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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 26 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: New 3D Model  (Read 34941 times)
Tobias
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« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2004, 02:41:27 AM »

After reading the whole thread, I'm sold on the idea that the model is a worthwile contribution - in that it does allow better examination of player/GM power, whether design matches intent, and even whether play sessions (and the power of the players there) match the intended play experience. (This investigation is highly relevant for my newly-started game as well - and since that game is also a playtest of my own game-in-design, it might help me separate game group issues from game design issues as well).

However, Valamir's concern regarding the (only) difference between Sim and Nar being centralized vs. decentralized control strongly echoes an intuitive feeling I have as well of something being missed, or oversimplified. I'm not at home with all terminology well enough to go into the details, but maybe it's not neccesary to expect a full overlap of the old and new model? It may be worthwile to examine the new model for its own merits. 'Percolation', as Ron has mentioned in another thread. Of course, Mike's already also postulated a version of Immersion-at-right-angles to Gamism and Narrativism, so maybe we'll evolve anyway. Or maybe we'll discover more in the line of the question 'how is what-if different from premise?'.

So, a thumbs-up, and a desire to investigate this Sim/Nar difference again, but an appeal for the fact that full reconciliation under the old models might not be neccesary. Mike's quote: "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)." does seem to miss something, for me.

Apologies if I'm (too) rambly.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2004, 07:16:21 AM »

To be more precise, I'm trying to fit narrativism into this model. One of my points is that narrativism is a tad hard to grasp because of the fact that ID sometimes seems to be in it, and sometimes doesn't. If people can play nar "unconsciously" or "without meaning to" or whatever, it seems to me that a GM prioritizing immersion might still get this from his players. So, let's say that nar covers half of the ID box or something like that.

Doesn't really matter. The idea of the new model is to split ID out from TD (which is defintitely always in the Nar box) because though it has similarities, now we can focus on where the difference lays.

Note that this still has some problems. John Kim's "Water Uphil" game still is unidentifiable, because we're not sure if it has theme as a goal or not. But now we see what the question is, clearly - it's either TD or ID. Instead of trying to potentiall lump it in with things like TC, or IC, which were both definitely in the sim category before.

If you like 1.5 boxes were Nar, and 2.5 boxes were Sim. With the new boxes, I think that the associations are much clearer.

Again, this solves the "problem" of Dramatism, Illusionism, and Virtualism, by dividing them amongst TC, IC, and ID (note, this is not to say that TC is Dramatism, though ID as virtualism, and IC as Illusionism seems to work for me).

Mike
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Christopher Weeks
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« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2004, 08:45:43 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
[*]ID - Immersion goal with Decentralized control (No game that I can think of specifically has this as part of the design...


I don't understand the fundamental defining characteristic of sim play, and I'm stuck on the use of Immersion in this thread, but if Immersion means Internal Causality as your first post suggests, it seems like not much of a stretch to cite Universalis as an example.  (Or does it defy categorization?)

Chris
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2004, 11:53:14 AM »

Quote from: Christopher Weeks
I don't understand the fundamental defining characteristic of sim play, and I'm stuck on the use of Immersion in this thread, but if Immersion means Internal Causality as your first post suggests, it seems like not much of a stretch to cite Universalis as an example.  (Or does it defy categorization?)
First, Universalis is completely Decentralized, certainly. But it doesn't have a lot of sim support at all. In fact, from one POV, none at all. The text repeatedly encourages players to think of traits not in terms of their in-game representativeness, but in terms of the impact on the story. Now, from an odd post-modern viewpoint, one might call this some sort of strange internal causality, but it's really meant to be deliberately external.

And it's terrible for Challenge. Given that the only non-"attendance" reward mechanic is for making conflicts, I think the game is vaguely Thematic. So it'd be TD. But very much a light thrust in that direction (definitely not "vanilla," however). Call it abashedly TD. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that it's somewhat incoherent in terms of not providing a single strong CA at all. Certainly people have tried to play it with player challenge, which has been pretty disasterous, AFAICT.

Note that a game like GURPS is a pretty good example of a game with an "I" basis - all of the rules exist to delineate how things in the setting selected should work (and you can get as many rules as you like). What's not clear from it's design is whether or not the game is meant to be D or C. In fact, this is the "impossible thing" in effect. That is, the text doesn't make it clear whether or not the game plays better as a C game or a D game, leaving it to the individual group to select which way to play.

In fact, given how common games like this are, there's no surprise that there are no games that are clearly ID. I'm hoping someone has an exception. What it would say in the "How to GM" section would be something like:

As GM it's only your job to present the world as though it were an extant thing, not one changing to your or anybody else's whim. What it's not your job to do is to present any detail in such a way as it will force the players to make any particular direction. That is, certainly there will be moments when they PCs encounter things that they can only react to in one way. It's just that these should only happen as the result of your unbiased presentation of the world, again, as though it existed previously. This allows the players the greatest lattitude in creating the action of the game in that they decide where to go and what to do. It's up to you to present an interesting world, one with possibilities, but it's up to the players to create the action that occurs.

Anyone seen a game like that? Marco does JAGS have something like that in the appropriate section?

