*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 19, 2014, 09:49:34 PM

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: 50 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4
Print
Author Topic: The Secret of Sim  (Read 27961 times)
Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2005, 09:51:28 PM »

Ron has said many times, ctrail, that he didn't invent any of the agendas, he coined terms to fit what already existed.  I don't know if that still holds true under Big Model, which is blazing trails a little more than his first configuration.  Nonetheless, Ron still isn't making things up out of thin air; he's inventing terms to be applied to phenomena that already exist.  As such, his terms and their definitions may not actually fit what he proposes they fit.

I can invent the word "Carfoodle" and say that it's a piece of a space ship engine, but if I point at a giraffe and say that's a Carfoodle, I'm still wrong.
Logged

talysman
Member

Posts: 675


WWW
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2005, 11:29:52 PM »

John L: Oh! Oh, I see.

Yes. If you mean by "exalting the fiction" basically the same thing that Ron means by "celebrating the input," then yeah, right on.

then we're good. I don't disagree with Ron's definition, I just though it was missing something extra, and that missing something is at the core of a lot of bitter arguments about Sim.

and I, for one, will be working on the minimalist Setting/Color rules. don't have anything in production yet, but I have ideas on what might be possible.
Logged

John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2005, 01:59:24 AM »

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

I’ve been champing at the bit all day to get into this thread!

Hey John!

When Ron or Vincent or others say how roleplaying is all about the social aspect, the relationship of the real people around the table is the most important part of play, I kind of grouse to myself, because if I'm primarily interested in socializing, I have plenty of ways to socialize; roleplaying is not something I (or, I bet, other Sim players) do primarily for socializing, but primariily for something else.

It's about the Fiction.

This is the difference between Exploration and "Exploration Squared". Exploration is building The Fiction as a group; "Exploration Squared" says "decisions must be made in reference to The Fiction, not some priority outside of The Fiction". It's play centered around *things* rather than *people*.

I just want to just make available some parts of a thread that I think are very relevant and might be of some use to you –

So just like in regular play, the Big Model operates diagnostically to shift down the level of concern away from straight-up Social Contract.  If it’s really Social Contract that is disastrously breaking the game, we have to say, “Get new friends, these people and you will never get along,” or “You’re an asshole, it’s your fault, go away.”  Nobody wants to say that, if nothing else because it’s not tactful.

But why not?  That sounds like a stupid question, but it’s quite serious.

Answer:
    Because the whole elaborate structure here is socially constituted from the start to the finish, bottom to top and in reverse[/list]Which means...
      The whole structure of gaming is socially reinforcing[/list]



      …So why does it work at all?  Because each piece has now been tooled by us, ever so slightly, and that tooling and tweaking has told us, deep down, that we are okay as a game group.  The fact that it’s a horrible mess means nothing; we don’t care.  What we care about is that on a case-by-case basis, we can handle things in a way that makes us feel positive about our gameplay, which means that we feel positive about ourselves, individually and especially as a social group.

      I put the above in only to propose the idea to you that Sim is just as “socially” oriented as Gam and Nar play and why – its just that its in a form that is at right angles to those two.

      Now, you can theorize about how the high number of "geeks" in the hobby helped spawn a Creative Agenda that reverses the "people vs. things" priority of the other two agendas; you can theorize about how much wish-fulfillment or fanboyism played a role in creating early Sim approaches. My point is that, once you come to grips with the fact that it's all about reversing that priority, you can see that there are potential forms of Sim that haven't been fully explored. For example, instead of emulating the Color of a specific body of popular fiction, it's possible to create a small set of Setting/Color rules that generate details during play; Exploration then becomes focused on a Fiction that didn't exist prior to play. Since techniques like this could be useful in Gamist and Narrativist designs as well, it seems like a fertile field for thought... but it's probably going to take a Sim designer to really push that boundary; the other agendas have their own boundaries to explore that are far more important to their approach to play.

      I’m with you about the need of a reversal of priorities, but I don’t think it’s a matter of switching the priority of “people vs. things.”  The reversal that I have been pondering is a reversal of the “mechanics lead exploration” dogma.  IOW “exploration leads/follows mechanics.”  Ultimately, just like you were pondering, you start with something relatively simple and encourage the whole of the game to grow through Exploration – just give ‘em enough fiddly pieces (some Mechanics, some Setting – physical and cultural, maybe a little Color and if you feel everyone is going to staring at each other about what “to do” throw in a little bit on relationships) to start with.

