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Author Topic: SGR Model 0.5 - taking it to the next level (long)  (Read 1478 times)
RobMuadib
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« on: November 18, 2002, 11:21:42 PM »

Hi all

I have worked on my SGR model some more, greatly inspired by the
illusionism thread and other threads in the GNS thread. Anyway, I was
inspired to expand my model along several interesting axes, with my
model now making several assertions about how to do things in terms of
design, perhaps making it more useful for people designing a game.

One major idea was that of the Objective/Subjective divide. This came to
the fore for me in the Rewarding Sim thread, where the idea of
exploration of setting was best rewarded by more exploration of setting,
intstead of getting to design the setting. That is, being that exploration of
setting is a subjective experience of the "Role" mode of play, it works
better by having it "fed" to you. This is also represented in several of
Fang's player types in his gaming model.

Another idea it brought up was, if people are playing from subjective
appreciation of a mode, then someone has to play from an Objective
appreciation of that mode, to facillitate the subjective player. That person
has traditionally been the GM. This "realization" comes from the
Illusionism and El Dorado threads. Fangs central concept restated was
that if all  the "players' are playing from a Subjective viewpoint, as is
common in Illusionist play, then the GM has to be playing from an
Objective viewpoint.  The idea from which flows Fang's Symbolic
language./etc.

Anyway, these ideas have been added into the model, along with several
revisions of parts.  Currently my model divides play along two ways along
3 modes, meshed with 5 positions for each of the 3 modes. (which mirror
the subjective/objective divide as tied to power within the game,
interestingly enough, plus a 0/rest position with no power/influence in the
game.)


So I am interested in what people think of the approaches I have come
up with, and my assertions of positions that work best with them. (Which
basically boil down to the idea that someone has to be working in the
objective position to facilitate a person acting in the subjective position
within a mode.)

So, in short, check it out, it's got 3 modes, 15 positions, and 6, count em,
6 isms!!! :)


The SGR model of Role Playing Games. 0.5
===============================================

BASIC DEFINITIONS
===============================================

RPG's are open-ended games in which the entertainment value for the
participants is derived from the concurrent telling of a story, playing
of a game, and exploration of a role, via the dynamic interaction of two
or more participants, acting in one or more distinct capacities,at least
one of which is through the guise of character, which are defined by the
responsibilities and powers granted that participant to facilitate or
appreciate this dynamic interaction.

Note, not all RPGs are open-ended in their use. However, such systems
generally have the potential for open-ended use by inclusion of
additional material to the design. Further, though RPG's can be played
solitaire, the dynamic interaction still occurs between two or more
participants. However, in solitaire play, the second participant is
present only by proxy. This proxy participant takes the form of some
pre-developed structure to allow the solitaire player to concurrently
express a story, play a game, and explore a role.

If these elements are not facilitated for in the game, then the game is
not a Role Playing Game by definition, though it may be a game who
shares qualities of an RPG, typically being that it provides one or two
of the elements listed above.

MODES OF PLAY
====================

RPGs exist as a complex formal language, much like a computer
programming language, which are comprised of the definitions,
conventions,mechanics, methods and procedures of play. As part of this
formal language, the game states important elements of the "Social
Contract" on which play is based. This social contract represents the
basic tenets of play regarding the game. The more fully stated and
qualified and these tenets are, the better and more complete is
the games language.

It is the games language that the participants use to engage in the
three fundamental entertainments -- Story (S), Game (G), and Role (R).
That is, to play the game as a role playing game.

Story(S) being the experience of telling an engaging story, using
         the techniques of "good" storytelling.

Game (G) being the experience of engaging in a structured
         competition or challenge, with a known "win" condition.

Role (R) being the experience of exploring an imagined reality,
         through the means of character, setting, situation, system,
         and color.

These fundamental entertainments are referred to as a mode of play.


