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Author Topic: Beeg Horseshoe Theory Revisited  (Read 69886 times)
M. J. Young
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« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2003, 03:57:54 PM »

Lots to address, and I'm hoping to run a game tonight, so I may be too brief on some of these points. I have indeed read every post on this thread, although I won't pretend I fully assimilated all of them before I posted--there's not enough time in one of these hot threads to do more than read through and respond, because if you give it time to cohere in detail there will be another half hour of reading to do before you can post.

Jason, I couldn't say for certain whether you're involved in simulationist or narrativist play; but I think your objection to narrativism is dissolving before my eyes. You say that it's not narrativist because it does not address a moral or ethical issue. I read over the entire story, and I see a story that is inherently about love, betrayal, and jealousy. How are these not moral/ethical issues? Clearly the questions raised are whether Genevieve had any right to expect Caspian to resist the wiles of Luccia given the state of their relationship, or conversely had any right to expect Luccia to respect Genevieve's interests there. Genevieve is acting in a way that says she expected them to treat her better, that what they did was unfair and personally insulting and offensive to her--and that's a moral position. Luccia is obviously acting in a manner that says she doesn't think she owes squat to Genevieve's interests, and can sleep with anyone she wants without regard for friendship--and that's a moral issue. Caspian's actions are a little less clear at this point. We can't be sure whether he thinks Genevieve has overreacted to him having a one-nighter with Luccia when any relationship he had with Genevieve was so tenuous, or whether he thinks he really messed up something wonderful that might have happened with Genevieve by allowing Luccia to seduce him--but either way, these are moral and ethical issues, matters about whether he has obligations to others and whether they have obligations to him. The whole story screams moral issue; it begs to have people decide whether the characters are treating each other well or poorly, fairly or despicably. There are certainly moral and ethical issues at the very heart of this story, and both the players and the characters appear to be exploring them.

Now, I think it's possible to "explore moral issues" in a totally removed fashion, in which case it would become sim. I can imagine some conservative moralist reading the latest pulp romances or viewing the latest popular films strictly to see what sort of morals are conveyed so he can decry them, without ever becoming intellectually involved in the books or the issues they actually do raise. So you might be doing a simulationist exploration of these issues. I don't think you are. I think you're doing narrativism. Yes, you ask what is realistic for your characters to do; but that's not counter to narrativism. I don't feel that at any point you chose things solely because they were the most likely thing for any character to do. You considered all the things your character might do, which were both possible within the setting and plausible given the characterization of that individual, and then chose the one you wanted to have happen for reasons which advanced the story and best addressed the core issues of love, betrayal, and jealousy.

So if this is your example of something that's not narrativist because it doesn't address a moral or ethical issue, I think your concepts of moral and ethical don't match those intended by the theory. Did I miss something?

Good story, by the way. It actually addresses moral and ethical issues better than some of the stories in my book. (I'm going to have to work on that.)

Mike, I think that there is gamist/simulationist incoherence and narrativist/simulationist incoherence.

The latter is easier to see, and in fact I see it in Jason's post.
Quote from: Jason a.k.a. Cruciel
The scene degrades into violence as Yama {Eric}, Mercedes {Rene}, and Gil show up on the scene (because the players wanted them to, all specific different motivations I suspect).
Now, how did those player characters all happen to show up at that moment? There's no indication that they heard the fight and came running. There's no indication that they (the characters) had any reason to go there such that they would stumble on these events. They appeared because the players wanted to have their characters involved in the story at this moment, not because there was any real reason, within the characters' world, that they would. A pure simulationist referee would have said that it is unrealistic for all of them to appear, possibly even for any of them to appear, because there is no reason for their characters to be going that direction. If they want to know whether in their random wanderings they stumble upon this fight, well, let's have a roll weighted with the probability that they would come here against every other place on the ship. Someone might happen to wind up in the cargo hold, someone else on the bridge, someone else in the galley--why here? Here because although it is poor simulation of reality, it makes a better story because it involves the player characters in the possibility of addressing the outworking of the central issue. I said, "That's not realistic enough; I don't believe it" when they all arrived.

