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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
04-26-2012, 12:16 AM
Well, I did promise a play and a review...

Below, I've recorded my thoughts as I played. Take them in the spirit in which they were given (genuine attempt to be helpful with a dash of snark for entertainment), and do with them as you will.

_____SPOILERS BELOW_______

At the beginning of the story, you tell me that 'these are the voyages of the starship [shipname].' Uh, no, no they're not. Not at all. With that kind of introduction, I feel that this could be much better framed as an in-game holonovel.

The beginning of Act 1, Scene two, the air is 'filled' with tension, not 'field.'

you have many many floor overlap errors, which are freaking me out. This is most easily solved by dropping or raising one of the elements by a fraction.

I'm -fairly- certain the room with the dabo table is missing a wall.

The third mission objective, the word you're looking for is 'converse,' not 'conversate'

your dining room candles are floating.

One of the first lessons you learn when writing is that, wherever possible, you show instead of tell. Emotions are especially true in this regard. Granted, while the palette of options for this is rather limited, I don't need you telling me she's angry when her portrait is angry for me to clearly see.

Dr. Siror has the annoying habit of declaring what he is doing as he does it. It's redundant and breaks flow.

AGAIN, you use my ship name. NO. I could accept that you have your own character playing out here, but why the incongruous usage of my ship, but literally NOTHING else about my character? This shatters any sort of building immersion at pretending to be this woman.

You've got persistent tense and suffix errors in the dialogue. I suggest running the whole thing through a grammar-enabled spell-checker.

I'm... confused, I guess, is the name of the town. The town where T'pol came from was not named 'Capitol City,' it was THE capitol. Of all of Vulcan. Having shifted it's name like that would be like changing the name of New York City to The Grover Cleveland University Town, and then again to the Mary-Jane, Grover Cleveland University Town. The name simply makes no sense whatsoever.

You also really don't need to give us a header with who is speaking. We can see them.

How can one be rambling while directly reading from a book?

it's Chateau Picard, not Chatea.

...Why the need to interject that comment, when you're READING to us the text in question?

This has SO MUCH potential for a holonovel. It really, really does. But there is no interaction. You're trying to tell a traditional strong narrative via the Foundry, which I get, but this method is striking me as round peg in square hole. It's technically possible, but there's no... passion... in it.

Why! Does! The toilet! Require me! To Speak in all! Exclamations?!

...I think I figured out another reason why I'm not getting brought into this. I'm going through the motions of the main character, but in the conversations (which this mission is about 90% of) I'm not in them as the character. I'm the silent third party. In essence, you're shifting me from second to third person all the time, without a real reason or change in perspective. It's 'go get the clothes' 'go take a shower' go do all these things, which are decidedly making me an actor in the play, not an audience member. Then, I'm shoved out of the spotlight with the conversation. I feel like a stagehand guiding a bunch of paraplegic actors about through their stage motions.

Scene 4... 'I check Kalina's sleeping body' ... I check Kalina's.... I? ME? I GET TO DO SOMETHING? I thought I WAS Kaliena. Now I'm me? When she's on maternity, do I get my ship back too?

As for the setting... It doesn't feel very dreamlike. Some mist, some effects... SOMETHING. (I also have a problem with every Starfleet officer seemingly dreaming exclusively the Bajoran Shrine on DS9, but that's a separate issue).

What is Dryus doing here? Why do I need to talk to him? Why is he on the other side of the station? I've been led around by the hand for so long I have no idea where to go during this seemingly gratuitous combat section.

...Q. Really? The dream is a non-sequitor, and the visitation strikes me only as a hackneyed, overused attempt to inject conflict and stakes when the author is too lazy, badly-versed, or otherwise incapable of doing it normally. (and if we actually knew the Cthuhlu mythos, this warning is wholly uneccesary).

Act two... My God, a choice. It's depressing that my first one is over an hour into the mission.

Oh, and she took my bridge officers. Lovely.

I find it odd that I get to decide not Kaliena's choice of coffee, but my BRIDGE OFFICER'S... highly illogical.

...Can we beam there?
No.
Why not?
...Magic...
These are Vulcan ruins. Ruins that will soon be holding a full expedition team. Why is there no explanation for the lack of beaming other than 'lol I don't know.' Very thin excuse.

And why precisely do we run the entire morning household routine in the town square?

Just how big is this transporter blocker? Why not take the transporter to the continent, then hike? Or take teh transporter, then the shuttle? Sure'y there's a closer spot than two hours away... Highly illogical.

*snickers* Plateform...

A small nitpick; you can make the walkover objective a 'reach location' rather than an interact, so that you don't have to scan the ramp...



OVERALL:
I'm now even more firmly of the opinion you're barking up the wrong tree here. The idea of the novel is a good one, and I like the idea. I imagine that the first holonovels might have had this problem.

The biggest one here is player interactivity. You have us run around doing these menial things, with the idea of them being ways to shorten any given info dump. We are given no control over the conversations (something fixed a little bit later in the story), and the fact that we're supposed to be this woman, while simultaneously watching over her shoulder and interacting with her as a separate entity shows me clear signs of the author or authors not being able to pin down just what the player is doing here.

Occasionally we're audience. Sometimes we're GM, and sometimes we're actor. There's no rhyme or reason to when we are what. And that's both confusing and poor writing.


My one suggestion is that you remove Kaliena. Make her us. Now I'm not saying you remove her characterization. You simply give us the most basic information at the beginning, such as she's female, estranged from her parents, dating a bajoran admiral, pregnant, on leave... and let us roleplay her without being shoehorned into a particular run of the conversation.

Conversations can be very choice-oriented while still maintaining the single ending. In short, the predestined outcome is much easier to swallow because there is the illusion that his choices had an effect. In the long run, will it matter whether the main character decides to bite her tongue or lash out at her dad at dinner? Or whether she tosses her clothes in the hamper or on the floor?

I'm asking you to think about what the holodeck looks like in Star Trek. The players are the main characters; they don't hover behind their shoulder, watching and opening every door for them. The novel can play out, the story can be written, and written well, while still giving the actors choice and freedom.

I mean, if you didn't want to take advantage of the medium at least a little, why didn't you simply have us stand on the steps of vulcan and read the whole thing?