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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: New 3D Model  (Read 34770 times)
Sean
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2004, 11:45:46 AM »

One more reason to prefer 'internal cause' to 'immersion', Ben.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2004, 12:30:34 PM »

Quote from: Sean
One more reason to prefer 'internal cause' to 'immersion', Ben.


See, I don't see "internal cause" as any more satisfactory here than "immersion."  Because, really, in the context of these sorts of games (well, MSH and TFOS, specifically), it is a matter of "external cause."  The genre emulation doesn't, by and large, come from the contents of the shared imaged space, but is imposed by the players and mechanics.

yrs--
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2004, 02:05:04 PM »

I think that Internal Causality is OK.... In fact, I threw out Immersion just to make it more controversial. What I meant by it is that I think that Internal Causality is, as was said in another thread, not precisely the goal. That is, it, too is a technique. The goal is hard to state. It's that thing that we simmies call Immersion, but which doesn't quite fit the term. I'll work on that.

But Marvel Supers is a prime example of it. In fact, it's a prime example of "what if-ism" taken to an extreme, IMO, especially all of the who's who books.

TFOS is incoherent. Always has been. In fact one of my favorite examples. Because the goal is thematic, but the players are empowered to do simmy stuff. Gives me the shivvers just thinking about it.

Mike
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Marco
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« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2004, 02:28:20 PM »

Quote from: Ben Lehman
So, in the first major challenge to the model -- what about genre pastiche?

What I'm looking at here is something like Toon, Marvel Superheroes (chart edition), or vanilla Teenagers from Outer Space -- the basic point is not immersion, but creating something that is "just like" a particular genre, with the rules providing a strong emulative framework.  In the context of GNS, is this Sim.  In the context of GDS, I'm pretty sure it's D.  In the context of CTI/DC is this T or I?  It doesn't really seem like either, to me.

yrs--
--Ben


I'm not Mike--but I have some comments.

1. Toon (or RISUS in super-silly mode, or whatever) when played for laughts isn't exactly "Dramatist" (IMO)--I don't know that it's "what-if, participationist, or whatever anyway). I think most of my experience with Toon has been competition or step-on-up and that suits Cartoons pretty well (well, some).

2. TFoS is no more "genre based" than ... Call of Cthulhu (and before we decide that's pastiche, I submit that CoC is in almost no way like a Lovecraft story and is, really it's own thing). Moreover, whatever you think of CoC in *general* it could certainly be played with any agenda and have 'genre-adherence' as a secondary goal.

In fact, TFoS was always kinda gamist when I played it too. But I really think that humor does alter things more than a bit. Just like commedies have their own laws so to, I think does commedy gaming.

I'd guess CH for the TFoS play I've done--but I'm not familiar *enough* with it to have a strong opinion.

-Marco
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2004, 05:29:12 AM »

Toon I don't see as Step-On-Up. Again, if the challenge is to create theme, then that's narrativism. Comedy is theme. People seem to not want to accept this, seeing it as something different, but consider that comedy only comes from the juxtaposition of values. In some very deep seated, significant ways, comedy, laughter even, is about the ironies of the human condition. Even when the irony is something as simple as the gravity of our environment making moment to moment life precarious (AKA the pratfall).

That said, Toon is also somewhat incoherent, because much of the system does nothing to support this, instead intending to emulate some sort of cartoon physics. The reward system, yes, rewards comedy. But it then feeds back into the "sim" system. Nothing takes the joy out of playing Toon faster than actually employing the system, IME. TFOS is the same, but worse. Character generation provides potentially very funny characters, and the situations suggested are also potentially funny. So, when it's the players playing their funny characters in the funny situation, it's funny. But again, as soon as you engage the resolution system and mechanics in play, the funny just dies.

That is, the goal in both games seems to be Theme, but the players are given only mechanical power to create Immersion (still using that for lack of a better term).

The reasons you call these pastiche is because they are low player power. That is, the GM in these cases is the only person empowered to create theme via situation.

MSH is, again, a laboratory, plain and simple. Following on the tradition of the Marvel line called "What if?" What if Collossus fought The Thing? What if you had a character with these Marvel powers up against The Thing? What if you had a character with these Marvel powers, up against a character with these other Marvel powers?

