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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: More on 3D Model  (Read 24729 times)
Alan
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2004, 10:58:11 AM »

Quote from: John Kim


To Alan:
Quote from: Alan
3) I still object to the use of the word "theme" being associated with narraivist play.  As I said before, illustrating theme is not the goal of narrativist play, it is an incidental result of a series of premise addressing events, like chaff from threshing.  People are mistaking the value standard, which gives meaning to each decision event, for theme.  These are not the same.

I'm not sure how substansive the #3 is.  Is this based on a Forge-specific definition for the term "theme" -- or is it more general?  I'm not familiar with the term "value standard".  It isn't part of Ron's Narrativist essays, at least.  Do you think there are games which focus on things considered "theme", and in which the players are empowered to determine that, but which are not Narrativist?



From Ron's glossary:

Quote
Theme

    The point, message, or key emotional conclusion perceived by an audience member, about a fictional series of events. The presence of a theme is the defining feature of Story as opposed to Transcript. ...


This is exactly what I've been saying.  I've just pointed out that this definition means that theme is the result of a series of addressments of premise that have a consistent message - and that the consistency is _not_ the objective of narrativist play.

Value standard is not part of much or Ron's writing, thought I don't think that should invalidate it.  I think of the term as meaning the rule by which something is judge right or wrong.  You'll note that such a rule is not theme.  What makes theme is a series of events where a particular rule (or value standard) is the key source of emotional engagement.  Narrativist premise, in Ron's sense, is the confluence of situation: characters, setting, history; and a value standard.  As Marco observed, Premise doesn't exist without the emotional engagement, that engagement comes from a player's interest and understanding of a value standard.
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ErrathofKosh
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Lest Darkness Fall.


« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2004, 10:58:16 AM »

Quote from: Alan

Ah, but my actions may make a statement, but my object is the emotional charge of the act, not the content that results.  The content produces the frisson, but is not the objective of it.


So the emotion that is evoked by the statement is your goal?  Interesting...

So, I ask two questions:

What is the goal you seek to attain through conflict?
  Your answer (IMO): To make a statement....
What is your reward for making such a statement?
  Your answer (again, IMO): An emotion evoked by said statement....

I see a parallel to something Marco said over in this post.  In Gam play it is defined that Gam players seek social "kudos."  However, both I and Marco have stated that we think there are other motives for seeking to overcome challenges.  SO, in this case, I could see a different motive for Nar play, i.e. emotion evoked by addressing Premise.

Just some thoughts...

Cheers
Jonathan
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Cheers,
Jonathan
Alan
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2004, 11:02:16 AM »

Quote from: ErrathofKosh

So the emotion that is evoked by the statement is your goal?  Interesting...

So, I ask two questions:

What is the goal you seek to attain through conflict?
  Your answer (IMO): To make a statement....
What is your reward for making such a statement?
  Your answer (again, IMO): An emotion evoked by said statement....


Not quite.  The emotion evoked by the doing is the goal - not the content of the statement.  That feeling is also the the reward.

Conflict (especially when supported by fortune) provides risk, which amps up the emotional charge.
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Marco
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2004, 11:15:48 AM »

Quote from: Alan

Not quite.  The emotion evoked by the doing is the goal - not the content of the statement.  That feeling is also the the reward.

Conflict (especially when supported by fortune) provides risk, which amps up the emotional charge.


I'm not sure that one can separate the goal of feeling the feeling of making the statement from the goal of making the statement itself.

I think there can be different focuses. The writer-guy in the group will be playing with a different mindset than the actor-dude--and, indeed, those may be two very different things (writer-guy keeps inventing NPC's and demands you use 'em, actor guy interacts with the NPC's you set out).

I think the recurring element or consistent aspect of "theme" is a redherring in this discussion. Theme can also be an implicit idea or a "central one."

-Marco
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Alan
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2004, 11:44:41 AM »

Let me try it a different way:

Theme is created by consistently demonstrating a particular content (an implied value judgement).  ie, we see a particular premise with value standard approached from different angles, each event produces a statement.  Part of each statement is some element which is consistent with a greater message - that message being theme.