In The Phantom there's a silly throwaway line in the narration, something to the effect of, Every movie is entitled to one great coincidence, and this is ours. Deciding when the coincidence happens because it gives players the opportunity to be involved in the exploration of the issue (and how is the fight between the characters, one of whom is loyally defending her sister's rights in a relationship the other has callously despoiled, not significant in the exploration of the issue?) is letting narrativism overide simulationism. It's saying that it's more important to us at this moment that we make this story better than that we seriously consider the plausibility of every character coming here where unbeknownst to them there's a fight happening.

Yes, you can have coherence between sim and nar, and between sim and gam, and both of those more easily than you can have it between gam and nar; but you can also have coherence between gam and nar, if trying to win is both the best move for the player and the best direction for the story. Not too long ago, probably in a thread on hybrids, I observed that in a save the universe scenario you can have total coherence, because doing your best to win is both the most realistic choice for the characters and the best choice for the story. What kind of story would Armageddon be if Bruce Willis' character said, "Heck with you, do you think I'm going to go up to that asteroid and be the only one who dies while everyone else lives?" It's not realistic for him to say that, it's not good story, and it's not the road to victory. Sure, there are moments in which one of the three might emerge--when Willis' character decides to stay on the asteroid to blow it up so that his daughter's fiance will be returned safely home to her, for example, is very narrativist and not very gamist. But such coherence overrides most of the incoherence in such accounts. Gam/sim conflict does occur, and so does nar/sim conflict, not so often as gam/nar conflict, but truly.
Quote from: Mike
Basically, nobody ever said, "Man, you suck, that was way to realistic!"
No? Sure they did; they just didn't use those words. They said, "Why didn't you shoot the guy before he got away?" "I didn't think it was something my character would have done." "Well, you probably cost us the game." That's a gamist/simulationist conflict. That's the gamist saying that the simulationist erred by being to "realistic" in relation to his character's identity.

Simulationism is a metagame priority which at times does conflict with the metagame priorities of gamism and narrativism. It does so less often, and it is usually less recognized when it does. That doesn't relieve it from being a conflicting metagame priority.

Now, I'm long on record in saying that players do move between priorities, and I'm quite happy with the notion that they will consider all three before making a decision--making a decision because, for instance, it brings them closer to victory, but first considering whether it's realistic under the circumstances and helps advance the exploration of the issue. But sometimes simulationism wins out over the other two, and sometimes one of the others wins, and that's why there are three. I think decisions can be hyridized in many ways. I still think that simulationism is a conflicting priority.

--M. J. Young
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talysman
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« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2003, 07:42:06 PM »

well, I guess I'm kind of late getting into this thread... and it's already swollen to four page! here's my quick round-up on thoughts about this thread.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
A while back, someone (please step forward whoever you are) that these things might be thought of as a couple of different axes. And over time, I've started to accept this more or less.


was it this post, Mike? of course, that post uses the axis more like a giant "T" than a beeg horseshoe...

I don't think Baseline/Vision describe the two extremes of the vertical axis of the "T"; as I understood the terms, Baseline + Vision = Setting + Situation + Chararact + Color ... in other words, the gameworld that the System is intended to impliment. Baseline would be the setting elements that pretty much go without need of explanation -- anything involving real-world physics and a known historical or cultural background. high-detail Sim games will include more Baseline detail, while low-detail Sim will have a few general rules to apply quickly to impliment anything in Baseline. Vision is the setting elements that violate the expectations of the Baseline, so they need to be explained; it's the "high-concept" part of a high-concept Sim.

what the vertical bar then represents is the degree of Fidelity (Emily Care's term) to the Baseline/Vision combo. the crossbar of the "T" is the Gamism/Narrativism or Conflict axis (Chris's term.) the balance between Baseline and Vision -- how much is "given" versus how much is unique to the setting -- form yet another descriptor, when using the scheme to categorize games. during actual play, Baseline/Vision do not matter, since it's not a decision players make from moment to moment, the way GNS decisions are.

now, as for the issue of whether it's possible to play a game with High Fidelity without tilting towards either Challenge or Theme on the Conflict axis... I think it is. stepping outside of RPGs for a moment into the realm of computer games, there's The Sims, which can be played with a conflict but can also be played "just to see what happens". I've sometimes rolled up random dungeons using the old AD&D tables, just to see what they would look like. I've also walked through the steps of creating a society in Aria. I would call those pure forms a pastime rather than a game, but you could definitely play with a group using rules to flesh out a world rather than tell a story or compete to reach some goal.