Mike
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2004, 10:54:54 AM »

I've only reached the bottom of the first page on this, but I feel like I'm a party pooper here--I don't see this as terribly helpful at all.

Here's my initial reaction.

The creation of theme, the overcoming of challenge, the satisfaction of curiosity--these are, I think, objectives sought through play. They define the "Creative Agenda" we recognize. There is a sense in which these things are what you want, what you do, why you do it, all wrapped into one. The one thing they are not is how you do it. How you do it generally is system; how you do it specifically is techniques.

Whether the players have high or low levels of "power" is a technique. As demonstrated even here, such high and low levels of "power" for the character players (and inverse for the referee player) can be used to pursue any agendum.

I think a lot of dust needs to settle here to see it clearly; but isn't high referee power combined with creation of theme definitive of front-loaded narrativism?

I really don't see power distribution as "what you want"; I see it as "how you get what you want".

I'm going to attempt to read the rest of the thread now.

--M. J. Young
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Marco
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2004, 11:26:53 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young

I think a lot of dust needs to settle here to see it clearly; but isn't high referee power combined with creation of theme definitive of front-loaded narrativism?

I really don't see power distribution as "what you want"; I see it as "how you get what you want".

I'm going to attempt to read the rest of the thread now.

--M. J. Young


I'm not fully digested of the model yet--but I would say there is some difference between a ref who uses high power throughout the game and one who uses it only to set up situation but is reactionary after that (but I'm not sure that's modeled here).

But I will say this: being able to clearly *state* (or ask for) what you want is the first and most important step to getting it.

-Marco
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2004, 08:36:42 AM »

Quote
I really don't see power distribution as "what you want"; I see it as "how you get what you want".
Well, that's why there are two axes. One for how you get what you get, and the other for what you get.

These models, GDS, GENder, GNS, Ralph's Model, all exist to categorize play such that we can then do something with those categorizations. As such, the requirement is that people be able to make the categorizations, and that there's some use for the categorizations. The obvious use, but not the only one, is in preventing people from having a bad time playing because the other people are playing in a way that they don't like - incoherence, to use Ron's term.

Well, this model provides that. One can still talk about how a player might like the GM to be empowered, but prefers Immersion over theme and challenge. This will distinguish between a game like Theatrix in play, and another like Blue Planet, the former being theme based, and the latter being immersion based ( I can see the player calling Theatrix play too "fluffy" or something).

I think the model in general provides all of the positive benefits of the other models as well. In any case, if there's some benefit that you see it as failing to provide, let me know. In terms of the idea of the big model, I think it fits right in. I think that one can say that certain techniques produce a certain product.

I'm not saying that the model is not based on the ability to observe behavior, either; I don't mean to confuse by my use of the term "product". Players are still making decisions based on certain things. But from seeing who's making the "real" decisions, one sees who is empowered as well. There are still techniques being used to cause this to occur. It's only "product" as much as GNS was based on these things, given that "Step-On-Up", "The Dream," and "Story Now," were also what was "sought."

This model satisfies all comers by considering both concerns. Basically, the GDS simulationists can know that they won't accidentally be forced to play Theatrix, and the narrativists will still not be forced to play Theatrix, either (humor there, people). Put another way, the GNS model only really serves the narrativists, delineating their mode of play so that they can get rules that serve them as they like. What it doesn't do is serve the simulationists well, because there are actually two (maybe three) conflicting modes that could fall into what's ascribed to it.

In fact, think of it this way. Gamism is separated from Sim by pointing out immersion over challenge (note how player power is never considered in these cases). Gamism is separated from narrativism by pointing out challenge vs. theme (in these cases players are considered always to be empowered). But narrativism is separated from Sim by pointing out player empowerment (theme is irrelevant, really, because some sim games are said to be about the GM creating theme). So we can see the two axes in operation here partitioning off the spaces of play. But they're considered individually for GNS to separate the three modes.

So, if these two types of things are important for delineating different modes, then it seems to me that they're important in any combination. Hence, the way I see it, this model is merely uncovering differentiations that GNS was making all along, but which were glommed into other modes.

Here's a little Ven diagram that might help people see what I'm talking about. In fact, I've just noted that "open sim" seems to get glommed onto Nar, which balances out the spaces of play in terms of size.

