Player Comments on Coelum

It felt like it ended just as it was starting to pick up steam.
-- Killa_Robot on 1/8/2020 9:27:43 PM with a score of 0
This was very much two tacked-together episodes, neither of them complete stories, satisfying in themselves. And put together, the greatest challenge of this storygame is not in finding the "winningest" ending, but in simply slogging through those megaparagraphs.

The first part of this story is a chaotic scene aboard a spaceship -- so chaotic, in fact, that I thought for sure you had chosen the "chaos" story prompt. You had not. People shouting, furry alien-beasts barging through the door, pointless shots being fired, some kind of a decision to make about who should get in a pod.

I'll admit I didn't understand everything that was going on, or feel very much of the tension. And upon later re-reads, how I made that first choice seemed to have little impact on the story.

Then I land on the planet in my escape pod, and then begins episode two. No more alien-beasts, just three beacon signals. Which one should I go to?

Again, the choice made little difference, because the three branches were all identical, with only a minor variation in one branch, and with a different discovery at the conclusion of each. On the first read-through, this part was a refreshing change of pace, even if it was a cliched survival tale.

Still, the choices came with what a poker player might call a "tell," an intrinsic little clue about what the next card might be. I'm on an alien world, operating in survival mode, but now I have a choice of whether or not to eat something I've just found? Am I not a little suspicious about the option to take off my jacket? I was a little too obviously being encouraged to take the wrong path.

The only advantage to this was that when I read the other two paths -- which were almost identical, word for word -- I could click right through them and get to the conclusion to see what my prize was.

So is the writing here horrific? Well no, I wouldn't say that. It's the type of thing that the author will look back on 10 years from now -- by that point a much better writer -- and cringe at.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 12/31/2019 10:57:11 PM with a score of 0
This game is fatally flawed by two things. First, most notably, the writing, which is extraordinarily difficult to read because each page is filled with huge blocks of unspaced text, without indentation for paragraphs, without dialogue set-off with spaces and just a wall of words. But beyond that, the prose is marred by spelling errors, sentence structure errors (lots of comma splices and run-on sentences), and style issues.

Second, and I think more importantly, I don't know who Anchor, Doc, Nuke, or Ranger are, so I have to look at Squad Info first. This leads me to a menu of jobs and notes that lack interest for the reader who is trying to get immersed in the story. It is very difficult for the reader to care about these people.

I suspect this is very much a case of telling over showing. The story asserts on the "Medic" page that I should care about Doc because he saved me. How much more effective would it be to show this? A flashback, or a discussion, or a thought. I want to meet these people, because otherwise, I'm just picking names off a list--I don't know why I would care or *know* why I should care about whose beacon I'm following, and it sort of becomes a "go left or right" sort of decision. The problem is significant that the "random beacon" is actually called "Random's beacon" as if Random were one of the soldiers, which he may as well be.
Similarly, the protagonist is rather colorless, in the narrative and in the "You" page.

As a rule, I don't like the "click here for information about what's going on and who is who." Yes, Endmaster has done it--in Alpha Wolf for example. But I think it worked there because the descriptions were always amusing and the characters were sort of already familiar. Here, less so.

This was an ambitious project--probably too ambitious, and the end games were all rather similar too each other, to the point where it was difficult for me to discern exactly what effect my choices earlier were having. I would guess this game needed a lot more time in the oven and a really good revision.
-- Gower on 12/31/2019 7:44:03 PM with a score of 0
I have to say, this entry was published prematurely. You had at least half a week left, but the story is plagued with spelling and grammatical errors. That's just sloppy and lazy. A fair number of people volunteered to help beta and proofread, but you didn't take advantage of that resource.

You also ignored my advice on making sure that you don't have any wonky spacing between paragraphs. The spacing isn't even consistent in its wonkiness. Proper presentation will not make a bad story good, but poor presentation will make a good story bad.

But just from a pure ease of reading standpoint, the biggest crime was the massive walls of text. A paragraph should only contain one idea or theme. There's certainly wiggle room in what can reasonably be construed as being part of one idea or theme, but there has to be a point where you find a good spot to make a break. This was far too much.

There were some other higher level flaws as well, but the basics need to be addressed first and foremost.

Overall, the story suffered from a number of flaws that could have - no, should have - been corrected before publishing, especially with the resources you had available and the remaining time.
-- Bucky on 12/31/2019 12:38:20 PM with a score of 0
A pretty good story, it was properly fleshed out at the beginning, and was a bit immersive, but I tried out the other routes and endings, and most of the routes were copy pasted. You had some misspellings and grammatical errors that could have been fixed with some proofreading. The endings were abrupt, us just going to sleep and it ending at that. There wasn't really any context about why we were fighting the "Praedones", and there were shifts between first person and second person.

tl;dr You had a good beginning, but started to lose creativity at the end.

-- Yasir256 on 12/31/2019 11:21:38 AM with a score of 0
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