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Author Topic: Narrativism and Simulationism a natural hybrid?  (Read 2452 times)
BeZurKur
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« on: July 20, 2005, 10:08:19 AM »

Alright, Iím reading the articles and threads trying to digest all this, but Iím having difficulty with one premise.

According to the essays, hybrids rarely work.  However, isnít Narrativism and Simulationism a natural hybrid?  If we are going to explore the theme (hmm, Narrativism as an exploration of themeÖ) we need to explore the characters and their relationship to their world Ė Simulationism.  All fiction has character development and setting description, even fiction set in the contemporary world.

I donít think I mean drifting, since both goals will be taking place at the same time.  However, I also realize they are two separate goals.  I mean a genuine hybrid: Narrativism + Simulationism.  Of course the two can still occur independently.  Maybe this is why games billed essentially as Narrativism (Storyteller games and Dragonlance) lapse over to purely Simulationism.  What am I missing?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2005, 10:15:47 AM »

Hiya,

In a nutshell, "no."

Exploration in the service of Premise-Addressing is part of Narrativist play. Exploration in the service of Stepping-On-Up is part of Gamist play.

Neither of those Explorative foundations, in those situations, is Simulationist. At all.

Simulationism is not defined by the "presence of Exploration." All role-playing includes Exploration.

Simulationist play is defined by a given approach to Exploration, just as the other Creative Agendas are defined by their approaches.

To further clarify, Narrativist play is not defined as "explore Theme." Using "explore" in that phrase doesn't match with the jargon Exploration as defined in the essays. If you Explored Theme, using the jargon terms, and if that were your top priority, then you'd be playing Simulationist, because the Theme would already be there to Explore.

Whereas if you were addressing Premise, and thereby creating Theme through play (and I really do mean creating it, not just keeping it on hand and saying it on cue), then you can't be Exploring it as your purpose. You're making it, not examining or celebrating it. It's not there yet, as you play.

I hope this helps ... let me know.

Best,
Ron
« Last Edit: July 20, 2005, 10:19:37 AM by Ron Edwards » Logged
jburneko
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2005, 10:44:33 AM »

Hey There,

I was working on this when Ron posted.  Consider this a, "to say it another way" post.

This is a common confusion because of the common Exploration that is required in ALL roleplaying games.  ALL roleplaying games involve characters doing stuff in a situation and setting.

The key to The Dream (Simulationism) as a CA is that the Exploration is held to a set of pre-play expectations.  The payoff for The Dream is when the output lives-up to those expectations.  Now, what those expectations are can be wide and varied.  "Yes, this is exactly what would 'really' happen if Spiderman and the Hulk got into a fight."  or "Cool, this feels exactly like a William Gibson novel." or "Excelent, my bullets hit about the correct number of times given his skill level."

On the other hand Story Now (Narrativism) focuses on the in the moment decision making of the characters thrown into meaningful conflict.  The payoff moment is the ability to make those choices freely and roll with the punches of sucess or failure.  Any usage of pre-play aesthetics is there to highlight and emphasize a set of decision-making moments, not a list of expectations on how things "should" play out or a standard of how we know we've "got it right."

Does that help?

Jesse
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Simon Marks
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2005, 03:47:36 AM »

I'm going to sum up and ask if I am right.

Simulation is an alternative to this world.
Narravatism is a metaphore for this world.

So, in Creative Agenda A, we explore this situation to see 'what happens', as oppose to in Creative Agenda B where we see how we feel about 'what happens'

I think.

Personally, I am still having a hard time with Sim - possibly because I appear not to enjoy it much...
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2005, 04:13:26 AM »

Hi Simon,

That's almost certainly what I call a Say It Yourself phrasing in the Narrativism essay. It probably works very well for you and gets you exactly into a mindset which facilitates more coherent play, but the words are interpretable and won't translate very well across the multitude of confusions.

Many of those confusions are based on, well, to put it bluntly, social and creative programming that produce something like brain damage. So there's no real point in coming up with the perfect phrasing. If you can Say It Yourself, then good!

Best,
Ron
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BeZurKur
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2005, 10:24:36 AM »

Thank you Ron, Jesse, and Simon too.  Yes, it does help.  Iíve gone back to the articles to mull over some of the ideas there and what you have said in this thread.  I havenít read all the articles yet, but Iím posting here as I go so I donít stray too far when I am off.  I never knew I was so brain damaged!

Am I right in thinking that character development in Narrative play is to further / resolve the conflict as set in the premise, while character development in Simulation play is to serve its own goal, itself?  In other words, in Narrative play, character development is the means to an end; the end being conflict and theme.  In Simulation, character development is the means and end.
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- Joel Rojas
Vaxalon
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2005, 10:29:02 AM »

No, I think character development as an end in itself tends more towards gamism than sim.

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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
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BeZurKur
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2005, 10:40:30 AM »

I should have specified: I mean character development in a literary sense not an XP sense.  And, I mean XP in an RPG sense not a Windows operating system sense!
« Last Edit: July 21, 2005, 10:45:09 AM by BeZurKur » Logged

- Joel Rojas
Vaxalon
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2005, 11:38:39 AM »

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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2005, 12:05:58 PM »

Hiya,

Well, it depends ... sometimes we can play and not see much "development" of whatever sort. I've had some wicked good Narrativist play experiences in which "development" is only handled as post-play epilogues, for instance.

So I think that's a question better taken to actual systems and instances.

Best,
Ron
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BeZurKur
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2005, 02:00:22 PM »

Yes, character development is not always present, and that's a good thing.  I think I'm getting more of it, although it might take a while.  There is a lot of rewiring that this is going to need.  But, I do see that Nar and Sim is not a natural hybrid.  I have to check back to the articles to find if they are even a possible hybrid.  Thanks.
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- Joel Rojas
Silmenume
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2005, 02:46:47 PM »

Hey Joel,

If you are looking for an example of a game that is designed to facilitate Sim/Nar hybrid play you might try Shadows in the Fog.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
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