Personally, I think it makes more sense for the item descriptions to not depend on whether it's identified (it's not like it looks any different once you know what it does!), but I can kind of get why you might want to change them (particularly for items with a concealed ability, such as the mist globes). I'm not entirely sure of the method, however. Also, I don't think it's really a problem for item descriptions (for unidentified items) to occasionally hint at the fact that an item is magical, or even be specific enough that you can pretty much tell exactly which item you have. (For example, "Shield of Klin" might well have Klin's name engraved into it. This doesn't make identification totally useless, though, as identification reveals specifically what it does... in most cases at least.)
Another problem I have with my current implementation is that each item has its own unique description, but in many cases these descriptions are identical for a number of similar items. Using scenario strings (instead of strings stored with the item) is also out of the question, because items can be carried between scenarios.
Here are some of the possibilities, in no particular order. Some of them may be mutually exclusive.
- Create a registry of generic item descriptions in the scenario, which would be used only for unidentified items. The description stored with the item would used when identified, if present. Exactly how the generic item description registry would work is uncertain; I was thinking maybe using the unidentified name of the item as a dictionary key, though.
- Parse the item descriptions differently depending on whether the item is identified. For example, eliminate passages in square brackets if the item is not identified.
- Store two separate strings with the item, one for when it's identified and one for when it's not.
- Leave it as-is, but don't show the description when unidentified. I feel that this defeats the point of a description though, which in my opinion should mainly be a physical description of the item.
- Leave it as-is and accept that some item descriptions may be a dead giveaway.
- Leave it as-is and rewrite some of the descriptions of unique items. I'm not totally opposed to this, but some of those descriptions are quite nice, and ADoS wouldn't be happy about losing them. (This is an open-source project, so he may have to get used to the idea that his work may be incrementally overwritten, but ... well, this would require more than just minor tweaks. The affected descriptions would need to be rewritten from scratch. And some of them seem pretty good to me.)
- ... I get the feeling that I forgot one thing I was going to say here.
I'm kinda leaning towards #1 and #2 at the moment (or maybe #1 and #3), but I thought it might be good to get some input as well. Perhaps there are other possibilities I haven't thought of.
(For the curious, the current descriptions from ADoS can be read on the repository. Some of them still need improvement, particularly the slith spear and vahnatai items, but many of them are quite good.)