      A little something to add to your musings, if you are so inclined.

      I am also with you in that Sim game hasn’t been fully explored.  Heck, I don’t think its even really been effectively done at the mass market level at all.

      "The beeg horseshoe," "trouble pinning sim down"... I'm telling you, that's not really how it is. Sim's well and solidly understood, by many of us, as its own thing and pinned down just fine.

      That some people don't understand it doesn't mean that it's not.

      (Ron's been saying this for a while now, of course. Like here recently: Re: Question for Vincent.)

      My very straightforward advice, if you happen to be someone who doesn't understand sim and wants to: stop attending to the idea that sim's not theoretically well-developed here, accept that it's your understanding that's wanting, but apply yourself to understanding narrativism first.

      My very straightforward statement, if you happen to be someone who feels that sim is not theoretically well-developed here: in fact, you don't understand the CAs. If you want to, see the previous.

      This is button for me, so you'll have to excuse my tone.  Just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean you don't understand it.  Also, something can be fully understood and still be flawed; understanding involves understanding the flaws as well, not daydreaming about perfection.  And a flawed theory doesn't equate to an under developed theory.  Sim can be fully understood, fully developed, and still flawed.  It's like the Yugo of Creative Agenda.

      I’m with Jason on this in a big ugly way.  My analogy is that the way Sim is currently explained is like the Ptolemaic model of the heavens with all sorts of Epicycles and Deferents, but there is no defined unifying principle.  Yet when threads about Sim are breached they typically get hammered by defenders of the Ptolemaic model or are lost by those seeking to add just one more epicycle to make it all work out.

      There are yet some basic assumptions about Sim that have not yet been worked out and on some levels it just does not share the same aspects as Gam/Nar.  To me the simplest indicator of the failure of current understanding of Sim is that its not defined by a process in a Model that is about processes.

      what I'm saying is: the Sim preference is to exalt The Fiction (Character, Setting, Situation and Color) over the needs of the individual.

      This path is riddled with a cancer that will ultimately lead to no good.  All functional modes of play require the Players at some level or another to place the needs of the group activity over that of the individual.  Nar is agreeing to address Premise and Gam is agreeing to address Challenge.  Players are shooting off willy-nilly in G/N scratching their own individual itches – there is a commitment, at least in a functional game, to mutually support one another in that process.

      what I'm saying is that Gamism and Narrativism are based on the first form of communication, while Simmulationism is based on the second. Simulationism is *depersonalized*.

      I’m afraid that I’m going to have to disagree with you most strenuously on that is one!  Suffice it to say that I have never played in or observed more intense play than the game I am in currently now.  It is Sim through and through (totally matches up the Chris’ Bricolage) and we have frequent emotional overloads with new Players – the game is so intense.  In one of the less *ahem* illustrious moments in the game’s history one Player took it so personally he tried to burn his own apartment down after a game.  He took the game extremely personally and while that was an extraordinary act his “personalization” of the game was not unusual.

      Sim exalts The Fiction and is antagonistic towards the personal; it attempts to minimalize the interactions within the group, either the "look at me! I'm great!" interactions of Gamism or the "look at me! I have a meaningful moral statement!" interactions of Narrativism. that sounds harsh, but I'm betting lots of hardcore Sim players think of hardcore Gma/Nar players as egotistical.

      I’m a pretty hardcore Sim Player, and while I haven’t particularly enjoyed G/N play, I’m concerned that your analysis will not serve you well.

      Hey John,

      To my mind, this is the basic problem with definitional debates.  That is, there's nothing wrong with a category of gaming which is about pursuing increase in knowlege (as M.J. suggests); or a category about bricolage (as Jay suggests); or about pursuing discovery (as Ralph suggests); or about celebration (as Ron suggests most recently).  However, these are overloading a single term.

      I’m a broken record here, and I apologize, but bricolage does encompass an increase of knowledge, pursuing discovery and celebration.

      I think Bob's suggestion about the lack of quality Sim design is dead on. I also think that, yes, part of the problem is that most of the discussion about Sim has been initiated or directed by people who fundamentally don't like Sim. I like Sim, but I'm pointing out what just might be the deep reason for the hatred people feel for Sim, as well as the antagonism Sim-only players feel towards Gam/Nar. I feel I've got a good grasp on the definitions of all three agendas, but I've been disappointed with the discussion of Sim because of the anti-Sim taint.

