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Personality types, Theme Help

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RGaffney's picture
Joined: 09/26/2011

So I'm working on a game, and I need help with a theme that isn't totally played out. I'm interested in game design as a force for social good, so this is a game that I have designed to help players understand one another better, and their various communication styles.

There are 4 communication styles in the game. The idea is that you will be playing the game as a communication style that is not your own (irl). They correspond pretty well to the four humors

Emotional Direct (work primarily on themselves, want to be heard)
Emotional Indirect (work through partnerships and manipulations)
Unemotional Direct (Straight to the point, no BS)
Unemotional Indirect (safety/defense oriented, slow and steady)

Each style will represent a group or a nation that is trying to live and thrive. where I need your help is with theme (it's no fun playing a game that is branded as being about communication). The obvious place to go is vanilla fantasy, but I feel like it's played out.

The Humans are ED selfish, and fun loving,
The Elves are EI keeping their hands clean,
the Orcs are UD hit it with my hammer,
the Dwarves are UI hiding underground with lots of gold

Or course you could do the same thing with SciFi (equally played out)

Earth Forces
Advanced Grey Aliens

Or with Elements


But I still would rather have a theme I can "own" something where players can say "Oh I get it, my boss is an elf, and I'm an orc" without getting that mythology mucked up with other depictions where elf could mean anything from tree dwelling cookie bakers to clothing obsessed servants.


MoldtDK's picture
Joined: 06/19/2013
Maybe you could make use of

Maybe you could make use of different religions. Maybe some of the ones that have a multitude of gods.

Surely you can find 4 Hindu gods that fit those four traits.

If you want to have something entirely your own you can make 'future' Earth where humans have developed in four different ways or something.

Or you can make something that kids can play as well and use animals with human traits. But rather than using obvious animals and over-used ones you can pick some that aren't as common.

You could make it a computer world where people control a different AI that is programmed differently.

That's all I can think of in the moment

RGaffney's picture
Joined: 09/26/2011
Cool ideas Molt! Hinduism has

Cool ideas Molt!

Hinduism has 3 main gods Brama, Shiva, and Vishnu that are incorperated into Bramahn (I'm not sure if it's a fit)

Maybe Greek Goddesses? I could see a Aphrodite, Athena, Diana, Demeter theme going on.

Post Apoc is another one of those go to themes that I'm afraid might be overdone, especially since I would have to model it after something modern, so we would have the same olf future soviets versus future US revolutionaries kind of stuff.

Animals are interesting. Maybe Biomes? Aquatic creatures, Avean Creatures, Land creatures and Insects?

AI Feels hard to grab on to for me.

One I thought of was the battle of Hastings. Saxons, Normans, and Vikings. I I dunno who would be UI though and medieval resource stuff has been done to death

Joined: 08/28/2008
I like the idea. Have you

I like the idea. Have you looked into using the MBTI profiles as a base for communication styles? If so, it's pretty easy to connect these to Gods from Greek mythology. Here's a post of someone who was trying to figure that out:

Here's some random site I found that talks about MBTI in relation to communication style:

I realize there are a lot more styles than the 4 that you're starting out with, but if you don't mind losing some specificity/detail you can group some styles together.

Joined: 04/30/2013
a friend of mine working on a

a friend of mine working on a monster themed personality test for his school project, made his own monsters, although he did make considerations of what kind beforehand

he considered if he should make the theme Giant monsters, or something from a more evolutionary standpoint, or pokemon-ish

in the end he chose pokemon-ish cause he had a time constraint adn it would have been easier to draw cell shades rather than full paintings for the art, but his other considerations might make interesting themes for your idea

Joined: 01/17/2011
All non-human or all human

I'd want to make sure that none of the "races" matches with any of the players IRL, otherwise the players may feel an artificial affinity to that race that hinders them from playing as the other races.

E.g. in either the scifi or fantasy variants, if "Human" is one of the races then it might imply that all humans IRL should be like this. I know that's not what you are trying to imply but it could be taken that way -- which is why I would avoid it. Similarly with any postapoc setting that had any trace of present-day nations.

