*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 20, 2014, 09:28:04 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: 72 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Which end do I point?  (Read 1423 times)
damion
Member

Posts: 198


« on: July 23, 2002, 09:08:35 AM »

I've been around the forge for a short period of time, read ron's essays, searched & read some of the old threads and I've come up with following question. I apologize if this has been done befor, I couldn't find it, so I hope this will either be an interesting discussion, or someone will just point me to where it's been solved before.

My question is:
What do I DO with GNS? How do I use it to write better games, to be a better GM, to be a better player(help your self and everyone else have more fun)?

(If anyone has examples for these questions, that would be much appreciated)

    Now GNS is basicly a taxonomy of roleplaying, by classifying something we can understand it. Correct?
Now GNS works by classifying decisions. Say you have the following 'decision string G=gamist, S=Simist, ect' and have reduced 'instance' to infinity.
{G-N-S-S-G-G-N-S-G-N}*
We do a majority fcn on this and get G=Gamist(frex).
This gives us a pretty good way to classify an instance of play(by considering all the sub-instance and going down to a scale where it doesn't matter anymore). We can also classify players this way, by the majority of their decisions. (Ron mentioned somewhere that this ok one of the old threads). Nobody claims that a given person makes all their decisions a certain way.  Now my example was a bit extreme, but  I can't see a particular person having  100% one preference.
Now say we design a Gamist game for this person, they are still going to be 60% dissatisfied.  

I guess my point is that between the vagueness of an 'instance' and the fact that is seems irrational to expect really high preferences for one mode I was wondering how one could use GNS. You can design to mixed modes, but, especially if you consider proportion, the combinations are legion.


   

*I think I will call this 'the DNA of gaming' :)
Logged

James
Victor Gijsbers
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 390


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2002, 09:30:46 AM »

Quote
Now say we design a Gamist game for this person, they are still going to be 60% dissatisfied.


Not quite true, of course. I might like both Gamism and Narrativism, and still be very happy playing a Gamist game. I don't have to expect Narrativism out of every game, just like I don't expect a good game of chess out of a roleplaying game. (Actually, I don't like Gamism, but that isn't the point. ;) )

I think the main use of GNS while creating a game is for stimulating coherence. If I make a game, and when I look at the elements of my game I notice that some faciliate G, some N and some S, I'll conclude that my game isn't coherent enough and something has to change. (Obviously, I'm assuming here that one game can not facilitate G, N and S decisions at the same time.)
Logged

jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2002, 10:05:48 AM »

Well, I think one of the understated mantras around here is that if you're happy with your current game or are good at identifying the specific core elements that you like and why, then GNS is nigh on useless to you.

On a practical application level GNS is a diagnostic tool for frustrated gamers.  It's a way for them to analyse their own and their groups specific preferences.  Does this work?  Well, I can only speak from experience and say yes it does.  When I first encountered GNS I was a very frustrated and unhappy gamer.  I wanted to use the role-playing medium to create "stories" but my idea of what a story was and what other gamers of ideas of what a story was just didn't seem to mesh and I had no way to articulate what I meant.  So I read through the model and the ideas of Narrativist play got my attention.  

I discovered that, mainly out of habit, I was using all of these Simulationist facilitating techniques in a frustrated attempt to achieve Narrativist goals.  The idea of Premise the concept of moving a lot the mechanics and play behaviors up into the metagame level simply hadn't occured to me.  So I started studying these techniques and seeking out games that had mechanics that facilitated the application of these techniques.  Now, I'm playing my Gothic Fantasy game using the Sorcerer rules and I'm getting the kinds of stories I've always been craving.

I've also seen died-in-the-wool Gamists.  I have a friend who absolutely uses sports analogies as metaphores for roleplaying.  He talks about the adventuring party as being a "team" and the GM as being the "referee" and presenting the "oppositiion."  Sure, he likes a bit of story framing the purpose of the adventure, and if the experience isn't ultimately believable it fails for him but his primary source of fun is effective rule manipulation to overcome the problems and challenges presented by the adventure.  It's the thrill of victory and the fear of defeat that drive his enjoyment of the game.

GNS has never been about exclusivity or "purity".  It's always been about decision making and discovering where your primary source of fun comes from.  

I think those who are most confused by GNS usefullness are Simulationists because they're primarily in it for the experience alone with no metagame agenda at all.  As long as something worth exploring is happening they're satisfied, so they tend to mistake their priority of exploration for GNS inclusivity, but I want story AND challenges AND realism, etc, etc, etc.  What they are really saying is, "I just want something worth my time to happen regardless of what the ultimate metagame purpose turns out to be."

Hope that was insightful.

Jesse
Logged
Zak Arntson
Member

Posts: 839


WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2002, 04:51:33 PM »

Quote from: jburneko
Well, I think one of the understated mantras around here is that if you're happy with your current game or are good at identifying the specific core elements that you like and why, then GNS is nigh on useless to you.


