I played through the first chapter and into the second chapter, but stopped once I got into Helastrom and then could not figure out what to do.Getting Around
- I'm with Hanon on the compass directions; map command or no, this game really needs explicit instructions on where the player can go.
- In general, it is a good idea to avoid relative directions like "left" and "right," as most game don't keep track of which way a player is facing in a given direction.
- Some things I found particularly difficult were: figuring out how to get upstairs in the house ("enter staircase" is not intuitive), figuring out how to get into bed (again, "sleep on bed" was not intuitive, especially when "sleep" gave me the standard reply), and figuring out how to get into the tree.
This may be incorrect, but I did not get the impression that you implemented any conversation options. At two points in the game I was prompted to ask questions, but none of my questions brought a reply. I honestly have no idea what I am supposed to do in these situations. The second such situation was where I stopped playing (after asking at least a dozen questions).Implementation of Objects
There are many times when objects are mentioned by the game, but are apparently not implemented:
- In the first "dream" sequence, the name "Ulfr" is mentioned, but I cannot refer to him.
- Hay is mentioned in the description of the stable but not implemented.
- I am told that I look up at the sky and experience a burst of energy, but I cannot then "x sky".
- In the clearing with the tree, the tree itself doesn't seem to be implemented!
These are just a few that I included in my notes.Room Descriptions
If you are going to include references to things that might change in a room description, you need to reflect those changes. For example, the description for the bedroom has a reference to the bandage in the end table, but this remains in the room description even after I have bandaged my wound.Verb Implementation
Some of my comments above mention this, but there is a lot of "guess the verb" going on! It often seems that there is one specific wording you are looking for, but it often takes me a number of tries to figure it out.Player prompting
This is more of an amorphous thing, but the game very much leads the player by the hand through certain sections. I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing, but at some points I did feel a little railroaded. For example, during the second transformation, my actions were dictated to me by the game: grab something, crawl away, roll over, howl, etc. I didn't feel like I had any agency at all.Writing
There are two aspects to this, namely the grammar and the style.
In terms of grammar, the writing needs a lot of help--it abounds in sentence fragments, dangling modifiers, improperly used modal verbs ("would" being the most noticeable offender), inconsistent tense (use of past perfect with present tense), etc.
In terms of the style, many sentences were awkwardly worded, and often the writing failed to bring across the urgency or excitement of the moment. To take one example that sticks in my mind, when you are talking about how incredibly painful the transformation process is at the beginning of chapter two, you suddenly drop in: "It is rather uncomfortable." This sounds like you might be talking about an awkward conversation or a narrow airplane seat, not the player's body being torn apart as he or she transforms into a werewolf. Also, try not to tell the reader how he or she should be responding to a description--for example, don't say, "It's a nice sight" or "It's a beautiful sight." Let your descriptions paint a nice or beautiful picture for the reader.
If I could give you one piece of advice about writing, it would be this: Read as much as you can. That is, read some really good writing and try to figure out what those writers do to make their writing so effective. Also, be aware that some writers are very good storytellers, but in terms of technique they are not actually very good writers. Don't look to these writers for inspiration when it comes to writing, but see what you can glean from how they tell a story. I hate to name names, but without doing so this advice is less helpful, so I will say that Dan Brown tells a rip-roaring yarn. His writing, on the other hand, is often technically wanting.