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Author Topic: I have a question  (Read 6892 times)
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2004, 11:43:54 PM »

Either I'm not understanding what you're saying, or there's a problem with your conception of creative agenda.

As I already mentioned, you talk about conflict in narrativism and gamism as if it were the same thing, but it isn't; and it isn't the same thing in simulationism, either. I expected you would address my assertion that conflict in simulationism is that which impedes discovery; if you did, I missed it. But I'm going to take a step back from it.

Jay is presenting conflict as something necessarily confronting the character within the game world, and then suggesting that creative agenda is demonstrated through how the character responds to the conflict. That's fundamentally flawed because of one critical point: the character does not have a creative agendum; the player does.

Therefore, creative agenda is revealed by how the player responds to the conflict. Character be--well, forget the character. It is how the player responds to the conflict.

Therefore the conflict is not that which impedes the character. It is that which impedes the player. The character need not be aware of the conflict at all; the character need not ever see the conflict.

Imagine a narrativist game with high credibility for character players through director stance. In such a context, it is entirely possible for the player to create and resolve actions which impact premise without directly involving the character at all. "Unbeknownst to Ralph, his wife, fed up with his inattention to her, has started having an affair with his best friend." That is going to have a major impact on premise. The character Ralph did nothing at this point, but the player dealt with a conflict (the growing estrangement between character Ralph and non-player character his wife) by taking an action.

Similarly, imagine a gamist fantasy campaign in which the player character has just made a wish granting him a castle, a fortune, a staff of servants, and absolutely every reason to sit on his hands for the rest of his life and never go on another adventure. The player does not wish to retire this character, so he immediately takes the character to an in-game casino and gambles away the fortune. Now riddled with debts, the character is forced to return to adventuring to pay his bills. In this situation, it would appear that the conflict for the character is how to pay his bills; but that's actually the resolution to the conflict facing the player, which is how to realistically put the character back into the hard and dangerous life of an adventurer so he can continue to show off his skill.

The conflict does not have to be perceived or addressed by the character. It must be perceived and addressed by the player. It will of course be an in-game conflict in the sense that the events that cause the conflict will occur in the shared imaginary space; but in their essence the conflict is a metagame one (even for the simulationist), as it is always a moment in which the in-game events or situation impede the player's pursuit of his agendum.

Thus the conflict for the narrativist is how do I say more? That for the gamist is how do I do more? For the simulationist, it's how do I learn more? Whatever is in the game world that impedes the player in these pursuits, that's the conflict.

--M. J. Young
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Mark D. Eddy
Member

Posts: 157


« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2004, 05:32:40 AM »

M.J., that last paragraph is probably the coolest summary of the GNS theory that I've ever seen. It boils everything down into a nice, positive, and, above all, clear statement of player intent in each of the agendas.

(I'm not sure if there's a place  to nominate a "bon mot of the week," but that gets my vote.)

Of course, this means that my concerns with  didactic or therapeutic roleplay disappear, those goals folding neatly into Simulationist play. Cool.
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2004, 03:19:58 AM »

Hey Ron,

A couple of things.

The manner and the nature of the employment of conflict (the dynamic motor) in G/N is different in crucial ways from the manner and the nature of the employment of conflict in S, but it does fill the same role.  Conflict is used as a tool in the game, irrespective of CA, to synthesize the player goal(s).  How conflict is handled, who creates it, who manages it, the general relationship of character to conflict is vastly different between G/N and S.  In G/N conflict management is much more in the hands of the players while they nakedly strive after it.  In Sim much of conflict creation lies in the hands of the DM.  In most cases of Sim the characters are employed to defuse conflict while the players enjoy it.  In most G/N games characters are employed by the players to seek and/or create conflict.

I understand and take no issue with your position about the existence of Sim.  I have never claimed nor have I tried to imply that your position was otherwise.  Since I have been arguing/discussing Sim with regards to the Model, my claims have been that the definition as presented in the article is faulty.  I assert that the article, which happens to be entitled Sim, does not present the proper information as currently written to describe a Creative Agenda; I do not assert that Sim isn’t a CA.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I completely and thoroughly consider the casual statement that there are "problems with Sim" as part of the model to be mistaken in full.