I think that brings me up to speed with the thread... my basic point is: I agree. the last few posts seem to be more about "is one particular example of play Sim or Nar?" perhaps I am too late for this thread, and all the major points of the Beeg Horseshoe Theory have already been debated, signalling the end of the thread.
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John Laviolette
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #47 on: May 31, 2003, 09:33:35 PM »

So this is what I'm picturing - Do I understand all this correctly?



Games classified as Sim by the GNS model: this is a game whose mechanics focus on Fidelity and leave G and N up to the individual social contracts, or perhaps allows for either at the individual player's choice.  Hero, GURPS, Fudge fall on various levels of Fidelity and stick near the center of the Challenge axis.

Games classified as Gamist by the GNS model: these are games that  encourage/reward gamist decisions.  D&D3 is a Hi-Fi Gamist game.  Tunnels & Trolls is a Lo-Fi Gamist game.

Games classified as Narrativist by the GNS model: games that  encourage/reward thematic decisions and story creation.  Trollbabe is a Lo-Fi Nar game.  Riddle of Steel is a Hi-Fi Nar game.

This is next-level shit that I find significantly diggable.  As a theory it seems more palatable than GNS; it just clicks in my head better than GNS ever did.  Somebody going to make an article?  And what does Ron think of this?
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #48 on: June 01, 2003, 10:36:00 AM »

M.J.,

Your analysis is very intelligent and spot on.  I'm still a little iffy on whether it's Sim or Nar, and have got a little more to say, but have responded in this thread.

Justin, Mike:

I think you're right on the Stances.  I'm seeing patterns, but patterns to do make absolutes.

'K, back to M.J.,

Quote from: M.J.
Now, how did those player characters all happen to show up at that moment? There's no indication that they heard the fight and came running. There's no indication that they (the characters) had any reason to go there such that they would stumble on these events. They appeared because the players wanted to have their characters involved in the story at this moment, not because there was any real reason, within the characters' world, that they would.


You're right it wasn't  very realistic.  You can always identify it by the 'Can I hear that?' chorus, which is where the Author/Director stance modifications start to kick in and Fidelity gives way to something else.  I suspect everyone who showed up did so because the player wanted to be involved.  With the noted exception of Yama - I think he just showed up because Eric wanted to defend his other character with his giant, fire-breathing, cat/dog thing (is that Gamist, I dunno?).

I'd say in this particular instance Fidelity gave way for both Nar and Gam, with the specific decision left in the hands of each individual player.  I see this as just sliding down the Fidelity axis to widen the triangle at the bottom.  

Quote from: More M.J.

...snip...
No? Sure they did; they just didn't use those words. They said, "Why didn't you shoot the guy before he got away?" "I didn't think it was something my character would have done." "Well, you probably cost us the game." That's a gamist/simulationist conflict. That's the gamist saying that the simulationist erred by being to "realistic" in relation to his character's identity.

Simulationism is a metagame priority which at times does conflict with the metagame priorities of gamism and narrativism. It does so less often, and it is usually less recognized when it does. That doesn't relieve it from being a conflicting metagame priority.
...snip...


Using this approach I would define that particular conflict as the two players being at seperate points along the Fidelity axis.  Assuming for a second that both players are in identical positions along the Conflict axis (which I think is most likely impossible), the player that didn't shoot is more Hi-Fi.  Both players could be striving for victory, but the non-shooting-guy has higher confines placed upon his behavior because of his Fidelity position.  It seems to me more like a conflict of how much Sim instead of Sim vs Gam (not that that difference is anything but subtle).  So, I don't think this approach maginalizes the conflicts between Fidelity, Challenge, and Theme at all.  In fact I think it makes them easier to define because you can talk in terms of relativity.  If one player says another isn't being realistic, or one player says the other is taking the game world too seriously, we can say they have dissimilar Fidelity.  This is only a stray thought, but if you addressed dissimilar Fidelity first I think it might facilitate then accomplishing Nar/Gam Congruence.  Variable control on Fidelity may allow you to hang situations off it that both a Nar and Gam player could approach comfortably.  Though, I suppose this is neither here nor there - it just has me thinking.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2003, 07:58:04 AM »

MJ, I agree with your analysis of Jason's play, FWIW. This all goes to Ron's "Oh shit, I'm playing Narratvist," section of the Sim essay. But just goes to show how thins model eliminates personal disagreement on what's happening in game. Without looking at the Fidelity angle as competitive, suddenly what's going on is more clear.


