Hey guys! Sorry for the delay in writing this report. It's taken me a while to grasp the problem and come up with a solution. I'll describe things as plainly as I can.
I was aiming to finish and release the "bed branch" of the Dubai scene on Sunday (two days ago). For much of last week I just basically switched off my phone, and stopped checking in on the forums, so I could focus on it 100%.
I knew this wasn't ideal behaviour on my part, but, in my defence...by Friday it seemed to be working. I'd managed to add the following to the game:
- Two options for pre-bed foreplay sections (one on the bed, one on the rug)
- Interaction with the room service waiter when he arrives
- An oral sex foreplay section when Max goes down on the agent (who we call "Kate" in the game code)
- A missionary position section with four broad outcomes (Max and Kate come simultaneously; Max makes Kate come; Max comes prematurely; Max *nearly* comes prematurely and has to slow down)
- A conclusion for the mutual orgasm outcome (Kate cleans up the cum shot if necessary, then we move to the next scene)
- A conclusion for the Max premature orgasm outcome (Max tries to finish her off with his fingers, and either succeeds or fails. If he fails she can optionally fake an orgasm to save his ego.)
- A conclusion for the "Max adjusts his pace" outcome (Kate can either encourage him to take it nice and slow; tell him to just fuck her hard, either because she's really close or because he can make it up to her later; or finger herself to help him out.)
- A second missionary section for the "Max made Kate come" outcome. The object is now Max's orgasm: in a new mechanic, Kate has a range of options based on her Vaginal Sex skill level ranging from "Let him fuck you" to "(Vaginal Sex +3) Squeeze his cock with your pussy, play with his nipples and talk dirty about where he's going to come". This section has two outcomes: Max comes or he doesn't.
- A conclusion for the "Max comes" outcome (including a porno-style money shot if Kate talked dirty about it in the prior scene).
- A continuation if Max doesn't come. He or Kate (depending on an initiative roll) can take off the condom or switch to doggy style.
- Part of the doggy style section.
On Friday, while working on the doggy style section, I had an urge to revisit its start (i.e. the bit where Max and Kate switch from missionary to doggy style).
I took a look, but couldn't really work out what was bothering me about it. Sure, it could be improved – but my writing can always be improved, and I figured you guys wouldn't thank me for perfecting a transition between sex positions instead of getting a release out.
So I ignored it, and cracked on, working on some spanking content for the doggy scene.
Saturday was a real struggle. I felt blocked and reluctant to write, even though it was the day before my intended deadline. I put this feeling down to general anxiety about publishing the scene, and ground out as much writing as I could.
Time for bed. For reasons I didn't understand at the time, I ended up staying up real late just replaying Female Agent from the start, over and over.
I was trying to figure something out, but I didn't know what it was.
Sunday was tough because I'd stayed up so fucking late. A friend of mine (who's a pharmacist) gave me some trucker pills to get through days like this.
I took a triple dose because I was serious about getting it published before I went to sleep. Sleep it off tomorrow, I told myself as I chugged them down.
Things weren't going great. I remembered that weird feeling from two days before, and decided to rewrite the doggy section intro. Maybe fixing the beginning would help me wrap up the rest?
I tried to improve it...but I wasn't sure what was wrong with it. Why was this one section bothering me? It wasn't especially worse than the rest of the scene. But something was gnawing at me.
Did it need a new decision point? More internal monologue? Some kind of power struggle between Max and Kate? More dialogue? Less dialogue? Sexier description? I kept trying: I didn't know why, I could just sense it was important.
THE BREAKTHROUGH LINE
About an hour later, I just tried deleting the whole section, and replacing it all with one single line:
Moments later, you're on all fours.
It probably sounds trivial, but this was a breakthrough moment for me. I tested this line out in the engine, and immediately learned a few things:
The pace felt much better. This one line developed the scene faster, and was more interesting, than everything I'd written for the past hour. It also fit better into the context of the rest of the game, which is something I couldn't have appreciated if I hadn't sat up all night replaying it from the start
It was way sexier than the previous incredibly detailed account of two people switching positions
It felt more authentic. Changing positions in bed just sort of happens most of the time; you don't notice or remember that your left hand grabbed her right hip, then your right hand curled under her left knee...it's not fucking Twister
It was quicker to write. Much, much quicker. 😯
That last realisation was fascinating – if a little bit scary in its implications.
It's real easy to swallow trucker pills, but it's hard to swallow the feedback you don't want to hear. Although everyone prefers the new sex scene to the old ones, many of you have raised serious concerns about how long the process took.
My response was always basically, "I know, I know, I'll learn how to do this faster because there's no other way."
Well...what if I was wrong about that?
I knew I had to investigate this, even though it was 8PM on deadline day.
By 10PM I'd wireframed out a portion of the scene, written in the new style. The wireframe version had all the benefits I noticed already, plus a few others.
lt felt solid – really solid – but I was finding it hard to stay focused.
I knew the pills would make it hard to sleep. But I also knew that Star Trek: The Next Generation was available on Netflix! Perfect: a bunch of meetings in space, and a crew that prefers cosplaying on the holodeck to firing their phasers. I'd drift off while Data learned a lesson about birthdays or something. I'll never make it all the way through Encounter at Farpoint, I thought...
The next morning, I thought maybe I'd dreamed the bit about Riker fighting Napoleonic-era soldiers in order to become a god, then using his new powers to give Worf a sex slave.
But I checked, and that really happened, I was awake the whole time! What idiot gave me trucker pills
I sat at my desk all day yesterday, but didn't start to come alive until well into the evening. Realising I was at risk of turning into a vampire, I forced myself to stop early and go to bed instead.
I didn't get much sleep, but I felt better today, and I built out more of the wireframe.
At this point I've had one full day – plus a few hours yesterday and Sunday – developing the scene in this new style. And I'm fucking psyched about it so far. I think this is going to address a lot of the (valid) concerns that many fans have tried to raise with me about the work process.
I don't have anything to share yet (except this report, the purpose of which is mainly to let you know I'm alive and working, not off sulking like Achilles in his tent).
But I will have something ready soon (as in days, not weeks). I'll push it out to Operators as a Beta first (just so they can check this is right, and not some fever dream induced by trucker pills) then get it out as a release ASAP afterwards.
VERY NEXT STEPS
I'm fucking exhausted, I'm going to bed, I don't even need Star Trek to fall asleep. Further updates to follow.