I am a little confused with this statement, so let me clarify my position and see if that has any impact.  When I claim there are “problem with Sim” as part of the model, I am referring to the article.  I assert that as written, the Sim article does not present Sim in a way that functions well with the Model.  I do not assert that there are “problems with the CA Sim” as part of the Model.  Now I may still be in error on my clarified position, but that is the very thing I am attempting to discuss.  I am trying to get the Sim definition to better function within the Model.  

The G/N articles work on three basic levels.  There is the process/conflict level – Challenge addressing, Premise addressing, X addressing.  There is the product level – Victory, Theme, The Dream.  There is the player stakes level – Guts etc., Self-revelations about the players, X (the incredibly powerful emotional/social rewards for the players).  The Sim article only covers one of the three.  It is precisely because the first and third levels are missing in the article that there is so much confusion about Sim.  Without levels one and three a Creative Agenda hasn’t been described!

You say that you don’t find much to disagree with, fair enough!  However the implications of my assertions would indicate that Purists for System play, as presented in the article, does not reflect or inherently support the Sim CA but Zilchplay.  As described Purists for System doesn’t have the process/conflict control/direction level.  Sure a P4S player may enjoy conflict, but he doesn’t use it build towards a goal, it just an excuse to employ mechanics.  The game doesn’t drive anywhere, it just is.  High Concept play, as presented in the article, does not touch upon conflict addressing at all.  The article spends much time on what is essentially Color employment, but it does not say how or what kinds of conflicts need to be addressed in order to drive the game to create/synthesize the High Concept experience for the players.

I understand that many Gamist and Narrativist facilitating games support my presentation of conflict, they have been in part what has spurred my drive, but I was unaware that there were any Sim facilitating games here (or anywhere) that share my presentation of conflict.  I would be very much interested in a list that I may then look into said games!

Hello Mr. Young.

I am a confused now as well.  Your assertions about what I am attempting are so far off the mark that I am almost uncertain that you read the same essay that I wrote. I am afraid that I have no other choice than to go through the post almost line by line.

Quote from: M. J. Young
Jay is presenting conflict as something necessarily confronting the character within the game world, and then suggesting that creative agenda is demonstrated through how the character responds to the conflict.


You make a fundamental error here.  You misstate me and misrepresent me and for that I must very strongly ask you to desist in attributing false intentions to my name.  One point of my essay is that Creative Agenda is expressed through how the player employs character to respond to conflict.  However, I make 6 very clear declarative statements that players deal with conflict.  I cannot fathom where you get the idea that I was saying its all Character.  I will list them for easy reference.
[list=1]
[*]The variety of forms of Conflict is nearly infinite; which ones a player attends to is limited both by time and interest and this is where Creative Agenda comes in.
[*]What conflicts players steer their Characters into or away from and/or what Antithetical Forces they create reflect CA in operation.
[*]The goal of the player can be either the synthesized product, Victory/Theme or the process of resolution itself as long as they involve the kinds of conflicts that the player is interested in addressing.
[*]The reason for this conflation, as I see it, is that procedurally Player-conflict-defusing-play (Sim) and Player-conflict-indifferent-play are very similar via the historical emphasis on mechanics.
[*]A Gamist is looking to get his Step on UP – engage in conflict.
[*]A Narrativist is looking to get his Story Now – engage in conflict.
[/list:o]There is at least one place where I imply player dealing with conflict - “The Gamism definition clearly discusses how conflict/Situation is at the heart of that agenda, but how it is employed.”  

“How it is employed” implies to how players employ conflict.

My wonderful diagram indicates that player goals are made present/pushed down into character goals.  IOW Characters are employed, as an extension of the players will, to work through/address the conflicts.  Thus it is the players, via their Characters, who are working through the conflicts.  Because it is the players who are controlling the characters actions, said actions are truly a reflection of the player’s actions.  Thus how a character handles conflict is the process by which a player handles the conflict.