Again, we're not really disagreeing on the other points. Sim is a metagame priority. I've never said it wasn't. And I've also agreed that problems can occur between them in terms of such things as available decisions. I've just said that perceptually they don't compete in play.

Your example of what people say, "why didn't you shoot?" is a perfect example of the clarity of this new model. That is, players don't think in terms of these things conflicting. That is, the reason they never actually state what I said, is because they don't think in those terms. The "gamist" player is thinking in terms of using player power to compete. He's thinking along that axis. He's not concerned that the player's action is realistic. He's concerned that it's not playing to win.

Why the distinction? Because some players will expect both. Hi Fidleity/Challenge is also a valid way to play. So the player with that preference in fact expects the player's action to be realistic. He just expects the player to also be trying to win at the same time. It's the lack of the latter that's annoying.

Now, I've said repeatedly that a player may encouter points at which he can't have both HighFidelity and a HiChallenge response to a situation. And thus there is a potential conflict when he chooses one over the other. But it's precisely an understanding of both axes that's important, then. Has a LowFidelity tolerance been set? Then the player should make the more Challenge oriented response because there's no mandate to go High Fidelity.

This is key. Now we see that there's not only the traditional LowFi/Challenge style (which is oft berated as the "root" of Gamism; associated with Pawn stance), but a HiFi/Challenge style as well.

Keep in mind that there hasn't been any real changes from the original GNS theory. You can map one over the other. It's precisely a perceptual problem (several actually) that makes this version of the theory an improvement (IMO).

I agree with a lot of Jason's points regarding association with this model. Already he's been able to use it to define things in terms that (assuming you buy the model), seem pretty agreeble and intuitive.


Jon, that's not the post I was thinking of, sorry. Though I'm sure it reinforced my thinking on the subject, as did much of that thread.

Ethan, that's precisely what I envision for the plot. I don't want to privilege High Fidelity by placing it up, but it's intutive, and it also helps intuitively with the "gravity" effect that was mentioned. That is, I think of Fidelty as a bar to be achieved or exceeded. Whereas the other axis has balance across it in terms of effect.

Mike
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Walt Freitag
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« Reply #50 on: June 02, 2003, 08:32:48 AM »

There seeoms to be some confusion between the amount of something and the prioritization of something. This is understandable, as the word itself can be ambiguous. (If your boss tells you to prioritize recruitment, is she asking you to spend more effort on recruitment than you normally would, or is she asking you to make recrutiment your top priority above all other tasks? Probably depends on the boss.) But as I understand it, the prioritization referred to in GNS is always the relative variety. What is prioritized is what gets served when push comes to shove. In other words, it's the pushing and shoving, not the absolute amount of effort expended, that reveals priorities.

Simulationism is not fidelity.
Simulationism is not high fidelity.
Simulationism is (to a first approximation) the prioritization of fidelity.

The assertion of the square horseshoe is that fidelity does not conflict with Gamist or Narrativist concerns. But numerous examples raised in this thread show that sometimes it does. The admission that fidelity must be cranked down to accomodate really strong Gamist or Narrativist interests means that the rectangle has sloping sides. In my (geometry) book that makes it a triangle, dudes.

Which goes back to my earlier comparison. M.J. wants three independent dimensions, but if we accept that the dimensions are not entirely independent but must sum to the entirety of play (which we can normalize to a fixed value), we get a subspace that is a two-dimensional triangle. (If play has "more of everything" it's a bigger triangle but normalizing means we draw it the same size anyway.)

Ron has stated in the past that any GNS does not imply any particular shape or continuum, and that there is no practical way to characterize a decision as "x% S, y% G, z% N" which would appear to be a requirement for using a continuum model. But the length of a minimum instance of play (and the corresponding analytical irrelevance of individual decisions), the discusison of "supporting priorities" further described comparatively e.g. as "strong," and the foundational claim that all play has elements of all three modes all point in favor of a continuum.

Some points I'm coming away with from this thread so far are:

1. The idea that confliciting play priorities can be "along any axis" is useful, for any version of the model. That instead of saying "your G is getting in the way of my S," complaints will as likely take the form of "you're doing too much (that is, more than I want do support your doing) G" or "you're not paying enough attention to S." This is nothing that hasn't been clearly implicit in GNS all along, but it's worth noting.