The opposite is rare, but exists. The classic example of a clear IC text is Arrowflight. CoC is ambivalent in the text, but if the published adventures are followed as a template for how to play, the game is very much IC (and it's not very clear what an ID game of CoC would look like). This is true of a lot of otherwise "Impossible Thing" games, I think.

Mike
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Marco
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« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2004, 12:17:43 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Anyone seen a game like that? Marco does JAGS have something like that in the appropriate section?

Mike


JAGS doesn't, IIRC, include any GM advice. If it did, while I identify fairly well with what you wrote, I would want to include sections on setting up situation so that it's rich and interesting on whatever levels the players require (which would include focuses on Drama and Challenge to suit the participant's taste).

We have a few articles on this in the forums (desiging interesting situations for maximizing Drama, Player-Centric gaming, etc.)

-Marco
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DevP
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« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2004, 12:45:44 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
In fact, given how common games like this are, there's no surprise that there are no games that are clearly ID. I'm hoping someone has an exception.
How close do we get with the http://www.20by20room.com/2004/07/the_matrix_game.html">Emgle Matrix games? The game typically plays with a specific situation or niche (i.e. wargames or murder mystery), but I feel that it tends towards ID: all adjucations is (1) player stating a potential new fact, and arguing for it (ideally based on the strength of previously established facts, (2) the GM deciding how well it is argued and assigns a probabilty of that happening on a d6, and (3) the fact either happens or not.

Step (2) does put a lot of control on the GM, but the text says pretty clearly that the GM "might not be objective, but should be fair". While the ability to rate how well facts are argued is a centralized power, its scope is merely to evaluate arguments within the framework of arbiting in-world causality, more or less. (Granted, some GMs would push this more towards IC, lowering the probabilities of player choices that are "bad for the story"). I think this isn't just "would be ID if", but is pretty close.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2004, 01:43:51 PM »

Huh, fascinating.

That sounds about right. Sorcerer doesn't say that the GM provides no input, it says that he makes the game interesting by providing the characters with situations in which they are empowered to create theme. In this game, I think objective vs. fair speaks to that fairly clearly.

That said, I think that there's a small "impossible thing" danger here in that unless you show some way (like bangs for instance) of making things "interesting" without forcing events, that a GM might take the imperative to make things interesting to mean that he has to control the outcome.

Basically, if you really want decentralization, it seems that it's important to explain what that looks like. Because these sorts of explanations are so interperable otherwise. As always, examples.

Mike
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Lee Short
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« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2004, 02:43:00 PM »

So much to comment on.  

I think Mike has done an admirable job of finding a weak point in the present GNS model, and pinpointing exactly where it is.  It seems that most of the criticism he is receiving is not about his diagnosis of the problem with the current model, but rather about his proposed solution.  

Quote from: Hunter Logan

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.


I think there are a number of misunderstandings about the Threefold that persist here.  As someone who participated in it all, I certainly have a somewhat biased opinion -- my opinions have been formed by my personal experiences, rather than the FAQ which is the Threefold's "Public Face."  But rereading the FAQ, my impression is simply reinforced.  Threefold Dramatism in fact included what is classified as Nar under GNS. I'm not sure where the idea sprung from that it wasn't included.  The reason that so much of GDS Dramatism was made over in the image of Berkman is because he was the most vocal proponent of any Dramatist style.  Other Dramatist styles were in fact discussed, including GNS Nar.  It's simply not the case that Dramatism is limited to Berkman's style of game.  

Actually, I think it was the gamists who got the short end of the threefold stick.  

Quote
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.  


This is true.  That's what determines the utility of the model: how much of the gaming universe you can fit into how few categories.  

Quote from: Valamir

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

Does that make sense?

[snip]

Is that really the difference?


I've got to agree with Valamir that this division certainly seems very odd to me.  If this really is the difference, then the categories' titles are, at best, misleading.  I certainly think that the TC category fits the descriptor 'Narrativism' much more than it fits the descriptor 'Simulationism'.  

Quote from: Mike Holmes

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.


Mike, are you talking only about the difficulty of formally defining what differentiates your TC&TD play styles from your IC&ID play styles, or also about the difficulty of distinguishing them in practice?   In the latter case, you haven't actually avoided the issue by renaming 'premise' as 'theme.'
 
In any event, I think that it will make for a much cleaner model if TC&TD are lumped together and IC&ID are lumped together.  That way you can talk about the TCI orientation in a unified and coherent way, and you can talk about the CD orientation in a unified and coherent way.  I think this is what MJ was referring to when he said that the CD categories referrred to techniques and the TCI categories roughly corresponded to the current GNS.   I don't have a good name for the TCI categories -- 'Simulationism' might work for I, but it has a lot of baggage from having been lumped with GDS Dramatism for so long.  'Gamism' should be fine for C.  For the T category, I think both 'Dramatism' and 'Narrativism' have too much baggage to be desirable.  But there may be no better alternative.
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Valamir
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« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2004, 02:49:00 PM »

Quote
I've got to agree with Valamir that this division certainly seems very odd to me. If this really is the difference, then the categories' titles are, at best, misleading. I certainly think that the TC category fits the descriptor 'Narrativism' much more than it fits the descriptor 'Simulationism'.