CHARACTER
=======================================

Central to the play of a Role Playing Game is the idea of a Character.
Characters are the fictional entities played by the participants. It is
through the guise of character that each participant engages in a mode
of play. Character provides the context and focus around which all play,
within each mode, revolves. Character's are represented by lists of
mechanical elements that provide direct mechanisms to engage in each
mode of play.

POSITION
===================================

Within each mode of play, you have a position, much like the position in
team sport, i.e. quarterback, receiver, etc., defined by the language of
the game, to engage in that mode of play. The position is defined in how
much power you have to direct or control that mode of play for the other
participants. These positions fall into 5 general categories, Observer,
Character, Player, Guide, and Master

Observer position is defined by the fact that you aren't actively
engaging in a particular mode of play, but are acting as an observer of
that mode of play and possibly offering your appreciation of that play
by the participants. The Chief defining element of Observer Position,
then is reacting to, participating in, and exploring the game situation
as an "Receptive Listener", or RL

Character position is defined by the fact that you are able to engage in
each mode of play only from the guise of a Character. In Story Mode,
this would mean you would only react to the unfolding events of the
story from the POV of the character. In Game Mode, you would only act to
overcome challenges while striclty limiting yourself only to the
knowledge and abilities and nature of the character you are playing. In
Role Mode, you explore the situation or setting solely from the view-
point of a character in that setting. The chief defining element
of Character position then is reacting, participating and exploring
the game situation "In Character.", or IC for short.

Player position is defined by the fact that you are able engage in each
mode of play as an interactive participant. In Story Mode, you
react to your part in telling the unfolding story. In Game Mode, you act
to overcome challenges based on the best use of the character's
abilities, as judged by the participant. In Role Mode, you explore the
situation or setting based on what interests you as a player. The chief
defining element of Player position is reacting, participating, and
exploring the game situation "Out Of Character", or OOC for short.

Character position and Player position share an important distinction in
that they have limited ability, as prescribed within the games rules, to
direct or control the flow of play within a mode of play, and are
subject to direction or control of another participant acting in either
Guide position, or Master position.

Guide position is defined by the fact that are able to guide the
direction and nature of play in each mode. The chief defining element of
Guide position then is that you are able to react, participate, and
explore the game situation using "Extra Character" means, or EC for
short.

In Story Mode, you are able to take advantage of game rules that allow
you alter or introduce elements to the story being told beyond your
position as a player or character in the unfolding Story. (i.e., beyond
asking a Guide/Master if you know anyone in the city, the game rules
give you binding power to say that yeah, I know someone from the City
Guard, his name, is such and such... Thus introducing a  new character
to the unfolding story.)

In Game Mode, you are able to take advantage of the game rules that
allow you to alter elements of the game situation in your favor, beyond
what can be accomplished by use of your character's abilties. (i.e. a
common Guide Mechanic is the use of Hero Points, not only do you hope
your character succeeds, you can use hero points to alter the odds in
favor of your character, or even gain success outright, by using them,
thus guiding the action.)

In Role Mode, you are able to take advantage of the game rules to alter
or introduce elements of game setting or situation, or to explore
elements of the setting other than as your nominal character.

Master position is defined by the fact that you control and direct play
in each mode for the other participants in the role playing game. The
Chief defining element of Master Position, then is that you are to
react, participate and explore the game situation using "Meta-Game"
means, or MG for short.

In Story Mode, you are prescribed broad powers by the game rules to
introduce characters, describe settings, instigate events and otherwise
author or direct elements of the Story being told. In Game Mode, you are
prescribed broad powers to judge outcomes, resolve disputes and control
and manage the oppositional elements of the Game being played. Finally,
in Role Mode, you are prescribed broad powers by the game rules to
define the nature of elements of the setting and situation and establish
the nature of background in which the exploration of Role occurs.

Thus, we have one of five possible positions for each player, under
each of the three modes of play. These Positions are described below,
with each given a particular "nickname" with which to identify a
player in that position.

