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Author Topic: Beeg Horseshoe Theory Revisited  (Read 64335 times)
M. J. Young
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« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2003, 06:10:22 PM »

I'm not persuaded.

As I understand the history, war games were originally devised with a view to using them to determine best strategies in real battle situations; their ability to emulate real combat conditions was an essential factor. I believe that they were so used in both world wars, as terrain features were sculpted and generals set figures in the sand and played out options.

In that context, neither narrativist nor gamist priorities were so useful. That is, we're not asking either whether the opponent is going to have moral issues about a particular approach or which approach is strategically best for the opponent, but given what we know about the opponent, what strategy is he most likely to use?

Similarly, in moving our troops in such a situation, in order to properly determine the outcome, we had to ask what particular field commanders were likely to do when faced with the situation we anticipated. Obviously, there will be field commanders who will retreat sooner versus those who will press harder; there will be commanders who will delay in looking for the opportunity versus those who will make the opportunity. We don't want to ask why they are different; we don't want to know what would happen if they all followed orders precisely. We want to know what will happen given everything we know about those commanders.

Thus the simulationist agenda itself is very much at the root of the development of wargames, despite the gamist influences that rapidly arose in the hobby form.

I've been in games where all I did was try to go with the reality--I had no story to tell, and no goal to achieve. It was nothing other than a time to experience something, to see what happened in response to what I did. I don't think that's a non-existent thing.

It's certainly true that sim play is easier to integrate with or disintegrate from the other two than they are to integrate with or disintegrate from each other. On the other hand, not so long ago someone was trying to suggest a hybrid approach in which all goals led to the same decisions (the Netrunner CCG thread). If we're looking at "it's the end of the world, unless you can save everyone, and you're the only ones who can do it," suddenly, sim, nar, and gam choices are all going to start to align with each other--gamist because the characters need to succeed, narrativist because the issue is the struggle against the cost of failure in this situation, and simulationist because, as someone said, no sane person is going to risk failing at such a task. You can integrate them by narrowing the scope of the game; they are still independent.
Quote from: Jason a.k.a. Cruciel
That kind of stuff is what validates Sim as an independent priority in the GNS model, except for the fact that they happen to be metagame reasons so they don't technically fall under Sim either.
I just recently wrote something--it's probably in that horrible Heinrich thread--in which I recall someone (and I cannot remember who) rejecting the notion that sim doesn't have a metagame, and quite intelligently so. The metagame priority in simulationism is verisimilitude itself, whether this would actually happen given the assumptions of the game world. Thus simulationism of movie reality is simulationism if that's the priority, because our metagame priority is to make it as much like the source material as possible.

Actually, Jason, those examples,
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genre adherance, for comedy, for gee-wiz-bang-cool-like-it-would-happen-in-the-movies, or for its own sake....
point up the metagame priority of simulationism quite well. You could be going for realism, for fidelity to a published reality, or for adherence to any of those priorities you named, and be involved in simulationism. Narrativism doesn't say that verisimilitude doesn't matter, but that it can't be allowed to derail consideration of the theme (why narrativist games so often allow people to arrive on the scene "at the right moment" instead of "when they would get there", a point I make in the other thread). Gamism doesn't say that verisimilitude doesn't matter, but only that we need to have a solid basis on which to predict what will happen so we can make fully optimized choices and have the system validate those choices through consistency.

Put me down as seeing Simulationism as one of the Big Three, and not The Other Thing.

--M. J. Young
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2003, 05:59:56 AM »

Quote from: cruciel
Challenge/Theme doesn't seem right.  Theme implies the GNS definition of Nar.

Jason, I'm going to leave most of your thoughts about Narrativism alone, and let Ron or somebody else respond to them if they feel like it. Because my new model doesn't challenge Ron's definition of Narrativism, but as it happens, it does reconcile the problems that you're seeing, I think. At the very least, I think it makes it easier to look at.

