Here is a histogram of the number of WordSockets required by each of the verbs currently defined:
Here is the current screen real estate allocation to sentence displays:
This permits four columns by two rows, for a total of eight possible WordSockets. But that last column is made necessary by just those two verbs that require seven WordSockets. If I could reduce the number of WordSockets they require, I could reduce the sentence display to only 3 columns in width.
The two verbs are just different flavors of one verb: tell about aura count. Here is its sentence structure:
This says “Skordokott tells Zubi that Koopie has two red auragons, and the source of the information is Camiggdo.” That last WordSocket, holding Camiggdo, is the problem. In the first place, it can hold only two possible values: Camiggdo and Skordokott. Why am I wasting screen space on a single bit of information?
One solution is to use an idea from some American Indian languages, which have a verb modifier that indicates whether the speaker knows the information imparted himself, or whether the imparted information is something he heard. So I could have two flavors of the verb, one indicating that he knows it, and the other indicating that he heard it. But this would require some logical deduction on the part of the player — it’s a bit too indirect.
Hmm… what if Skordokott says either “I know that…” or “I heard that…” without specifying from whom he heard it? The player still has to do the logic to realize whom he heard it from, but it really is fairly simple logic.
Hmm… what if I conflate lie about auragon count with I heard that auragon count? This shifts the onus of responsibility away from the subject; the lie is a bit safer, because it’s harder to track down.
I like this solution.