Images, Running, Prostitutes

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 19:39 -- BlueWinds

First: I've started another image cleaning thread, dedicated to Karter / Katri. Hop on over there if you're interested in helping out. :)


I've been getting out about five nights per week for running. Not always a full two miles - sometimes I'll just jog home from somewhere I went during the day, and not feel like going out again later.

Last week, my fastest / furthest was 2mi / 20 minutes. This time it was 2mi / 18 minutes. It's an improvement! Not a huge improvement, but a good start.

I had very few takers for my challenge to get in shape alongside me. Those of you who did accept - have you been getting out daily? At all? Take up a sport of your choice because it was too cold outside? Share your stories, success or failure, in the comments. I want to hear - really, I do.


So, time for a bit more self-aware reflection, then. This time directly about the game.

Have you noticed that the women in the game never say no? They never seem to turn down customers, unlike those in my original game. This is a gameplay consideration - it's no fun seeing "Hathawa refused" a whole bunch when you first hire her.

At the same time, I fear I'm perpetuating a harmful myth, that sex workers don't get to choose their clients, that prostitution is inherently coercive. That they have to service anyone who asks.

Bullshit. If I were writing more realistically, rather than within the confines of the game mechanics, every customer who gets to spend time with Hathawa would have to deal with Antinua first (and she's picky!). They can use her as a cum dump, fuck her six ways from Sunday and stretch her ass, but they cannot hurt her, call her names or tie her up - only Antinua gets to do that.

Wend would turn away 30% of everyone interested in her (more or less at random), and Alison would decline to have sex with anyone who wasn't young and attractive. Hilde wouldn't sleep with women.

If you think about it for a minute, it makes sense - they're service workers, just like an auto mechanic, a hair stylist or a waitress. And like all other service workers, they get to choose their clients. Just like real sex workers, who turn down anyone they want, and don't have to explain themselves for it.


Terryble on

On the sex worker topic: Was that something you conciously didn't include in 2 after thinking it was a bad part of 1? Do you think there is actually a fun way to implement worker choice?

Personally I didn't even realise that was a thing in 1 until you mentioned it here so it certainly didn't annoy me. I wouldn't have a problem with you implementing it, hell it might even be a way to balance the player's cashflow. You could flip the way you're thinking about it, though it might not mesh with your other 'experience' mechanics. Instead of "Less experience = Pickier about clients" maybe you could do the opposite "More experience = Pickier about clients". I think this is probably true to life anyway, for one thing if you're a new sex worker you might be desperate for the work for one reason or another or maybe you just don't know enough about your job to know who to accept or decline. As you spend more time doing it you probably learn what to look out for in terms of personality, apperance, etc.

Also, it's probably worth mentioning that this is a world where STDs are magically not a concern and pregnancy is a thing of the past if you drink a certain tea; I'm not sure you need to be overly concerned with realism, even in the case of potentially harmful stereotypes.

BlueWinds on

Yes, I consciously didn't include "worker choice" in the game, given how constantly annoying it was in the first one, and yes, I do think there is a fun way to implement it - which I'll definitely be doing, in the next game... yes, there will be a next game. It's been brewing in the back of my mind for about a month, and I'll start work soon after this one is publicly released. :D

Your idea about more experience = pickier is a good one, but it still leaves "personal choice" as a thing the player has to balance around. The biggest goal I have for the next game is to make "not picky" feel like a bonus rather than have "often refuses" feel like a penalty. Hilde is just... heterosexual, and that shouldn't change based on her statistics.


I disagree very strongly with "I'm not sure you need to be overly concerned... even in the case of potentially harmful stereotypes." Mountains are just molehills that have grown in the soil of ignorance and watered with tears of apathy. Advertising is most effective when you aren't aware of it.

Calling out potentially damaging assumptions is, in fact, one of the best ways to make those assumptions less damaging. It gives your conscious mind a chance to kick in and evaluate (and reject) the experience that would otherwise have been processed unconsciously.

Terryble on

"...overly concerned..." was the point. The intricacies of internet discourse blah blah blah, I'll retreat to my molehill now.

