*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 23, 2014, 12:48:23 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 82 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Print
Author Topic: A short rant about "SIS"  (Read 6400 times)
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« on: August 04, 2004, 10:21:08 AM »

"SIS" is broken terminology.  I hate it with hate!

The SIS is precisely what the players agree happens in the game.  A CRPG, a game book, Stratego, they don't have SISs, because the players don't agree what happens in the game.  They look and observe what happens in the game!  The events of the game are non-imaginary, thus have no need for "shared" or "imaginary" (and don't get me started about how misleading a metaphor "space" is).

Playing Stratego or a CRPG or a game book, you might imagine details beyond the events of the game, but those details are not and can never be events of the game themselves.  Even if you go ahead and imagine them ("my general wears absurd muttonchops!"), and even if you go ahead and share them with your fellow players ("hey Mitch, my general wears absurd muttonchops!"), they do not ever matter to the game.

In a tabletop RPG there are two kinds of things.  One kind is the imaginary, fictional stuff in the game: made up places, made up people doing made up things.  The other kind is the real, actual stuff you can see and touch: numbers on paper, die rolls, maps.  The SIS is exclusively the first kind of thing; none of the second kind of thing can be part of it.  Because the second kind of thing is, y'know, non-imaginary.  

Playing a tabletop RPG, both kinds of things contribute to the game.  Events in the game can depend on wholly imaginary things, wholly real things, or both.  It's important to maintain a "shared" imagination of what's happening in the game for the exact reason that events in the game can depend on it.

Playing a CRPG or a game book, everything that contributes to the game is the second kind of thing.  Real.  The position of your mouse when you click, which page you turn to.  You can't disagree that you turned to page 55 or that your mouse was on the "hit with sword" button when you clicked it.

Along the same lines, we can't consider the CRPG or game book to be a System for an SIS between author and player.  If I imagine a detail beyond the real events of the game, I have no way of knowing (and no real reason to wonder) whether the author and I share it.  Between author and player, it's either real or irrelevent.

(None of which, by the way, should you understand to mean that I don't consider CRPGs or game books to be roleplaying.  I have no such stake.)

-Vincent
[slight editing]
Logged
Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2004, 10:45:26 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Playing a CRPG or a game book, everything that contributes to the game is the second kind of thing.  Real.


I'm not trying to be an ass, but what does contributes to the game mean?

I have known many people who derived a great deal of satisfaction from their own personal imagined adjuncts to computer games.

Chris
Logged
Sean
Guest
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2004, 11:14:18 AM »

Hi Vincent -

The part of this that I would question is your apparently behaviorist (I'm not using that as an attack word) treatment of the verbal interchanges between different players. Do you seriously intend us to consider the verbal elements of these transactions without any reference to the mental states that occasion and are influenced by them? Are you saying 'what matters is not what you think, but what you say - you can think anything you want about it'? Or if not, what are you getting at here?

Other than that I agree that SIS maybe isn't the grooviest term possible. The only part of it I'm keen on keeping is the 'imagined' part, since I consider the imagination of the different players to be the 'material' of one type of game about whose precise name you do not care. I'm interested in games whose principal elements are constructs of the human imagination (which means not chess and not monopoly, e.g.)

I'm really interested in getting to the bottom of what, if anything, is going on in these recent disputes. Three weeks ago I came back from vacation full of new-to-me ideas about roleplaying games (mostly theoretical rather than immediately practical ones). I was all hot to post them on the Forge, but then I read a bunch of your posts and got deflated. What I thought was, "oh, big duh, Vincent knows all this stuff already and has been saying it for quite a while. Good job figuring it out for yourself, Sean, but there's no need to bother to post it - as usual, the Forge has been there before." And then all of the sudden when the conversation comes around to those very issues we seem to be at odds - so I'm very curious as to the precise nature of the current problem.
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 11:32:48 AM »

Chris: Oh me too.  

"Contributes to the game" means contributes to the playing out of future events in the game.  Has some bearing on what happens in the game, subsequently.

When I was a kid I played this view-out-the-cockpit space fighter game on the Atari 800.  I'd get all worked up imagining how important my mission was, what with the wholly imaginary critically ill space-princess in my wholly imaginary sick bay.

It didn't mean I could shoot harder or fly faster or land on asteroids or engage in diplomacy or go longer between refueling, though.  It had no bearing on what happened subsequently - well, except that when I lost the game, we both died screaming in the vacuum of wholly imaginary space, not just me.  When I won the game, not once did anybody in the game congratulate me for saving the space-princess' life.

