is the secret to success making 18+ content?

hero_buddy

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i'll try to keep this as PG-13 as i can. i'm an artist, and i won't hide it: i have a small following based around 18+ content. i keep this content on a separate account from my SFW artwork, so those underage can enjoy my content as well.

due to mental illness, i have a hard time working around people in real life, so i'd like to create a following based around my artwork and content and potentially live off of ******* money (i live with my boyfriend with a stable salary job, and our relationship is solid, so i'm not in dire straits), and i've seen around here that most people are unable to compete with the content from kagura games on steam. in case you don't know, kagura games is a publisher that specializes in 18+ games, often made in rpg maker.

if i do make games with 18+ content, i'd like to make it more along the lines of a visual novel, where the story is still the main focus and the adult scenes are just... things that happen as the story progresses. i don't want to make a nukige.

i'd like to hear another opinion on this topic. since i have the ability, and would like to make money, should i go ahead and develop an 18+ rpg? is that really where the money lays? please tell me your thoughts.
 

BlueMage

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Well, 18+ content was really the key, another important key that is you must make it fun & naughty.
You also need to improve your art more, it hasn't met the industry's standard yet
 

TheoAllen

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As someone who has tasted their community for a little while, their community is large even for one specific kind of fetish. And they're sort of "aggressive". I once made a few NSFW drawings, and even with my average drawing skill, people already asked me if I'm open for commission, although I didn't take them.

And sometimes, they knew "no boundary". Something that you would ever wonder why such a thing even exists that probably could "damage" you mentally. If you never actually draw NSFW pics and/or feel disgusted by some excessive NSFW stuff, you probably should not do it. Because again, they're "aggressive".

Granted, I don't play many 18+ games, but the few titles I played were mostly focused on a specific kind of NSFW. The story was usually acceptable, it happens just as an excuse why it's there.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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Well TBH, if your focus is simply to make money, making rated 18+ games is probably a really good way to achieve that in RPG maker right now.

The reason is that I feel like once those people/fans see the artwork, they would readily buy the game while for a normal RPG, it needs to be extremely good for people to touch it... This is based on what I've seen on steam at least, and on some other 18+ games sites. It could also be a current trend thingy, so it might be best if you do it now while the iron is hot.

This is assuming you're planning to release on steam anyway.

I myself am a fan of VNs with a bit of those 18+ parts, but I look at the story first and foremost... Reason is that, Im still playing a game so I want it to play good..
 
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bgillisp

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If you just want to make $$$ then that seems to be the only way to do well on Steam from what I've seen. In fact, if you just look at the images and screenshots they post for those games they get away with things that would get you reamed if you did that in an RPG that wasn't 18+. I'm talking about bad mapping, horrible balance, awful story, etc.

Now if you want to make a good RPG you probably need to market it elsewhere than Steam for it to do well. Otherwise you'll end up being another post we read about where someone released a game on Steam and has sold a whole 8 or 12 copies.
 

sura_tc

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Easy method is by utilizing Daz3D contents. They are pre-made models that you just need to piece together and simply hit render.

Majority of adult game dev use Daz3D due to its ease of use and not requiring any 3D modeling knowledge.

Your target audience is not at Steam. It's somewhere else. And your main income source will be *******. There are adult game devs that bring in thousands per month by this method.

I can tell you where to go but I won't obviously reveal it here. PM me if you like to know.

P.S. If you want to go cartoon-ish (anime-ish), then you need to dive into Japanese 3D market place. They've got millions of models there.
 
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Oddball

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I'd say, make the charecters interesting and make them feel like actuall people so people get invested. For example, I tried out Hunniepop, and thought the girls were entertaining, not just for the 18+ moment. They each had there own personalities and quirks and that made the experince enjoyable outside the fourth+ date at night. Then i tried out a knock-off called booty calls. The girls were flat, and it felt like the 18+ moment was the only pay off. People are socail creatures, get them invested in your charecters as well, and they will enjoy the game throughout
 

Andar

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@hero_buddy
It depends on what you define as "success".

If you define success purely by money gained, then yes it is probably that way - as @TheoAllen described above the clientele for that kind of games seem to disable brain and quality-judgement as soon as nudity is involved. I've yet to find a single 18+ game that has a good quality outside of pictures, even mediocre games are extremely rare - and a lot of those games are bottom quality including artwork as if they're too cheap to even pay a decent artist for their artwork.

If your definition of success contains "well-known for quality games" then no, going that way is not going to get you much - in fact it will hinder your success elsewhere even if you make the best 18+ game ever exactly because too many of those type of games are bottom-quality and you'll be bundled together with those.
 

sura_tc

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Nope, you are not the only one.

Adult games made with MV is immediately frowned upon. Japanese games are an exception though due to their good arts and often really weird genre, which to be honest makes me wonder about their mental health.

You either use Ren'py or Unity or something else. Anything but MV. If you want to use something similar to MV, use Wolf engine.
 

jkweath

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i'd like to hear another opinion on this topic. since i have the ability, and would like to make money, should i go ahead and develop an 18+ rpg? is that really where the money lays? please tell me your thoughts.
That's a good question. It's one that seems like it has an obvious answer ('yes'), but I'm not so sure.

It looks like you've made the same observation I have, which is that many of the successful 18+ RPGMaker games have three things in common:

  1. They're published by Kagura games, a publisher with a large following
  2. Almost all games published by Kagura are native Chinese and often poorly machine-translated to English
  3. They're porn games first, RPGs second (usually the game itself is low-quality, sometimes the artwork is too)
I feel like a lot of people under-value the fact that these games have an actual publisher and are also marketed to Chinese consumers, which is, IIRC, the biggest gaming market in the world. I've actually seen a couple 18+ RPGMaker games on Steam that were not published by Kagura, and had about the same amount of popularity as most other RPGMaker games, which is none.

I'd personally like to see a few examples of popular 18+ RPGMaker games that were self-published. Without having done the research myself, I have a feeling they're not as common as believed to be.

Anyway, I'm sure 18+ games have more income opportunity than non-18+ games in some situations, but if you're not comfortable making the leap to that genre, you can always add sex appeal. Sex sells, even without the actual sex. One game in particular I made had sex appeal, and I'm 100% certain its sales benefited tremendously because of that.

Adult games made with MV is immediately frowned upon.
By who, exactly? I assume not the people buying those games, as they seem more interested in the anime tiddies than the engine said tiddies were used in.
 

sura_tc

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By who, exactly? I assume not the people buying those games, as they seem more interested in the anime tiddies than the engine said tiddies were used in.
By the audience. I've created an adult game before with MV. I am in progress of making second with Unity. It is not because I want to make porn. It is because stories I am basing on is quite adult, so why not add a little more.

MV itself is heavily frowned upon. Just ask it on the most popular adult game forum.
 

bgillisp

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Which is funny as I recall when I was younger most of those games were made in DOS, even when Windows existed (Win 95/98, etc). No one cared. I wonder if they are just parroting the Steam response to MV more than anything?
 

sura_tc

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The stigma is due to majority of dev using RTP or even purchased assets. It ultimately boils down to games looking too identical to each other.

I used fully custom tilesets, so I escaped from those kind of criticisms but MV games are often skipped.

Another problem I had was that I received issues being reported from Android users because someone took the game and ported it to Android. The game wasn't even designed for Android.
Yes, there are more people like EnmxDev who ports MV games to Android without permission.
 
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bgillisp

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Well, hope they know most other games also use same a lot of same assets, regardless of the engine you use. If you honestly analyzed every game out there, you'll find some repeat uses of things (Sound effects is a common one, even in AAA games. Many FPS use the same textures. So on and so forth).

@gstv87 : I think it is because if everyone sees it as the path to make money we'll get some REALLY bad 18+ games made in RPGMaker which will hurt the rep of the engine more.

@jkweath : Not sure it exists honestly. But then again I think you need a publisher to make it with anything these days, the flood of garbage makes it too hard to stand out otherwise. Unless you already built up an audience or can take a lot of time to build it up that is.

Though this whole discussion reminds me, I want to make a video on this subject someday. Maybe I can do that this weekend?
 

TheoAllen

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I feel like a lot of people under-value the fact that these games have an actual publisher and are also marketed to Chinese consumers, which is, IIRC, the biggest gaming market in the world. I've actually seen a couple 18+ RPGMaker games on Steam that were not published by Kagura, and had about the same amount of popularity as most other RPGMaker games, which is none.

I'd personally like to see a few examples of popular 18+ RPGMaker games that were self-published. Without having done the research myself, I have a feeling they're not as common as believed to be.
The title I played wasn't even Kagura games (it even has tvtropes page). Granted, it started as a free game and the dev plan to sell the sequel/next version. They only targetted to a specific kind of thing that people like (and the dev share the same thing they like, i.e, it just not a random 18+ games, it made out of their heart content). Their audience was not even Chinese, it just too many of them who like the same thing.

Edit: apparently the game is planned to be hosted in itch.io rather than Steam.
 
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CraneSoft

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I have a small following in the R18 Japanese RPGMaker industry so I will share my brief thoughts based on experience:

I hate to break it out to you but if you want to have any success making R18 games, your best bet is making a nukige RPG. "Visual Novels" made on RPGMaker is excusable, but you still need to have some sort of gameplay and the focus needs to be on fetishes. The very last thing the R18 audience will care about is the story. You don't have to be an absolute pro in the art department, but those that don't will need to make it up with interesting gameplay and targeting the very specific niches, otherwise do not expect to sell more than 10 copies, R18 or not. With your level of art right now, I will say you are not ready to step into this industry just yet, especially if your intent is making visual novels and not wanting to make nukige.

I will not go into the details, but success in this industry revolves around attracting the R18 audience, which are a very special kind of community with many unspoken rules, their priorities being:
Lewds >>>>>>>>(Uncrossable Realm)>>>>>>>> Gameplay > Everything Else
If you do not follow this format, you will not succeed.

Even the market of R18 RPG games are getting saturated in the recent years, 5 years ago you can make the most simple, standard RPG with 15 or so CGs and easily break 1000, nowadays you need at least twice of that work and need to be of much better quality lest you get buried in the pile of bad games (read:garbage) that come out every day on DLSite. The ones on Steam are merely some of the most successful ones that are lucky enough to see TLs/localizations.
 
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Dezue

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Heyho, @hero_buddy !
I'm part of Team Tailnut, an adult dev team of two, and recently went into fulltime gamedev (made possible by our incredible Patrons ❤).

I'd say if you have the ability to tell new and engaging stories and make art that is able to seduce players - go for it.
If you already have a following, that's a big boon from the get-go as well.

The main thing to remember is that developing a successful Indie adult game is exactly as hard as developing any other successful Indie game, meaning that cookie cutter games without a compelling X-Factor, a good understanding of the niche they're catering to and decent production values will have a hard time succeeding.
I emphasize this as I've often heard people say that you can 'make big money with a few ugly maps and some hentai pictures slapped in there', and nothing could be further from the truth in my experience ;)

I'd also say that the most successful (*******) RPGs I know of are made by teams of devs (a thing you said you wanted to avoid), so I'd look for a genre/niche that makes it possible to explore it with only one dev.

Also, like @sura_tc and @CraneSoft said: ******* is the go-to funding site right now, but there are a lot of devs in the field (about 2800 at the time of writing this) and it gets more and more popular, so the best time to start is now ;)

Expect a lot of work and be ready to learn lots of new things

Have fun and stay funky,
Dez
 
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CraneSoft

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I emphasize this as I've often heard people say that you can 'make big money with a few ugly maps and some hentai pictures slapped in there', and nothing could be further from the truth in my experience ;)
Sad truth. But yes, that mindset is what making the market saturated today - people that "heard you can make easy money with adult stuff" (even professional illustrators) clearly doesn't know anything about the industry to begin with and tends to think they just needed lewd to sell - so they just outsource all the art and then not bothering with making the games fun to play, and thus the market was flooded with the so-called "RPGs" that's just a poor excuse of a game but instead a poor-quality CG set in RPGMaker form.

I know of at least two dev circles that are blacklisted by the whole R18 community for mass-producing bad quality games (they even created a "term" just for them) under infinite aliases, and are partially to blame for why people are now very picky nowadays - genuinely good adult games exist but there are few and far in between. They only needed to take one look on your sample images and product description to decide if your game is going to be crap.

The successful devs almost never work alone - even if they are a one-man crew (which most of them are), they get plenty of help from fellow devs and have connections on their own.
 
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