Quote from: M. J. Young
As I already mentioned, you talk about conflict in narrativism and gamism as if it were the same thing, but it isn't; and it isn't the same thing in simulationism, either.


I gave a very clear and concise definition of how I was employing the term “conflict” and that the different CA’s frame their conflicts in such ways as to further the players’ synthesizing goals.  

I quote myself here again to clarify – “Conflict – any element of Setting which negatively impacts/impedes Character goal(s).”

Note however that players create and manage Characters; whatever goals a Character has are player created goals.  Thus if a Character goals are being impeded it is the player who is really dealing with them.

Quote from: M. J. Young
I expected you would address my assertion that conflict in simulationism is that which impedes discovery;...


You miss the whole point of my article.  I do not claim that conflict impedes player goals, rather I claim that conflict is employed by the players to facilitate their goals.  No wonder you’re not understanding what I am saying.  Addressing conflict is either the tool by which players attempt to achieve a goal or is the very reason for playing in the first place.  This is also the reason I argue that Discovery is not a goal in Sim.  Discovery cannot be manufactured via the agency of conflict.  Different types of conflicts are used by the different CA’s, but all require the use of conflict in a structured way or one is engaging in Zilchplay.

Quote from: M. J. Young
Therefore the conflict is not that which impedes the character. It is that which impedes the player. The character need not be aware of the conflict at all; the character need not ever see the conflict.


First of all, conflict does not impede the Character.  Conflict is what arises when Character goals are impeded.  Huge difference.  Conflict only arises when the character becomes cognizant that events are impeding his attempt at achieving one or more goals.  Conversely conflict is employed by players to achieve their goals.  A Gamist needs conflict within the SIS to get his Step on Up.  A Narrativist needs conflict within the SIS to get his Story Now.  In game conflict creation and or defusing for the Characters is the means by which players pursue their Creative Agenda.

Quote from: M. J. Young
The character need not be aware of the conflict at all; the character need not ever see the conflict.


This is patently untenable.  If the Character, as employed by the player, does not directly face conflict at some point or another then you have no Exploration.  Exploration requires Character to deal with conflict/Situation.

In your example about the dullard Character Ralph in your Narrativist example until you state the Premise in operation it is impossible to comment effectively.  I will say though that at some point or another conflict will have to be directly acted upon by at least one Character from with in the SIS.  It is possible to address Premise outside the SIS, by player declaration, but play must include direct Character conflict addressing at some point.

The Gamist example too falls apart.  Since when is “realism” a definition of Step on Up?  Why not have the Character go out because he is bored with the life of luxury?  That the player has to pay his bills is a goal.  Conflict only arises when something impedes his ability to meet his goal of paying his bills.

Quote from: M. J. Young
Thus the conflict for the narrativist is how do I say more? That for the gamist is how do I do more? For the simulationist, it's how do I learn more? Whatever is in the game world that impedes the player in these pursuits, that's the conflict.


What you have listed above are not conflicts, they are player goals.  Conflicts only arise when something impedes the ability of the players to achieve their goals.  The Narrativist is not seeking to say more, but rather to address Premise.  The Gamist is not seeking to do more, but rather to address Challenge.  The Simulationist is not seeking to learn more, but rather to address X conflict.

As Walt said earlier - I can't deny that Simulationist "resolution is found in discovery" but by the same token, Gamist resolution is found in either victory or defeat -- and the Gamist player is by definition not indifferent to which one it is. Simulationist players by definition must likewise care about what is discovered, not just that discovery occurs.

The failing of Discovery as goal of Simulationism is that it neither spurs nor directs conflict address, nor does it provide a goal that conflict addressing leads to.  All CA’s result in the creation of new things, thus all fall under the aegis of Discovery.  I would say Discovery is what happens in Zilchplay, but not in CA direct play.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
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