      Hear, hear!  As a data point, did you ever read my thread, [DitV] - I am an incompetent Narrativist! over in AP about my DitV experience?

      Hey Joshua,

      The thing that really bothers me, Vincent, is that the people who "get" Simulationism generally don't like Simulationism, so I am extremely leery of accepting their definition and characterization of the agenda.  It's like a vegetarian telling you about steak.

      To compound the problem, nearly every poster who does avow a preference for Sim repeatedly gets their observations drowned out by the people who don't.

      You and me both.

      Hey Robert,

      What I find muddles the issue however, is that when folks who favor Sim point to what they like, inevitably someone comes along and co-opts it for another agenda. Matrix-Gamer's example screams Sim to me, yet someone immediately came along and claimed it to be Narr. That's the sort of thing I'm talking about. There seems to be this overwhelming need for any enjoyable experience to be lumped with Narr ( or more unusually, Gam) and anything dull, drab, overwritten or otherwise annoying to be labelled Sim.

      You have absolutely no idea how that particular prejudice just drives me completely insane!  Thank you for voicing that.

      I don't disagree with Ron's definition, I just though it was missing something extra, and that missing something is at the core of a lot of bitter arguments about Sim.

      The problem is that the definition of “celebrating” the input is applicable to all 3 CA’s.  I mean what is the oohing and aaahing of Player’s address of Premise if not the “celebration” of said Player’s input?  We’re still short a defined process and any governing principles.

      However, as a close, I just wanted to say, “Right on!”  Go make that game!
      Logged

      Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

      Jay
      lumpley
      Administrator
      Member
      *
      Posts: 3453


      WWW
      « Reply #33 on: November 16, 2005, 08:45:41 AM »

      Jay, I'll repeat myself, just for you: to understand simulationism, you have to understand all the CAs. You don't understand the CAs. That's clear from what you've written and what you continue to write. If you'd like to understand simulationism, I think you'll have better luck pursuing an understanding of narrativism first.

      I'm certain that you don't feel that you don't understand the CAs - you've made that very clear too. I can't help that; all I can do is tell you the truth.

      -Vincent
      Logged
      ctrail
      Member

      Posts: 19


      « Reply #34 on: November 16, 2005, 09:25:32 AM »

      Ron has said many times, ctrail, that he didn't invent any of the agendas, he coined terms to fit what already existed.  I don't know if that still holds true under Big Model, which is blazing trails a little more than his first configuration.  Nonetheless, Ron still isn't making things up out of thin air; he's inventing terms to be applied to phenomena that already exist.  As such, his terms and their definitions may not actually fit what he proposes they fit.

      I can invent the word "Carfoodle" and say that it's a piece of a space ship engine, but if I point at a giraffe and say that's a Carfoodle, I'm still wrong.

      I didn't mean to say that he invented the things that he refered to, but that he took a group of unclassified things and created a classification scheme. So it might be a bad classification scheme, by leaving something out or having categories which overlap or even by having terms which connote something other than what they denote, but I don't see how he could be wrong about what he meant by each term.

      In that way, I think it is very different from your Carfoodle example. This strikes me as more analogous- Nobody had ever thought about what to call the different parts of a space engine before, and then someone came along and looked at it, and decided that it had three basic parts, and he named each of them. One part he called a Carfoodle. Some people looked at the engine and thought they saw a part which hadn't been described, and thought it should be called a Carfoodle. Other people had an idea of what Carfoodle should mean, and wanted to apply it to different parts of the engine, and got upset when they were told they were not pointing at the Carfoodle, but at a different part. It is different from saying a giraffe is a part of a space engine, because we both knew what those terms meant before Carfoodle came up in the conversation.

      (Man, I hope that clarified my position, because I sure felt silly writing it.)

      When I first asked the question "What is Simulationism?", which launched this debate, I guess what I was asking was "What do you mean when you use the word Simulationism?" As I understand, that word didn't really have a meaning, at least in this context, before it was coined to address CA. So although that may be a more or less fitting word for the concept it describes, it seems like it refers to whatever the person who coined it meant it to mean. Was there another meaning to the word before it was used in GNS? Because I wasn't familiar with it. The word has certain connotation, which I think may be confusing people regarding what is meant by it, but it seems like it was defined however it was defined.
      Logged
      talysman
      Member

      Posts: 675


      WWW
      « Reply #35 on: November 16, 2005, 01:08:05 PM »

      Collin:

      we're going to get sidetracked if we debate what the proper analogy for the naming process behind the three Creative Agendas is or should be. it's not really relevant to what I'm saying or what people are trying to do when they discuss Simulationism. I will say, however, that before there was GNS and The Big Model, there was GDS (Gamism, Drama, and Simulationism,) aka the Threefold Model; Ron developed GNS because he wasn't quite happy with what The Threefold Model was attempting to analyze (GM motivations,) because he had his own ideas about what was interesting. both forms of Simulationism get their name from repeated references in roleplaying texts to simulating an environment or fantasy world; there are reasons why "simulation" is considered a poor way of describing what's going on, but Simulationism is considered a good enough term to suggest the kind of activity we're talking about.