2. "Fidelity" is a slipperier term than we're giving it credit for. For instance, fidelity is held to be compatible with Gamism because fidelity [/i]to a detailed set of rules[/i] can (obviously) support Gamist priorities. And it's held to be compatible with Narrativism because an entirely different kind of fidelity, fidelity to plausibility or consistency in the outcome, can support Narrativist priorites. The concept of "high fidelity" in particular needs some careful life support or it will collapse in contradictions and arguments (such as whether no-myth is necessarily low fidelity as Mike claims -- based on yet another type of fidelity, fidelity to a pre-existing imagined world-state -- or otherwise as I could argue). [Edited to acknowledge M. J. having made a similar point in the Fidelity Axis thread.]

3. Number 2, repeated nine more times. This all falls apart without a sound operational understanding of fidelity -- and I mean it all falls apart, core GNS included. (Well, maybe not falls apart completely, but a lot of progress gets reversed so that we'd be back to a negative definition of Simulationism as a lack of G or N metagame priorities.)

- Walt
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Bankuei
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« Reply #51 on: June 02, 2003, 09:21:34 AM »

Hi Walt,

Excellent points.  I'm going to venture for the moment that Fidelity is talking about Fidelity to those Explorative elements(System, Setting, Situation, Color, Character).  So, between those 5, there are various ways to prioritize what needs X amount of Fidelity.

So, if we're talking the Pool, system is at the top of the Fidelity list, with the rest being accorded to the group's standards.  If we're talking Nar drifted D&D(with lots of fudging), then System is dropped accordingly, and the other 4 raised depending on the group.  If we're talking Dust Devils, Setting and Color are going to have High Fidelity along with System.

When we look at it this way, and consider Sim as written, all that's being said is that Gamism or Narrativism has goals outside of Fidelity, and is willing to drop Fidelity to those explorative elements to accomplish their goals.  On the mirror side, Sim is all about Fidelity to those explorative elements(Exploration, remember?).  

Again, nothing new to GNS, just stated differently.  What may be of value is to not consider the Fidelity/Conflict plane as a hard triangle, but perhaps a fuzzy one, similar to those fun Mendelbrot colored probability maps.  What is a "make or break" Fidelity or Conflict question for one group, or one system, may not be an issue for another.  

So one group playing with X system, with Y social contract issues regarding Fidelity, may find that they have to choose between action A or action B based on Fidelity vs. Conflict.  Another group utilizing another system will not have that problem until further out on the graph.

To give a simple example, the classic throat-slitting issue of D&D:  Do you follow the rules in which the person lives via hp, or do you simply declare them dead?  This is a basic Fidelity of "plausibilty" vs. Fidelity of System happening.  Or some other rule?  Compare this to TROS, in which the throat slitting is handled by system fairly well, so the issue doesn't arise.

I'd like to say that any sort of judgement of a game in play, or a game facilitating X play, would be a dark blotch on the graph, lightening as it spreads out, showing the "most likely" sort of Fidelity/Conflict area of a game, and spreading out to the "less likely" areas based on drift, group, etc.  I'd also like to say that in some cases, one could have seperate areas marked, for example, I'd say that TROS has coverage in both Gamist and Narrativist sectors of the graph.

Thoughts? Input?

Chris
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #52 on: June 02, 2003, 09:45:32 AM »

I knew we'd get to this point. And I ought to have known that it was Walt that called me on it. I have what I think is an answer.

First, however, I'd like to address Fidelity. I agree that it's being handled sloppily, even in the other thread meant to address it. And it's not a simple topic. Fidelity can't mean adherence to the rules, however. So that's not what would characterize HiFi/Challenge. That corner would be similar to the HiFi/Theme corner in that the decisions would be congruent with both aims. It's not some special place, and doesn't require us to imagine anything special. Just a decision where it so happens that perhaps the realistic thing to do and the one that will win are the same. And that the decision is being chosen for both of those reasons.

See, it's this last idea that's the sticking point. Walt defines it well. Priority is the problematic point. GNS says that, a player will, when one of those moments comes, make a decision that's either A or B based on his priority at that moment. But then the theory notes that this priority will only be seen over an Instance of play. Meaning players will actually make some mixture of atomic decisions in play, the overall appearance of which is G or N or S.