So maybe if I put it this way: in a CRPG, how the real things happen can contribute to how the wholly imaginary things happen, but never vice versa.  In a tabletop RPG, the real things and the imaginary things can contribute to one another.

-Vincent
Logged
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 11:46:01 AM »

I think that last is true, Vincent, but I don't think that invalidates an idea of a SIS. Actually, I've agreed from the start that SIS is problematic terminology, but the concept behind it, what we've used SIS as a referent for, is an important concept.

Now you're calling this "game." Which is even more problematic. No? There is a product of play that's created that involves what everyone playing is imagining. And System is the means by which that is altered. Even if it's altered differently for different people, that doesn't change the fact that the ideal of there being one understanding is what's sought. And that's an important idea. Whatever you call it.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2004, 12:05:21 PM »

Hello,

I guess I don't see the problem. I like the recent formulation that runs as follows:

- we all individually imagine (characters in settings, facing situations, having events happen, all very colorful)

- we communicate about this constantly in the understanding that each of our individual "experiences" are to be consistent with everyone else's[note: not identical and not 100% consistent; I accept that this is impossible and in some cases undesirable]

- the extent to which we succeed is measured by how satisfying it is to continue the activity for whatever designated period, and that it doesn't break up due to dissatisfaction

I really liked the analogy of playing catch. Sure, each participant interacts with the ball and each other through his or her individual cognitive construct of the world. Who knows how similar these constructs are? No one. But in the physical space of the event, the ball really is being thrown and caught.

Subsitute "social space" for "physical space" and I don't see why role-playing can't be understood in precisely these terms.

Shared - Imagined - Space (by which I mean the five components). Works fine for me.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2004, 12:16:02 PM »

Very interesting.

I see absolutely no trouble in the term whatsoever.

Space is Space.  A three dimensional location of time, and matter where stuff happens.

Imaginary is Imaginary.  The Space is not real you can't really go there.  This is the same Imaginary Space as we go when we read a book or daydream or listen to a radio show.  I'd also contend that the existance of props as imagination aids does not invalidate the fact that the space is imaginary.  I there for see theater and film as also involving an imaginary space.  In this case the space is actually there (for a time) and you can actually measure it and take pictures of it, but it is still not real.  They are real places they're just full of props to help the imagination.  So many forms of entertainment involve an imaginary space.

Shared is Shared.  The content of that imaginary space is known in largely the same form by multiple persons.  They all have their own perceptions of it but the commonalities predominate.


Its a Shared Imaginary Space...in this space Shared Imaginary Stuff happens.

I'm really failing to see the faults of this term as a term.  It seems to me to be one of the most practical and least objectional terms in our lexicon.
Logged

Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2004, 12:26:21 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
So maybe if I put it this way: in a CRPG, how the real things happen can contribute to how the wholly imaginary things happen, but never vice versa.  In a tabletop RPG, the real things and the imaginary things can contribute to one another.


So Vincent, you're seven or whatever and playing StarRaiders on your 800.  And you can travel through this sector over here where it's more dangerous but it gets you closer to the end, or you can travel to this other, kinder, gentler, slower sector.  And you're imagining the dying princess and it motivates you to take on the much harder course of action because in your (shared?) imaginary space, that gets you to the space hospital faster.

Didn't a wholly imaginary thing contribute to real things?

Chris
Logged
timfire
Member

Posts: 756


WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2004, 12:45:26 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Weeks
So Vincent, you're seven or whatever and playing StarRaiders on your 800.  And you can travel through this sector over here where it's more dangerous but it gets you closer to the end, or you can travel to this other, kinder, gentler, slower sector.  And you're imagining the dying princess and it motivates you to take on the much harder course of action because in your (shared?) imaginary space, that gets you to the space hospital faster.

Didn't a wholly imaginary thing contribute to real things?

Just because 7-year old lumpley based a choice on his "imagined space" doesn't mean that that the imaginary things influenced the real thing.

Let's say 7-year old lumpley plays StarRaider and takes the shorter, more dangerous route. I then get on and play the same level, also taking the shorter, more dangerous route. I, however, have no illiusion of a princess in the back.