Here's why. The problem that I see with people trying to disect where the divergence occurs between Char Sim and Char Nar, for example, is that when it's Nar, people are usually playing up the "what would my character do" aspect. This is why Ron always tells me that my examples are incorrect, and why it's hard to delineate the line. Examples don't work precisely because what one does is to prioritize both at the same time. Ron says that all action must be Plausible. Well that just means that there's some element of Fidelity inherent in every decision. Dividing that out into it's own priority doesn't say that this is not true. But it does make it hard to think about which is "more" prioritzed in most situations. I would say that they're often both given high priority.

So my model doesn't really defy the original model. If you look at the two dimensional space, you can draw lines where the priorities are equal, past which the decision would be labeled Sim or Nar, or Gamist. The problem with that model is that it makes you tend to think of these things in terms of the one priority being more important than the other to the player. When in fact, they're both important, and just trading off.

And most importantly, they can be prioritized highly together at the same time. Again, this is completely accepted by the original theory, and not the Impossible Thing (to head that off at the pass). That is, a player can prioritze both at such a level that you can't really tell, even as that player, what's "more important". And in mixed play over time, even when there are individual examples of each, the total "instance" can be hybrid.

Nothing in there goes against any of the current theory you'll find. So what I'm presenting is what I think is a superior model for how to look at these things.

Now, a

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But, gee, isn't Challenge/Story Now Axis an ugly term?  Trouble is, I also can't think of a single word that doesn't favor one end of the axis.
Yes, but it's key so we'll have to work on that. See, that axis I see as the "what the player expends his power to decide upon axis". That is, if I make a decision, I can make it "to win" or "to be dramatic". These are truely mutually exclusive. That is, the decisions to do one or the other, though they may look similar, have such different mental approaches to the game that they can't be the same at one time. Hence why when it does become apparent what the thought process is, those that prefer one over the other have problems with the other. The Roll playing Vs Role Playing thing in action. So this still needs its own axis to define that incoherency.

The Fidelity axis has it's own Incoherency on it's ends. But it's never Incoherent with the other axis. That is, no player plays so "sim" that they make decisions that are so devoid of meaning on the other axis that a problem occurs. Call this Marco's Problem. This model solves this problem. It shows that, no matter how into the Fidelity of the game, my decisions still can have "story" value.

The question of railroading is ancillary. Yes that takes away player power to have any any effect to go to the "left" or "right" on the "what do you do with your power" axis. Leaving you only with the ability to affect the Fidelity axis. But when players have power, they use it. This is my core contention.

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I also think that in regards to this model Exploration should be left floating in its own island, much like Stance.  It shouldn't rest above or below, but be part of a matrix.  Such that you could say High Fidelity|Story Now|Explore Char|Author Stance.  Different players with these same goals may choose to layer them differently, and if they ever have to choose between them they may choose different categories as a primary motivation.
I quite agree. But that's not really different than the previous model. These things have always been independent in terms of there having been no direct linkages.

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Let's see...Baseline and Vision.  Gonna need a solid definition, but...  My understanding was that Baseline was sort of the framework of expectations you can draw on to fill in unstated paramaters and Vision was the elements you needed to specify to the reader as coloring and diverging from your Baseline.
I hope that we can get a better definition as well. Because I don't see how there are things that are presented as being "what you do" that are differentiated into these categories. Unless this means that Baseline is just that which isn't focused on, and therefore follows generic resolution vs. Vision which is stuff that has specific resolution systems.

I don't want to get too into that here, but I'd be interested to hear from other's if they think that this model works with or co-opts any of that theory. If so, maybe a new thread.

But we still have a long way to go yet on this thread before we can even say that this theory is sound enough to warrant people making other connections.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2003, 06:24:18 AM »

I'm putting this in a separate post for organization sake. It follows one above.

Quote from: M. J. Young
I'm not persuaded.
Excellent.

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... war games ...