STORY MODE PLAYER POSITIONS:
====================================
Audience Position - you are appreciating to the story being told by
the participants.

Actor position - you take part in telling the Story only from the guise
of your character.

Author position - you take part in the Story, driving your character
towards particular story elements and scenes of interest.

Director position - in this position you take part in the Story
directing and introducing story elements towards a particular story
goal.

Auteur position - in this position, you control all elements of the unfolding story,
with the other participants subject to heavy direction.

GAME MODE PLAYER POSITIONS:
=================================

Fan position - you are appreciating the unfolding gameplay by the
participants.

Avatar position - you are playing the game from the guise of the
character, with the intent of simulating the character's performance
against some challenge as represented by the character's knowledge and
abilities, and inclinations.

Token position- you are the playing the game with the intent of using
your character's abilities and knowledge to their best advantage.

Referee position - you are controlling or directing the game for the
other participants in a fair and impartial manner.

Adversary position - you are controlling or directing the game with the intent
of defeating the other participants by using the challenges presented in
the game to best advantage.  (The classic Killer GM)

ROLE MODE PLAYER POSITIONS:
=========================================

Tourist position - you are appreciating the situation, setting, and
world being explored by the participants.

Recreationist position- you interact with the situation, setting, and
world being explored solely from the standpoint of character.

Explorer position - you interact with the situation, setting and world
being explored based on the participants interest.

Tinkerer position - you interact with the situation, setting and world being
explored, using the Guide position mechanics available to you to add or
designing elements you find of interest.

Designer position - Designing the situation/setting being explored by
the other participants using the means available in the rules system.
(Most RPGs with a specific setting, Seventh Sea, World Of Darkness
games, Abberant, SLA Industries, Fading Suns, OrkWorld, Blue Planet,
Ars Magica,etc.  Generic setting instances include Alternity, D&D 3rd Ed.,
RuneQuest 3rd Ed, HarnMaster, Traveller etc.) Some games present an
explicit design architecture allowing the Designer to create the entire
world, situation, and setting to be explored by the other participants
using the tools present within the rules system. (Aria being the
premiere example for fantasy , HERO System and GURPS being generic
approaches to this methodology. .)

APPROACHING THE MODES
========================

Within Each mode of play, Story, Game and Role, participants derive the
entertainment value from that mode of play in two fundamental
ways,subjective and objective. When engaging in that mode of play from a subjective viewpoint, the player derives his entertainment in
manipulating and considering the contents of the game that comprise that
mode of play. When in engaging in a mode of play from an objective
viewpoint, the participant derives his entertaintment from controling and
directing the game to produce the best experience of that mode of play.

These particular ways to derive the entertainment value from each mode
are referred to as Approaches. The Approaches have favored Positions,
such that a player who favors that Approach derives the greatest
entertainment value from play by participating from those Positions.  

Story Mode Approaches
------------------------------------------
Dramatism (Subjective Experience of Story)
--------------------------------------
Dramatism is an Approach where the players focus on
the subjective elements of the experience of story, chiefly
from role of Character, and as someone seeing the story. That is,
their entertainment derives from dealing with the contents of
the story as it relates to their character.

This Approach works best when one Player acts from Auteur/Director
position unveiling the story for the other players in Audience and
Actor Position.

While a single player works from Auteur or Director position to deliver
this "story" via a show and tell means. The Auteur/Director player
provides cues and introductions to the other players which they must
take up to experience the story the Auteur/Director player has created
or is providing.

The enjoyment of this approach for the players it develop a forest from
the trees, relying on twists and turns to suprise the players acting
in Audience/Actor position. This approach is much like the old
Space Ace/Dragon Slayer games, by following the direction and
coaching from the Auteur/Director player, the players are treated to an
entertaining and engaging story with scenes they get to imagine their
character's hopping, diving, and fighting through. If they don't, they
lose out, unless the Auteur/Director player gives them another try.

Narrativism (Objective experience of Story)
----------------------------------------------------
Narrativism is an Approach where the players focus on the
objective experience of story, chiefly by contributing to make
the best story through the means of their character, and the
results of the character's actions. That is, their entertainment
derives from whole experience of crafting a good story, via their
contributions.

This Approach works best where each player can contribute to the
unfolding story working from Actor Author and Director positions, and
Audience position when judging the contributions of the other players.

This type of Story based play derives it's entertainment value
for the players by the visceral creation of story and the
quality of story introduced. Players in this type have
a plan for the forest, and careful place each tree where it
will best bloom. Each player primarily acts from
Audience,Actor, and Authorial Position, with possibly a single player
in Director position.

Game Mode Approaches
--------------------------------------------

Championism  (Subjective Experience of Game)
---------------------------------

Championism is an Approach where the players focus on the subjective
experience of Game, chiefy by identifying with the style and
power with which the character overcomes the challenges faced.

Championism works best when the players act from Avatar, and Referee
positions, acting as Fan position for the others.


Adversarialism (Objective Experience of Game)
------------------------------------------
Adversarialism is an Approach where the players focus on the objective
experience of Game, chiefly by overcoming the challenges faced
by their characters within the game. That is, their entertainment
derives from the whole experience of overcoming the challenges within
the game faced by their character.

This Approach works best when one player acts from Referee and Adversary
position, to provide the challenges the other characters face, with the
other players acting in Token position.



Role Mode Approaches
---------------------------------------------------

Simulationism (Objective experience of Role)
----------------------------------------------------
Simulationism is an Approach where the players focus on the objective
experience of Role, chiefly by exploring how things work and
interact within the game environment, as represented by System
or Situation. Character and Setting are often reduced to Color
in this approach

This approach works best when all the players are able to act from
Explorer or Tinkerer position, with the other players acting in Tourist
position to their tinkerings and explorations.

Roleism (Subjective Experience of Role)
----------------------------------------------------------------
Roleism is an Approach where the players focus on the
subjective experience of Role, chiefly by exploring the nature
and reality of the world and it's inhabitants, as represented by
Character and Setting. System and Situation are often reduced to Color
in this approach.

This Approach works best when one player acts from Designer Position,
providing the means for the other players to explore Character and
Setting, from Tourist and Recreationist Position.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

TFYI

Rob Muadib
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Rob Muadib --  Kwisatz Haderach Of Wild Muse Games
kwisatzhaderach@wildmusegames.com --   
"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)
lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2002, 06:58:20 AM »

Hey, Rob.

I gotta tell ya, I start muttering to myself every time I come to the "formal language, much like a computer programming language" sentence.

Cuz no they don't.

You don't seem to refer back to that idea anywhere in the rest of the thing, so maybe it's not a big deal?

-Vincent
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RobMuadib
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2002, 04:38:30 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
Hey, Rob.

I gotta tell ya, I start muttering to myself every time I come to the "formal language, much like a computer programming language" sentence.

Cuz no they don't.

You don't seem to refer back to that idea anywhere in the rest of the thing, so maybe it's not a big deal?

-Vincent


Vincent

It is not a major point of the theory, no, but it seemed like an apt metaphor at the time. Care to explain some of the reasons why you think it isn't an apt metaphor? Or maybe I am misunderstanding what you are saying.

Thanks for your input.
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Rob Muadib --  Kwisatz Haderach Of Wild Muse Games
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"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)
Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2002, 09:44:01 AM »

A programming language is more precisely described by the technical term "context-free grammar". It bears no relationship to anything that takes place in roleplaying or in discussion of roleplaying.

Terms of art exist in many fields. They have nothing to do with contextual grammar.

A better analogy would be to the practice of law, or to mathematics, both fields in which many words are assigned specific meanings not entirely similar to their everyday usage.
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2002, 10:23:32 AM »

Yeah.  Sometimes RPGs have specialized technical terms and sometimes they don't, but they're never formal in a "formal language" sense.

-Vincent
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Emily Care
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2002, 11:14:18 AM »

Funny, these terms (context-free grammar, formal language) themselves are examples of phrases that seem to make sense out side of their theoretical framework, but are probably just confusing to lay people.

I found this site helpful to understand more of what they are talking about.

--Emily Care
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RobMuadib
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2002, 12:04:30 PM »

Emily

Hey, thanks for the link, very informative in a mind-numbingly analytical way:)  Which is to say, my thinking was unencumbered by the linguistic theory upon which, or so I would infer, that Vincent drew in finding my casual use of formal to be incorrect or misleading. Which is to say, I've never seen the definitions that Vincent must have had in mind:). I was using the "informal" use of Formal implied by definition 2 on that site, to wit.

2. Developed as a mathematical system. Thus a formal grammar is a set of rules that precisely specifies a set e.g. of strings formed by an operation of concatenation; a formal language is a set so specified.

The earliest generative grammars were formal in both senses. By extension from the second, the term has often been used to mean no more than 'explicit', 'cast in quasi-mathematical notation', etc.

So uh, Vincent your too smart and analytical or something:) But you do bring up a good point.

Perhaps restating it as

RPGs exist as a complex body of specialized language, somewhat like a computer programming language, which is comprised of the definitions, conventions, mechanics, methods and procedures of play.

That little detail taken care of, what do people think of my major contentions of dividing the "GNS" thinking along Objective/Subjective lines, and associating those with specific power distributions?

best
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"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)
Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2002, 01:19:58 PM »

I still disagree with the analogy to a computer language. The syntactic elements of a programming language take their meaning, not from any information conveyed, but from the process that they direct. Insofar as they have any meaning at all, it is of distinctly secondary importance.

The terms used in RPG theory are terms of art: words given specialized meanings for a particular purpose, distinct from any meaning they might have in everyday discourse. It would be better to make a comparison to another field using terms of art, such as mathematics or the law.

(Digression: One of the biggest problems that many people have with the GNS theory is its liberal use of terms of art. I think that if Ron were a mathematician, rather than a biologist, he would perhaps have taken a different approach to choosing his terminology.)
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2002, 01:42:29 PM »

Hey Rob.

If I'm understanding what you mean by Subjective and Objective:

They don't operate at the GNS level.  The operate at the stance level, and that's what the stances are.  There is no "objective experience of story" or "subjective experience of story," there are objective and subjective experiences of instances of play.

That is, when I play, I wander freely between your "Narrativism," "Dramatism," and "Roleism," I think, depending on my interests in the moment-to-moment.  It doesn't make sense to me to treat them as high-level approaches.

Can you give concrete examples of what you're describing?

(And I agree with Seth.  There's nothing computer-language-like about RPGs.)

(Vincent's Standard Mini-rant: Sometimes gamers idealize game mechanics as "modeling the physics of the game world," and wish that game systems could run like computer programs, but they can't, don't, couldn't, and never will.)

-Vincent
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RobMuadib
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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2002, 03:00:30 PM »

Vincent, Seth

Ahh, It occured to me that I forgot to mention the most important thing about this model, sorry. Specifically, I neglected to mention, this model is not me trying to analyze and explain RPG's as they have existed and are played, but rather, how they should exist and be played. That is, I neglected to mention that this is a design theory, a system by which to design an RPG. Specifically, the theory by which I am designing my RPG, more or less.

Another thing that occured to me about my design theory, whereas GNS talks about the Exploration/Premise as the fundamental act of an RPG. In my thinking, this exploration, imaginative investment, thinking in context, should in essence occur by virtue of the mechanics of the game. That is, the mechanics should codify and make concrete this process.

That is, RPGs should be designed like a computer programming language such that the when using this language, the participants parsing of these commands creates the exploration, that is the imaginative commitment and emotional investment.