      Jay:

      I'm going to ask you to step back a bit from your insistence that Simulationism is about specific techniques and consider what I'm saying in terms of Simulationism as a Creative Agenda, not a Technical Agenda. it's been said many times that techniques cross agenda lines, and every technique you've described has shown up in Gamism, Narrativism, and Simulationism. even briccolage. even the question of which comes first, mechanics or exploration. I'm asking you to set these Technical Agendas aside because I play Sim, but I don't play the way you play, and whenever a Sim discussion rises, you claim that my way of playing and every other Sim player's way of playing isn't Sim. that's not going to lead us to anything useful.

      so, setting aside the Technical Agendas, let's focus on the whole social issue. I believe you've missed the comments I made about how Simulationism *is* a social process. I'm not saying there is no social activity in Sim; I'm saying something about the way social acitiviy is conducted; it's all focused on The Fiction, not on external matters.

      this doesn't mean that The Fiction holds no personal relevance, as you debate here:

      what I'm saying is that Gamism and Narrativism are based on the first form of communication, while Simmulationism is based on the second. Simulationism is *depersonalized*.

      I’m afraid that I’m going to have to disagree with you most strenuously on that is one!  Suffice it to say that I have never played in or observed more intense play than the game I am in currently now.  It is Sim through and through (totally matches up the Chris’ Bricolage) and we have frequent emotional overloads with new Players – the game is so intense.  In one of the less *ahem* illustrious moments in the game’s history one Player took it so personally he tried to burn his own apartment down after a game.  He took the game extremely personally and while that was an extraordinary act his “personalization” of the game was not unusual.

      I find it interesting that what you offer as a counterexample of my description of Sim seems to me to prove it even further, since you're talking about the effects of The Fiction on players. what you're responding to doesn't seem to use what I wrote immediately before the sentence you quote:

      Quote
      it might be easier if I sidetracked and talked about two forms of communication we see in everyday life. there is communication between two people about relationships and there is communication mediated by an impersonal topic of conversation, such as a discussion about how a machine works. one form is personal, the other is impersonal; they can sometimes be confused, with a conversation about the weather or government actually carrying a personal subtext, communicated by body language or tone of voice. there are times when people communicate, but not in the same mode; the person expecting a personal connection considers the other person dry, boring, mechanical, while the other person considers the first to be too intense.

      since you interpreted "personal/impersonal" in a manner completely different from what I said, let's approach it from a different angle: let's say you and I are roleplaying Traveller. we're playing characters on a scout ship, exploring new worlds and jump routes. if our play focuses on The Fiction of Traveller (or rather, the "official" Traveller universe plus any modifications we as a group have introduced,) then it's Sim. although we are communicating together and may have intense moments fighting smugglers or trying to save a dying planet, all of the flow of meaning comes from the imagined world -- The Fiction -- and flows to we, the players as individuals. our actions as a group and our social interactions are all focused on facilitiating that one-way flow of meaning. the only thing that flows the other way, from player to Fiction, is more fictional content, impliomented through the means of characters we control.

      if, on the other hand, I start focusing more on figuring out clever trade routes and looking for validation on my cleverness or strategy, I've switched to Gamism; our communication is no longer about just The Fiction, but is also about matters of esteem (Step On Up) and I am introducing myself the player into the discussion. you might allow a little of this, but once my desire for esteem begins to interfere with The Fiction, you're going to object, because we're talking about you and me instead of this third thing, The Traveller Universe.

      and if I start focusing on conflicts between governments and individuals caught in the machinations between governments, and if I keep changing The Fiction to introduce government characters trying to oppress individuals we meet so that I can set up conflicts between my character's ideals and his duty as a scout, then I'm switching to Narrativism; our communication is no longer about just The Fiction, but also about some moral principles I really think would be cool to address. again, you might let me get away with a little bit of a moral stance, especially if I wrote something about it in my character's backstory; but the more I let my personal interestes in expressing moral issues in The Fiction alter that Fiction, the more you are going to object, because again we're talking about me and my issues instead of this third thing, The Traveller Universe.