In that context, neither narrativist nor gamist priorities were so useful. That is, we're not asking either whether the opponent is going to have moral issues about a particular approach or which approach is strategically best for the opponent, but given what we know about the opponent, what strategy is he most likely to use?
But how are these not the same? I mean, a good simulation will make it difficult to use unrealistic solutions. So in the end, good Gamism is usually congruent with good Sim. So long as the mechanism is accurate. When it's not, and someone plays Gamist, wargamers call this being "gamey". Not because Gamism is bad. Because the player is exploiting the inadequate system.

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We want to know what will happen given everything we know about those commanders.
So we can win. Yes simulating commanders well is important to an accurate simulation so that there is Congruence (in the Walt sense) between decisions. But all we're saying here is that both axes exist in wargames as well.

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I don't think that's a non-existent thing.
Neither do I. But even in the most "simmy" wargames, players are trying to win. After all, there's no incoherency possible here. A wargame is predicated on the idea that they are both accurate sims to some extent, and that the excercise is to win.

The real test would be if there were a game where players just played aliens on an alien planet, and no conflict occured. You were just presented with typical day to day stuff, and were told to "react" appropriately. I can see it thoeretically, but it would be totally original to RPG play. Note how the central feature of most RPGs is some sort of conflict resolution system. All RPGs expect conflict. And what's more, because I think people are familiar with games and forms of communication like literature, movies and TV, players will insert conflict, even if it's not present to start (Alien Bob gets huffy towards alien Joe because of distribution of breeding stock or something).

As soon as you have Conflict, you have players using their powers to go Gamist or Narrativist.

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The metagame priority in simulationism is verisimilitude itself, whether this would actually happen given the assumptions of the game world. Thus simulationism of movie reality is simulationism if that's the priority, because our metagame priority is to make it as much like the source material as possible.
I'm not denying that the fidelity axis corresponds to it's own metagame piority. I'm just saying that they don't conflict. It's power distribution that causes players to have to stick only to fidelity, and have no power to affect the other axis. Some players want power for one reason or the other, and this is what's problematic. Not that they have a certain level of tolerance for Fidelity. That always remains constant.

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Put me down as seeing Simulationism as one of the Big Three, and not The Other Thing.
Think of it this way, I've just made "sim" more important by separating it out into it's own axis. With this theory we can look at as not conflicting with the other two any more, which will, I think, make people understand what we've been saying all along without marginalizing them into some category that seems very large, but doesn't resonate in it's description with anyone who does it.

Part of why I've been thinking about this is because I disagree with most of Ron's Simulationism essay. Especially the parts where he starts talking about it as "subordinate". This theory, to me, reconciles all that.

Mike
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Bankuei
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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2003, 06:50:04 AM »

Hi Mike,

Glad to see this developing.

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The real test would be if there were a game where players just played aliens on an alien planet, and no conflict occured. You were just presented with typical day to day stuff, and were told to "react" appropriately.


This is something that has been on my mind for some time concerning Sim play.  G/N play both have explicit goals on the part of the player, while Sim seems to lack that conflict(either in challenge, or the asthetics of making theme), perhaps our second axis should be titled Conflict?

Chris
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Valamir
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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2003, 07:12:28 AM »

That's not bad Chris.

The Conflict axis.  Do you deal with conflict as a game construct or as an opportunity to address a premise; or in the middle presumeably neutral, i.e. not caring.

The Fidelity axis (formerly Simulation).  In dealing with conflicts what level of emphasis is placed on verisimilitude.  Do you have a high degree of fidelity, or a low degree of fidelity.


I like the elegance of it.  Now, where are the big gaping holes we haven't thought of yet?
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Walt Freitag
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« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2003, 07:27:18 AM »

Hi Mike,

Very interesting stuff here.

Here are my current reservations.

1. The nature of play midway along the G-N axis is unclear. You describe it as an equal mix of G and N, but could it not also be the complete lack of both G and N priorities? If G and N are incompatible mind-sets is not that the more likely possibility? And yet, if all play must contain one or the other, that appears a contradiction.

