While it was great that I now had a slavery auction mod that did what it set out to do, it had two major flaws that kept it from becoming a true and full experience.
The first flaw was that there was still no way to get the player to get sent to the auction. At this point, the mod required the player to walk to the slave market and talk to the slavers to start the process. Not very immersive, to say the least.
The second flaw was that any mod that connected to Simple Slavery would need to be a dependency because I didn’t know how to check if a mod existed in a player’s load order. You want this mod? Well, you need all of these outcome mods, whether you want them or not!
Fortunately, @Slaves of Tamriel was (and still is) much better at this than I and handed me this lovely code snippet that checks for a quest before it tries to call it:
This was in the time before ModEvents were prevalent in nearly everything, so hooking onto quests was the only sure way to connect. Well, that I knew of, anyway. With this in my pocket, I could connect to any mod in existence as long as I had a quest name and, as a bonus, I could check to make sure the quest (and therefore the mod itself) existed in the player’s load order before trying to call it. Goodbye dependencies, hello freedom! A fair portion of the current SS connections still use this method. Unless @HexBolt8 replaced them.
The first flaw (yeah, I should have put the flaws and their fixes in the same order, but this seemed the bigger flaw, so it felt like it should be mentioned first but the other one was fixed first, so…) was fixed thanks to the connection to Death Alternative. Fortunately, @BralorMarr, the author of DA himself, was extraordinarily helpful. And by “helpful,” I mean that I wrote the code the way I understood it, then he deleted a good portion of it and handed me back the working version. One of my prized…well, not possessions, but moments in mod-making was discovering the nice thing he said about my mod in DA’s mod description (right there on Nexus! It’s still there, hiding from the Nexus moderators):
Aawww! He called it “ingenious!” That’s so sweet!
With the onset of Death Alternative, I finally had the full slave auction experience: capture, transport to a holding cage (thanks, blackouts!), auction, slavery outcome. There was still a ton to do, but with the initial framework in place, I officially moved the mod to version 1.0 in early January 2015.
The next thing on my list, even before adding Sanguine’s Debauchery, was to move the auction yet again. I was originally going to keep it outdoors but people pointed out that wolves kept spawning and attacking everyone, which often led to the hilarious scene of slaves opening the cages and joining in the attack but was otherwise a major inconvenience. The bigger reason to move it indoors was…well, keeping it outside would have become waaaay too much work.
See, there were all these NPCs hanging around the auction block. All the time. Twenty-four hours a day. That was not natural, but in order to make it not happen, I would have to figure out how to set schedules for each and every one of them, to find them places to go during the night, to get them to come back in the mornings. Fuck all that, frankly. Much easier to move the entire thing indoors to a place without windows so no matter what time you showed up, there was no way to know what time it was. I mean, aside from the game clock, but who really looks at that, anyway?
With the decision to move it indoors came the obvious question: where? @Content Consumer* and I discussed it in the support thread. My first thought was Skyhaven Temple, which was large and had a dais. I even copied it and tried fiddling with it which is when I discovered that removing Alduin’s Wall deletes a large chunk of the building itself. Who knew? But this discovery led to a completely unexpected situation: CC suggested covering up the resulting hole and provided this for the job:
If this looks remotely familiar to you, it’s because you have seen its descendants in the game. That’s right, Content Consumer created all the original slave market advertisements. They’ve all been replaced at this point, but his were first.
Anyway. Skyhaven (or a copy of it) became the first indoor slave market. I moved the cages there, tossed CC’s sign over the pit that had been Alduin’s Wall, then set up my auction NPCs.
With a nice indoor spot ready, I moved on to Sanguine’s Debauchery. Thanks to Skyrimll (now @DeepBlueFrog), adding it was super easy- he was more than happy to help connect the two. I decided to start with two NPCs for masters, both of them male because lesbian sex does nothing for me (selfish of me, yeah?), and place them at random spots around Skyrim.
With the advent of a second slavery mod and a total of three outcomes, I had to decide how to make things work. The original plan was random choices but I hadn’t looked into how to do randoms yet so, instead, I set the scenarios up in a specific order. At first it began with Slaves of Tamriel, then moved through the SD masters, but that idea had a flaw of its own – SoT still did not have a way to end the scenario, so you would essentially be stuck in that mine forever unless you consoled your way out (which still wouldn’t remove the myriad of scripted effects placed on you) and would therefore never get to the SD outcomes.
Then I thought about removing SoT altogether until it had an end, but it was just too fantastic of an experience to skip, so I settled on putting it third in line behind the two SD outcomes and suggesting the players save right beforehand, play it until they were bored, then revert to the save and pretend they just escaped. Once all three outcomes were resolved (the last by cheating), it would then be incumbent upon the player to go into Death Alternative and uncheck SS as a possible outcome.
Clunky, but it worked, and it was enough in my mind to warrant the upgrade to version 2.0.
*This was soon after I met (the first time I heard from him was when he whined a little earlier in the support thread about the SD masters, even though SD was not yet connected and therefore there weren’t even any SD masters made yet. He’s like that. What a jerk) the force of nature that is Content Consumer. I’ve never met a more enthusiastic online personality. Once he’s on a topic, he won’t stop until he has exhausted all possible avenues of thought on the subject. He is, in short, hilarious.