      now, if you don't object to either of those things as long as I don't introduce metagame mechanics to fascillitate them, then you have a Technical Agenda. if you *do* object, no matter what kind of mechanics we're talking about, then you have a Creative Agenda. Creative Agenda is all about how much of Character, Setting, Situation, Color and System I'm willing to change to get what you want. Exploration as a whole is that impersonal object, The Fiction which we *must* talk about in order to be roleplaying at all; when *something else* changes The Fiction, changes Exploration, we are interjecting personal matters into our roleplaying and thus diverging from Sim.

      there's one other comment you made I want to address directly:

      Quote
      The problem is that the definition of “celebrating” the input is applicable to all 3 CA’s.  I mean what is the oohing and aaahing of Player’s address of Premise if not the “celebration” of said Player’s input?  We’re still short a defined process and any governing principles.

      I'm not sure Creative Agenda should be described as a process at all. I suspect this is more confusion between Technical Agendas and Creative Agendas. I will have to think about that.

      but what I will say is: if you want all the Agendas to be described in the same way, why can't you accept "celebrating the source input" as Sim, since you see "celebrating the esteem input" as Gamism and "celebrating the moral decision input" as Narrativism?

      does this help you in any way?
      Logged

      John Laviolette
      (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
      rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
      John Kim
      Member

      Posts: 1805


      WWW
      « Reply #36 on: November 16, 2005, 01:36:54 PM »


      To my mind, this is the basic problem with definitional debates.  That is, there's nothing wrong with a category of gaming which is about pursuing increase in knowlege (as M.J. suggests); or a category about bricolage (as Jay suggests); or about pursuing discovery (as Ralph suggests); or about celebration (as Ron suggests most recently).  However, these are overloading a single term.

      I’m a broken record here, and I apologize, but bricolage does encompass an increase of knowledge, pursuing discovery and celebration.

      But they're not definitionally the same.  That is, you can have celebration which is not bricolage, and bricolage which is not celebration.  You can have increase of knowledge which is not bricolage.  I accept that there is overlap, but these definitions also have significant differences from each other. 

      Logged

      - John
      Joel
      Registree

      Posts: 2


      « Reply #37 on: November 16, 2005, 03:02:22 PM »

      talysman,

      you may not be unifying the simulationists, or even strengthening its definition, but as newbie to the Forge, you have certainly helped me understand G/N/S better. I have been "lurking" here trying to figure out where I even fit as far as a Gamist, Narrativist or Simulationist. I had initially thrown Simulationism out but now see that was my first and biggest mistake. The frustrations I have had in a number of the games I have played are a result of this "flow" or more specifically, lack there of.

      I play with two D&D (gasp) groups who have both adopted the "Forgotten Realms" fiction. They reference the novels, the source books, etc... Then Rule Lawyer for three hours straight, using none of the "color" they have chosen, nor focusing on using this imagined world for all it's amazing resources. I came in, created a character, filled him to the brim with back story set in this world, and then was plugged in as "The Ranger."

      I've found the few games I've played in where a Simulationist play as come to the fore front have "flowed" the best and been the most rewarding experience.

      I played the Cthulhu-Dark Ages Master's Tournament at this year's Gen-con, and those games were very Simulationist. I wish I had the time to go into it more here.

      I've digressed, my apologies. I'm just feeling much more enlightened. John may not have "defined" Simulationism as it is in the G/N/S, but he has, in my opinion, found its essence.
      Logged
      Caldis
      Member

      Posts: 359


      « Reply #38 on: November 16, 2005, 08:37:25 PM »


      Quote
      I play with two D&D (gasp) groups who have both adopted the "Forgotten Realms" fiction. They reference the novels, the source books, etc... Then Rule Lawyer for three hours straight, using none of the "color" they have chosen, nor focusing on using this imagined world for all it's amazing resources. I came in, created a character, filled him to the brim with back story set in this world, and then was plugged in as "The Ranger."

      I'm afraid Joel that the rules lawyering you seem to dislike is a big part of the sim CA.  Getting the system right can be just as important for Sim as the setting and the color.  That's why games like Gurps have traditionally been listed as supporting sim, no background setting info but tons of system.


