I wouldn't place the character in the middle of the screen either, you could really capture some feelings with that. Like when the person would stand near something dangerous, or he saw something from a distance.
I've already made it so that the character is off-center in nearly every screen.
And for the "gamier" part. I suggest to highlight your objects. Not that mutch. Even a certain collor would do. Just look at different games. Like mirrors edge for example. Everything you want to interact with is red for instance. In other games the interactive things are less ambiant collored.
As for discriminating between "important" objects and just background stuff, one thing I remember looking for in other games is a stark black line around the object. Ever play any of the old King's Quests, or other similar point-n-clicks? You could always tell when an object was something you were supposed to click on, because it was just drawn differently. Higher color saturation, black border- something about it just made it seem more "alive." The highlighted thing rundown mentioned is also a possibility. Maybe a faint "glow" that outlines the object when you come within X pixels of it. The color red in Mirror's Edge and the color yellow in Dead Space made it obvious when you should be focusing on something important on the screen, but you could always go with something a bit more subtle.
I've been making it so that individual interactable objects stand-out, but I haven't been thinking in terms of communicating to the player about an object's interactability in a more general way. Thanks for getting me thinking about that.
Anyway, you seem to have a nice build here at hand. Good luck!
Thanks! Appreciate it.
I went back to your blog and followed the link to BetaFish; I love your article on notgames! I'll be keeping an eye on your devlog, but I'd like to read more about the technical development of your game, like the issue you mention here with your father.
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. I haven't written much about Waker's development in a while. I've mostly been adding new content that I want to keep secret, but if I can think of something interesting to write about, I'll do it.
Also, the bit where the graphics look very stark and unfinished in the "real world," I hope you'll be keeping that, and it's not just some leftover prototyping-graphics. That's a really neat mechanic, and makes me think of the Wizard of Oz.
Those graphics are here to stay! I wanted to make the two worlds as different as I could without disorienting the player. Also gives me an excuse to use simpler graphics and save some time. :p
Hah, I know exactly what you mean when you're describing the difficulty in adjusting a game's "intuition level" for different gaming abilities. I'm working on something that's got a little more action in it, and after tearing my hair out watching my "not-very-gamer" friends die over and over, I decided to introduce a difficulty setting. Even so, my "Meatboy-speedrun-enthusiast" gamer friends still blow through it and hardly pay any attention to the story at all, and I'm struggling to find a happy medium.
It's a challenge. Since most of Waker's difficulty comes from just being able to find things, and make the right choices (when there is a "right choice"), I can't really adjust the difficulty to meet the differing abilities of players.
I've ultimately decided to add a little dungeoneering in there, but the player can fail it and still complete the game - they might just get a less desirable ending to the game. This seems like a fair compromise to keep the game accessible while appeasing those of us who want a little bit of action.