But that admits that there's another metric involved. That is, there must be some impetus towards each mode that's employed, or those other decisions would not get made. Further, that likely there's some metric on the decision itself as to how it applies to the other metrics that in sum total results in the decision arrived at. That is, if I have a player with strong S preference, and a stronger G priority, and he makes an S decision, that something about that particular set of choices that's available makes the decision with the lower priority the more attractive one.

In any case, we could look at that closely, but what it implies is that it is important to look at these not as priorities in terms of Walt's absolute method, but as some sort of metric. And that it's also important to consider how they might be mixed. Because it seems to me that if we want to cater to some particular segment that it's important to consider multiple axes, and not just the one priority.

Now, in GNS, this takes the form of the contentious Hybrid game. But that would be to cater to two GNS priorities. Which would seem to be nonsensical in that, if they're priorities then you can only have one. Or perhaps a balance between two or all three. But what you can't have is a priority of one and also a smaller one for another because that would contradict the idea of a priority being that which is most important.

Basically what Ron calls the GNS "priority" I would call the largest vector on the model. But again that makes you think in terms of singluar player preferences when demonstrably they have more.

Now, this all becomes clear when we say that GNS is not about players, it's about those individual behaviors. But this is the problem, we're not making games for behaviors to play. We're making games for players to play. And they are more complex than single behaviors. I, unlike Ron, want to be able to label people with the model. And that requires rating them across thier multiple potential proclivities.  

So, this model isn't triangular. Because it does not model a space that's based on what decisions actually get made (and even that triangle is only formed of a weight of decisions that are inside it; some do fall outside). It's based on the cross values of player desires. I have a strong desire for play that's both HiFi and Thematic. That puts me in the corner. Which doesn't exist in the GNS model.

Mike
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C. Edwards
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« Reply #53 on: June 02, 2003, 10:39:37 AM »

Hey Mike,
Quote from: Mike Holmes
I have a strong desire for play that's both HiFi and Thematic. That puts me in the corner. Which doesn't exist in the GNS model.


Maybe I’ve been reading more into some aspects of GNS than are actually present but I always thought that corner did exist in GNS, although not explicitly stated. Your desires for HiFi and Theme will coincide on some decisions and you will have to prioritize one over the other for some decisions. I thought that was the whole point of an observable instance not being limited in duration. It can take quite a few decisions for an observer to work out someone’s play priorities.

Also, if you could address this issue in more detail I would appreciate it.

Quote from: Bankuei
I'm going to venture for the moment that Fidelity is talking about Fidelity to those Explorative elements(System, Setting, Situation, Color, Character). So, between those 5, there are various ways to prioritize what needs X amount of Fidelity.


Chris’ post makes a good deal of sense to me. HiFi/Challenge would, I imagine, almost never put Challenge over the Fidelity of System. Doing so would probably be seen as an incredible breach of Social Contract. The other aspects of Exploration would be much more likely to fall to the needs of Challenge when one desire was prioritized over another. That’s probably the case on different ends of the Conflict axis, but I think that all the talk of ’fudging’ and whatnot in various threads lately shows that the Fidelity of System often falls to desire for Fidelity in other aspects of Exploration.

-Chris
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Bankuei
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« Reply #54 on: June 02, 2003, 10:49:32 AM »

Hi Chris,

Quote
That’s probably the case on different ends of the Conflict axis, but I think that all the talk of ’fudging’ and whatnot in various threads lately shows that the Fidelity of System often falls to desire for Fidelity in other aspects of Exploration.


I'd also say that the rule of "fudging" or "ignor the rules" comes from putting Challenge over System Fidelity.  Consider the really old 1st edition D&D stuff, where you'd get a unique situation such as a tar trap which would get its own set of rules made up to deal with it, such as, "Movement is reduced to 1/3rd, and you cannot make Saves to dodge attacks or spells".  "Ignor the rules" basically gives any GM the right to introduce new ones, or drift play at will in order to better facilitate Gamist priorities in D&D, and is the battlecry of those who believe D&D "can do everything".

Chris

Edited for clarity
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C. Edwards
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savage / sublime


« Reply #55 on: June 02, 2003, 11:10:27 AM »

Hey Chris,

Maybe I'm just splitting hairs, but once rules become formalized they become System and not 'fudging'. I think that the 'ignore the rules' directive was instituted to help maintain balance in a system where it's notoriously difficult to balance challenge vs. character/party power and in that sense it was also instituted in the pusuit of making the game 'fun'. If the system had less variables involved in creating balanced challenges I don't think that 'ignore the rules' bit would even exist.