       

       
      Logged
      contracycle
      Member

      Posts: 2807


      « Reply #39 on: November 17, 2005, 05:19:06 AM »

      I'm afraid Joel that the rules lawyering you seem to dislike is a big part of the sim CA.  Getting the system right can be just as important for Sim as the setting and the color.  That's why games like Gurps have traditionally been listed as supporting sim, no background setting info but tons of system.

      Yes, but that can still be about setting, not system - that is, the arguments are about the setting, and whether not the system "accurately" represents the setting.

      ---

      This "if you think Sim is problematic you don't undserstand the CA's" line of argument is bullshit - complete and utter bullshit from start to finish.  Arrogance is not a suitable substitution for argument.  I can, and will, respond to Vincent in exactly his terms - if you don;t understand the poroblem, Vincent, its quite oibvious that you don't understand any of the CA's.  And so now that we have exchanged broadsides, can we get on to discussing the meat?

      ---

      I agree with posters who have expressed the opinion that Sim has essentially been put into a box, and that box has been defined from how it looks from the Nar perspective.  And IME, this has lead to many non-fruitful discussions.  One that sticks in my memory is the "my guy" syndrome, where, rather anaologous to the co-option of a satisfying Sim play experience as Narr, this property of healthy character representation is construed as a form of disfunction, and as a result, any attempt to discuss and solve the problem from within Sim becomes effectively forbidden.  Similarly, the dogma that you have to "hook the players and not the characters" has become an impediment IMO, because while it is valid in the abstract that is no help at all in determining What To Do in order to hook a Sim player THROUGH their character.

      There is much work yet to be done on Sim, I think.
      Logged

      Impeach the bomber boys:
      www.impeachblair.org
      www.impeachbush.org

      "He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
      - Leonardo da Vinci
      lumpley
      Administrator
      Member
      *
      Posts: 3453


      WWW
      « Reply #40 on: November 17, 2005, 08:59:54 AM »

      This "if you think Sim is problematic you don't undserstand the CA's" line of argument is bullshit - complete and utter bullshit from start to finish. Arrogance is not a suitable substitution for argument.

      Gareth, I'm pretty sure that if you looked you'd find plenty of arguments leading up to my current position.

      -Vincent
      Logged
      komradebob
      Member

      Posts: 462


      « Reply #41 on: November 17, 2005, 09:29:15 AM »

      Quote
      There is much work yet to be done on Sim, I think.

      Well, before this breaks up into a fight about how evil and elitist Narr fans are, perhaps we could more profitably look at what has come out of the discussions on Narr and Narr supportive design and look at how those results could have applications in Sim supportive design.

      I'll start.

      In exploring Narr supporting designs, folks have figured out just how important communication between participants is to functional play. Several Narr supportive designs very specifically hard-wire the concept of cgroup communication in to the structure of play. In fact these games cannot function, play cannot even begin, without dome preliminary communication between players ( including the GM).

      Contrast this with the average mainstream Sim supporting game. Often these games have absolutely nothing that requires communication between participants, at least at any level that shares the relevant information necessary for successful play ( coherent agenda play, anyway). Instead, Sim designs classically throw this sort of thing in the GM's advice section or in magazine/internet articles on "more successful play".

      Look at those two:
      One requires regular communication, the other leaves it in the realm of airy-fairy-new-agey-people-need-to-communicate-more-isms.
      Given that there isn't a whole lot of rules-mechanic enforced communication in Sim designs, is it actually a shock that players using Sim designs have weird Agenda cohesion problems?

      Unexamined GM Role/duties:
      Narr designs that we've seen around these parts frequently have some very clear takes on what a GM does. Trad Sim designs often don't. Instead, they have received wisdom and tradition. There has been a massive accumulation of duties to the position of GM since D&D first became an RPG. Narrs uppoortive designs often have a more focused vision of what a GM does, or which participant tackles on which GM duties in particular circumstances.

      Gamist Baggage:
      Sim designs often continue to contain a ton of gamist design baggage. Ironically, here at the Forge, when we see some indie Gam supporting designs, those designs often simply dump a whole lot od Sim baggage and are better games for that. So why do Sim designs hold onto many aspects of design that made sense in a Gamist context, but are just clunky in a Sim context?
      Admittedly, this one probably is likely to point towards an internal Sim design conflict between the Setting/Source material monkeys ( like me) and the physics modellers, but that seems as good as anything to hash out...

