Gossip is still occupying the bulk of my attentions, but occasionally my thoughts turn to my next project: Siboot. This is a completely redesigned version of the game that I still consider my best design effort: Trust & Betrayal. I designed it 26 years ago. Now, with immensely superior computer power, I know I can do far more.
The context of the game is the same: you are an acolyte on Kira, a moon of the planet Lamina. You are a member of a colony that was set up a century ago as a political demonstration of comity between the seven species that populated Lamina. Shortly after the colony was established, a nuclear war back on Lamina broke off communications. The colonists, thrown onto their own resources, somehow survived under the leadership of Siboot, an extraordinary person who had discovered eeyal, a ESP-type language that permitted the seven species to communicate directly rather than in their separate languages. Over the years, the colonists had learned how to use eeyal, but it was a slow process, and some people picked it up more readily than others. The very best young eeyal-speaker of each species was designated its acolyte, who would become a candidate for leadership when the current leader died. The process of selecting the leader from among the acolytes involved “mind combat”, which took place in the dream world when all were sleeping. The winner of a series of mind combats became the leader.
During the day, acolytes interact with each other and with other colonists using eeyal. In the process of these interactions, they obtain important clues that will assist them in mind combat that night. In the original game, the clues involved emotional auras of three types: tanaga, shial, and katsin, representing love, trust, and fear. In the new game, they will be similar. The 1-dimensional values will be goodness, integrity, and assertiveness, leading to 2-dimensional values of affection, trust, and dominance. In Trust & Betrayal, it all involved an extension of rock-scissors-paper that gave you an opportunity to make a good guess as to what aura the opponent might play.
The game will use SympolTalk as its language system.
The graphics will take advantage of a nice trick: goodness will be represented in red, integrity in green, and assertiveness in blue. I have only vague ideas of how this will be manifested. It would be nice to portray each character with a kind of surrounding halo representing the varying degrees of each of the auras possessed by that character. In mind combat, I have some truly weird ideas for representing the world as a colored fog that the player wanders through before encountering a mind combat opponent, who will be represented in weird form combining the three base colors.