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Author Topic: PoC: The Final Conflict  (Read 3514 times)
C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« on: June 22, 2004, 03:00:11 PM »

Hey all,

From the Provisional Glossary:

Quote
Points of Contact
The steps of rules-consultation, either in the text or internally, per unit of established imaginary content. This is not the same as the long-standing debate between Rules-light and Rules-heavy systems; either low or high Points of Contact systems can rely on strict rules.

 
Quote
Rules
Textual instruction about (a) anything and everything concerning role-playing this particular game, or (b) specifically Techniques and Ephemera. Used in this sense, Rules are distinct from the System actually employed during play, although it may be used as a reference or justification for it.


Quote
Pervy
Game-play in which the Creative Agenda relies on highly-specific Techniques and Ephemera, often applied multiple times per imaginary event during play. More generally covered by the concept of Points of Contact, which concerns the degree to which System is Explored. See Vanilla Narrativism and Points of Contact.


Based upon Ron's comments in this thread, and my own ideas as to the most useful meaning for the term Points of Contact which can be referenced in this thread, I think that the use of "rules-consultation" in the definition of Points of Contact should actually be changed to "System-consultation". The definition of the term Pervy seems to also reinforce the use of System over Rules.

I had assumed that the use of "rules" in place of "System" in the definition of PoC was just an error or typo, but some of the recent threads that touch on the subject show that there is still some confusion over the definition of PoC.

Using PoC only as a measure of the number of textual rules that are referenced during play gives it an almost 1:1 correlation to the terms, and makes it a measure of, "rules-lite" and "rules-heavy". That seems, in my mind at least, to be a completely pointless use for and definition of Points of Contact.

Here is a listing of some threads that originally tackled the subject.
Vanilla and Pervy
Pervy in My Head
Pervy Sim, Points of Contact, Accesibility
Cannot Stand Cutesie-poo Terms

So, Points of Contact as System-consultation during play? As only Rules-consultation during play? Something else entirely? Let's discuss.

-Chris
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2004, 06:54:29 PM »

I think my problem with the idea of replacing "rules" with "system" in the points-of-contact definition is that "system" is much more of a coherent whole in constant contact with the shared imaginary space, and so you can't really have "points" of contact with system. That is, "My character goes to sleep" is fully integrated with system in several places--what is a character, what makes it mine, how is it determined whether he goes to sleep and what are the consequences of doing so. It might be that there are rules for none of those things, but they are all integrated with system.

I think my problem with the rules definition lies in the understanding of "Textual" there. I've always contended that rules may be articulated. That is, if we sit down to play a game that we're inventing, and as we go someone says, "we'll do that this way", that becomes a rule, even though it is not written. I think that Ron understands "textual" to include that (the rules text may be entirely oral), but I'm not sure whether you recognized that.

In the first thread you reference, I suggest (second page) that high points of contact mean that there are a lot of distinct rules that must be referenced to reach a resolution; I also use a fairly broad definition of "rules" in that post, in which the armor class of a defending character is itself a "rule". It became a rule when it was stated that this character had this armor class.

If you define rules that broadly (and I think you probably must), you realize that every detail on a character sheet that impacts resolution of events in the shared imaginary space is itself an independent rule. Rules heavy versus rules light are relative matters, and so is high versus low points of contact. How many distinct bits of information do you have to reference to credibly determine what happens in the shared imaginary space? The more there are, the higher the points of contact.

--M. J. Young
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2004, 11:31:20 AM »

Hey M. J.,

Quote from: M. J. Young
I think my problem with the rules definition lies in the understanding of "Textual" there. I've always contended that rules may be articulated. That is, if we sit down to play a game that we're inventing, and as we go someone says, "we'll do that this way", that becomes a rule, even though it is not written. I think that Ron understands "textual" to include that (the rules text may be entirely oral), but I'm not sure whether you recognized that.


Well, of course I didn't recognize that. Nobody sent me the memo informing me that we were altering the definition of the word "textual".

To be a little less snarky, I'm perfectly fine with trying to find a definition of Points of Contact that lies somewhere between Rules and System. But I think that continuing to use the term "rules-consultation" (with the current definition of Rule in the Provisional Glossary) while just waving our hands at the actual definition of the word "textual" is counter-productive. I think that goes beyond all bounds of practicality when it comes to transforming "textual" from a standard english word into a jargon term.

But I'm still not convinced that System is too broad.

Quote
I think my problem with the idea of replacing "rules" with "system" in the points-of-contact definition is that "system" is much more of a coherent whole in constant contact with the shared imaginary space, and so you can't really have "points" of contact with system. That is, "My character goes to sleep" is fully integrated with system in several places--what is a character, what makes it mine, how is it determined whether he goes to sleep and what are the consequences of doing so. It might be that there are rules for none of those things, but they are all integrated with system.


In your example above, the number of areas where "My character goes to sleep" touches System, in a way that requires reference during play to determine input into the imaginary space, varies between each System. Many of those points or areas will be the same from System to System, many will not.

System may be a constant "stream" during play, but the number of times you dip into that stream to add to the imaginary space, and the amount of time you spend doing it, varies from System to System.

Quote
How many distinct bits of information do you have to reference to credibly determine what happens in the shared imaginary space? The more there are, the higher the points of contact.


The main problem I see here is that we need to acknowledge that Points of Contact (or whatever you want to call it, the word "point" can be misleading) are measured not only in their quantity, but that each PoC also has "weight" (a measure of how much effort is required to reference a particular PoC). I think that's the only way to take into account the effects of negotiation of as yet unformalized rules. If we simply leave that out then The Pool ceases to be Pervy. We also fail to account for how familiarity with a System can effectively reduce the effects of PoC (by eliminating some of their "weight").