-Chris
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Emily Care
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« Reply #56 on: June 02, 2003, 11:18:31 AM »

Hi Chris,

Quote from: Bankuei
I'm going to venture for the moment that Fidelity is talking about Fidelity to those Explorative elements(System, Setting, Situation, Color, Character).  So, between those 5, there are various ways to prioritize what needs X amount of Fidelity.


I agree that there will be different prioritizations and allotments of how the 5 elements of exploration will need to convey verisimilitude.  But instead of the wording you use above, I'd say that fidelity in a system may be expressed through the 5 elements of exploration.  Fidelity is always to some referent, and is a kind of choice or criterion applied to elements, or play instances, to determine whether they will be included or not.  Saying it is to the elements is a bit misleading.

That said, some systems will express it more through mechanics, some through setting materials, some through color, etc.


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Black & Green Games
Jason Lee
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« Reply #57 on: June 02, 2003, 01:07:13 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
I'd like to say that any sort of judgement of a game in play, or a game facilitating X play, would be a dark blotch on the graph, lightening as it spreads out, showing the "most likely" sort of Fidelity/Conflict area of a game, and spreading out to the "less likely" areas based on drift, group, etc.  I'd also like to say that in some cases, one could have seperate areas marked, for example, I'd say that TROS has coverage in both Gamist and Narrativist sectors of the graph.


I'm liking the blotch.  You might take a single and make it a point on the graph.  After a whole series of decisions (an instance of play) you'll end up with a cluster of points, most likely in some sort of blotch-like pattern.  You could take an entire group's play of TROS and it might look like a horizontal smear perpendicular to the High end of the Fidelity axis or a heavy blotch in one area (assumption only, haven't played it).  Seems to fit with my completely unsubstantiated idea than a consistent Fidelity point can assist designing a game for Nar/Gam Congruence.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #58 on: June 02, 2003, 01:11:49 PM »

Quote
Quote from: C. Edwards
Hey Mike,
Quote from: Mike Holmes
I have a strong desire for play that's both HiFi and Thematic. That puts me in the corner. Which doesn't exist in the GNS model.


Maybe I’ve been reading more into some aspects of GNS than are actually present but I always thought that corner did exist in GNS, although not explicitly stated.
Actually it does exist, as multiple priorities. Which, as I've said is conceptually difficult. Basically the advantage of my model here is that it makes the location of that play explicit as a basic assumption.

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Your desires for HiFi and Theme will coincide on some decisions and you will have to prioritize one over the other for some decisions. I thought that was the whole point of an observable instance not being limited in duration. It can take quite a few decisions for an observer to work out someone’s play priorities.
That's GNS. My model says that each decision is somewhere on the chart, and is made due to the player having an urge of X amount to do so. Yes, observation is problematic, but a player will know his own urges fairly well. And you can also observe over time. But here's the key; this model allows you to consider the atomic decision, if only theoretically. For design that's important. Because sometimes support has to be available on that scale. At least I find it very useful to think of things on that scale.

Basically it doesn't matter that we don't know what play is for design purposes, we're after all trying to engender a certain sort of play, not discern it.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #59 on: June 02, 2003, 01:14:09 PM »

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Quote
That’s probably the case on different ends of the Conflict axis, but I think that all the talk of ’fudging’ and whatnot in various threads lately shows that the Fidelity of System often falls to desire for Fidelity in other aspects of Exploration.


I'd also say that the rule of "fudging" or "ignor the rules" comes from putting Challenge over System Fidelity.  Consider the really old 1st edition D&D stuff, where you'd get a unique situation such as a tar trap which would get its own set of rules made up to deal with it, such as, "Movement is reduced to 1/3rd, and you cannot make Saves to dodge attacks or spells".  "Ignor the rules" basically gives any GM the right to introduce new ones, or drift play at will in order to better facilitate Gamist priorities in D&D, and is the battlecry of those who believe D&D "can do everything".
You guys have taken this beyond me. I'm not sure what Fidelity to System is, actually. I know that it's not using the rules as intended. That can't be right. It can be using the rules to evoke that which the game seeks to evoke, namely some sense of the world as arbitrary.

Mike
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