Just out of interest, which of these two methods/styles would most likely encourage you to continue playing. And does one encourage you to take in and read the description more carefully than the other?
The path here forks in two directions. Ahead it climbs to a crest beyond which you cannot see, and to your right it heads into woodland. Down to your left, at the bottom of a shallow embankment, a stream trickles its way in the opposite direction.
The path here forks in two directions. North it climbs to a crest beyond which you cannot see, and to the north-east heads into woodland. West, at the bottom of a shallow embankment, a stream trickles its way in the opposite direction.
The only thing that encourages me to continue playing is the game being meaningful to me -- saying something I give a damn about. As for reading, I'm an avid reader. I read for pleasure. If a text is more pleasant to read, then I'll be encouraged to read more carefully.
The difference between relative and absolute directions is the difference between situation-based and location-based playing. It changes nothing else for me.
If directions matter(aka: using the map/grid; so they can know their way around your 'game world'), then you obviously need to inform the person playing of them (though I'd do them more art-fully/literaturely aesthetically/creative-descriptive than what you got, to make it more interesting of a read), so they can map the 'game world' and not get lost as they know where and how to get from one place to another. If directions don't matter, than just be literary'ally descriptive/creative, make it enjoyable to read.
felixp, I'll say now you're not going to get lengthy, flowery descriptions in my game. I avoid doing what bores me, and long descriptions have me running for the back button quicker than anything. I'm an avid reader, too, but I reserve that pleasure for proper books.
Hege, directions really don't matter in this game, so handy to know your opinion on that front.
just saying 'north' is a bit dull/gruff/rough... lol. Be descriptive/creative in writing to make game more interesting (though don't lose that they want to click to go north to this creatively described direction's location). Not saying any really profound advice, lol, but I appreciate that you cared of my opinion on it, regardless.
I do something like...
Description of room here You can see an exit to the North which leads to blah blah There is also an exit to the South which looks dark and spooky etc
But that's just to make sure the player knows what their options are. Maybe your second option :)
No doubt for me on this one - option two. I like the nostalgia of TAs. It's the only reason I really play them. Call me a slave to the warm, fuzzies I get when reliving the thrill of drowning a dragon in a pile of melted ice AND being able to see it in my mind.
My vote - 1. cardinal directions. 2. just enough descriptive writing without being overbearing and dull
I'm not a big fan of the split panes and clicking, clicking, clicking, clicking...