I think there may be some fundamental difference in our views on this that is mucking up the works.

Perhaps we need another term that integrates what is in the text with rules that are not in the text, as well as taking into account some measure of the effort required during reference and negotiation?

-Chris
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matthijs
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Posts: 462


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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2004, 12:03:00 PM »

My main problem with including rules not in the text is: where do you stop? If rules don't have to be written down, but simply are defined as "all the things you take into account when resolving stuff during play", doesn't that encompass the entire frames of reference of the players?
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2004, 07:35:34 PM »

O.K., let's take a look at this idea of the "textual" nature of "rules".

If we're playing Monopoly, and at the beginning of the game I say, "Any time anyone lands on the square that says you have to pay taxes, that money goes in the center of the board, and any time you land on free parking, you get to take that money," and everyone agrees to that, is it a rule of the game? It is indeed a rule of the game we are now playing, even though (contrary to popular belief) it is not in the rules printed for Monopoly. Is it textual? Yes, it is, because it was articulated in words, and can be cited and even argued based on those words.
    I get that money.

    No, you don't.

    But I'm on free parking, and you just landed on the tax space.

    No, the rule says that you get to take the money when you land on free parking, not before you leave. You already had the opportunity to take the money when you landed, and you took it. You don't get this money, too, because you already got your money when you landed there.[/list:u]If it is written it is certainly textual, but it is still textual if it is only spoken.

    However, I don't think there is any more or less interaction between System and Shared Imaginary Space in the statement "My character goes to sleep" from one game to another. In every case, all of the questions I raised are significant. The question isn't whether or not system defines character, ownership, sleep, or consequences. System always defines all of those things. The question is whether there are articulable rules that are referenced in relation to them. Is there a rule that says you must roll to see if you sleep successfully, or whether you awaken when you intend, or whether your sleep is restful, or whether anything happens while you sleep? Do you, as a player, have the credibility to assert that your character sleeps, or must the referee determine whether that is so? Does your statement that the character sleeps mean that he cannot be aware of danger? Is there a rule to determine whether he is a heavy sleeper or a light sleeper, or does the player's ownership of the character allow him to determine that? If something happens in the vicinity of the sleeping character, does the player have the authority to state that the character awakens? There might be rules for any or all of these things. There might not be such rules. However, whether or not there are articulated rules, every one of these concerns is addressed by every system. We know that is so, because as soon as anything occurs in the shared imaginary space which falls into any of these matters of concern, the players know how to handle it. If the player says, "my character wakes up", and everyone agrees that he does, then the system has determined that the character wakes up with no points of contact to the rules. If the player says, "my character wakes up", and the referee says, "roll the dice to determine whether your character wakes up", then the system has again determined exactly the same thing, but via at least one point of contact with the rules (probably more--the die roll and the target number).

    Perhaps the word "textual" in the definition of "rules" should be expanded to "textual and/or articulated". I think that the thread history supports that, as I recall discussing the distinction between rules and system before.

    --M. J. Young
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2004, 01:41:14 AM »

I think M.J. is onto something with his definition.  I'm gonna try a little different slant at what he is getting at to see if it makes more sense.

I think, that POC like CA is something that is expressed during play, not something inherent or created by something the publisher did.  Like M.J. pointed out earlier, everything that goes into play must run through system.  So the question becomes what then is special about a moment in the game that is called a Point of Contact.  My feeling is that a Point of Contact is any moment in play where the negotiation of credibility becomes overt.

If there is lots of contest/negotiation over credibility then the game is high points of contact.  If there is very little contest/negotiation over credibility then the game is low points of contact.  We only become aware of the negotiation process when the ratification process is anything but silent consent.  I would thus say focus on overt negotiation of credibility is where you'll find your points of contact.

Anyhow that's my 2 cents.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2004, 07:05:51 AM »

Hello,

Many thanks to everyone posting. You are helping me learn a great deal.

One thing that goes back to the Vanilla/Pervy days is that I think high Points-of-Contact play does not have to dysfunctional. The "negotiation" that Jay is talking about makes a lot of sense to me, but I want to emphasize that such negotiation doesn't have to be confrontational or represent any sort of disagreement about what "should" happen - it can be much more like shared fascination with the System to see what it will do ("what will happen") under complex imaginative circumstances.

A game I've been jonesing to play for a while is RuneQuest: Slayers, and I think that I wouldn't want to play it at all unless I were prepared to buy into enjoying this sort of high Points-of-Contact fascination.

Best,
Ron
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2004, 01:30:42 PM »

Hey,

Quote from: Silmenume
My feeling is that a Point of Contact is any moment in play where the negotiation of credibility becomes overt.


Very succinct, Jay. I think you've gotten to the marrow of the matter that M. J. and I were coming at from different, and very circuitous, directions. You've articulated a brilliant definition of PoC.

People are probably going to debate what "overt" implies, but I think that's a small issue. It certainly beats debating the meaning of "textual". :)

-Chris
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2004, 01:25:16 AM »

Before this thread is officially closed, and before my use of the word "contest" causes any problems, I would like to state that I fully agree with Ron's provisos and/or clarifications.

Hey Chris - glad to be of service!  I have come away with allot here at the Forge and its nice to contribute back.

You're right about debating "overt."  My feeling is that it may never really be nailed down as part of the definition of "overt" lies in the players' perceiving or literally becoming aware of the negotiation event.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2004, 06:11:53 AM »

Hiya,

I'm not closing the thread, but I do think that my understanding of the Points-of-Contact issue has finally become solid and consistent with my original uses of Vanilla and Pervy. Thanks Jay!

Best,
Ron
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2004, 02:13:50 AM »

Hey Ron,

I wish I was this successful all the time!  You're very welcome!

Now if you'll be excuse me, I'll be tilting at Simulationism threads.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
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