way -- Copying

    Everything is a Remix Part 3: 
    Elements of Creativity

    Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.
    Warning: FALSE ENDING!!! Check the time left before you leave?
    When you draw from life, you're Copying what's before you. However, the way you draw and what tools you use changes the results into something uniquely yours. Even in a life-drawing class of 30 students, all using the same type of paper and the same type of charcoals, every student in that class will always have uniquely different results -- despite the fact that they're all drawing the same model. This is because no two artists SEE or Create the same way.

    The Renpy system is also done the same way.
     -- You start with a successful Game Model and elaborate on the basic model by adding images, sound, and text. That alone makes for an amazing array of unique games -- despite the fact that they're all built on the same Renpy Model.

    In Conclusion...
    When used cleverly, smut can be an amazing tool to enhance a story. However, when used badly, or  worse; as an afterthought, ("Oh hey, let's add some smut scenes!") smut can utterly ruin an otherwise entertaining game.

    The worst thing a creator can do is have smut scenes tacked-on at the end of an otherwise PG rated game. This rather ugly trick is used to attract players who prefer adult content. Doing this is the lowest form of cheating because it's False Advertising, also known as pandering.

    Don't cheat your players!  If you're going to make a game with smut in it, design it to be smutty from the very beginning by making those scenes necessary to the story.


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