In my "2019 roundup and 2020 preview" post earlier this year, I promised to bring back polls later in the year once the important gameplay improvements I wanted to do were done, to allow more involvement from patrons and the wider community in deciding what content will be worked on.
I'm happy to announce that after the AI and Interaction Overhaul and v3.0 Stable's release last month, we're now at that stage of development for this to happen: Because each month has at least two LifePlay updates, from now on, the second update of each month (for example, for July, that would be v3.6 - ETA 25 Jul) will always be the "Kink of the Month" update, focusing on adult content voted on patrons with ideas coming from the community.
The process has two steps:
1/ Patrons vote on which kink / adult content to focus on at the end of the previous month: the voting period is the last 10 to 14 days of the previous month (for July's Kink of the Month, the patron voting period will be between 18 and 30 June). This is done on Patreon of course.
The winning kink is announced to everyone at the start of the month (1 July for example).
2/ The community (patrons or otherwise) brainstorms and gives ideas on what exactly to do about that winning kink for this update: This is done on Discord (I will create a new 'Kink of the Month brainstorm' channel for this) and the F95Zone forum thread. The brainstorming period will be between the start of the month and the release of that month's first update (for July, this period will be from 1 July to 11 July, which is when v3.5 comes out and work on v3.6 begins). Please discuss your and others' ideas as much as possible and make use of the Like button as well so that I can have an idea of what's popular.
In summary, patrons get to decide the overall focus, but any good ideas relating to that focus can come from anyone and still make it in the game. For example, let's say patrons vote for the update to focus on BDSM, then from the community brainstorm, the ideas about spanking and wax play get the most interest so that month's KotM update ends up being a BDSM update with spanking and wax play.
That's all for how the process works for Kink of the Month. Below I'll just explain a bit more about my rationale why I decided to go with such a process
- The involvement of the wider community in the second step of the process is both to be inclusive and fitting with the game's free and open-source nature and also because Patreon isn't really a suitable platform for a proper brainstorm (especially because the 'darker' stuffs aren't allowed to be discussed on here anyway), F95 forum and Discord are much better platforms. Also, when it comes to ideas, the more people to suggest them and 'like' them to show interest, the better, rather than just restricting to ideas coming from patrons.
- The patrons' poll results are announced before the brainstorm begins so that ideas and suggestions are relevant and the good and popular ones can be used right away. From my past experience, I often read some really good suggestrions from the community, but couldn't really implement them, at least not right away, because I'm in the middle of working on a non-related update.
- I only dedicate one update each month to this for now because I still need control of the other update of the month to implement wider gameplay features and systems, non-adult stuffs and occasionally, adult stuffs that are unlikely to ever win a poll but should have one update (maybe half an update even) each year still (gay content is the prime example, unlikely to ever win a poll simply because of the percentage of population thing, but I don't want to just abandon it).
- This system, if it works well, may end up being applied to other aspects of the game in the future too, not just kinks, like voting on and brainstorming gameplay features. I only started with kinks because they're the easiest to come up with poll options to vote on. Most new gameplay features require experimenting before even knowing if they are possible at all so it's hard to have a list of 10 options, all feasible, ready to be voted on.