2. There's also a point in the continuum representing low-fidelity neither-G-nor-N (or equal G and N) play. What does that play look like? (Perhaps, one of those endless Trivial Pursuit games with no one keeping score that happen when everyone is too tired or drunk to think of anything else to do?)

3. We know that problems relating to player differences on G vs. S priorities do occur. A GM says, "Your character's intelligence is too low to have thought of that." A player joins a dungeon crawl and wants to play a priest opposed to all killing of animals. We've characterized whole systems as being G-S incoherent. What do these things mean, in terms of the proposed new version of the model?

I think I can give a partial answer to #2. I believe that any representation of GNS space as a continuum, including yours and including the conventional "big triangle," covers a space larger than the general consensus of what role playing games are. (As I said on the Airplane Problem thread, I belive this is exactly why GNS doesn't require a universally agreed-upon definition of what a role playing game is to be useful.)  On the triangle, the whole no-Sim edge gets cut off as being outside role-playing-as-we-know-it territory, and (if your theory about the fundamental importance of G or N is correct) the all-Sim corner would be lopped off too. Hmm, the resulting trapezoid could then easily be distorted and overlapped with your rectangle. It would look very similar, except its metric for G and N would be different in a way that just happens to resolve issue #1. Velllly innnntelesting.

Issue #3 remains key. What does any GNS continuum mean with regards to distinctions between coherent and incoherent, functional and dysfunctional, single-mode vs. hybrid, play, players, and systems? (That's a hybrid question; rhetorical enough that I'm not looking for an answer in detail at this stage, but not so rhetorical that I'm implying that continua are a bad idea.)

- Walt
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Bankuei
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« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2003, 08:09:38 AM »

Hi Walt,

Excellent points in all...

#1-

As someone who enjoys Gamist and Narrativist play both, I technically should be able to describe that region, but it still remains alien to me.  I can look back at play experiences and directly say, "There's Nar at work!, Oh, look, went Gamist when I did that!", but can't really recall an action that was neither, but perhaps #2 holds some clues for us...

#2-

Low fidelity(genre expectations don't matter so much), Low Gam, Low Nar, what's the draw?  Socialization.  If we're using a X,Y,Z thing mapped to G/N/Fidelity, then we're talking about close to the zero point.  I'd say the zero point itself is hanging out with buddies and bullshitting.  It's the point where the game doesn't matter.

It's like folks who go bowling, to the movies, or to a sports game, and don't really care for it, but are there simply to hang out with their friends.  Winning doesn't matter, the "spirit" of the game, the theme, the immersion, all of that is secondary to enjoying some time with your friends in this case.  I'd say the term "Beer & Pretzels" has a connection to games that are focused around this.

#1 part 2 :P

So, looking at that idea, if you're not very heavily into the G/N aspect of things, but high on Fidelity, perhaps you're either in denial of your G/N desires or there for socialization.  A third aspect that may come into play is basing your actions off of social approval of others, in which case the G/N decisions are more based on the preferences of the group, or specific individuals within the group.

If we're talking good stuff like GURPS, the classic high sim, no filler game, then what we're talking about is a High Fidelity game, that has room for drift from slight to gross drift towards G/N.

#3 Random thoughts, potential avenues of discussion-

Functional/Dysfunctional- It would seem that play is more functional when the group as a whole is playing in nearby coordinates on that X,Y,Z map.  Obviously communication, social contract, and general compromise help out, but distance between emphasis of G/N and Fidelity can cause problems.    Rough edges slide into Dysfunction when the group is no longer willing to make concessions and at least try to address individual concerns.  The "don't talk, don't acknowledge" syndrome.

Single Mode/Hybrid- I think this model perfectly encapsulates the G/S, N/S sorts of gaming.  Observe range from the Pool, TQB, Inspectres, octaNe, Dust Devils, Sorcerer, and TROS, as a range of Low to High Fidelity sorts of games in the Nar range.