Quote from: Seth L Blumberg
I still disagree with the analogy to a computer language. The syntactic elements of a programming language take their meaning, not from any information conveyed, but from the process that they direct. Insofar as they have any meaning at all, it is of distinctly secondary importance.


I guess what I am saying is that the RPG language shoud be constructed so that first, the "indentifier" language used should convey the information of stance/intent in which the information it prefixes should be parsed, the process they direct I guess.

I guess that is what I identify and admire in Fang's construction of Scattershot, his construction of a "Gaming" language for RPGing.

Ok, given that pre-ramble:), I guess I can answer vincent's question by saying, that an effective gaming language, directly identifies, and based on it's goals, limits the stances from which the players can work from, such that their statements and actions are parsed appropriately by the other participants. Where the participants are the vast neural-net that they are trying to program to spit out the neat bits they want to play with, or rather the elements which are the basis of the imaginative commitment and emotional investment they want to achieve.

So, in essence, my SGR crap is taking the ideas and game wisdom that Ron has presented and recasting it into a readily usable design tool.

Ok, now that you, and I:), understand what I am trying to do, I guess I am wondering what people think of it. Admittedly, it is still in a rather embryonic state, but hey, here is your chance to inject your own personal teratogens into the process, or call for an abortion all together.

TFYI
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Rob Muadib --  Kwisatz Haderach Of Wild Muse Games
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"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)
Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2002, 08:21:38 PM »

I'm sorry, I haven't yet gotten past how bad I think that analogy is.  I will try and examine the theory itself in detail soon, and post non-nitpicky comments.

(And, Rob? You'd do better to compare it to "A Pattern Language" than to computer languages.  Look that title up on Amazon.com.)
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2002, 06:37:41 AM »

Hey Rob.

Oh.

That's a whole different bug.  SGR is a design philosophy you're using to design your games?  Cool.  Carry on, let's see where it goes.

Quote
...an effective gaming language, directly identifies, and based on it's goals, limits the stances from which the players can work from, such that their statements and actions are parsed appropriately by the other participants.


If by this you mean that a good game makes it clear what it intends its players to do and not do, yes, of course.  I don't imagine anybody would disagree.  But if that's what you mean, you're using way too many words, and the whole gaming-language programming-the-neural-net bit is just getting in the way.

-Vincent
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2002, 07:03:17 AM »

I think this thread has been derailed a bit by the discussion of this one fine point. And at the risk of further derailing it, I make the following statement.

As a professional statistician, and computer programmer I find lots of parallels between RPGs and computer languages. I do see them as sets of instructions which the GM and/or players use to construct somthing around them. I pushed hard for the rules to be more like that in Universalis, in fact. Ralph created a rule called master components that is, essentially, Object Oriented role-playing. I love this sort of thing. It's the sort of rigor that I see as enabling. I am personally turned off by any part of play where the rule is, "resolve this part however you think best." That's where RPGs fail to be like computer languages, and, IMO, fail to be useful. System Matters. Obviously with computers, and just a powerfully with RPGs. That's where I totally agree with Rob as to this statement:

Quote
In my thinking, this exploration, imaginative investment, thinking in context, should in essence occur by virtue of the mechanics of the game. That is, the mechanics should codify and make concrete this process.


I can't see why people don't see it this way. Not that it's particularly important. In fact I think it's completely ancillary to most of the points of Rob's theory. But I think that John Nash would completely agree with the statement (OTOH, he wasn't always sane, so...)


To try to get back on track with discussion of the theory itself, why the insistence on the "open-ended" thing? You say that they are "open-ended", but then contradict yourself and say that some are not but could be. Why not just say that RPGs are games that are "potentially open-ended", and leave it at that?

Also, you should define that term. I assume it means "of indefinite length", but I could be wrong, and others may assume something else.

Mike
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2002, 05:11:17 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I think this thread has been derailed a bit by the discussion of this one fine point. And at the risk of further derailing it, I make the following statement.