The problem here is that GNS can make a good group even better. I used GNS to recognize that one of my Players preferred Exploration of Character over the rest of the group (Expl. of Situation). We were happy already, but our gaming is constantly improving. Part of this is due to GNS.

Quote from: damion
What do I DO with GNS? How do I use it to write better games, to be a better GM, to be a better player(help your self and everyone else have more fun)?


To use it to write better games, it helps you design towards your audience. To use my own games as an example:

Fungeon is purely Gamist and consciously designed that way. It consists of getting points to create traps, monsters and treasure, defeating those things for more points, ad nauseum. Most of the rules concentrate on strategy.

Divine Right is decidedly Narrativist. You have a central theme and play revolves around that theme. Your decisions are going to be based entirely on that theme, system-wise.

Chthonian Redux (playtest version out soon, you can see the rough rules here) is Simulationist, Exploration of both Character and Situation. The Color, Setting and System are set before play begins. Color: Lovecraft + Survival Horror video games. Setting: Modern day + "Action" Realism, System: Chthonian rules.

People are going to have different experiences with these three games, and I've purposefully designed them that way. Competition will be low in Divine Right, and takes second-fiddle to Exploration in Chthonian.

As far as applying theory during play, see my above example about my own group. I thought everyone was into Exploration of Situation, so most of us placed acting "in-character" in second place. But then I noticed one player tended to do things that didn't explore the situation, and he enjoyed doing what he felt was right for his character. Unfortunately, the rest of the group didn't appreciate that as much (especially when it did'nt involve the Situation). Using "GNS-light" (as in, me pointing out that the player is not trying to mess things up, he's just acting in character), the group now appreciates both methods of Exploration and our group is more tolerant. Where our out-of-character criticisms were, now the Players will mostly berate each other "through their characters," and everyone has more fun.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2002, 05:06:48 PM »

Quote from: damion

Now say we design a Gamist game for this person, they are still going to be 60% dissatisfied.  


I just want to reiterate this point, as it's often overlooked: no one has yet proven that a game being totally and completely focused on one aspect of GNS makes it a good game.

My long-standing (since GO) hypothesis has always been that two 'spokes' of GNS can be supported in the same game, and will actually make it better. Over time, that hypothesis has changed to "one 'spoke' will be emphasized over the other in order to maintain coherency."

As my primary example I use all the time now, take The Riddle of Steel. I love it because I (a) love narrativism and a good story, but (b) love crunchy, crunchy combat. These two don't normally go together, but Jake's put them right next to each other and even made them feed off each other. Riddle of Steel is a great game because it can appeal to narrativists and simulationists simulataneously.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Skippy
Member

Posts: 43


« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2002, 10:00:42 AM »

As a player and GM (not a designer), I am not focused on GNS.  I am not trying to create a system that will facilitate styles of play.  I am certainly not interested in staying up on the latest interpretations, arguments, points, counter-points, etc., although I do not disparage the validity of these in helping to develop the next generation of game designers.

That being said, I think GNS is a must-read for virtually any gamer that has experienced dissatisfaction, betrayal, or any unhappiness during the course of his/her gaming.  Why?

If it does nothing else, the essay should make you aware that you are not alone.

I don't mean this from the ET standpoint; nor do I mean it from the "Aha! so there are others who suffer as I do!" perspective.  I mean it strictly from the "Don't be a selfish a-hole" point, and realize that you are not alone in when you sit down to a table with a group of other gamers.  

Whether you agree with Ron's definitions, classifications, terminology, etc., is not the point (for me, anyway).  If you glean any insight from the reading, it should be that there are multiple styles of play, or combinations thereof.  Therefore there must be a common ground wherein people with different perspectives, goals, and desires can function effectively.  That common ground is the social contract.

GNS is a tool, one of many.  If we look at gaming as a process, then GNS may be an input to design and development stages.  Beyond that point, it has diminished value.  Once production begins (game play), GNS may be used to help interpret feedback and modification of the social contract, but again, specific interpretations are not required.  Any model can be used, provided it appropriately sparks discussion among the players that will help define the goals of play, or improvement activities.  GNS is NOT a means of measuring customer satisfaction, i.e. happiness with game play.

Given six players who have carefully studied GNS (and subscribe to it strongly), six different interpretations will arise.  Now, you must come to a social contract on the interpretation of GNS that will be used to define the social contract of play.  In general, I think most players would be better served with an awareness of GNS (or any other adequate model), as an appreciation of perspective, and save their interpretive arguments for the social contract of play.

Count to ten before you come looking for me...
Logged

____________________________________
Scott Heyden

"If I could orally gratify myself, you'd have to roll me to work."
damion
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2002, 08:10:36 AM »

Thanks everyone for your input. That helps. I think I was overanalyzing stuff as usual.
Logged

James
Pages: [1]
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!