Suggestions Wanted

Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby Blue Bishop » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:31 pm

TigerStripes wrote:'Sanitizing' the existing material to somehow 'work with each other' is neither realistic or beneficial - you'd be demolishing content wholesale to try and build connections everywhere, forcing players to take the 'collect everything in one game' playthrough so they can see all the content. I'll readily admit that there are some characters and material that doesn't really work or even breaks canon (such as Omio's), but I honestly don't want to go through the at least 50+ hours of labour to deal with them. And since I know there are players who enjoy that material and its creators spent a lot of time and effort on it, I have opted to leave it in rather than remove it from the game.


This sort of matter has always been my region of expertise, so I'll expound upon it a bit for some of the readers.

One of FS greatest strengths over other erotic games is it's collaborative nature. Countless different writers have contributed to the game over the years, resulting in an overwhelming volume of content. Of course, this has a lot of drawbacks, and my self-appointed job has been to come in and fix a lot of issues that have cropped up over the years.

The specific issue Samsquatch is raising is one of these drawbacks. There is an abundance of ideas and available story threads, but "Guest Contributor" rarely -- if ever -- provide a complete and satisfactory arc to their creation -- often times, they just want to add a monster that they think would be cool, which is fine, or they simply lose interest half-way through. Moreover, a guest is generally discouraged from creating any story arc which affects the game in a large, earth-shattering way.

As for established writers, they're generally tied up with commissions which gives them very little room to expand upon story threads which need it. This is where I fit in; I don't get many commissions, so a lot of my work entails updating/improving existing content and story threads.

My main focus over the years, however, has been ensuring that each encounter is a "Minimum Viable Product". What this means in the case of monster encounters is to ensure they meet the absolute bare minimum for a satisfactory experience. Before I came here, a lot of monsters failed to meet what I considered the bare minimum of quality content, and I've largely resolved that by this point.

As a result, however, I'm starting to run into something of a "Development Asymptote", a point in which the amount of work necessary to improve upon or expand content becomes increasing taxing in order to ensure these improvements remain substantive. I also have my own projects I want to work on, separate from the existing content which needs to be improved.

I do agree that a lot of story threads needs to be expanded, which is why I'm working on the Ash dragons to facilitate that. But another drawback of a collaborative work is the inevitable complications in social politics, and subsequently I have to work to resolve those long-standing issues by completely replacing these monsters before anything else can be done.

Which raises the ultimate ethical problem regarding established writers adding to, modifying, or even completely replacing guest artist work. Because establish writers more or less "Run the show" around here, we're wholly in the right to do whatever we want to a guest writer's work in the name of the game as a whole, but just because we're in the right doesn't mean we want to create an environment where we can simply be dicks to whatever guest writer that comes along.

So, in the name of those ethics, an inordinate amount of time needs to be invested when assessing a pre-existing writer's work and how it's approached. A lot of questions need to be asked: How old is the work? How active is the writer right now? How integrated is it within the game? How much needs to be changed with the encounter?

And that invites further sub-queries: If it's an old work, does that mean I have more free reign to alter it, or will people be upset more because of how established it is? It seems fair to alter a writer's work who hasn't been around for a long time, but how will new guest artists feel about the idea that their work will be meddled with if they're not around all the time? An encounter may not seem heavily integrated, but my playstyle may be incorrect and other player's interact with it all the time, so how can I identify that? Is it more ethical to make small additions "pretending" to be the writer by attempting to copy their style, or to simply re-write the entire encounter from scratch?

This is just a taste of the questions that run through my head when dealing with this issue. I spend a considerable amount of energy considering the moral dilemmas presented by this situation, and the most important thing to keep in mind here is I don't always get it right, in spite of it.

Ultimately, what you can take away from this diatribe is that I am working to fix the problems you feel here, but as one guy wading through a veritable Ulysses of interactive smut, it is an exceedingly time-consuming effort.
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby Savriss » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:59 am

This turn of the conversation has been really interesting! It got me thinking about things from a different perspective and provided some interesting insight.
Thanks for raising it, Samsquatch.

For my part, I like that that Flexible has the following:
1. One larger plot that the PC is directly involved in and in which they are a main actor, relevant to a great many people.
A larger set of goals and associated decisions helps to push a player into activity rather than static maintenance. I would like to see expansion to this content as well as more options (and possibilities of failure) for the existing content. Whether the story line can be unified again after splitting between Mouse or Matt is a difficult one, as otherwise the divergence will result in more and more effort required for each step.
2. Several stories that are directly initiated by (or upon) the PC and only relevant to them and the other NPCs directly involved.
This is my favorite part of the game. I enjoy the choices and consequences that more personal material can offer. Sarah the husky was probably the first piece of content that really sparked my interest in the game and I'd love to see her expanded and polished again. That being said; a lot of work has been and continues to be done here, though there's never enough time or programmers to push every idea forwards. Amidst the exquisite, there are obvious swathes of unfinished content. Rounding them off competes with extending them for attention, but I'd like to think that's moving forwards as best it can.
3. A wide variety of encounters that represent the immediate chaos and churn of a large city in absolute upheaval.
I believe this was well represented in earlier days of the game and has perhaps become less so with the accretion of named NPCs and, furthermore, that it's absolutely imperative to have a wide and varied set of opponents whose only interactions with the PC are in the moment of their direct contact (win or lose) . I agree with Blue Bishop that several of the mobs were little more than placeholders and appreciate the revision being done on them. The new knight and squire combo by Stripes is a great addition to this, with some fun mechanics. I'd like to see more completion to existing mobs and many new ones added to the mix, to continue providing that chaotic feel.
-> Speaking of the knight and squire, would it be possible to make a PC who becomes a knight get a personal crest relevant to their feats, like the My Little Pony marks? The custom marks were fantastic and I'd enjoy seeing that in more places.

The one thing I think is a little lacking is the signs of other major players, with which the player can interact but clearly have their own goals that do not necessarily coincide with the PC and will continue on regardless of them, albeit perhaps delayed or assisted by them. The Zephyr corp and the military are the only really obvious examples that spring to mind. The hyena gang can sorta count towards this, but the PC can take them over. This is the area that will likely always receive the least work, as it isn't very directly relatable to make content that the PC is only secondarily involved with. I think more would be good but I'm certainly not about to sacrifice development on any of the above three for this.
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby TigerStripes » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:46 am

Savriss wrote:<Savriss>

1> My plan for the Main Storyline / Hospital Quest does involve some of the same tasks done for either party while others would be unique to each path. Those which overlap would have tweaks and modifications to change little bits of them. For example, Dr. Mouse would not need the player to scavenge large amounts of food/water for him, but he would send him off to Zephyr to do their remote sensor job so Dr. Mouse might gain the data he desires. In place of the former, some other task might be asked of the player. During the latter, the scenes would be tweaked a little and some of the special Easter egg solutions might be modified or rendered entirely invalid.

2> There's been a steady growth of NPCs over time, as they allow for more personal contact and storytelling. I know I enjoy making these, especially when I really like the character and/or their story. They're desirable for donators to commission and for devs to do something more in depth when making their independent creations. Not all of them got to be finished and unfortunately a bunch have been left hanging. Some character arcs are short, but it is important to keep in mind that not everyone the player meets has or should be a long, developed story. That said, there's definitely lots of work that can be done with the current NPC set. There's also a lot of ideas and stories still left to be told with potential new NPCs as well. This goes back to my view of the playing the game as well - you encounter a small set of these NPCs (either randomly or by deliberate searching) and spend some of your short time interacting with them before finally succumbing or being rescued.

3> In the early days of the game, gameplay was much harsher and there was no way to extend your time indefinitely, so it was rare to get beyond something like level 5 or 6 during a playthrough without focusing your whole game on battle and levelling up. Beating up the Shemale Smooth Collie was pretty much impossible without doing just that. As the game continued to grow, the number of critters grew to populate the other areas (as a few only had 1 or 2 enemies for a long time). It also became easier to gain levels and you could climb to level 10 or more. The 'Flags' system to lock out content also came into being, necessitating more creatures in each area to maintain some content when others were locked out as undesirable. Around the same time, Sarokcat added Diego and you could have loads of more time, allowing you to reach even higher levels. With higher level players, we needed higher level monsters as well. Other devs added new areas, which meant more new monsters eventually had to be made to fill those. New critters are a lower priority now thanks to some redistribution and overall better management of new critter placement, but some can and will always be added by request or new fans wanting to try some dev of their own. Or whenever a dev gets one of those mad ideas they just have to make. The main dev focus has more been on improvement to those we have and on other material/commissions.

I'm glad you enjoy the Knight and Squire pairing. They were a bit more work than expected to deal with and create, but a nice change of pace. I had to rethink their mechanics a couple of times before I got a set that worked best for me. We still need player victory and endings. The latter I'll probably do at some later date, as I have ideas I want to include in them. I have no current plans to make multiple player crests based on feats, though that is probably possible... it'd require some adjustments of the infection protocols and maybe the occasional scene tweak. I do have an idea for one special ending that will come with a special crest of its own, but that'll be a surprise Easter egg ending.
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby Samsquatch » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:23 pm

First, I want to thank you guys for the detailed replies. A lot of information was laid out that makes it easier for me to understand the situation as it stands. FS has been around for a while, but as someone who is relatively new to the community, it's not easy to pick up on all the history and subtle nuance of how things are done. I also don't to make it sound like i'm unappreciative of the job the writers do. It's clearly a daunting task to wrangle as much content into coherence as FS currently has (and you're not unnoticed, Blue Bishop!). I'm glad this turned into an interesting conversation. I've got a few things i'd like to respond to and expound upon.