Narrativist play does not require any consistency in the content of the statments made.  The goal is to have a chance to make the statement, not to establish one of a number of statements all with a consistent argument toward an pre-envisioned theme.
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Marco
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2004, 12:04:20 PM »

Quote from: Alan
Let me try it a different way:

Theme is created by consistently demonstrating a particular content (an implied value judgement).  ie, we see a particular premise with value standard approached from different angles, each event produces a statement.  Part of each statement is some element which is consistent with a greater message - that message being theme.

Narrativist play does not require any consistency in the content of the statments made.  The goal is to have a chance to make the statement, not to establish one of a number of statements all with a consistent argument toward an pre-envisioned theme.


I understand you can see it that way (correctly, IMO)--but I don't think you have to focus on the consistency. Theme can simply be the "main idea" of a story. If we play a short game and you set up a Premise question, answer it, and we play out the consequences, I think it is correct to say there is Theme (a central or main idea) to the story that has been created.

-Marco
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ErrathofKosh
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2004, 12:31:01 PM »

Quote from: Alan
Not quite.  The emotion evoked by the doing is the goal - not the content of the statement.  That feeling is also the the reward.


I'm not sure I completely understand.  

If no "statement" was made during some conflict, would there still be a possibility of the evoked emotion?  If so, what evokes it?

If not, I must point out that if the statement is necessary then it is a goal of the conflict, just not the end of the player's goals. (The player is rewarded by the fulfillment of his goals, yes...)




IMO, conflict produces three results:

Victory (or defeat)
A Statement (about almost anything)
Discovery (an implied statement about one of the elements involved)

It is these three results which elicit emotional responses.  Now, I could be misunderstanding which of these three avenues you are taking to gain the emotional response, but I do think you are taking one of them.  

And, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if you rejoice in the creation of a statement or if you are moved because it spoke to you.  My question still is, "What do you intend the outcome of this conflict to be?"
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Cheers,
Jonathan
M. J. Young
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2004, 08:03:01 PM »

I've been called on the carpet; at least I know my sometimes verbose posting is invited on this thread.

Quote from: John Kim
Quote from: M. J. Young
I'm not persuaded that the categories you propose really align with the existing categories the way you suggest. As Ralph says, control is not the difference between narrativism and simulationism; it's only symptomatic of the difference historically.

I'm not quite sure what you're saying here.  Are you saying that centralized, GM-controlled Narrativism is possible, just that it hasn't happened historically?  My impression is that it is inherent -- i.e. by definition, you cannot have Narrativism with centralized GM control.  If so, then centrality of control is at least one inherent difference between GNS Sim and GNS Nar.

That's a good question.

My most basic problem is that I don't see centralized/decentralized as a switch, but as a potentiometer (er--a slide? a dimmer switch, for those who don't know the concept otherwise). Illusionism and participationism are probably one end of the range, freeform the other, and everything else is between the two. Thus the question of whether a particular game is "centralized" or "decentralized" must always include the parameter "relative to what?", and that throws the entire notion of using it as a determinative factor into doubt. The other axis is easy enough; it's a matter of which of these is most important to the player. However, few people would say that they would rather play freeform than participationist, or participationist than freeform, because that isn't really the choice. Most of us are on the range between the two.

Further, arguendo, even if narrativism must be "decentralized theme", that doesn't mean that simulationism can't be so. I don't think it's been demonstrated that you can't have decentralized simulationism (and I suggested this was possible in Applied Theory when it wasn't really at issue). I know that simulationism has generally been highly centralized; but then, this has in large part been (presumably) to prevent gamist creep. If you had a gaming group committed to simulationism, you could do simulationist freeform. In fact, I'd wager that most games of House are exactly that: let's explore what it's like to be grown ups who are married and have a family, you be the daddy, you be the mommy, you be the baby. That's fully decentralized simulationism. It doesn't have theme, but there's no reason it couldn't, that I can see.

That, though, raises what I think is an emerging issue concerning narrativism--the thing that has bothered Ralph for some time, and I think has bothered me, too. In most discussions the assertion is made that the referee is one of the players, acting in a specific role in the game. In discussing address of premise, though, it is not permitted that the referee should have too much control over it, or it is not narrativism. I'm struggling with that myself. If we hit the place where centralization results in illusionism, then no one except the referee has any power to do anything meaningful; but in that case, no one is expressing their creative agendum except the referee, because he is stifling their efforts (in ways that are presumably skillful enough that they don't know it). They aren't really expressing narrativism, or gamism, or (I would say) simulationism. In illusionism, we may watch players struggle to assert a creative agendum, and we may see a creative agendum emerge from the referee's efforts, but the entire process is extremely dysfunctional and difficult to analyze in any meaningful way.