But the same thing happens both times. Both 7-year old lumpley and myself both encounter the same asteroids and UFO's. So how did 7-year old lumpley's "imagined space" influence the real video game, if the exact same thing happened when I played?
Logged

--Timothy Walters Kleinert
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2004, 12:54:15 PM »

Mike, Ron, Ralph: Yikes.

Well, we all agree that we each have, in our own heads, a moving picture or understanding of what's happening in the game.  Mine has to line up with yours sufficiently that we don't come to game-breaking disagreements now or down the line.  In a tabletop RPG we make that happen by communicating.  That's what we call the SIS.  (I'm not proposing a better term for it, notice.  I prefer to spell it out - "our agreement about what happens in the game" eg - but that's just me.)

It seems to me that in a CRPG, we don't make it happen by communicating.  We make it happen by looking at the screen and just seeing.  Same as chess: we make it happen by looking at the board.  We don't ever have to agree where the pieces are.  Where are they?  Right there.

In the neighboring CRPG threads, some people apparently understand "SIS" in such a way that George Lucas and I Share the Imaginary Space of Star Wars, or a CRPG has an SIS like a face-to-face RPG does.  I consider that to be the fault of the term, but whatever, I live with the jargon same as everybody and again I'm not proposing better.  Nope, what I want people to take seriously isn't the hate with which I hate, but the bit where I'm trying to say what the SIS means relative to CRPGs.

-Vincent
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2004, 01:02:24 PM »

Hiya,

Well hol' on a minute here, then. I don't recall any conclusion (which is to say, communicated, agreed upon, and then developed) which stated that anything but table-top role-playing as commonly construed made use of an SIS.

Ralph considers it to be involved in watching a movie.

M.J. considers it to be involved in kids' Cops & Robbers.

Mike considers it to be involved in computer-mediated personal interactions.

Others consider it to be involved in interacting with a computer program or with a book designed to skip pages based on reader choices.

None of the above is currently agreed-upon. Each of these is merely a given individual's thoughts on how SIS in role-playing (an undisputed phenomenon, apparently) is related to or is the same to imagination regarding other media and activities.

The extent of SIS as it pertains to things other than table-top role-playing is a matter of comparison, reflection, and discourse, and at present that is the only viable conclusion.

Best,
Ron
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2004, 01:38:56 PM »

Hm.  Well.  

I'm not dictating "there is no SIS in CRPGs" as a done deal.  That'd be premature, yes.  I'm presenting "there is no SIS in CRPGs" as my own personal conviction, which I believe to follow straightforwardly from the conclusions we've collectively communicated, agreed upon and developed.

Apparently I'm doing a pretty bad job of it.

Maybe if you take the "It seems to me" in my last post to apply to the "I'm trying to say what the SIS means relative to CRPGs" too.  

I'm trying to say what it seems to me that the SIS means relative to CRPGs.

-Vincent
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2004, 02:01:29 PM »

I think perhaps, Vincent, you're attempting to cover too many things at once in the same term.  In so doing you making the SiS into something very unique to the process of roleplaying.

I think that's unnecessary.  Keep it basic and modular, that's my approach.

Imaginary Space for me is simply what's in my head about what's happening...in a book, in a movie, in an RPG.

Shared Imaginary Space then adds an extra module...its what you get when more or less the Same Imaginary Space is imagined by multiple people at more or less the same time (same time as in imagining at the same time not necessary experiencing for the first time at the same time).


All of the extra additional stuff that is unique to roleplaying...well that's just system.  That's how I outlined it in my essay.  Watching a movie involves a Shared Imaginary Space.  Its just a Shared Imaginary Space without System...without the ability of the watcher to edit it for anyone but themselves.
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2004, 02:15:52 PM »

Hello,

H'm, Ralph, my construction is just a little different - to me, the "shared" necessitates actual communication and contribution among the sharers to create that space. I guess that's why I always try to say Shared Imagined Space rather than "imaginary," although I probably forget every so often. By using "imagined," I'm trying to turn it into more of a verb - that people actually have to do it, rather than receive it visually from (say) a screen.

But that's not a deal-breaker, and it certainly doesn't change any of my near-100% agreement with your recent essay. Merely a different view of the phenomenon from another individual.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2004, 03:11:04 PM »

I guess it boils down to which is more useful in practice.

Shared Imagined Space = Shared Imaginary Space + System

The latter to me seems more useful way to parse it, at least on the surface.

It finds a common ground between different entertainment media, the Shared Imaginary Space and highlights the key distinguishing difference between them and roleplaying, system.
Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!