That's because the current state of the GNS model, and Mikes view on the matter as well, lump Dramatism and Simulationism together as the same thing, while your background demonstrates very clearly that they are not.

A big part of my recent essay was trying to rip the Dramatism back out of Sim, but its become such an ingrained assumption here that high GM control of plot and theme = Sim (which is ridiculous) that I haven't met with complete success in that endeavor.
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Lee Short
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« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2004, 02:52:35 PM »

Quote from: Dev
The game typically plays with a specific situation or niche (i.e. wargames or murder mystery), but I feel that it tends towards ID: all adjucations is (1) player stating a potential new fact, and arguing for it (ideally based on the strength of previously established facts, (2) the GM deciding how well it is argued and assigns a probabilty of that happening on a d6, and (3) the fact either happens or not.


Depending on how this is used in practice, it's as likely to be C as I; the players will Step On Up by arguing convincingly for their requests.  I'm not sure that would even count as Drift.  
It could also easily drifted into a T mode.
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2004, 12:34:28 AM »

Would troupe play Ars Magica be an example of ID?
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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2004, 02:23:00 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

In fact, given how common games like this are, there's no surprise that there are no games that are clearly ID. I'm hoping someone has an exception. What it would say in the "How to GM" section would be something like:

As GM it's only your job to present the world as though it were an extant thing, not one changing to your or anybody else's whim. What it's not your job to do is to present any detail in such a way as it will force the players to make any particular direction....


So if it's just a matter of tracking the setting and enabling player-character action, it seems like a fantastic job for a computer.  Are CRPGs ID (ignoring for the moment whether we accept that they're RPGs, at all, if we can).

Chris (heading to GenCon...now.)
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Caldis
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« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2004, 03:38:19 AM »

Quote from: Valamir

That's because the current state of the GNS model, and Mikes view on the matter as well, lump Dramatism and Simulationism together as the same thing, while your background demonstrates very clearly that they are not.


I dont think the model lumps the two together.  It accepts that while there are players like those who play a vitualist style there are also those who allow for some drama based decisions that still remain primarily simulationist.  As John Kims' threefold faq states...
Quote
Which one am I? Drama-, Game-, or Simulation-oriented?
         Most likely, none of the above. Your individual style cannot be pidgeonholed into a single word. More to the point, you probably use a mix of different techniques, and work towards more than one goal. You may tend more towards one corner of the triangle, but you probably value a mix.


GNS tries to classify all games on where they would fall on that triangle, which point it would be closest to.  GDS only considers games sim if it is entirely sim.  For example a game that is mostly a 'what if ' game but with the caveat that characters will not die in a meaningless manner would still be sim under GNS, however it wouldnt be an example of sim under GDS.

I think most of the disagreement that has been going around is just arugement over where the boundary lines should be drawn.


Quote
A big part of my recent essay was trying to rip the Dramatism back out of Sim, but its become such an ingrained assumption here that high GM control of plot and theme = Sim (which is ridiculous) that I haven't met with complete success in that endeavor.


But high GM control of plot can be valid in Sim.  The GM has control of the whole world so he can bring about any situation he wishes by twisting the dials, making forces beyond the pc's direct the plot for a bit.  Yet play itself can continue trying to answer the 'what if' of the current situation.
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Marco
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« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2004, 03:51:58 AM »

Quote from: Caldis

But high GM control of plot can be valid in Sim.  The GM has control of the whole world so he can bring about any situation he wishes by twisting the dials, making forces beyond the pc's direct the plot for a bit.  Yet play itself can continue trying to answer the 'what if' of the current situation.


Under GNS Sim, yes (which, you know, is the problem)--but not under, say, Virtuality.*

Of course your words may not mean what I think they mean. Can events occurr over which the players have no control? Sure. Can those events impact players? Sure.

Is there an expectation of some sort of pre-determined 'plot'--or is the GM re-assessing the world in order to bring about some sort of desired change to the transcript of play (like, for example, the PC's getting captured?) No.

No more than you'd accept that in Narrativist play.

And Mike's model does a good job of splitting the difference where as GNS relies on Ralph's re-interpertation (which then leaves a hole for dramatism and functional illusionism that has yet to be filled).

-Marco
* Lee Short wrote an excellent post on Virtuality that I encourage you to check out if you think the GM prefering outcomes and manipulating things to ensure they happen is valid under Virtualist play.
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Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2004, 04:14:51 AM »

Quote from: Dev
Quote from: Mike Holmes
In fact, given how common games like this are, there's no surprise that there are no games that are clearly ID. I'm hoping someone has an exception.
How close do we get with the Emgle Matrix games?


I think the Matrix games are structured around their PvP nature, in that thge GM is not responsible for the construction of much situation.  But I agree this is an interesting case study, as IMO these games tend toward a RPG-like degree of character identification.

Another proposition for ID that matches Mike's GM instruction requirements perfectly to my mind is the logic of many CRPG's, especially those that claim to be player driven.  I think that in the venue of CRPG, the ID analysis of "what RPG is supposed to be" was fully almost realised.
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