In Front Office Football, I use astrology as a quick and understandable approach to the concept of adding personality conflicts within a locker room.
I'm not a believer in astrology myself, nor do I expect customers to learn all about water signs and cusps and all the nuances of Galileo's planetary charts (yes, Galileo is considered one of the forefathers of astrology). It's just a concept everyone can quickly identify with and apply to personality.
The problem is more a long-term one. While the concept is easy to "get", it's not realistic. The image of Tommie Harris striding into the Bears' locker room, draped in love beads, asking his new linemate, "hey, dude, what's your sign?" Well, funny. But not confidence-inspiring for people who play the game a lot and have put in the time to learn its functions.
We've just been discussing the whole Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator assessment on the forum. This is a more comprehensive approach to personality, and one that has many psychologists convinced there is a way to explain group dynamics from analyzing people's responses to questions.
Essentially, through MBTI categories, one can model group dynamics. What makes a player a team leader? Why do conflicts develop? It's a much more realistic paradigm.
I've thought about incorporating some of the subtleties of MBTI into my work for a long time now. The problem is that I don't want customers forced to learn all about psychology. These are games. While I may think it's a lot of fun to read about psychology (I grew up with a sister and a mother who went into this field), a lot of people don't.
So my topic for this developer's corner is whether people think it's better to use a hokey, unrealistic, but understandable shortcut to add a new function to a game. Or is realism of paramount importance?
In cases like this, I don't know. It's not as cut-and-dried an answer as some pieces of the game, like the on-field play-resolution engine, where the answer is always to make game-play as realistic as possible.