Comments?  Ideas?  Nothing here's set in stone, just venturing from my mind at the moment.

Chris
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2003, 08:28:16 AM »

Quote from: Walt Freitag

1. The nature of play midway along the G-N axis is unclear. You describe it as an equal mix of G and N, but could it not also be the complete lack of both G and N priorities? If G and N are incompatible mind-sets is not that the more likely possibility? And yet, if all play must contain one or the other, that appears a contradiction.
Actually the "complete lack" is quite common, but seems to me to occur because the player has no power to make such aa determination, than not having the will to do so. Think of player power as the potential radius of decision making on the plane (yes, a player can be restricted from determining where he can put his fidelity at by the way the game apportions power, too).

Not all play must contain these things, but the decision not to decide is itself a decision. Staying "in the middle" is just as describable as a player not considering his particular level of Fidelity. It happens to have an effect anyhow. And since these models exist to combat incoherency, the result has an effect. So if I "don't decide" to play it G or N, it's the same as if the choice is congruent. A neutral response.

Let me make that more explicit. It doesn't matter if you consciously decide. Your decision will land somewhere on the spectrum, and the divergence of that with other people's preference is what causes problems to occur.

Quote
2. There's also a point in the continuum representing low-fidelity neither-G-nor-N (or equal G and N) play. What does that play look like? (Perhaps, one of those endless Trivial Pursuit games with no one keeping score that happen when everyone is too tired or drunk to think of anything else to do?)
Low everything? It exists theoretically, but is probably rare.

One of the interesting things about the model is that it says that high fidelity is always better. There are just times that, to get to the particular G or N decision you want, you'll go to a lower Fidelity. Occasionally.

So "low everything" is likely to be seen as sloppy play to say the least. It could be a particular group's goal for some strange reason (and I hope I'm not diparaging anyone here), but I think it rare to nonexistent. One of the things about this model is that we can predict "periodicity" with it, I think.

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3. We know that problems relating to player differences on G vs. S priorities do occur. A GM says, "Your character's intelligence is too low to have thought of that." A player joins a dungeon crawl and wants to play a priest opposed to all killing of animals. We've characterized whole systems as being G-S incoherent. What do these things mean, in terms of the proposed new version of the model?
Glad you asked because I thought of the answer just a while ago, and it might be profound. There is a potential incoherency between the axes, but it's different. It's the incoherency you get when a rule or ruling (as in your example), tries to appeal to metagame and in-game at the same time. That is, it tries to affix the position of the two components simultaneously on both axes. This is the problem with traditional EXP reward systems, for example. They try to say, well, it's realistic, but really we're rewardng the player. Never works. The player has to shoose which axis is informed, and since players can choose either to interperet it as, this will likely cause dissociation on one or both axes.

That wasn't well stated, but can you glean my point? Basically Confusing the axes in design causes players to be confused as to which axis is informed, leading to one of the other two incoherencies. Conflict or Fidelity (I'm adopting Chris' term as you can see). In the end the player who's looking for Gamism isn't bothered by the Fidelity of any decision. Only the extent to which it's also Gamist. Is that any clearer?

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I think I can give a partial answer to #2. I believe that any representation of GNS space as a continuum, including yours and including the conventional "big triangle," covers a space larger than the general consensus of what role playing games are.

...

Velllly innnntelesting.
I was thinking the something similar in general terms about shape. In fact, you could keep that odd corner if only to investigate it.

Thanks for your input so far everyone.

Mike
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2003, 08:37:27 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young
Actually, Jason, those examples,
Quote
genre adherance, for comedy, for gee-wiz-bang-cool-like-it-would-happen-in-the-movies, or for its own sake....
point up the metagame priority of simulationism quite well. You could be going for realism, for fidelity to a published reality, or for adherence to any of those priorities you named, and be involved in simulationism. Narrativism doesn't say that verisimilitude doesn't matter, but that it can't be allowed to derail consideration of the theme (why narrativist games so often allow people to arrive on the scene "at the right moment" instead of "when they would get there", a point I make in the other thread). Gamism doesn't say that verisimilitude doesn't matter, but only that we need to have a solid basis on which to predict what will happen so we can make fully optimized choices and have the system validate those choices through consistency.