Code:
-----T-----I------C-------
   _____________________
   |    NAR   |  GAM   |
D  | TD    ID |   CD   |
   |__________|        |
C  | TC    IC |   CC   |
   |   SIM    |        |
   |__________|________|


Mike
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Marco
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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2004, 09:07:17 AM »

Mike,

I think this is really, really good. I'm still thinking that there may be some subtle sub-divisions of "empowerment" (especially for the GM)--but, yes, I think this is a really useable theory in terms of discussion of different preferences.

I like it. More. I like the diagram too (this is essentially what I discussed to in the thread I just started--although you state it more clearly and, IMO, using more concrete language).

-Marco
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Hunter Logan
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« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2004, 09:44:43 AM »

Mike,

I think your criticism of GNS is spot on. It has been primarily for narrativists - That is, Ron pushed its development in support of his mindset. In the same way, Threefold has sort of been for everyone but narrativists - my understanding is, the presence of David Berkman and his evangalism for an essentially narrativist style of play in the RGFA discussion polarized the discussion against what would later become narrativist ideology. It's a little weird because Ron didn't coin the term until later, but that's my understanding of the situation.

The problem with threefold and GNS, as I've said from time to time for quite a long time, is that all of gaming will not fit under just three labels. That was the genesis for my own http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/dream10feb03.html">Big List. If you haven't seen it, I think you will find that I included a few items near and dear to your heart (at least based on things I've read in recent discussions), but I digress. My point here is simple: Your model will work for more people because you have included more possibilities - At least 6 compared to the previous three. More, you've given both dramatism and narrativism good places to live. As a logical derivative of existing models, what you've got is good. I applaud it and will be interested to see the inevitable next evolution of your model.
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Valamir
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« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2004, 10:20:28 AM »

Some interestng thoughts here.

Before everyone rushes to embrace it however, there seems to be some simple tests.

According to the Venn Diagram above, the only difference between Sim and Nar is centralized vs. decentralized control.

Does that make sense?

If you take a GURPS and put all the control in the hands of the GM you get Sim?  And if you take GURPS and distribute the control to the players you get Nar?

Is that really the difference?

Surely if the players are to be able to address premise they have to have been empowered to do so, and that implies a greater degree of player input than is often traditionally given.  But it does not follow that simply granting a greater degree of player input leads to addressing premise.

Is this model throwing out the idea of Premise as a defining feature of narrativism?  'cause if not it seems to me there is more going on there then just centralized or decentralized control.


Clearly the idea of centralized and decentralized control is an important concideration.  Perhaps it is important enough to not simply be considered a matter of Technique (which I believe is where it resides in the Big Model).  Maybe it needs to be elevated to a position of greater prominence.  But are we really saying that that alone is the dividing line between Sim and Nar?  I'm not convinced of that at this point.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2004, 10:36:57 AM »

Thanks for the support. Hunter, the thing is that more categories aren't neccessarily better. I'm the first to say that if two categories overlap with any regularity that they're probably better off described as something else. That is, not as categories, but as qualities of play.


In fact, I actually think that the "Immersion" goal is actually at right angles to the Gamism, Narrativism one. Meaning that I've got more of a four dimensional model, or three dimensional if you cross it with a flat space something like the ven diagram above. That is, as I've said in Beeg Horseshoe, I don't think that the immersion goal conflicts with the other two in the same way that they conflict with each other. Challenge and theme butt heads over the goal of conflict. Whereas Immersion butts heads with both over the subject of how much these things show, how much the game shows itself to be a game, and not an exposition of a virtual universe.

So that means that you'd have basically high and low immersion versions of each of the other modes - high and low being very "squishy" as parts of a spectrum. Hence -

CDL - Challenge Goal, Decentralized, Low Immersion
CDH - Challenge Goal, Decentralized, High Immersion
CCL - Challenge Goal, Centralized, Low Immersion
CCH - Challenge Goal, Centralized, High Immersion
TDL - Theme Goal, Decentralized, Low Immersion
TDH - Theme Goal, Decentralized, High Immersion
TCL- Theme Goal, Centralized, Low Immersion
TCH - Theme Goal, Centralized, High Immersion

The thing is that, given that I agree that there are mutually exclusive cases where you can either give up on your immersion to get your goal, or give up on the goal, this means that the High Immersion versions are sorta problematic. The way I see it, people play these, but when push comes to shove, they have to choose between one of the two, which reveals the "overall" CA (and back we go to the model above). Still, I think it's a useful way of looking at things for the purposes of categorizing player desires. Consider them a request for congruence.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2004, 10:48:26 AM »

Oops, cross posted with Ralph, so don't miss my post directly above.

