Player Sexuality - Game Development

Should I give the player the choice to choose their sexuality in the beginning of the game to limit romance options, or should I just present romance options as they come? Which is better for story-telling?

Story telling depand on your capacity to write and tell a story. The sex of the player or Hero doesn’t matter, if you create a bland personality and the story is confusing and the vilain is too cliché .

All the gender does is open the door and let player PLAY in the gender they want to be.

I’m all for no gender locking and player sexual. Since nobody can be psychic and know before hand ‘‘Oh I’m gonna like that person cose game is saying She is female and Lesbo like meh, yup…totally gonna like her’’ then it turn out to be a harpy in disguise :smile:

So yeah, focuse on the story. Imagine it, and the rest will come on it’s own. Meaning those labels won’t change if a character suck or is fun. It still will suck or be fun regardless.

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I think it really depends on the romance options you have in place. Usually asking sexuality in the beginning is used to set the genders of any non gender locked romances.

With only gender locked romances, I’m not sure if I’ve seen sexuality used (unless you are aro/ace) except for in Soul Stone War where it allows the character to reject one of the flirty ROs by saying something along the lines of “I appreciate the complement, but I’m not interested in women”.

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I agree it depends. However, do you believe that straight players will be annoyed with persistent gay options? Vice versa, do you believe homosexual players will be annoyed with persistent straight options? I feel that establishing sexual preference options would make the game simpler. Bisexuals are exempt so they can see all romance options. However, I know there are people who believe they are on another label other than “straight” “homosexual” or “bisexual.” So that proves even more complicated as I write my story with consideration to the player’s feelings.

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Interesting. I asked because I imagined, let’s say a straight male, being annoyed whenever there’s a choice to flirt with another male character. Game options can be seen as thoughts in the character’s mind right? And then the player can choose which thoughts are brought to fruition. However, if a straight male is playing the game and consistently sees a flirtatious dialogue option, my worry is that it might take away the immersiveness of the game because straight males would not have thoughts like that.

If they choose straight in the beginning of the game, I thought it would save a lot of trouble. However you do produce a fair point. If my worries are shown to be unfounded, I would be glad to just present sexual options as they come without locking them.

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well some games, let you choose your gender, and then let you choose the romance of your gender.

2 of most popular game ‘‘Wayhaven’’ and ‘‘Fallen Hero’’ both, do that.

Meaning the game goes :

  • I’m female and I like female.
    -I’m male and I like male.
    -I’m female and I like male .
    -I’m male and I like female.
    -I’m female and I like both male and female.
    -I’m male and I like both male and female.
    -I’m nobinary…and like nobinary.
    and so on…

So then the game switch the gender depand on the sex chosen.

You can’t think for ALL straight peoples. All you can do, is present resoanable options that work for everyone or some majoritee. But really, there is no ‘Set in stone rule that say : Yup straight think like that!’’ .

Peoples are different. All of them. And some fit a certain profile we can meet and say ‘‘Ah I know someone like that’’, but often it’s ‘Wow totally new, didn’t think of that one’’ .

Peoples worry more about what kind of flirt options they get. Some will swoon no matter what kind of flirt you give them. Some think that romances are tacky, not necessary (Remember to add friendship path!!) . And some peoples can frown on said flirt because they are of an older generation or the flirt seem…a bit for younger peoples.

So yeah, I say go for it. And beside you can always work more on these stuff once you post a demo and get more feedback .

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Appreciate the informative and constructive feedback !

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I find that offering sexuality options usually comes up when having characters without set genders, in order to set the genders of the ROs. I usually don’t like the game asking me that though, because I don’t like locking the characters’ preferences in before I even meet the prospective ROs. I also like the idea of being able to headcanon the MC as someone who is slowly questioning their orientation, so this also helps with that.

Regarding the choices being presented as the character’s thoughts, I don’t think this is necessarily the case. After all, most, if not all games present choices my character would never even consider, and I don’t see how it’s immersion-breaking to offer a variety of choices.

On the other hand, people might not want certain genders of ROs to flirt with them, and that is one of the ways where asking for the MC’s orientation might be beneficial. It does depend on the tone of the game, though.

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Thank you for your input, and you have a strong argument. I think I have a good idea of how to develop romance mechanics now. However, would it be a good idea to add a question at the beginning of the game saying something along the lines of, “Would you like to establish sexual preferences? Yes No” ?

To me that would appeal to both people who want their playable character to question/choose as they go along their sexual orientation, and to people who do not want to see options that contradict their premade sexual orientation.
Eager to hear your thoughts.

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I’m not so sure about this, honestly. If you want to represent a wide range of behaviors for the MC, you will always have dialogue options that just don’t fit with a certain selection of characters, romance-related or not. If I’m playing a shy character, for instance, the more outgoing options certainly are not thoughts going through my MC’s head; they’re options meant for other MCs, that I’m not playing. Flirting is the same way, I feel.