As far as FS as a 30 day, I understand the reasoning for that. With the already enormous amount of content in the game, the amount of additional work that would be required to extend that would be monumental. At the same time, as someone who doesn't play the multiplayer game who is interested really only in the singleplayer side of the game, it does leave me feeling a little let down. I'd like to more fully explore various plots and character, but the nature of the game probably isn't going to allow for that.

I think it would be nice to see content divided into the "short" FS game as was originally imagined, the "extended" FS game, with the use of time-extensions, and perhaps even a post-military situation where the player decides to stick around. They could be played through sequentially, with content being on or off depending on the time period. With that sort of framework, I don't think all of the game content would need to be updated all at once to work with an "extended" FS single player. It would also provide a good framework for making sure all the events across the board were on the same page for the purpose of plot moving-forward. Of course, it's not like I don't understand how massive an undertaking something like that would be. I'm not really asking for it, just presenting my idea on how such a thing could be made to work with existing content.

As far as bringing content together, I don't mean it in the sense that everything needs to be interconnected. Certainly it's fine to have stand-alone content and to have it go in different branches, but a lot of the time it feels like everything is stand-alone. With how the game is written, that's not super surprising either. Generally speaking, the closest thing there is to content interacting with content are the NPC events in the library. There's other ways I could see various NPCs and their stories bouncing off each other in interesting ways, but I think a lot of that is because I was looking at FS beyond the 30 day scope. With that in mind, I can see how it'd be less of a priority/issue.

As for previous contributers and respecting their wishes and the like, i'm unqualified to really address that. All I can really say is that as a player, i'd advocate for what improves the quality of play over other concerns. That means i'd advocate changing things if necessary to make them work/fit. Ultimately, each of these writers were contributing to a larger whole. In any society, members are extended some rights and respect, but on whole the focus is on the larger community. It's my opinion that making such changes are justified, but again, i'm not in a position to be deciding such things. It's merely my opinion on the matter.

With regard to Omio and content that's non-cannon, if it really became an issue, there could always be a portal or the like within the game world leading to an alternate game world. The entirety of those quests or that content could be placed in the alternate world, with the player having to come back through to proceed with normal content. This is, of course, if there's actually that much content that isn't cannon. The idea of some alternate world probably isn't all that far out with all the other things going on in the world.

Of course, these are all just my suggestions, not demands. The writers are the ones who have to actually implement these things, so obviously the direction of the game is in their hands.
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby TigerStripes » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:24 am

Samsquatch wrote:With regard to Omio and content that's non-cannon, if it really became an issue, there could always be a portal or the like within the game world leading to an alternate game world. The entirety of those quests or that content could be placed in the alternate world, with the player having to come back through to proceed with normal content. This is, of course, if there's actually that much content that isn't cannon. The idea of some alternate world probably isn't all that far out with all the other things going on in the world.

Such a portal would be against the rules of the universe, actually. :)
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby Shoggoth on the Roof » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:18 am

Doesn't Kitsune already use a similar portal?
A big monster like that on such a pointed roof... You may ask 'how does it stay up there, if it's so difficult?'

That, I can tell you in one word: tentacles!
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby Samsquatch » Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:15 pm

TigerStripes wrote:
Samsquatch wrote:With regard to Omio and content that's non-cannon, if it really became an issue, there could always be a portal or the like within the game world leading to an alternate game world. The entirety of those quests or that content could be placed in the alternate world, with the player having to come back through to proceed with normal content. This is, of course, if there's actually that much content that isn't cannon. The idea of some alternate world probably isn't all that far out with all the other things going on in the world.

Such a portal would be against the rules of the universe, actually. :)


Hrm, how about a VR simulator machine someplace then? There's already some wacky technology going on.
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby Shoggoth on the Roof » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:56 pm

Hey, could the Awesome Bat be given a different means of acquisition? Having a 10% chance to get it if you're struck with an Awesome Tree's final attack is just too random and difficult- it's a good weapon, but there are better weapons that can be gained so much easier (like the Trident).
A big monster like that on such a pointed roof... You may ask 'how does it stay up there, if it's so difficult?'

That, I can tell you in one word: tentacles!
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby twilighttiger » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:10 am

Nevermind
Last edited by twilighttiger on Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestions Wanted

Postby Rivanna » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:07 am

I was wondering, would it be possible to enable the engine to support a custom image pack to enable showing pictures for scenes and stuff, like corruption of champions can? I've come across a number of pictures that would be perfect to use in various scenes to give a visual component to various scenes, but, well, as is you can't exactly add them in.
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