Love is a reward

Okay, so a lot of stuff has been said, so I’ll try not to repeat anything.

I guess I’m more okay with game romances that are just “spend time with your guy and make compatible choices”. I don’t really think that’s tailoring my choices to the RO as much as it is tailoring my MC to the RO. And sometimes that will mean playing as someone quite different from myself, but I don’t think that’s inherently bad. The romance will still feel natural, at least in universe (if it’s well written, obviously).

I’m less okay with ROs who are harder to obtain. I recently played a VN with a secret RO who (in order to romance), you have to not only hang with him and make choices he’d agree with, but also have to hang around with his friend (who was one of the other ROs), and almost romance him. I ended up having to read through the code in order to find out what to do, and I still had to start over at least once… :sweat_smile: Also, while the main romances happened during the plot, and you’d be going steady for a few months by the end, with the secret RO, you only got him right in the last scene. Now, that romance felt forced and unnatural.

Even here on CoG, we really don’t, unless everyone’s bi. :sweat: (I even had a WiP author claim that they’d made a character straight because he was supposed to be a “hero”… :expressionless:)

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Oh yeah, for myself, one of the main ROs in Citadel, Derrick, is gay as the day is long. He’s a knight :’)

He’s also my favorite character, by far, and it honestly probably shows in my writing, woops.

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He would be the exception. :blush:

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Welcome to the club of not Straight traditional knights :fist:

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Every love interest is going to be a trope no matter what. Because tropes are so broad that anything can be boiled down to it.

But just because we personally might enjoy some of the tropes aimed at us, it doesn’t mean that the rest of our group do.

And those little bias always slip through. Sometimes, I have to work real hard to avoid seeing the patterns so I can just enjoy them.

Because I know I can’t do any better. Nobody can write free of bias.

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Guys, this might be deviating a little bit from the main topic, I want to point out that we have the following threads to discuss LGBTQ content:

https://forum.choiceofgames.com/t/lgbtq-and-feminism-in-non-cog-hosted-games/50438?u=mockturtle

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In cases like that, it comes down to quality vs quantity. You mentioned needing lots of options to make things fair, but unless the game is a dating sim or has hella strong emphasis on character interaction, you’re going to end up with bland, boring romances, due to the quantity.

It’s a shitty give and take, unfortunately, because it boils down to the amount of work involved.

I actively try to avoid harmful tropes and to have a large variation, for fairness, but it makes my games incredibly long and time-consuming. I’ve been writing a dating sim for almost 1.5 years, and the Ilyaaren games for almost 3.

also - though I’m responding to you, none of my discussion points are aimed at you. I find your point of view interesting, is all, and nothing is intended rudely. I’m sneak-typing at work rn

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I’ll try to skip the flowery words and just stick to the key points.

  • Given most COGs are based around character development, the secondary characters are that. Secondary to the story, and time constraints are going to strangle a title.

  • Lets say you do go in depth with each character and justly flesh out their personality, ideals, and preferences. That limits the number of companions, as it would create an unimaginable amount of extra work; when the focus is typically the main character. Unless you are working with a team on a project which doesn’t happen often.

  • Love as a reward? No ones is getting their morals or life advice from a interactive novel; I don’t think we have to worry about these things. Video games as well, I have yet to meet a gamer who went car jacking or joined the mob because of GTA, or joined the military because of CoD. Any correlation between the two is due to the individuals prior inclination toward these acts. It’s like medication and disorders or lung cancer and smoking. You aren’t going to develop the issue by use alone, even if it may increase the odds correlation is not causation.

  • Solution? Honestly, unless you are working with a team on a COG you’re going to have to make decisions on what needs to be done over what is extra.
    ——
    Don’t get me wrong, i’m one of those rare guys who have a flare for the romantic. Though the expectation that it’ll change is highly unlikely, unless the genre gets far more popular and becomes financially incentivising or the technology changes to make writing / coding easier. (A.I. / Bots which aid in programming, grammer/review, or editing to cut down on time.)
    ——
    TL:DR? Lazy? Read it and you’ll find out.

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@MockTurtle Fair, enough.

I have to echo @ParrotWatcher and agree that I also often more see it as choosing a mc for the RO than the other way around.

It’s why I like Mason’s romance in Wayhaven but not Ava’s. Mason and that specific MC I paired him with are hilarious. Just as I have a very specific MC, I enjoy with Felix. Nat has more, but that is because Nat is just so nice that she can work with many MC’s and make it an enjoyable read for me. Ava has zero because I’ve just not managed to make it enjoyable to read for me.

@ashestoashes018 No, offense has been taken. If I thought you were rude, I would properly not even discuss it with you. But I do think we shall respect @MockTurtle’s wish and not derail…

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@MockTurtle yeah, it’s an unfortunate byproduct of talking about romance. People want to be represented, and when youre talking about ways to avoid making a character lose agency / keep a character from feeling like an achievement to be earned, sexuality-, morality-, and preference-locking is going to end up coming up.