The metagame priority occuring in those examples isn't verisimilitude - it's what would make for the most interesting sequence of events.  But, because prioritizing engagement in the charm of the sequence of events doesn't spring from a moral or ethical question it isn't Nar.  I like action movies and pop fiction, not cinema and literature - that distinction pushes me into the Sim category by process of elimination only.  My hypothesis is that a great number of alleged Simulationist would be better defined as High Fidelity|Story Now.

The fact that verisimilitude is important to Nar and Gam matching up with the approach being discussed here.

Instead of:

Nar = Explore + Nar
Gam = Explore + Gam
Sim = Explore

We have options more like:

Explore + Nar
Explore + Gam
Explore + Nar
Explore + Gam
 
Mike pretty much covered everything else I was going to say.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2003, 08:47:56 AM »

Quote from: Bankuei
#2-
Low fidelity(genre expectations don't matter so much), Low Gam, Low Nar, what's the draw?  Socialization.  If we're using a X,Y,Z thing mapped to G/N/Fidelity, then we're talking about close to the zero point.  I'd say the zero point itself is hanging out with buddies and bullshitting.  It's the point where the game doesn't matter.p
Hadn't thought of that. In describing this a "sloppy" I should have noted that there are times when considerations are lower, anyhow. Player decides to have character cross street, maybe describing floating in a non-magic world. Sloppy, but nobody cares because it's not important.

Social is still primary, that hasn't changed. So, yes, it explains continued participation evn when interest is low enough that sloppy play continues. It doesn't cause sloppy play, it just allows for it.

#1 part 2 :P

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So, looking at that idea, if you're not very heavily into the G/N aspect of things, but high on Fidelity, perhaps you're either in denial of your G/N desires or there for socialization.
Bzzt. Wrong answer. It's still a metagame priority of it's own. See above ansewer to Walt about how it doesn't matter that you're "not making" the G/N decision.

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A third aspect that may come into play is basing your actions off of social approval of others, in which case the G/N decisions are more based on the preferences of the group, or specific individuals within the group.
Again, it's always possible that this drives your motives, but we're not getting into motives, just behaviors, and the incoherency that they can cause.

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If we're talking good stuff like GURPS, the classic high sim, no filler game, then what we're talking about is a High Fidelity game, that has room for drift from slight to gross drift towards G/N.
This is precisely the problem and strength of GURPS , it requies drift on that axis to enjoy it. So the players decide where to put it on that axis. If everyone's on the same sheet of music, then you'll have a coherent game. Otherwise not. Note that as written I feel that GURPs is a little to the Gamist side on that axis. Points do that, IMO. Drop the points and it becomes very, very neutral on the Conflict axis.

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Functional/Dysfunctional- It would seem that play is more functional when the group as a whole is playing in nearby coordinates on that X,Y,Z map.
I think each player has a "stretch" limit on each axis. That is, they'll only accept play that's so far to either side of their preference on each axis. This results in an ovoid of acceptable play on the plane. This is only the elementary view. Your ovoid will distend or retract for certain things. For example, if other players are in conflict about play that's problematic for them both, but not for you, you'll probably retract back into one of their ovoids to try and resolve the problem (siding). Complex in action no doubt, and ever changing.

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... distance between emphasis of G/N and Fidelity can cause problems.
This is just basic GNS. System matters in this particular way. Nothing new there (little of this is really new).

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Single Mode/Hybrid- I think this model perfectly encapsulates the G/S, N/S sorts of gaming.  Observe range from the Pool, TQB, Inspectres, octaNe, Dust Devils, Sorcerer, and TROS, as a range of Low to High Fidelity sorts of games in the Nar range.
That's what I'm thinking. My case to Walt above explains how as people get far out on the Conflict axis, they tend to have to dip occasionally on the Fidelity axis. This is Ron's "subordinate Sim" in action.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2003, 08:56:33 AM »

Second post in a row again.

Quote from: cruciel
The metagame priority occuring in those examples isn't verisimilitude - it's what would make for the most interesting sequence of events.  But, because prioritizing engagement in the charm of the sequence of events doesn't spring from a moral or ethical question it isn't Nar.  I like action movies and pop fiction, not cinema and literature - that distinction pushes me into the Sim category by process of elimination only.  
But in a moment, Ron would be along to tell you that this is, in fact Narrativism. That you're conflating the literature definition with something more flighty. Well, we don't have to debate this under my model. You can accept that it's:

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High Fidelity|Story Now.
The problem that Ron has is that, with traditional power structures in designs is that the player doesn't usually have the power to go to the "story now" end of the Conflict spectrum. The Impossible thing is not that you can't have "High Fidelity|Story Now" it's that you can't have "story now" if the GM has all the power, because the player isn't empowered to make such a decision. He has to stick to the Fidelity axis only in which case High is the only rational choice (or, for the Narrativist player who's bored, you might see sloppy play).

So I think we're very much in agreement.

I'm sure that Ron is waiting for this to become much more concrete before he comes on with commentary. I think that's the other shoe we're all waiting to drop.

Mike
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2003, 08:59:56 AM »

Speaking of the Devil:  Mike,

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Jason, I'm going to leave most of your thoughts about Narrativism alone, and let Ron or somebody else respond to them if they feel like it. Because my new model doesn't challenge Ron's definition of Narrativism, but as it happens, it does reconcile the problems that you're seeing, I think. At the very least, I think it makes it easier to look at.


This approach does solve my problems with the distinctions between Sim and Nar.  Unfortunately it doesn't solve my problem with Nar.  I'm left wondering where the 'I care not about challenge nor Ergi' axis is.

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Here's why. The problem that I see with people trying to disect where the divergence occurs between Char Sim and Char Nar, for example, is that when it's Nar, people are usually playing up the "what would my character do" aspect. This is why Ron always tells me that my examples are incorrect, and why it's hard to delineate the line. Examples don't work precisely because what one does is to prioritize both at the same time. Ron says that all action must be Plausible. Well that just means that there's some element of Fidelity inherent in every decision. Dividing that out into it's own priority doesn't say that this is not true. But it does make it hard to think about which is "more" prioritzed in most situations. I would say that they're often both given high priority.


I agree fully with this.  Authorial power allows you to adjust the definitions of plausible while maintaining Character Exploration, such that you never have to make a choice between pausibility and story - they spring from each other and are the same entity.

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Nothing in there goes against any of the current theory you'll find. So what I'm presenting is what I think is a superior model for how to look at these things.


No, I agree it doesn't - I just think it might be rather limitting not to go against the current theory.

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Yes, but it's key so we'll have to work on that. See, that axis I see as the "what the player expends his power to decide upon axis". That is, if I make a decision, I can make it "to win" or "to be dramatic". These are truely mutually exclusive. That is, the decisions to do one or the other, though they may look similar, have such different mental approaches to the game that they can't be the same at one time. Hence why when it does become apparent what the thought process is, those that prefer one over the other have problems with the other. The Roll playing Vs Role Playing thing in action. So this still needs its own axis to define that incoherency.


I had this weird little train of thought.  It went like this:  
challenge versus story...hmm, no
intellectual versus emotional...hmm, no
challenge versus 'wouldn't it be neat if...'...hmm
challenge versus aesthetics...hmm
art versus science, hmm, maybe...

