May 04, 2011

Naming the genotypes

While working on the character background options for Gaia Gamma I noticed that I'm not yet happy with the names of the genotypes available to the player. Some sound very similar and I would like to have more distinct names.

Let's look at the current setup - we have:
  • Pure Strain Humans
  • Mutated Humans
  • Sentient Animals
  • Sentient Plants
  • Robots
  • Cyborgs
I like the pure strain humans and - if they are kept - also can live with robots and cyborgs. I'm not yet happy with the other three.

Concerning Mutated Humans I'm constantly switching between Mutants and Mutated Humans. On one hand I would like to have them a more distinct feel (thus just Mutants, on the other hand I kind of like to imply the similarities between two of the six races, namely at least being basically human). Do you prefer one or the other or do you have a better suggestion?

Concerning Sentient Animals and Sentient Plants I'm not happy about both sharing sentient in their genotype name as that IMHO implies too many similarities - and I envision plants and animals as being quite different in culture and behaviour. I have been considering Uplifted Animals (but I'm not sure if I'm misusing any trademarked terms and I'm also not too sure I like it). So this also is not perfect. But I'm totally at a loss for an even better idea. Suggestions?

While this might seem like a minor point I strongly believe that such naming issues are important as names are an important messenger in conveying the basic nature of a game and the game environment. So I really want to get this right. I'm looking forward to input!


  1. Mutated Humans and Mutated Animals works for me. "Uplifted" suggests intentional tinkering.

    And you could always assume that all animals are already sentient, leaving you with "Sentient" just for plants.

  2. To me, "mutated humans" implies individuals that have deviated from the normal 'pure' genotype during their lifetime (similar to corruption in ADOM). "Mutants" strike me as being part of an ongoing strain.

    You could call sentient plants hypermetabolic plants, as their brainpower is probably less impressive than their ability to move quickly.