That said, I’ll avoid talking about it from here :slight_smile:

I do still maintain that some form of agency should exist. I like the idea brought up that skills and such should have an effect. Reminds me of Pacthesis and such, back when those types of games were popular on deviantart (god, am I showing my age).

That said, I do understand the concern that it can become frustrating to try to romance a character, when you start bringing multiple stats or weird choice requirements in.

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I do admit to a weakness for mages doing magic together, myself. Honestly, have to mages together and the whole romance could be one line and I would still love it. :sweat_smile:

Personally, I would like to see more morality locks - if we do have stat lock. Mostly because ethics are often the deal breaker for me in real life.

But better than locks would, of course, be if the RO discussed your actions with you. Of course such discussion are often out of the scope of the games written here. And that’s okay.

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It would be interesting to see a hidden variable lock, such as having a similar interest (EG you wouldnt necessarily have “hobby: knitting” listed in stats, but it might be something you do with the RO). I know I did something complex, with “event” locks (5 friendship, 5 romance) for ROs, so I’d like to see something like that, as well.

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I think a problem with that is that it’s going to increase player frustration if they can’t succeed at the romance unless they have some random skill chosen elsewhere… :sweat_smile: Also, what’s wrong with the RO suggesting it to the MC as a bonding activity, and the MC going along with it even though they’ve never tried it before? :confused:

(A morality lock does certainly make sense, though. :thinking:)

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Nothing wrong with it, at all! I just meant hidden as in not on the stats screen, not necessarily secret.

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I hope I read your posts right. Sorry if I didn’t

To be honest most games you’re talking about with this in it are mostly action or non-romance related games with romance on the side. (which can go from being “unnecessary to better than the plot itself”) Usually Paid dating or Otome sims don’t do this (I can’t speak on free dating or Otome games because they mostly still do this). I don’t think it’s fair to call it selfish yes maybe in real life this would be considered selfish but these are video games.

Kind of going off my top comment, games are difficult to make and code. A lot of gaming companies tend to attempt to focus on the majority which is usually people who like action, shooter or RPG games.(and if they do like the romance it’s usually only for the sex scenes) Romance to them is just an extra little project, which mostly only add a few new lines in scenes anyways.

(I probably wouldn’t use Groundhog day as an example, I haven’t watched the movie in years but I thought he learned his lesson near the end?)

Just like Books and movies, I never really understand where people get the idea that the media affects people ideas of romance. Most people I know just gush about the relationship in ‘media in question’ but never look for that type of romance or end up in that type of relationship.

I admit I agree with you the fact there should more games that have romance incorporated in the plot and not there as a reward(the recent FF does something like this and it’s… uh debatable.) but most of the time that’s not the case. There really isn’t a solution without going the premade route or what some Japanese romance RPGs, dating or Otome sim games do and have a ‘true’ route/ character that the mc canonically end up with.

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I play evil characters or selfish neutral ones. I hate with big words when games. Set characters not romance for evil characters bad. Normally they do terribly bad. Because that’s not how life or romance work (sadly it would be safer if you cant fall in love for assholes) It should be romance goes person try to change or forget your character then if you do something trully evil or against morality o npc break up or at least have a crisis. that’s super cool.

Many virtual novels or if does a big letters romance fail or morality check … I don’t even say hello yet… How in hell the npc could know if I am evil or not… It has mental reading powers??!

Oh and dont get me started with… You are 21 in math skills sorry no banging due X guy need 23 … Wtf since when maths are needed to flirt in a medieval inn? REALLY

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This is a fair point, as well. That’s why I went with events for Ilyaaren. You have to choose to spend time with the RO, and build up the relationship, but there aren’t other requirements.

In CoP:DDiC, there are some requirements, because it’s a dating sim style game, but that’s common (see: 7kpp, Pacthesis, Cheritz’s older games, like Dandelion, etc.)

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That is also the biggest concern with morality locks for me. Also that they can end up making the RO feel incredible hypocritical:

“So you are not fine with kissing me, because I kicked a puppy, but you are still going to help me kick any other puppy we meet down the road? Are you against puppy kicking or not?”

I do like the idea of morality conflicts creating crisis point, though. That’s… pretty cool. Might have to steal that idea, if I can fit it in.

Any kind of stat lock also running the risk of the RO seeming incredible petty when you are one number short.

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Yeah is suer petty. Due in real life people normally ended with people that complete you Opposite attracts. It would be amusing in real life date show a rpg stat charts saying NOPE THIS SAID YOU HAVE A -2 In endurance. Sorry I am an athlete with +4 we can’t bang…

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I think “opposites attract” is quite common, but it really mostly applies to personalities, not interests. So Endurance is a good example but lots of other stats like Charisma or something could be opposites. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: