Thursday, March 14, 2019

Build Your Own Sextrap Dungeon

No, we're not talking about BDSM studios.  This is more gamer-y stuff.

(But not this particular gamer-y stuff, which jumped to the top of the list when I did a google search on "Sextrap Dungeon".  I should have expected it really.  "Sextrap Dungeon" is the sort of term that rolls off the tongue nicely, so it's inevitable someone else would have already grabbed it.)

Yesterday I was talking about MachiaVillain, a cute little indie game where you build a murder mansion.  They added succubi, so the perverted little black cells in my brain immediately conjured up a little murder bordello, where the 'guests' get to go out with a bang at the hands (and other parts) of sexy succubi.  It did make me wonder if that concept could work as a nice little hentai game.

The 'build-your-own-Deathtrap-Dungeon' genre has been around in videogames for a while.  Dungeon Keeper was the famous one, and there have been a couple of spiritual successors in recent years in Dungeons and War for the Overworld.

Dungeon Keeper 2's succubus - Dark Mistress.  Likes torturing people.

My main bugbear with these games is they're often bait'n'switches.  You start off laying down traps to squish invading adventuring parties, but then the game usually morphs into a typical RTS around level 3 or 4, and the rest of it is mostly spent doing the usual RTS-y things of harvesting resources, recruiting new units, and then battling opposing dungeon keepers until the map is clear.

This may be down to the realities of what works as basic game design.  Building up a force to take out a rival puts the player in an active role and is easy to grok and calibrate challenge.  Building a dungeon to squish adventurers puts the player in a more passive role and is harder to grok and calibrate challenge.  Dungeon masters with human players have an incentive to keep things 'fair'.  If they constantly kill the party with an inescapable deathtrap in the first room, well pretty soon they're not going to have any players show up to their games.  A human player trying to keep AI heroes from plundering their goodies doesn't have to worry about that.  Kill 'em all in the first room works, but will make for a dull gameplay loop if too easy to pull off.

My thinking is you'd want to allow as much freedom for fiendish design and creativity, but also some sort of challenge element to keep the player from getting bored.  Generally, I think you'd want some kind of additional reward for the player to incentivize building long and elaborate deathtrap dungeons for the heroes to get lost in rather than throwing everything at them in the first room.  How to do that seems tricky, and probably why games like Dungeon Keeper switch to standard RTS gameplay once the initial concept wears out its welcome, as that's a tried and trusted means of maintaining player interest.

Dungeons 3.  I'm pretty sure this game has a succubus, but could I find a decent pic of one, could I bollocks!  (She also likes torturing people)

MachiaVillain sort of has this with bonuses awarded for killing victims according to horror movie rules - kill them when they're alone, kill the virgin last, etc.  But most of the time you just zerg rush the victims as soon as they enter the murder mansion anyway.

So far, I've mostly been talking about regular games, where my real interest is in more... ahem... perverted fare.  The advantage with more perverted fare is it opens up... ahem... rewards that can't be offered in regular boring mainstream games.  After all, where's the fun in filling a deathtrap dungeon with delectable demonesses if you can't catch a peek of them... ahem... dispatching those dastardly dogooders.

This then also opens up further possible gameplay options than just dropping a mountain on the heroes' heads in the first room.  If we have succubi, we need to keep them happy.  Happy horny succubi make lovely porn movies (obviously we edit out the part where the barbarian stud dries up like beef jerky).  Sulky sad succubi rip their victims' hearts out and throw entrails at the camera.

War for the Overworld's succubus.  Bit spiky.  Likes torturing people.

This now implies a rudimentary management sim.  You have a dungeon.  You have various sexy (and deadly) sirens.  You maybe have a black market distributor specialising in... certain types of films.  The player now has aims and goals beyond just bumping off the marauding heroes in as efficient a way as possible.  Maybe there's an audience score that gives gold bonuses.  Maybe the monster girls have certain restrictions - more powerful ones will only take up residence in lower levels.

This creates tension in that you'll want to lure heroes powerful enough to penetrate the dungeon deep enough to reach the more exotic succubi, but not powerful enough to beat them up.  Maybe part of the gameplay will be figuring out ways to weaken the more powerful heroes without breaking them completely, so that your succubus doesn't get bored with too-easily 'dominated' prey.

I can see there being potential here.

However, there is one awkward question - is all this as fun (and as sexy) as the player trying to battle through the dungeon themselves while fending off (and occasionally frequently 'losing' to) various amorous monster girls?

I did blog about a 'hentai Dungeon Keeper' a few years back - Pretty Warrior May Cry.  That was more of a ryona game.  It did have a rather lovely succubus-type unit, but most of the rest of the game was focused on watching orcs, dogs, slimes, even a dragon!, do various unmentionable things to the female adventurers stupid enough to set foot in your dungeon.  Ryona isn't my thing, but it has an audience and meshes well with the Dungeon Keeper concept.

Pretty Warrior May Cry's succubus.  In the middle of torturing... hey, wait a minute.

Would a similar thing appeal to the same sort of audience that enjoyed Monster Girl Quest?  I suspect players would rather the succubi were doing all the sexy snu-snu stuff (minus any angry heart-ripping) to them.  Although this can easily be fixed in-lore with some sort of magical maguffin that allows the player to bodysurf in to experience their succubi's delectable skills firsthand without those awkward 'dried fish' consequences.

You could probably even cater to both audiences by allowing them to mix'n'match which monsters they want to populate their 'sextrap dungeon' with.

Anyway, enough idle musings.  I think something like this could work and hopefully I've given some ideas for anyone wanting to make a succubus/monster girl hentai game that isn't just another RPGMaker clone.

Yes, I'd like to make something like this myself, but I suspect it would be rather difficult to do well, and certainly far beyond my current skill set.  Hence me posting a bunch of ideas here.  If you think you can make it work, feel free to go for it!

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