As a professional statistician, and computer programmer I find lots of parallels between RPGs and computer languages. I do see them as sets of instructions which the GM and/or players use to construct somthing around them. I pushed hard for the rules to be more like that in Universalis, in fact. Ralph created a rule called master components that is, essentially, Object Oriented role-playing. I love this sort of thing. It's the sort of rigor that I see as enabling. I am personally turned off by any part of play where the rule is, "resolve this part however you think best." That's where RPGs fail to be like computer languages, and, IMO, fail to be useful. System Matters. Obviously with computers, and just a powerfully with RPGs. That's where I totally agree with Rob as to this statement:


Quote
In my thinking, this exploration, imaginative investment, thinking in context, should in essence occur by virtue of the mechanics of the game. That is, the mechanics should codify and make concrete this process.



Mike

Yeah, that is a good explanation, I see them similar to computer languages, not so much in how they are constructed and developed (which I admittedly know little about), but in how they are used to accomplish things within their purview.

So by acting from the GM position, for instance, your statements are not subject to checking by another player, and are executed immediately, as it were, becoming game reality. While making statements from the Player position, your statements are subject to checking by the GM, and may or may not be allowed to be "executed", and thus enter the game environment.

Quote from: Seth L Blumberg
I still disagree with the analogy to a computer language. The syntactic elements of a programming language take their meaning, not from any information conveyed, but from the process that they direct. Insofar as they have any meaning at all, it is of distinctly secondary importance.


To once more approach this analogy/concept, I think it is fair to conceive of designing RPG's as a language Whose syntactic elements take their meaning from the process that they direct.  Where the process they direct, in my model, is predicated upon the Position from which they are made, or something.

Admittedly, I am considering this analogy very loosely. I am not a linguist, and my programming knowledge is limited to some self-teaching and dabbling, so perhaps it is clashing with knowledge that you guys have that I don't, so it is making it quite hard for me to understand your objections, not having the frame of reference.



Quote from: Mike Holmes

To try to get back on track with discussion of the theory itself, why the insistence on the "open-ended" thing? You say that they are "open-ended", but then contradict yourself and say that some are not but could be. Why not just say that RPGs are games that are "potentially open-ended", and leave it at that?

Also, you should define that term. I assume it means "of indefinite length", but I could be wrong, and others may assume something else.


Good point mike, I kind of was thinking out loud on that point. Something about dealing with RPG features that I decided was important, but disproved to myself somehat. So I will take your suggestion of using potentially open-ended. I think it had do with RPG's not having finite end conditions or length of play, more to do with RPG's versus other game types.

Which brings me to my newly stated definition/intro statement.

Quote
Role Playing Games are potentially open-ended games whose
entertainment value derives from the participants developing an imaginative investment in a milieu within which the participants engage in
the concurrent telling of a story, playing of a game, and exploration of a role, via the dynamic interaction of two or more of the participants, acting in one or more distinct capacities, at least one of which is through the
guise of character, where these distinct capacities are defined by the
responsibilities and powers granted that participant to facilitate or
appreciate this dynamic interaction.


Which brings me to an important addition to the definition, the idea of imaginative investment in a milieu, which was somewhat tacitly implied by the mention of character. Milieu in this case would be a particular combination of System, Character, Setting, Situation and Color, to rip off Ron's excellent work:).


Anyway, this is still somewhat raw, but I think there is certainly some usefulness in developing this theory to design a game. One implication of using such a model to design an RPG is that you get "Super-Coherent" games. That is games, which are completely coherent when players act from the positions appointed them using the powers/responsibilities applied to that position. This would make the use and goal of the game with regard to the SGR Model MUCH more obvious to players, at least that's part of the theory, so far. As I said, it is still quite embryonic.

TFYI
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Rob Muadib --  Kwisatz Haderach Of Wild Muse Games
kwisatzhaderach@wildmusegames.com --   
"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)
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