The next game in my continuing series on game concepts that led up to Fleshcult:
Sexbot Manor (2008, concept)
In this game the player would run a brothel of sexbots. You’d have an inventory of body parts with differing properties that you’d assemble to please a series of clients. Each client had a set of tastes that you could cater to for larger tips. This would provide an incentive for the player to build a range of sexbots and try out a wide variety of parts, rather than advancing along a linear progression of parts that are the same but better.
Since several prototypes had gameplay with a completely different emphasis to what I’d planned, I took to writing out a sample play session as a kind of mock-up before coding anything. It’s a useful technique. It forces you to consider what the user’s options will be, and also gives you a taste of how much content you’ll need.
Writing the sample, I discovered that fulfilling someone else’s fetishes isn’t very erotic. For example, if you only like blondes, you’re probably not going to be delighted if the game generates a client that has a huge redhead fetish. I don’t want people to be torn between their sexual preferences and a winning game strategy, so obviously the client fetish mechanic wasn’t a good way to set goals for the player.
If you remove the client’s preferences, what challenge remains? I played around with some resource management ideas inspired by mech games. A limited power budget. A limited weight budget. All it did was dilute the sexual aspects of the game and centre the game’s challenge around the non-sexual aspects. I couldn’t find a satisfactory solution so I shelved it.