Do Romance and Gender Requirements Complicate Game Designing?


@Shoelip “Remember, blanket statements are always wrong.”

Y’know, it’s smart-arses like you that killed Philitas of Cos.


There are plenty of effective sword designs that aren’t entirely straight, but the same can not be said for arrows. That’s why despite all the phallic comparisons with swords, the phrase is “straight as an arrow”, not “straight as a sword”.

@Vendetta: Very well said.

@Dolphinzgirl, @Havenstone: Agreed. Not all romance tales are equal. Some are clearly the product of far more time and attention on the part of the author than others. Replicating romances that amount to no more than a paragraph or two in only two or three spots in the entire story with minimal effects on the plot is pretty easy. On the other hand, replicating romances that consist of many, many pages that are heavily integrated into the story, and where the romance has the power to affect the story in multiple ways, is not so simple or easy.

Changing pronouns and adjectives is a pretty easy way of changing a love interest’s gender, but that tends to make for rather androgynous love interests. Writing a second romanceable character with a fixed gender often makes for more compelling relationships, but also is considerably more work, especially if the romance is extensive.


On the note of the straight as an arrow statement, arrows are purpously, slightly curved (or they were) to cause them to spin amd fly straight of the bow, similar to why circular cuts are made in rifles to make the bullet spin and thus fly straight. Straight as a crossbow bolt would probably work better lol. (I know modern arrows are straight but bows are also more complex than they were)

On the subject of wether romance can create unnecessary complications, I say no. All it is is more writing, and the code isn’t more complex than normal. The same way you could have some1 react differently because of their trait level you could have them react differently to their text trait. If, elseif is your friend in these situations. I hope no writers feel intimidated about writing romance with gender specifics since as I showed, is little more than standard choices.


@Ramidel, it’s true that a subset of forum members will regularly ask/suggest that all games be gender inclusive. But my impression is that they’re also pretty quick to take no for an answer.

Fire some counterexamples my way if you’ve got 'em, but I see Cataphrak’s experience as close to the norm; he made his position clear early in the development of Sabres, and (unless I missed it) no one ever gave him crap about it after that.

The fracas on Vendetta’s thread two years ago (including his briefly declaring the game cancelled after an understandable misconstrual of CoG’s response) was a bit of a perfect storm – and thankfully, a long way from typical. Jason handed down a ban on the overzealous person concerned and wrote the harassment rule… and that seemed to have had the desired effect.

Gender-locked games get censored by CoG by being kept off the front page, no doubt about that, and we could talk about the pros and cons of that. But I don’t think there’s a serious risk of harassment on the forums, as your post above could be read to imply (“pick your poison… either do a lot of extra work or face hostility and attacks”).


@Lazerith *blink* I’d love to see your source for that snippet, as archers have been using arrow-straighteners since the Stone Age! The slightest kink or warp can spoil the flight / aim. However, the fletching of the arrow (that’s those feathery bits on the end) are indeed designed to help spin the arrow in flight for greater accuracy, so I can see where the confusion comes from…

But I suppose it’s all beside the point as that saying, “straight as an arrow”, actually refers to the flight of the arrow, not the shaft of the thing, as in to fly as straight and true as an arrow…

[ What do you mean this is off topic? Cupid has a bow & arrow, and you can’t get much more romantic than that! :smiley: ]


@Vendetta It was a video on the history channel. I don’t remember which specifically it was, but I have been realizing that the history channel isn’t a great source of information lately lol. Cupid isn’t romantic, its cheesy lol. Romance is more personal than a cherub with a bow lol. In terms of story romance, I think, if possible, scenes should be exactly that, personal. When I say personal, I mean personal for that particular romance interest. Sorry about dogging on Cupid lol :stuck_out_tongue:


It’s worth noting that just as a small subset of the forum are adamantly in favour of including both genders and multiple sexuality options in games, there is an opposing subset likewise adamantly against including such things in settings where they don’t belong.