Anyhow, Ralph, it's been my supposition for some time that it's almost impossible, if not actually impossible, to differentiate between "premise" and what you call a "what if" experiment. Put another way, can you give me an example of addressing conflict that is:

A) not gamism, which is pretty easy to identify, and

B) doesn't fall under Ron's definitions of premise, theme, etc.


See, people would ask Ron whether or not something was a premise. He would talk about morals, but that would fall apart. Ethics, the same. Eventually it gets down to "emotionally engaging." In other words premises are questions that the players find interesting to find the answers for. Now, here's the thing. It's not important who asks the question at all. "What if?" can come from the player, or the GM. The player provides the answer with what his character does. Yeah, it may be interesting in terms of what the GM does in response, but that's just thematic play on the GM's part. He's just a player, right?

This has always bugged me. Again, it always seems to come down, in all of Ron's examples, to whether or not the player was doing "story now." Which isn't story, we're told, but the fact of creation. The idea of the player getting to make the interesting decision.

It was only important to have the mysterious "thing that simulationists were after" (that thing that is not interesting as a challenge, or in some other way emotionally), to prevent Sim from being nar when the GM had all the power. In fact, we were told that theme was there all along. That it was just being provided by the GM! Well, he's a player, too, isn't he? If he's making theme, then he's answering his own questions, isn't he? How is this not premise?

Interestingly, the term premise has been problematic, IMO, very much because it means, "What if?"

Mike
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Hunter Logan
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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2004, 12:45:42 PM »

Simply adding categories does eventually reach a point of diminishing returns, but I think we agree that one can't just stuff everything into one of three bags and leave it there. We've seen the results of trying to do that, and your model works to address that.

Additionally, you've integrated Balance of Power, provided equal but respectful status for both dramatism and narrativism, and accepted Immersion as part of play. It's a good articulation of a lot of ideas that I like/agree with. That makes me an easy sale. Other people may take more convincing.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2004, 01:03:26 PM »

On the subject of respect, I wish people would just accept that others have preferences that aren't theirs, and that their biases may show in the models they build. This does not make the models invalid. I've not known GNS to be "disrespectful" to any mode of play as a model (it's presented unjudgementally, IMO). The only thing that I feel my model may do is allow these people to differentiate their style of play more effectively. That is, I'm aiming for effectiveness of the model, not respect, particularly.

I say this because as soon as somebody finds that they can't put their mode easily into this model, I don't want them complaining that the model is disrespectful somehow. It may be incomplete, or even innacurate, but the idea is to portray different potential modes, not to say that one or another is better.

Check out the deconstruction on my Ven diagram, for instance. I put the D row above the C row, showing my personal bias for Decentralized play (when I noted this, I considered briefly presenting it the other way). I also put theme on the far left, so it's read first. Fortunately one can just flip the model over, and rearrange the columns, and it works just fine. Again, the model isn't intended to "respect" any mode more than another, and any reading of my personal biases shouldn't indicate otherwise.

I'll say it one more time for posterity, in case the model is widely adopted. When presenting the modes in a list or in a diagram, one must neccessarily place them in relation to each other, and one could read an assumption of superiority into some of the positioning. This is a fault of the model, and not intended. The model is descriptive, and does not intend to judge any mode in any way.

I know that was probably unneccessary, but consider it shell-shock.

BTW, and this may sound presumptious, but Ron's awfully busy with GenCon right now, so consider that he can't respond to any comments made here right now. That is, I don't want to get too far ahead at this point, as that's sorta taking advantage of his absence. That's not to say that we can't talk about it, but when comparing, consider the ramifications. I'm almost feeling guilty about the timing of the post as a whole (feels a bit like a coup d'etat).

Mike
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