BlueWinds on

Sorry, I probably came across as snippy there when I definitely didn't mean to. I sometimes come across as negative and critical without intending to - it's a problem in both my writing and my face-to-face interactions.

froggalpha on

On the subject of excersize.. I've been learning Pole Dancing recently. It is an amazing workout, and I am not nearly as flexible as I need to be. I'd highly recommend it for anyone, as it's a good general excersize. I'm the only guy in my class, and I was worried they'd be a bit negative about the idea of men joining, but it's been a positive experience overall :) Also, I hurt. It's a good hurt.

Also, thank you for thinking about choice vs mechanics. I understand the gamification of things tends to remove the perception of free will from actors in games, but it's always good to hear the designers contemplating the full picture. Prostitution gets terrible press in general, and the mythology is pervasive and unexamined.. but I feel like your game and your blog add more positive to the discussion than negative, overall. The awareness alone is helpful.

BlueWinds on

I'm way too shy to do anything blatantly sexual like pole-dancing - good for you for doing so as a man. :) Intellectually I'm bold, but socially / physically very shy.

The main thing I aim for with the game is to keep pointing out, relentlessly, that these women have chosen this profession. Not always for the best of reasons (someday Antinua might explain herself a little...), but they're not desperate, helpless or exploited.

jedeva on

Well, I've been exercising and getting in shape at a local gym. There's been some really hot weather where I live recently so running on a treadmill in an air-conditioned space is more doable. I only go about 3 times a week, but I do about an hour and a half of exercise each time. I am definitely feeling better and doing more, but I have a long way to go to reach my self-imposed goals, such as doing 15 unassisted chin ups (for reference I'm up to doing 12 chin ups with half my body weight) and running 2km in under 10 mins with a moderate incline.

BlueWinds on

I just got back from my nightly run. It was really, really cold outside. Face-biting cold. Still, I wouldn't trade it for heat - you can put on more clothes when it's too cold, but when it's warm, all you can do is drink lots of water and lay around gasping.

About a month after I moved to Seattle, we hit about 80F (27C). I complained to my friends: "What's with all this heat? You promised me cold and rainy all year round. I'm moving to Canada."

Terryble on

80?! *gasp* It will never stop being funny to see people think anything less than maybe 95F is actually hot; where I live it's regularly above 100, as high 115 in summer. Then again I would freeze into a solid block if I had to endure anything under 40 for longer than a day.

BlueWinds on

I, on the other hand, don't usually pull out a jacket until it's below freezing. Perfectly fine wandering around in a t-shrt and jeans at 40F. :P You'd think it would be the opposite, being skinny, but nope.

Krystle (not verified) on

Hey, another human that thinks cold is better than heat, for the exact same reason I do!

Maybe it's just people up north that think that, eh? xD

As for the message your game gives, I take it as it is: a game. Maybe that's not a good thing, or what you intended, but that's how I approach any game that isn't specifically made to give a message across (like 4.12, if I remember the title right). It's just a game, and has no reflection on normal life. Perhaps hidden messages could, but whatever happens in-game (in this case, women not turning down customers) is just that. Maybe that comes from playing way too many games to be healthy, but that's how I view it.

Still, it's good to be aware of it, since that'll at least deter some naysayers about your game, especially those that can't determine a game from real life.

And as always, keep making the game great. I've enjoyed what I've played so far, and as I've said before, I wish I had more money. I'd definitely give some to you.

AColonyOfAnts on

I'm a sprinter.  I've been going for morning runs on Tuesdays/Thursdays and I can clock 1/2 a mile in 2 minutes, finish that mile within 6... and get another mile in 20.  I did cross country several years back, though, and I learned that I don't so much as build endurance, rather I learn how to ignore pain.  Running with a partner helps immensely; running solo only gets you as far as your discipline, but running with someone else supplements that with a sense of competitive motivation.

I've never gotten the vibe that any of the workers that you've hired have come across as "coerced."  If anything, it would be the MC that was most pressured into starting a brothel (and the role of prostitution can easily be avoided by simply working in the baths/closet/kitchen).  Given how whoring in this game, even with max sex stats, is still less profitable than working in the baths, I've never gotten the feeling of "I need to sell my body to make ends meet."  If I was in dire financial straits, I would choose to work the baths over prostitution.  Whoring was something my MC did just because she could and wanted to, not because she needed the money.

Edit: Currently, the only expenses my character incurs is the monthly payments to Hathawa/Antinua/Hilde.  Seeing as how the Onsen nets ~2.5k per day, a sub 6k-per-month cost for my workers is a pittance compared to my current funds of half a mil.  If my MC is more than capable of paying for sex at the redlight district, she is definitely not desperate to be forced to sell it.