@Lazerith I was speaking of the arrow’s shaft, which is usually what is generalized to the word “arrow”, but I suppose others may generalize the arrowhead or the fletching to the word arrow as well, which may create confusion. @Vendetta once again makes some good points.


@P_Tigras “Straight as a shaft” sounds a bit skew-whiff.


@Drazen =))


@Drazen I doubt that people like romance done the Choice of Zombies way lol. I guess it all depends on story length but I can’t think of one good thing about the “romance” in that Choice Game. When you go to the other end of the spectrum, in Zombie Exodus, the Romance is developed over a series of interactions and in a great many cases, they can impact the story in small ways. I guess it does depend on the individual reader but unless a poll proves otherwise, I refuse to believe people could actually prefer blank romance interests with static charachters over personal charachter development with dynamic charachters. :stuck_out_tongue: (On phone, sorry for the many typos)


I didn’t even realize Choice of Zombies had romance.


@Dolphinzgirl Calling that honey trap for the vulnerable a “romance” is a bit of a stretch. It was more like a one night stand with a crazy cultist who was planning to turn you into a zombie after you fell asleep.


@P_Tigras So… not exactly your definition of blissful, predestined love written in the stars? :wink:

On a more serious note, the one bit I struggle with when trying to write anything even vaguely romantic is this: as ChoiceScript authors one of the most important things we are supposed to avoid doing, in general, is ever telling the player how they feel. They are supposed to reach that conclusion by themselves. Is it just me who often finds this incredibly hard to avoid doing when things get intimate, and especially when you want to give the player a valid reason for being faced with the following *choice? (If you’ve played Vendetta before, take Carina’s ‘moonlit park’ scene as an example of precisely when I struggle to write intimately without describing feelings). What’s the answer to this conundrum? Indeed, is there one? Do we simply make an exception to this rule where romance is concerned?


@MaraJade: Men writing their women as bisexuals is no more common than female writers having all their cute boys hopping into bed with each other.

I’ve known both male and female writers to write in a sexually-objectifying manner for the sake of fanservice. I’m not sure whether or not I’d call it sexist as such; it’s kind of hard to say that something’s “equal-opportunity sexist.”


@Vendetta Write how they feel then. If you don’t want to force the issue then offer the player a choice beforehand asking how they feel, and then elaborating upon that.

I find it extremely difficult not to write how people feel too. It’s why I tend to prefer first to second person and protagonists who have a personality of their own.

I’m fairly sure some of the official games just make assumptions about feelings too. And it’s not just in regards to romance. Heroes Rise, for instance, assumes you hate Jury, you love Black Magic, you throw a huge temper tantrum about your gran, etc, etc.


@Ramidel i don’t know any girl who want love two men together in a sexual sense agghh, nothing against gays, my best friend is and we chat about this frequently, is a straight men fetish i read in a sociology book in university, maintain the idea of harem, many women and then like alfa procreator. The idea of two boys in bed, has the same sex appeal than a cabbage for me. But there has to be there for people who feel atracted by that , i love has a romance with Devlin and Semryu if there not where there to females i would very pissed . But i try all romances regardless gender because im not the character im roleplaying with it.


@MaraJade Of course that isn’t to say that women don’t want to be in two supposedly exclusive romantic relationships simultaneously, right? Just that you don’t think they like having sex with two guys simultaneously…?


two guys simultaneously aghh :-& :-& Noway, is a sudmissive fetish i dont have . i prefer two romances not sharing bed, in alternative days you know what it means :wink:


@P_Tigras Glad to know I didn’t miss anything.

@Vendetta I think you can get away a bit more with telling people how they feel in romance scenes, since the player has (hopefully) already affirmatively indicated Character X is someone they have feelings for. As for me, it’s still something I try to avoid when writing romantic scenes. I tend to focus more on the atmosphere and the actions in the scene to try to get the players to feel what I want them to feel without me having to explicitly state it. I also tend to focus more on dialogue, which I think helps because it is an easy way to give players agency in a scene (for example, the scene may always be fundamentally the same, but the player’s choice of dialogue can really change the tenor: sappy, snarky, etc.).