It’s also worth noting that being interested in women definitely does not mean that you’ll be interested in all the female ROs available (nor should authors assume as much), so even if players do set their sexuality that way, that doesn’t mean that all the romance-based options will make sense.

Speaking personally, I have never been bothered by seeing options to flirt with ROs that I don’t happen to be interested in, because if I don’t select the option, it didn’t happen in my version of the story. I think the majority of players feel this way.

This is a good point, though. Some people don’t like it when ROs flirt with them, especially when it contradicts the player’s sexuality. On the other hand, some people like it when this happens, because it adds to the realism of characters not knowing what your preference is or how you feel about them. (I fall more in this camp, myself.) That’s an issue you’d have to decide for yourself how you feel about, I think.

This is really a matter of preference. I don’t personally, as an author, see this as necessary, but if this issue is important to you, I’d say do it. I don’t think people will complain about having the option available, since it ultimately caters to both camps.

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This sounds like a good middle ground for players who prefer one or the other. If you decide to go down that road, I’d also love to see this integrated with the narrative? One thing I’ve noticed about the whole “asking what your sexuality is” thing (personal opinion ahead!) is it usually comes out of nowhere and seems a bit hamfisted when the narrative suddenly interrupts the story to ask.

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As a straight dude, I’m never bothered about flirt option with other male characters, I just don’t pick them.

What does bother me, however, is when i’m nice to them and the game interprets that as me being interested.

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Exactly.

This is for everyone, not explicitly for straight ppl. Being nice doesn’t equal to “I want to marry you!”.

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Yeah, I think it really depends on how that’s handled. Like, I prefer when games straight up tell you to confirm that your interested in a character at a certain point before going into the full romance.

On the other hand, I don’t mind if the game has characters flirt with the MC regardless of sexuality as long as they aren’t creepy about it and the game gives you an option to tell the NPC to stop because they aren’t interested.

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I am glad to see such great advice and observations. This does help my writing, and I am grateful. You have helped me realize that no matter what choices I present to the player, there will always be people who either like or dislike the option presented with them, so I should primarily focus on what I want to put in the game.
In my mind, the priority rests on emphasizing the role-playing experience rather than placing priority on showcasing writing and storytelling skills. That’s why this seemingly trivial issue is important to me. However, it does look like my worries are unfounded for the time being, thanks to the input of everyone in this chat.
Thank you !

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I believe your personal opinion is one that is shared by many lovers of interactive fiction, as well. I can fully understand how it looks hamfisted, and without this conversation I might’ve considered putting that as an element in the game. I have a very good idea of how I am going to handle the romance aspect of the game, thanks to you as well as everyone else. Can I ask your opinion on a system of romance that I am considering in the game?

My initial thought is that once you meet characters, there are already flirty choices and dialogue that a player can engage in. However, I can make it so that upon meeting all these characters, only a friendship is established at first (aka only friendship stats first). Then, there is a “Go on a Date” element in the game, where players can choose to go on a date with specific characters, and these dates are what affects the “romance” stats. That way, this might cater to all groups of people.

  1. People who do not want any type of romance can just avoid the “Go on a Date” option.
  2. People who have certain sexual orientations can choose the characters they want to go on dates with, and just not go on dates with characters who do not align with their sexual preferences.
    I would love to hear your input on this system. You most likely have more knowledge on Interactive Fiction than I do, so I would also appreciate if another game has this system or a similar one like it ? As always thank you !
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Thanks for your opinion ! That’s very interesting because I never thought about asking the player about their preferences for each romance option - I only thought about straight-up asking their general sexual preferences at the beginning of the game, and then locking romance options based on that preference. Your thoughts are noted. Thank you !

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I’ll be sure to note your views and make sure my system does not interpret being nice to being romantically interested. Thank you for your input

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While it’s convenient to define the MC’s sexuality from the beginning, it’s awkward to be honest since I never think ‘I’m X, therefore I find X attractive.’ and just think ‘Wow. This person is really Z. I should go talk to them.’.

So I’m favor of the latter option. Just present the ROs as they come and let the players decide.

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Since I’ve had multiple cases of npc’s coming onto my characters, assuming they’ll be interested, in various different ways depending on the game and the writer’s idea of what “flirtatious” means, I have to say that in most cases it ranges from awkward to bloody annoying - if you are not provided with an option to state your perference and thus shut down any future overtures. Otherwise, it’s fine.
So I’m all for letting the player pick their character’s sexual preference at the beginning of the game (or at least at some point in the story prior to encountering any RO’s). I’m not saying that there should be absolutely no unwelcome flirtation, but there must be a way for your character to react to it accordingly, at least.
Outside the dialogue, it’s always nice to see the way author’s descriptions change based on the preference you’ve picked (since most IF is written with the MC’s POV in mind). Think SoH, Study in Steampunk or Lords of Aswick.
Same goes for games (but not date sims, where romance is the focus, of course) that provide a specific single type of RO (female gay-only, for example) of incompartible orientation. Just acknowleging your character’s sexuality can go a long way to help immersion.

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