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A lot has changed in twenty years

Wow, has it really been twenty years? My God.

Back in 1996, I released the first version of the sex game Onyx. It's a game for two to six adult players, played a bit like Monopoly (the players can buy properties on a game board) but with a twist. Each player fills out a profile specifying sex, orientation, and kinks, and if a player lands on a property owned by someone of the correct sex and orientation, the player can pay rent or work off the debt. Working off the debt causes the game to search its database of sex acts and draw an appropriate act that fits the genders and kinks of the players.

All very straightforward, right?

Fast forward twenty years. I'm working on (among many, many other things) an update to Onyx, Onyx version 4, and I'm a lot more aware now than I was then.



Twenty years ago, I thought there were only two possible sexes, and the idea that someone might be trans wasn't even on my radar. (And nonbinary genders? Way outside my conception!) One of the things this new update includes is a complete overhaul of my assumptions, which means a complete overhaul of some legacy code that stretches clear back to version 1.0.

Onyx 4 will allow players to specify their own pronouns however they like, and will be much more accommodating of trans and nonbinary players. As part of the update, I'm going through the database of sex acts, and man, I made a lot of assumptions.

Assumptions about pronouns. Assumptions about genitalia. Assumptions about what would and would not be possible when someone identified as a particular gender.

It's slow going. There are hundreds of actions in the database, and I'm having to go through and check every one: am I using hard-coded pronouns? Am I presuming what the players' bodies look like? (Spoiler: Yes. Yes, I was.)

It's been an interesting exercise, being confronted with these assumptions in a direct and systematic way. I hope the new version, whenever it's done, will be more accessible and accommodating for more people.

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Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
catrinaz
Sep. 29th, 2016 02:45 pm (UTC)
Hats off to you for doing this and for blogging about the process. It's important for our evolution to be visible.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 29th, 2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
Consent and body configuration
I don't envy you this programming challenge. I think its important to note though that some folks sexual orientation is about gender and some is about the genitals (biological sex) and some is about both in combination. I would not want for example, a person who does not consent to relate sexually to a particular type of genitals to be pressured to simply because they come associated with the gender they are usually into. Women in particular are socialized to go along with this kind of pressure and it could be harmful.
tacit
Sep. 29th, 2016 10:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Consent and body configuration
Yep, very true. Version 4 will probably move away from the "are you straight, gay, or bi" model and toward a "what kind of actions, if any, do you want with each of the other players" model.
ashbet
Sep. 29th, 2016 10:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're doing this -- inclusivity and representation are so important :)

<3!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 30th, 2016 08:36 pm (UTC)
Number of Players
I know it might get a little crowed, but can you up the number of players allowed, or allow it to be set. We sometimes have around 10 couples at parties, and so we either have to get creative or some people have to sit out of the game. It's a great ice breaker, so we really would like to have everyone playing (preferably individually)
(Anonymous)
Oct. 2nd, 2016 12:45 am (UTC)
still just performative for profits
I call bullshit to your trans awakening. you knew we existed before you drew your first map of sexuality. We are the transsexuals you neatly bordered in as a fetish ;)
tacit
Oct. 2nd, 2016 02:36 am (UTC)
Re: still just performative for profits
The Map of Human Sexuality dates back to 2008, 12 years after Onyx.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 2nd, 2016 02:57 am (UTC)
Re: still just performative for profits
why are trans folk a fetish and cis folk arent?
tacit
Oct. 2nd, 2016 03:13 am (UTC)
Re: still just performative for profits
You might be upset that some people fetishize trans people. Don't confuse the map with the terrain. The map is an attempt to catalog all the various fetishes people have, rightly or wrongly.

There are many things on the map I personally believe are morally wrong: pedophilia, child sex tourism, rape, and yes, fetishizing trans people.

Are you saying that nobody ever fetishizes trans people, and you're mad at me because the map says people do?
(Anonymous)
Oct. 3rd, 2016 12:44 am (UTC)
Card or deck sharing
Have you thought of adding a feature to share cards or decks on-line with other players?

Other great feature would be the ability to choose multiple card decks to a game depending on the mood and players. E.g. take the basic deck and add a couple of specific fetish decks to suit the players.
tacit
Oct. 3rd, 2016 11:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Card or deck sharing
I've often thought about sharing decks, and in fact tried to set up a deck-sharing system some time ago. Turned out everyone wanted to download new decks but nobody wanted to create and upload them.

Onyx 4 will make it easier to share decks, since you'll be able to put a whole bunch of deck files in one folder and it will automatically use all of them.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 7th, 2016 06:00 am (UTC)
Re: Card or deck sharing
For what it's worth, I'd definitely play in with a few deck ideas.

Back when I got it originally (a few years back), I built in a deck of my own particular interests: hypnosis/mind control, verbal bondage, and threw in a few trap cards "X, pick a word that Y is no longer allowed to use. If they do, you're allowed to do Z..." that kind of thing. The deck is gone (lost in transfer between computers), but I'd be curious to rebuild it on the new model...
tacit
Oct. 9th, 2016 02:29 am (UTC)
Re: Card or deck sharing
Those are some great ideas!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 3rd, 2016 10:35 pm (UTC)
Time flies
Doesn't it feel crazy, it's been there for twenty years.

I was 8, when you first created this ^^
(Anonymous)
Dec. 30th, 2016 07:11 pm (UTC)
Don't know if even possible
The one feature I always wished Onyx had was Spice levels/preferences/higher weighting for each individual. I have played in a largish group where two members while both bi had no attraction to each other. It would have been nice to have them opt out of each other rather then having to work around it.
tacit
Jan. 2nd, 2017 11:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Don't know if even possible
That's something that's coming in version 4. :)
Norry Nardo
Jan. 21st, 2017 10:37 pm (UTC)
Props, card decks, actions, limits, and editing.
I'd purchased your game years ago, and played once or twice, but hadn't had much call to play again until recently.

The players were a mix of experienced BDSM edge and novice, dominant and submissives. What we found, was that dominants were often being asked to do non-dominant things, or people having hard limits, such as feet, were having to use opt-outs too frequently.

So, we'd be looking at having the prop system revised into a more general user giver / user receiver system. I'd also see if that could be extended into a actions system, where it could help to keep types of actions in classifications to make that easier to restrict or encourage groups of items.

(Prop = mild dominant ; user = giver | receiver …)

Two problems need to be addressed. Player profile creation time, and difficulty editing.

Profiles can probably be simplified by choosing from a number of defaults, including props and limits in the sample "default" profiles. (Use cases will be helpful here)

Editing is gonna be the real problem. Various sorts and views will be needed to help in making a good well balanced game and deck. (Or Decks)

Anyhow ... Thanks for a good game, even if we're bending the rules arbitrarily while playing.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )