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Author Topic: Beeg Horseshoe Theory Revisited  (Read 68790 times)
Jason Lee
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Posts: 729


« Reply #90 on: June 03, 2003, 01:40:17 PM »

John already said most of what I was going to say, even though it was from another angle.  I like the direction some people have taken with Fidelity, and I see a strong connection between Fidelity(2) and Baseline (even though I'm still a little fuzzy on specifically what that means).  But, I don't think Baseline is quite what Mike is talking about here.  So, if this is all true, I see very clearly where 'all play has Fidelity(2) and Sim needs to be its own axis' comes from, and I agree with the point.  I just don't think it's the same arguement.

Verisimilitude is a big ugly word that says 'Hey look at me aren't I smart!', but it may be the closest word conceptional - according to the dictionary anyway:

Verisimilitude:
The quality of appearing to be true or real in a work of the imagination.

EDIT: Cross post with Mike.  Bloorn?  Well, it doesn't have any unwanted connotations.
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- Cruciel
C. Edwards
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Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #91 on: June 03, 2003, 01:50:02 PM »

Quote
Verisimilitude:
The quality of appearing to be true or real in a work of the imagination.


But versimilitude is independent of Fidelity. Versimilitude can exist in both ends of the Fidelity axis, it's just that some people prefer a framework beyond internal consistency to be the agent of that versimilitude. Mike posted an excellent example of this very same thing in the Fidelity vs. Integrity thread.

-Chris
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #92 on: June 03, 2003, 02:28:42 PM »

In summary:

I totally, completely endorse Bloorn as the new term.  It's perfect simply because it avoids the semantic arguments that make my brain explode when I try to read them.

Bloorn.

So, Bloorn is an axis, and replaces GNS's Simulationism, Beeg Horseshoe 2's Fidelity.  I propose Bloorn Horseshoe as a new name for the theory.

So, an example of a Low-Bloorn game that's near center on the Challenge Axis would be any rules-lite Sim game, say, the Window or Pollies.  An example of a High-Bloorn game that's near center on the Challenge Axis would be Hero or GURPS.

The Bloorn Horseshoe's purpose is twofold:

1. Assist players in evaluating and understanding decisions made by themselves and others during play.
2. With this evaluation and increased understanding, assist designers in creating games that encourage certain types of decisions during play.

Does that seem right to y'all?

[Edited to make some wording more polite and meaningful]
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Jason Lee
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Posts: 729


« Reply #93 on: June 03, 2003, 03:09:32 PM »

Quote from: C. Edwards
But versimilitude is independent of Fidelity. Versimilitude can exist in both ends of the Fidelity axis, it's just that some people prefer a framework beyond internal consistency to be the agent of that versimilitude. Mike posted an excellent example of this very same thing in the Fidelity vs. Integrity thread.


I was behind on that thread, now I'm all caught up...

I'm not seeing what you're talking about, verisimilitude seems to match up with what Mike was saying pretty well.  I think his problem (Mike?) with the term was that it implies a single state and a preference for that state - not a range of values.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #94 on: June 04, 2003, 07:22:45 AM »

OK, I was being facetious to make a point. See, whatever term you use, there are those who will say that you get the best Fidelity, Verisimilitude, Simulation, Immersion, Integrity, Veracity, Realish, whatever, via methods that aren't the sort of thing that I'm trying to describe here.

All these terms can be co-opted easily, simply because the idea that we're discussing doesn't exist outside of RPGs, Simulations, Video Games, etc. There is no term that has ever been meant to describe it and only it precisely. So one of two things has to happen. Either we have to make up a term that can't be misconstrued (this is where my SpecSimImm came from), or we have to agree that the term we choose has a special definition for purposes of the model and stick to that definition when discussing it.

That would be creating Jargon, which is what I was trying to do with Fidelity. The problem is that all sorts of other agendas come in, use common meanings for the term, and then say, "Aha! We were right all along, there's no reason to play Sim!".

Which is precisely what I don't believe is true.

This priority does exist, and there is no attempt by the model to diminish it in any way. In fact, I was trying to privilege the priority by putting it in it's own special place as a somewhat separate consideration from the other elements of the model.

So, I can continue to be silly and use Bloorn, or we can deside on a term. It seems to me that Simulationism never had this particular problem (though it had others), so I'm going to go back to using something like that for the nonce. But since I need it to be a magnitude, I'm going to call it the Sim Value. As in "the decision was seen to have a high Sim Value".


At this point, I'd like to ask if anyone has comments about the model as a whole. Does it seem to provide better understanding? Would a three axis model be better? Or is this all adding complexity without making anything more accessible? My hope is that the model can exist alongside GNS as a way of describing it in more internal detail when neccessary (kinda like special relativity works with the general theory).  

Mike
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #95 on: June 04, 2003, 07:49:46 AM »

Bummer.  I really liked Bloorn, too...

However.  It seems to me that the Horseshoe (Bloorn or otherwise) simply serves as a clarification of sorts to how Simulationism works in GNS.  Which is pretty much what Mike just said.  So I guess this is me saying, "I agree."

To answer the posed question of whether or not this model is useful - I'd say that it is.  Basically, it's a reworking of GNS into a graphical sort of thing that can be easier to grok (picture >= 1000 words and all that...), and it reflects well how S works in GNS.

I think Sim Value is a good name for it.

BTW, in my last post, instead of "replaces GNS's Simulationism," I should have said (and meant) that it illustrates GNS's Simulationism, specifically how it is used in conjunction with the other modes.
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #96 on: June 04, 2003, 08:01:41 PM »

Quote from: Trying to define fidelity, Mike Holmes
that quality of a decision that makes it seem more solidly something that occured as a result of in-game causality of some sort.

Perhaps causalism is a better term? Seriously, despite having read every post on this thread and the other, I don't think I once saw anyone's use of "fidelity" to mean this, and it's not an intuitive meaning of the word, really. I'm inclined to think that if this really is limited to the degree to which in-game reality is self-consistent and self-supporting, something like causalism might convey that.

But I'm still not satisfied.

Quote from: Mike earlier
When you ask a player what's wrong, he'll say one of three sorts of things, true. But consider these examples:

"Not realistic enough." - the player really doesn't care why it wasn't realistic enough, just that for some reason it wasn't. Perhaps some other priority made it that way, or maybe it didn't.

"Not a good move." - the player does care why. That is, if he has a high Fidelity requirement, and it was Hi Fi, then he'll say, "But realistic" (which may mitigate or not depending). If he has a low Fi requirement, his objection will be, ", because you're using your power to intentionally lose for some reason."

"Not a cool story." - the player again cares why. If he has a high Fidelity requirement, then he'll say, "but very real" (and again that may mitigate). If he has a low Fidelity requirement, he says, "Because you're trying to win and not to tell a good story."

This was actually jarring to me. If it wasn't jarring to anyone else, let me parse out the examples.[list=1][*]"Not realistic enough" is objected to strictly as a failure of realism. From a GNS perspective, this is merely a matter of simulationist play complaining that insufficient simulationism is indicated.[*]"Not a good move" is objected to. If the objector says, "But realistic", we have a simulationist/gamist conflict of sorts. If the objector says, "you're using your power to intentionally lose", we seem to have a failure strictly within gamism.[*]"Not a cool story" is objected to. If he says, "but very real", we have a simulationist/narrativist conflict. If he says, "you're trying to win", we have a narrativist/gamist conflict.[/list:o]What I see is that you can have gamist and narrativist conflicts with simulationism simulationist and narrativist conflicts with gamism, and simulationist and gamist conflicts with narrativism.

This dual-axis model obscures this, I think. It makes it seem as if gamism is in tension only with narrativism, simulationism being a separate thing. Put another way, if on a cartesian plane, gamism is x and narrativism is negative x, you're going to have to find some value along the x axis which represents the tension between x and negative x, which might be zero but is more likely to be either positive or negative; but in any event the simulationism/fidelity/causality/bloorn value y can be anything without ever conflicting with this.

I don't see it that way at all.

GNS seems to be an absolutization of one priority over the other two: if there is a conflict between the three values, this one wins.

Hybridization (of the primary/secondary sort) seems to be an approach to Roshambo without the loop. That is, if we say we have a game which is "narrativist with simulationist secondary" we mean that any time a decision is forced between narrativist priorities and any others, narrativism wins, but if a decision needs to be made in which there are no narrativist priorities, simulationism wins.

By that reasoning, a narrativist/gamist hybrid should be the simplest thing in the world. You decide which is more important, and it always trumps the other; but whichever is the lesser of the two always trumps simulationism if the greater is not involved.

I still think this causalism/fidelity/bloorn thing is separate from simulationism. The commitment to in-game reality/consistency/verisimilitude is support for all three, and can be set at any level for any of them. Any one of these can trump the other two.

I don't think it clarifies GNS at all.

--M. J. Young
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #97 on: June 05, 2003, 06:32:04 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young
I still think this causalism/fidelity/bloorn thing is separate from simulationism.
The way people are using it, it's not. I agree. And you see me fighting tooth and nail to try to prevent that slide in understanding. But as I seem to be failing, I have to acceed that maybe this is all misguided.

I still maintain that I've never said most of the things that you claim I'm saying. I've never said that these things cannot compete. I merely see a subtle difference in how they compete, which might be served by a different model. I don't claim to be changing the original model much if at all, but you seem to say that I'm radically trying to alter it. So, there's obviously some observational differences that we have with how this all works. Which I have to take into account in terms of the model's potential usefulness.

Quote
The commitment to in-game reality/consistency/verisimilitude is support for all three, and can be set at any level for any of them. Any one of these can trump the other two.
Does the three axis model work for you then? And by that I mean to eliminate all references to whatever that fourth thing is (which I don't really believe in myself; and which can be discussed separately if people think it's important), and just concentrate on the original three behaviors. In fact, we can just go back to their original naming schemes (perhaps naming the magnitudes something like Gamist Value, etc).

Quote
I don't think it clarifies GNS at all.
OK, that's one very clear and well stated vote against it. And given that I think that others are changing what the Sim axis is all about, in trying to understand it, I'm on the fence myself. Anyone want to argue in favor of the model? If not then it would be time to can it.

Mike
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #98 on: June 05, 2003, 07:06:15 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Anyone want to argue in favor of the model? If not then it would be time to can it.

What, am I talking to the walls here?

Quote from: ethan_greer
To answer the posed question of whether or not this model is useful - I'd say that it is.  Basically, it's a reworking of GNS into a graphical sort of thing that can be easier to grok (picture >= 1000 words and all that...), and it reflects well how S works in GNS.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #99 on: June 05, 2003, 07:50:00 AM »

I'm hearing you, Ethan. You're one of many who've said that it's helpful, actually. And I'd like to go on popular opinion, but I have to go with the debate as well.

So what is it about the model that you see as suuperior? Is it simply the graphical nature? If so, then there's nothing about my axis divisions that are important to that. Would you be fine with the three axis model? Or is there something about the axes that I've identified that you can point to as being inherently more understandable in relation to actual play?

Don't get me wrong, I hope you're right. But how would you address MJ's opposition, for instance?

Mike
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #100 on: June 05, 2003, 08:47:30 AM »

Cool.

What about the model do I see as superior?  Well, nothing, really.  Earlier comments I've made seem to indicate that this model is superior in some way to GNS, but I'd like to retract that.  My understanding and way of thinking has changed over the past few days.  I'll try to summarize.

GNS - a big three-part model, bursting with chewy goodness and pages and pages of analysis.  Digging through that analysis, I get to the following conclusions:

Gamism: As presented, it's straightforward and intuitive, easy to understand and corroborate through observation.

Narrativism:  Same deal.

Simulationism:  Presented as a prioritization of the five elements present in ALL roleplaying, and a mode of play in which causality is the chief concern without reference to the other two modes.

To which I respond, "Run that by me again?"  As do lots of other folks.

Simulationism has always smacked to me of Euclid's 5th postulate - it seems somewhat out of place in that it's difficult to grasp, and is contrasted with the other two modes of the GNS theory.  Simulationism is this "different thing."  Nevertheless, there's no question in my mind that Sim exists as presented in GNS-proper, and that Sim can be and is prioritized in play over the other two modes.  Hence, GNS is valid, works, etc.

But.  Just as non-Euclidean geometry works in certain situations, so does this model.  GNS and this model are not entirely compatible, but they are also not mutually exclusive.  They share certain elements, but their use of those elements is slightly different.  This model, like non-Euclidean geometry, is a reaction to an existing theory that questions one of the theory's tenets and presents a "yeah, but..." sort of argument.

So, what is this model good for?  I think it serves as a useful tool for examining play behaviors and aiding design in hybrid games which have Sim as one element of the hybridization.

It works for Gam-Sim games, Nar-Sim games, and to some extent pure Sim games.

As M.J. states, Gam-Nar hybrids exist and/or are plausible.  The only game I can think of that's like this is Once Upon A Time (a card game, not an RPG, but the principles are there).  This model is not useful for analyzing hybrid Gam-Nar play.  But that doesn't make it a useless model.
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Wormwood
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« Reply #101 on: June 05, 2003, 08:50:29 AM »

Mike,

To my mind the major concern about your theory is whether there exists anything which is both high challenge and high theme. Essentially this is the much doubted GN hybrid, or even strongly GNS hybrid. While your theory seems interesting as another way to look at GNS, it clearly assumes that this region of the mode space is unoccupied.

I'm not convinced that there exists a GN hybrid, but I am planning to try to design into one. Simply put, no one has given a good reason for one not to exist. I'm wary about removing the option, simply because it hasn't yet been observed.

   -Mendel S.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #102 on: June 05, 2003, 11:17:46 AM »

Quote from: Wormwood
To my mind the major concern about your theory is whether there exists anything which is both high challenge and high theme. Essentially this is the much doubted GN hybrid, or even strongly GNS hybrid. While your theory seems interesting as another way to look at GNS, it clearly assumes that this region of the mode space is unoccupied.


Actually that's not true. You'd have a scatter of separate decisions on each side of the axis. In fact, we've discussed twice how TROS, does both theme and challenge. A typical example is where the character issue happens to coincide with winning, say, against a hated foe. This would be represented on the "chart" by dots in both regions. Remember these models are about play, not texts. The dots plotted represent individual decisions. Groups of decisions say something about overall play, but I contend that it's not that the player has a single priority; it's that the player has several priorities each being expressed in play to differing extents with each decision.

Contrary to you, I have no doubt that this sort of play can occur, or that games can and do support it. And the model should support that idea (though apparently for you it doesn't).

Mike
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #103 on: June 05, 2003, 12:15:17 PM »

So that would mean you disagree with my assessment that this model is not useful for classifying Gam-Nar decisions.  Are you saying that this hybrid is reflected by putting the dot towards the center of the axis?
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Wormwood
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« Reply #104 on: June 05, 2003, 12:27:14 PM »

Mike,

So, in the geometric sense you have an upper half plane, (one positive definite axis and one positive and negative one) and the following elements are identified as such:

points are individual decisions

curves are player decision collections

compact regions are locations in which a given design supports play.

Even if this is the case, that still implies that no decision can be both theme and challenge, just an eventual pattern of decisions. I'm more certain that that is false, as I recognize decisions of that type in my own play.

If, rather, you are suggesting that a single decision may appear in multiple locations, then it seems that this is a poor representation of your ideas.

To put my original point in the simplest terms, there is an inherent bias that challenge and theme are necessarilly distinct. Even if this can be overcome on the next level of the theory, it is still a concern in terms of generating this bias in the first place. I have yet to see a significant advantage to account for introducing this bias, even though the half-plane does provide some advantages in understanding the nature of Sim play. Simply put, I feel that the model over corrects for the importance of Sim.

I suspect that you are actually thinking in terms of bary-centric coordinates in a triangular system. In this case you have three coordinate axes, but only two dimensions. Each coordinate is based on the distance between the vertex and the point within the triangle. The zero point is on the line opposite the vertex. In this coordinate system, something that is between challenge and theme, are each "half" challenge and "half"  theme, and almost no sim. In the sense you've presented that point indicates nothing, being almost at the origin, and is essentially pure congruence.

The main advantage of bary-centric coordinates is that the actual shape of the triangle is irrelevant. I think this is where your model goes wrong, it suggests, not only that we can think in terms of a 2-dim coordinates for the triangle, but in doing so specifies a shape for the triagle, and in particular a shape which seems too simplistic to avoid adding bias to the model.

I hope that helps clarify things,

    -Mendel S.
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