      Openness:
      Many Narr designs ( and some Gam) designs work on a much greater degree of opennness than we usually find in Sim design. In a way, I think this points to the Gamist/D&D unexamined baggage problem I was talking about. In D&D, having the GM have a bunch of hidden knowledge makes sense. It is part of what adds some Fog-of-War to the tactical challenges, and was one of the primary reasons for the style of minis-wargame that was a major inspiration for D&D.

      However, hidden material may not be as useful for many types of Sim design. Knowledge and open access to that knowledge strikes me as being more likely to produce results that "celebrate source material" than limited access to knowlegde on the part of participants.

      I've got more, but I'd best leave it for a later post.
      Best regards ( and a plea for civility)
      Logged

      Robert Earley-Clark

      currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
      timfire
      Member

      Posts: 756


      WWW
      « Reply #42 on: November 17, 2005, 10:29:29 AM »

      As there are always calls for people to design games that incorporate our current Sim ideas, I wanted to bring it people's attention that my upcoming game, In a Land Called, contains alot of what I consider to be "New Skool" Sim. If you want to discuss it, I've started [a thread] over in Indie Design.
      Logged

      --Timothy Walters Kleinert
      Nathan P.
      Member

      Posts: 536


      WWW
      « Reply #43 on: November 17, 2005, 11:07:22 AM »

      Along those same lines, I consider Timestream to be a Sim-supporting design. Check out This thread for some material on why I think so. Also, I just blogged about Sim, and at the bottom I talk more about why Timestream supports it. Also, Shadows In The Fog has a whole lot of Sim in it, IMO.
      Logged

      Nathan P.
      --
      Find Annalise
      ---
      My Games | ndp design
      Also | carry. a game about war.
      I think Design Matters
      M. J. Young
      Member

      Posts: 2198


      WWW
      « Reply #44 on: November 17, 2005, 11:46:48 AM »

      "Beeeg Horseshoe" and "Big Model" are incompatible theories, to some degree; to say that you use the "Beeeg Horseshoe" to understand Simulationism is in essence to say that simulationism is not an agendum, but the absence of any agendum, the persistent quashing of both narrativist and gamist impulses.  The problem I have with such a position is that there is then no reason for anyone to like simulationism, because the agendum provides the "why we are playing", or more concretely "what is it about playing this game that makes it 'fun'". In the Big Model, the answer is still being debated; in the Beeeg Horseshoe, the answer is that there is nothing that makes simulationist play fun, and there is no motivation to play that way. Although Mike might object to this, even he admits that in his view of the model those in the middle are constantly drifting toward one or the other, middle-point simulationism being more like zilchplay in the Beeeg Horseshoe construction, play without any motivation or objective, play without an agendum.
      Please name five things, possibly with examples ( short) and why you associate them with Sim priorities and why you find them negative. If you can, please tie them to your idea of "real Sim".
      I have long been the poster child for drift, for enjoying games in different agenda and even for changing agenda during play of the same game. My own game has been labeled a "gem of coherent simulationist design" by Ron Edwards (something like that, in the GNS and Other Matters of.... essay). As such, I certainly don't think that there's anything "negative" about simulationism. However, leaving out that part of the question, let me try to provide some activities I perceive as simulationist, and why they fit my understanding of simulationism as discovery.
      • Playing in the Star Trek Universe to see what it is like to be in Star Trek. "It would be so cool," someone would say, "to be like Captain Kirk, flying around the universe in that cool starship, meeting aliens, quoting the Prime Directive." Would it be cool? What would it be like to be on such a starship, as the captain, or as the engineer, or as the bartender? I'm not necessarily interested in whether the Prime Directive is a good rule, or whether we can beat the Cardassians in a fair fight. I just want to see what it's like to be Federation. I discover and understand being on a spaceship in that universe by taking the part of a character in the game. I am discovering the Federation. I am exploring setting.
      • Playing a known character or character type, to "walk an imaginary mile in his mocassins", to understand that person better. Maybe you want to play Spock, to try to understand someone who always acts rationally. Several times I have role-played female characters in part better to grasp how women think and react and perceive themselves. I might try playing a free black man in the antebellum American south, to try to experience racial prejudice more directly. It's not that I want to make a statement about these things; it's that I want to know what they are like. I might get some of that from books, movies, or television, but at present the closest I can come to actually experiencing that is to play it in a good simulationist role playing game. I am exploring character.
      • Playing myself, or a character like me, in a dangerous or impossible situation. What would I do if I really came face to face with a dragon, or a vampire, or Cthulu? C. J. Henderson says of his Jack London mystery The Things That Are Not There (very good, incidentally) that when he tried writing Cthulu-esque stories he kept running into problems, because his characters kept trying to do something instead of just standing there gibbering senselessly. That's part of the question. If I can imagine myself face to face with something like that, what do I see myself doing at that moment? What would I like to believe I would do? What do I believe I would actually do? I am discovering myself; I am exploring situation.
      • Molding my own personality into something I admire by practicing it through an imaginary character. I was chatting with C. J. about his book, and he commented that the third in that series (publication delayed due to administrative problems) included a moment when the hero hires mercenaries from among science fiction and fantasy fans. One of his sidekicks asks whether it wouldn't be better to hire marines, and he explains that these people have already thought through a lot of what he's hiring them to face. "They're Shatner fans," he says. "They know all about thinking in the face of God." Roleplaying changes what you can imagine, and what you can imagine about yourself. I have used roleplaying games to create characters who embody aspects of personality I admire, and then moved myself closer to those characteristics by emulating those characters. I have discovered something about myself, by exploring character and situation.
      • Understanding what the world would be like were it different from what it is. I once had a long correspondence with a gamer who thought of games as a "great thought experiment". You can rewrite the rules of reality in any way you like. You can fundamentally alter physics or chemistry. You can change human nature. You can create the impossible. Then you can play it all out and see what happens. What if everyone adopted survival of the fittest as a moral code? How would the world be different if Christianity had never been founded, or had remained the essentially Jewish denomination it initially was? I can create that world, and then discover where it leads by exploring setting and situation.
      That's five, I think. I'm sure there are more. Since I see simulationism as driven by the desire to know, to understand, to discover, to experience--all aspects of the same concept--these are all related concepts within the single agendum, the desire to know, in the same way that the Crunch and the Gamble are related concepts within the single Gamist agendum.