Thus we're pushed back to the problem of centralization not being a switch. Since the amount of centralization is entirely a matter of degree, I think you could play a strongly centralized game that was narrativist, as long as there was still some room for player expression in address of premise. If there's no room for player expression, then player agendum no longer matters, as the players are themselves superfluous to the game--the referee is showing off his design and walking them through it.

If it could be shown that there was some clear incontrovertible line that separated centralized from decentralized play, I'd reconsider; but as it stands, we don't have any way to label any particular example of play as one or the other. We can say that an example of gameplay is more or less centralized than the average game, or than games I prefer, or than some specific benchmark game; but these are all arbitrary points on a relative scale, and not useful for creating categories.

--M. J. Young
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Alan
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2004, 09:23:14 PM »

Quote from: ErrathofKosh
Quote from: Alan
Not quite.  The emotion evoked by the doing is the goal - not the content of the statement.  That feeling is also the the reward.


If no "statement" was made during some conflict, would there still be a possibility of the evoked emotion?  If so, what evokes it?


A statement is made; my point is that narrativist play aims to participate in the _process_ of addressing premise - the actual statement that was intended, or that results, is secondary.  Ie focus on the "making" part rather than the "statement" part.

Quote from: Marco

I understand you can see it that way (correctly, IMO)--but I don't think you have to focus on the consistency. Theme can simply be the "main idea" of a story.


Well, you could be using a different definition of theme (there are a lot of them).  But if I assume you use "theme" to mean "The point, message, or key emotional conclusion perceived by an audience member, about a fictional series of events," then by definition that process requires some kind of consistency.  

Don't get me wrong, thematic consistency is not antithetical to narrativist play, it just isn't the primary objective.  In fact, a game like Sorcerer sets a consistent value standard with the Humanity mechanics.  This does two things: 1) it generates more opportunities to address premise; and 2) it tends to create a series of events, each making a statment, which taken all together, illustrate a point.  However, I strongly suspect that 1) is Ron's primary design goal for the mechanic; and 2) is secondary.  1) would be acceptable under a narrativist agenda, even if 2) did not occur.  

Narrativist play aims to participate in the _process_ of making a statement - the actual content of the statement is secondary.
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John Kim
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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2004, 10:08:38 PM »

Quote from: Alan
Narrativist play aims to participate in the _process_ of making a statement - the actual content of the statement is secondary.

Well, but do you agree that theme/statement is still central to this definition?  i.e. If the goal is the process of making a statement, this hinges on both "process" and "statement".  Now, maybe you consider that the "process" part is more vital, but theme or statement is also part of the definition, correct?  

This all seems to fit with the 3D model category of Theme/Decentralized, where Decentralization implies the empowered creating of Theme.  Now, there are lots of ways we could re-formulate this.  For example, we could call it Decentralized/Theme to emphasize the centrality first.  We might also find a different word instead of Decentralized to emphasize empowerment and process.  But this seems consistent at a broad level with 3D.
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Alan
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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2004, 10:44:03 PM »

Quote from: John Kim
Quote from: Alan
Narrativist play aims to participate in the _process_ of making a statement - the actual content of the statement is secondary.

Well, but do you agree that theme/statement is still central to this definition?


No, it is a secondary and incedental result.
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Alan
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« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2004, 03:09:12 AM »

I've just thought of a good analogy:

Imagine a man directing a cart across a flat, muddy plain, studded with huge boulders.  Each time the cart approaches a boulder the man can choose at least two directions.

Addressing premise is one of those acts of choosing.

Later on another man sees the trail the cart left and thinks he sees a message in the pattern.  That's theme.

The cart driver is primarily interested in his choice.  How his trail turns out is incidental.
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Marco
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« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2004, 05:10:15 AM »

Quote from: Alan
I've just thought of a good analogy:

Imagine a man directing a cart across a flat, muddy plain, studded with huge boulders.  Each time the cart approaches a boulder the man can choose at least two directions.