Also Hilde's straight hetero?  She seemed more than willing to sleep with my FeMC.  I guess that should make my MC feel special. ^^

BlueWinds on

Hilde is maniplative, first and foremost. Notice how she never let you go down on her in return?


Hm, I think I need to run a poll now, because now I'm curious what option people took in the Wend vs. Hilde showdown.


AColonyOfAnts on

I voted Wend as my most favorite character, but I did my best to stay neutral during Hilde's hire event.  After all, there's no reason to alienate the person who saved your life and gave you a viable business proposal and has stuck out with you from start to finish, but there's no honor in estranging yourself from the person who pretty much funded your business.

benryher (not verified) on

This is just an idea if the final free version of the game you release will be playable on the website: You could incorporate into the game itself an anonymized way to track/report player's major decisions in the game whenever they save (so you don't collect decisions that they end up discarding with a reload, for example). That way you can always go back and see what game design decisions resulted in which player decisions... design decisions where ~0% of players end up making a certain choice could mean that it's probably something that players don't see as being fun or was miscommunicated in its presentation. Etc., etc.

(Also, if players of the free version dislike the tracking of their choices -- even when anonymized -- then maybe they'll chip in a bit haha.)

BlueWinds on

I respect people's privacy too much for that. I would have thought the recent Snowden revelations would make people more aware of teh harms of large-scale data collection.

If I want to know something, I'll ask, rather than assume that everyone wants me to know. It's what people do, when they respect others privacy. The fact that we've forgotten that as a culture is very worrisome.

benryher (not verified) on

I mean, I definitely understand where you're coming from, but it's really not doing anything that isn't already standard in the achievements systems in most games... you can, if you choose, already store the IP addresses of anyone who downloads the game (if they aren't using a proxy) as well as the times of the downloads, and for people who choose to play online you also can choose to store the times that they play, as is the case for every website.

There really is no problem on your end as long as you actually aren't storing any data other than the results of the multiple-choice decisions players make in aggregate, especially if you make it optional, and on the consumer's end they're already having to trust you with regard to storing any personal information you could cull anyway just by visiting your website... what you're talking about is a principle which is good in general, but I'm not sure it applies with the same teeth in this situation.

Dasanko on

Creepiness apart, this stands to harm the people who make up minorities in choices. In a player base, there's never a "0%" for any given choice.

AColonyOfAnts on

How so?  Being in a minority is only harmful when the opposing majority attempts to curb that minority.  I remember Blue commenting on since I was the only one who caught a particular bug, I was possibly the only one who's played a dom FeMC.  In no particular way did I feel harmed for supposedly being in a minority.  Anyhow, this is a porn game site with a pretty level-headed admin, so I doubt anything of the sort would ever happen.

AColonyOfAnts on

I don't know if you know this, but besides a single .zip file download, there is nothing in particular that connects this game to the internet whatsoever.  This means Blue would have to write a script/program/something that would be included in that file, track a player's progress/choices, and then send info back when it detects an internet connection.

Edit: Sorry, didn't realize you were talking about the public demo. I booted it up, dc'ed from the internet, and it works just fine; you just don't get any of the images.  So despite the fact that the images are serverside, it's still an offline game.

First problem: The very nature of such a script/program/something stinks of adware, if not malware, which would decrease my personal opinion of Blue if I found as such in my SB folder.  Achievements are nice, but kind of pointless (see below).

Second problem: Devoting the time to such a script takes time out of generating content for the game.  As an Offbeatr campaign, this means Blue is under some obligation to manage time to delivered content that was promised; spending time on something that has no bearing on the game means delaying everything.

Third problem: If I choose not to share my choice, then that's my perogative.  I don't remember agreeing to an EULA that dictates that my choices would be forked over.

If Blue is curious, a simple poll will work fine.  

BlueWinds on

Such a script is very, very simple, and unless you're monitoring for network activity when it happens to trigger or doing a careful review of the entire codebase, you probably wouldn't notice anything. One line simple, in fact, to upload a user's entire save:

$.post('', g.prepareSave());

I'm not going to do that, but like most digital privacy violations, you'd never notice unless you were paying very close attention.