My game “Piracy 2.0” users ship directions, but they are only optional forms of the standard compass. Starboard, port, fore, aft all work but are really just east, west, north, south.
My problem with left/right is that it implies facing. I just wrote “Put-Peep™” and debated whether to use left/right/forward/backward instead of the compass directions, as you’re in your office. While an office DOES face north, I struggled to switch to left/right because it implies your body’s facing.
But it felt weird to “go east” in my office. When I’m there, I care NOT about which way is east or west. I just go around my office.
Using room names is a great way to go, but has its own issues, like not having visited a room yet, or revealing hidden rooms, etc, and also passing through intervening space as if it didn’t happen, might hurt some game designs.
It felt really awkward to pretend no matter where you are in your office, you are physically facing north. And if you don’t want that, then left-right fails completely, as if you turn, left is no longer left.
So sadly, n/e/s/w is still the best way to move around in my book.
I wonder how a circular space station would be handled… When going “left” will lead you around in a circle, ending up where you started, and vice versa with “right”.
(Trying to remember how Stationfall did it… As well as Starcross)
I wish there were a better way, but I think I’ll be sticking to n/e/s/w until I have a good reason not to.