Addressing premise is one of those acts of choosing.

Later on another man sees the trail the cart left and thinks he sees a message in the pattern.  That's theme.

The cart driver is primarily interested in his choice.  How his trail turns out is incidental.


It seems to me that the player who is intentionally making a statement with his play is choosing the direction (to use this analogy) to make sure that the tracks go in this direction.

This is the case when a player, in Author Stance addresses Premise, with the intent of making a specific statement with the play of the game as his medium.

-Marco
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Alan
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« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2004, 07:46:46 AM »

Marco,

I think I've taken this thread off topic.   I'll send you a private message.
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John Kim
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« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2004, 09:22:43 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young
Quote from: John Kim
  I'm not quite sure what you're saying here.  Are you saying that centralized, GM-controlled Narrativism is possible, just that it hasn't happened historically?  My impression is that it is inherent -- i.e. by definition, you cannot have Narrativism with centralized GM control.  If so, then centrality of control is at least one inherent difference between GNS Sim and GNS Nar.  

That's a good question.

My most basic problem is that I don't see centralized/decentralized as a switch, but as a potentiometer (er--a slide? a dimmer switch, for those who don't know the concept otherwise).  Illusionism and participationism are probably one end of the range, freeform the other, and everything else is between the two.  

I don't see it as a switch, either.  On the other hand, I don't see any of the other style issues as a switch.  They are categories which are broad, and individual games can vary widely within that category -- but at some point a game may cross the line into a different category.  

One option would be to have more categories to cover the spectrum.  i.e. Rather than Centralized/Decentralized, we might have three categories: maybe Centalized / Guided / Decentralized.  Of course, you will still have borderline cases and the problem of how to draw the line.  But I don't think this is

Quote from: M. J. Young
  Further, arguendo, even if narrativism must be "decentralized theme", that doesn't mean that simulationism can't be so. I don't think it's been demonstrated that you can't have decentralized simulationism (and I suggested this was possible in Applied Theory when it wasn't really at issue). I know that simulationism has generally been highly centralized; but then, this has in large part been (presumably) to prevent gamist creep. If you had a gaming group committed to simulationism, you could do simulationist freeform. In fact, I'd wager that most games of House are exactly that: let's explore what it's like to be grown ups who are married and have a family, you be the daddy, you be the mommy, you be the baby. That's fully decentralized simulationism. It doesn't have theme, but there's no reason it couldn't, that I can see.  

OK, this is an interesting case to expand on.  Can you describe more about what such a game would be like?  Perhaps a hypothetical or real example?  By definition it is Theme/Decentralized, but not Narrativists.  So the players are empowered to control how the game goes, and they are focused on creating theme -- but the game is definitely not Narrativist.  Your house example is fine as Immersion/Decentralized, but as you say it doesn't have Theme.  

Quote from: M. J. Young
  That, though, raises what I think is an emerging issue concerning narrativism--the thing that has bothered Ralph for some time, and I think has bothered me, too. In most discussions the assertion is made that the referee is one of the players, acting in a specific role in the game. In discussing address of premise, though, it is not permitted that the referee should have too much control over it, or it is not narrativism. I'm struggling with that myself. If we hit the place where centralization results in illusionism, then no one except the referee has any power to do anything meaningful; but in that case, no one is expressing their creative agendum except the referee, because he is stifling their efforts (in ways that are presumably skillful enough that they don't know it). They aren't really expressing narrativism, or gamism, or (I would say) simulationism. In illusionism, we may watch players struggle to assert a creative agendum, and we may see a creative agendum emerge from the referee's efforts, but the entire process is extremely dysfunctional and difficult to analyze in any meaningful way.

Actually, this is a good point.  I think this is a relation between Mike's 3D model and Ralph's revised-GNS.  The 3D model has three different categories of centralized play.  Ralph (aka Valamir) essentially places all centralized play into a single bucket -- which is considered Creative-Agenda-less play.  However, I suspect that he is also more stringent about what is "centralized".  In other words, it has to be very heavily GM-forced to be CA-less.  

Offhand, I prefer the 3D model.  It seems to me that even within heavily GM-dominated play, there is still a distinction of focus (i.e. Theme, Challenge, or Immersion).
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