With that in mind, I'd recommend either all human or all non-human. Some ideas:

- 4 types of Pokemon-ish cutesy monsters living in a space station in deep space
- 4 types of Fairies/sprites living in a forest
- 4 types of anthropomorphic plants (rose, mushroom, oak, etc)
- 4 types of anthropomorphic animals (ala Kung Fu Panda or Wind in the Willows)
- 4 groups of human colonists on a distant planet (with no connection to Earth nationalities)
- 4 clans within a nation of humans in a low-fantasy setting
- 4 parts of the split-personality of a patient in a mental institute


RGaffney's picture
Joined: 09/26/2011
Aerjen: Yeah I'm familiar

Yeah I'm familiar with the MBTI. That's a great website for the Greek correlations. I chose to use this simpler model in order to focus less on the types themselves, and more on the interaction between the types (16 types creates a lot of pairings to work with) You could think of these types as being similar to the first and third attributes of the MBTI

Kaiju Monsters would be a GREAT theme. But thanks to the success of King Of Tokyo everybody is wanting to make monster games right now. That might be a good thing (with Pacific Rim coming out, maybe there is room int he market. But I'd rather not try to compete with a game designer who has a great thematic twist on the Giant Monster game idea using my idea which has a theme draped over it.

That's the same thing with fantasy really. It's not that nobody should make a fantasy game, it's that if my game could be about anything, why not make it something totally unique.

I'm still tempted though, other thoughts?

I like all of your ideas setting-wise, and you make a great point about not "approving" of one type in game. I probably want to add a rule that will make race assignments random as well to help people from always playing a favorite race.

My concern with those ideas though, is other than the animals, they each need more before they help people to categorize these tendencies appropriately. Faerie race 1,2,3,4 for instance doesn't help me know what Faerie group 2 is all about Otter, Beaver, Lion, Labrador does.

Combining with the earlier idea, what would you think about human space colonists in the distant future, each of which are devotees to one of four ancient Greek goddesses? That provides both a setting, and a differentiator, and it might help prevent the whole game from feeling awkward for men.

I absolutely love the mental patient idea. It's so unique and original, but I don't know where to go from here. if you have other ideas about what the groups in the head might look and feel like, and how to put mechanics on that theme, that would be I would love to hear more about them

Joined: 04/30/2013
you will have to adjust your

you will have to adjust your definititions. "totally unique" in its true definition will not be viewed with much preference. "totally unique" in its best sense is "revolutionary, but in its worst sense is "totally crazy", and this judgement is made independently of the culture you are refering to.

so what tips the scale, theres a tipping point where something loses all familiarity, "the uncanny valley" explores limits between the grotesque and the familiar, replace the word "grotesque" and "unfamiliar" and you get a consumer point of view

to put things into perspective, something will be well recieved immediately(revolutionary) only if it has a certain level of familiarity to the culture at the time. it is something abused in marketing time and again. of course i use the word revolutionary in the previous sentence, im refering to the emotions felt upon revealing the idea.

the truly revolutionary are scorned at until the general populace matures enough to accept them. think Socrates, Da vinci, anyone who studied quantum mechanics. Socrates was killed for his annoying conversations, now his conversations are explored by philosophers all over. Da vinci's herectic research got him locked up, now his work is the basis of mordern engineering. quantum physics was thought to be a myth, now it is the basis of computing

"totally unique" in your context is at best a combination of ideas, which is exactly what you are trying to do. attaching a theme to a personality test game is for no other reason than to make it stand out. it is already a marketing ploy, why not just roll with it

Corsaire's picture
Joined: 06/27/2013
I think marketing is totally

I think marketing is totally the right POV on this. So, the first question is who is going to be playing this where? If this is conceptually targetted at people in a workplace in general then types shouldn't be too burdensome, confusing, or insulting. I'd either go animals or humans in a unique situation like a space colony or an island or such. Animals have so much lore like Aesops work, that you may have a tight fit across types, but they also come with a burden of accidentally bringing other lore baggage.

So, if you go with the humans, then it is a branding question. You need a name for each personality type that is memorable, easy, and evocative of the definition. Example, group one, emotional direct could be The Narss; group two, The Soshes; etc.

Deveration's picture
Joined: 05/12/2013

I think corsair is on to it right here with the vivid naming. It honestly evokes a high school setting from me just based on the how the names sound. One could use these in any way though as they are close to descriptive but not "real words". My question is, why do I as a Emotional Direct need to talk to Unemotional Indirect? They are my polar opposite. What can I gain from them, aside from a headache, that will help my race/group survive better than just going at it alone? Are they some sort of skills/resources/challenges to be had?


Following the MBTI tack wouldn't be that difficult. The functional stacks of each are composed of 4 functions each with a weight showing preference/strength.

In a game setting the INTP

could have these stats:
4 - Introverted Thinking (Ti)
3 - Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
2 - Introverted Sensing (Si)
1 - Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

Accomplishing tasks needing Ti would be very easy for them but harder if they need Fe. Luckily the functions can be combined (as they are in real life) to accomplish goals. So while Fe is not the INTPs strong suit they can use Si and Ne to supplement as they are higher in the stack.

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