      The Dream definition and The Discovery definition are two ways of expressing the same concept. The game is driven by the desire to know and understand and experience the imagined reality.

      As far as the social element of simulationism, an agendum by definition is what is it that this group of people hope to gain from this social interaction? You can, if you like, put the fiction at the center of that purpose, but you have not shifted the social part at all--the social part of gamism is that we interact with the purpose of proving ourselves to each other, that of narrativism is that we interact to make statements about issues, and that of simulationism is that we interact to learn or discover something. If it helps you to say it in the words that include that we are focused on the fiction, that's fine. I find it limiting, but perhaps I don't understand what you mean. If you mean that metagame is excluded, though, I think you are wrong, or at the least committing synecdoche. "Let's do Star Trek, Star Trek is like this" is itself metagame, and at any point at which you alter or conform events or actions to "what would really happen in Star Trek" you have engaged a metagame concern.

      Thus there really is no "exalting the fiction over the needs of the individual", because definitively within the agendum the individual needs to discover the fiction, and thus the fiction is what is serving the individual. Preserving the integrity of the fiction (often very important in simulationism) is not done because the fiction requires it although the needs of the individual might dictate something else; it is done because the needs of the individual are for the integrity of the fiction to be maintained.

      It is my impression, as one who I think does understand CA and has been cited for explaining it well, that Ron, Vincent, Ralph, and several others who have been cited as offering different views of simulationism, as well as I, all have a pretty clear agreement concerning what the thing is, and are more stymied by how to express it in language that communicates the same idea to others. Thus Vincent is right that if you don't really understand what simulationism is, you probably don't really understand Creative Agenda at all, or at least not well enough to see how they work. It's very much about why we play, or what we hope to get from play, or what is the objective of our getting together to play--about why is this fun. There is a very specific reason why simulationist is fun for those who enjoy it, one which at a fundamental level encompasses all that is called simulationism, but getting a description of that on which everyone agrees as to how well it describes that nebulous "it" has been problematic.

      It has been problematic to some degree in gamism and narrativism as well, but has been addressed somewhat more coherently. For example, when Ron introduced the concept of Step On Up as the essence of gamism it was an entirely new expression of an idea, but once understood it was clear that all that stuff about meeting challenge or beating the odds or winning the game was really motivated by this other thing, this quest for personal glory in which you get the praise of your peers because you succeeded or even just because you failed while standing in a place no one else had the guts to stand. What is missing from the discussion of simulationism is that coherent and generally accepted phrase that describes that nebulous thing that motivates players to play that way, and not the shared understanding of the thing itself.

      --M. J. Young
      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!