Where I finally stopped was primary engagement of left brain versus primary engagment of right brain.  Or, the axis being role-playing as a creative exercise versus a logical exercise.  This left the Fidelity axis as the axis reflecting the importance of disbelief suspension.  As an analogy:  we might define paintings of ducks and other realistic artwork as High Fidelity|Creative and purely abstract games like checkers as Low Fidelity|Logical.

Anyway, that's how all this has me thinking.  I find it much easier to define my priorities using this approach than Nar/Sim allows.
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- Cruciel
Emily Care
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Posts: 1126


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« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2003, 09:02:36 AM »

Good discussion, folks.

Quote from: cruciel

Explore + Nar
Explore + Gam
Explore + Nar
Explore + Gam


So we are saying both that a game that only prioritizes exploration doesn't exist, and that all exploration is fidelity to some referent?

(Thanks for introducing fidelity as a term, Chris. I championed it in this thread a while ago, and somehow verisimilitude came more into vogue. :)

And another related question I have is, if fidelity is equated with exploration, then how can fidelity be a metagame goal? Or are we throwing that out?  Are all goals metagame now? Am I being clear?

A way of looking at this all that's been rattling around in my head, has been that there are multiple metagame goals: fidelity of the various sorts, narrativism, challenge, social standing, personal exploration, education, etc., any of which can be a primary goal of play and which may be more or less encouraged by given sets of mechanics or system elements.   If instead we go with saying that some sort of fidelity is included in all play, and there really are only two other goals (nar/gam) where does everything else fit in? I believe Mike placed Social at a step higher than gns, which is always true: any rpg occurs within the context of social interaction.  But what if the particular goals that may be social or psychological in nature take pre-eminence? Are gamism and narrativism avenues through which these goals may themselves be reached?


yours in thought,
Em
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Black & Green Games
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2003, 09:11:09 AM »

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Anyway, that's how all this has me thinking.  I find it much easier to define my priorities using this approach than Nar/Sim allows.
And that's one primary goal. I also hope it does the same for Gamism/Sim. And a bunch of other things. Like I'm hoping that this rectifies some things so that Marco (and guys like Baugh and Kim) doesn't see his POV as marginalized by the theory. Not that this is PR, just that I think this model rectifies what were previously conflicting POVs. To an extent.

Mike
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Bankuei
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« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2003, 09:19:27 AM »

Hi Emily,

please take credit then, I vaguely recall the word coming from somewhere, just wasn't sure where!

I believe that all of these goals are "metagame" goals if you want to put it that way.  Consider that you can play the Pool as free form-y light as a trip through someone's mind, with very little genre expectations set up to hold fidelity to, or you could run a gritty Chicago crime thriller, with high Fidelity.  While the Pool is flexible like that, you can also see that kind of Drift in D&D and even as far as GURPS, depending on who you're playing with.

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A way of looking at this all that's been rattling around in my head, has been that there are multiple metagame goals: fidelity of the various sorts, narrativism, challenge, social standing, personal exploration, education, etc., any of which can be a primary goal of play and which may be more or less encouraged by given sets of mechanics or system elements. If instead we go with saying that some sort of fidelity is included in all play, and there really are only two other goals (nar/gam) where does everything else fit in?


I think we need to remember that GNS(and Horseshoe 2, or whatever we're going to call this thang heah), is below that social dealy, as you said.  So when we're talking Social Standing, depending on the group, that could equate to higher Fidelity, more Gamism/Narrativism, or the opposite direction.  Consider these statements as social cues of the group:

"Dude! That can't happen! That's too unrealistic!"
"Man, you're taking the game too seriously..."
"You know, if you guys used better tactics, this wouldn't happen!"

Etc.  Each one of those statements is basically a request asking that someone up or lower the Fidelity, shift more towards G or more towards N, or something else on that chart.

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But what if the particular goals that may be social or psychological in nature take pre-eminence? Are gamism and narrativism avenues through which these goals may themselves be reached?


I think you've hit it on the head there.  Challenge/Fidelity are just means through which those other goals are reached.

Chris
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