Getting Back to Basics

I took yesterday and most of today off, because my mind was getting entangled in a million divergent thoughts and getting nowhere — witness the design diaries of the last few days.

The core challenge of this game is social reasoning: the player must intuit what is going on in the minds of the other actors. That requires, first, that the actors have something going on in their minds, and second, that they be able to express their feelings. I think that I can handle the first challenge with good algorithms. But the second challenge is more difficult. How can the actors communicate these emotional nuances?

Facial Expressions
This has been an imperative at every point in the design, but I must now return to a question I explored back in September: Moods and Facial Expressions, More on Face Displays, and First Experiment. Back then, I concluded that the idea wouldn’t work, but now I’m wondering if we can’t do something here. Suppose that we wanted to add a mood overtone to a standard expression.