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Author Topic: Criticisms of the Threefold  (Read 26939 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2003, 08:37:38 AM »

Marco,

What you feel the articles "imply" is, I'm fairly sure reading in things that aren't intended. In any case, because people have felt like you do, Ron has stated in multiple posts that the theory has nothing to do with any sort of underlying motivations behind the GNS behaviors.

Like this one in response to the idea that GNS is about motivations:
Quote from:  "Ron Edwards"
GNS really is about observable behaviors, like those that I list in the Simulationism discussion in the essay.


Sure, motives must exist, but it's pointless to debate them. It doesn't matter that Player A wants Simulationism because he likes to feel immersed, and Player B wants it because he sees the other modes as interfering with his particular Exploration of Setting. Or any of an infinite number of other possible motives. Because we can't have a model with infinite variables. And it doesn't matter why people have the preferences they do, only that they display them in their decision making in play. Behaviors. It only matters that these problems occur (assuming they do; the subject of our long-running debate), and what might be done to fix them. That's GNS.

Mike
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Marco
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« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2003, 09:12:38 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Marco,

What you feel the articles "imply" is, I'm fairly sure reading in things that aren't intended. In any case, because people have felt like you do, Ron has stated in multiple posts that the theory has nothing to do with any sort of underlying motivations behind the GNS behaviors.

Like this one in response to the idea that GNS is about motivations:
Quote from:  "Ron Edwards"
GNS really is about observable behaviors, like those that I list in the Simulationism discussion in the essay.


Sure, motives must exist, but it's pointless to debate them. It doesn't matter that Player A wants Simulationism because he likes to feel immersed, and Player B wants it because he sees the other modes as interfering with his particular Exploration of Setting. Or any of an infinite number of other possible motives. Because we can't have a model with infinite variables. And it doesn't matter why people have the preferences they do, only that they display them in their decision making in play. Behaviors. It only matters that these problems occur (assuming they do; the subject of our long-running debate), and what might be done to fix them. That's GNS.

Mike

Mike,
no, no, no--this isn't a *language* thing--it's a fact of the theory thing. Ron does *not* involve a question of intent in analysis of other people's behavior--but if I am analyzing my game and I ask "what type of decision making will this rule assist/promote/force" my answer can only be one of intent--specifically my intentded form of play when creating the rule.

When I examine my experience with a Gamist rule as in Ron's T&T game, how that rule will effect *my* play is purely intent based--therefore how I design games with an intended focus will be intent based (in playtest I may observe behaviors of others--and who cares about their motives). From the standpoint of the designer it's all intent--it's all what kind decision will this rule engender.

Looking at GNS from the decision-vantage point, applying the theory to one's own game, intent must not only be involved--it's *all* that's involved (until playtest--which is another story).

Contra, I can't tell if yer being facietious or not these days.

-Marco
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Valamir
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« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2003, 09:25:46 AM »

FWIW, I've made the same arguement in the past Marco.

My perspective:  Underlying all player behavior is intent and motive (even if subconcious).  But because we are not mind readers and people often have trouble evaluating their own motives accurately, we can not ever reliably know what these motives are.  Therefor they are unavailable as data points.  Fortuneately the end result of the motivation is ultimately captured in observable behavior so we can ignore motive all together and just concentrate on behavior.

Ron's perspective (as expressed at the time):  No, motive and intent are completely irrelevant to the theory right from ground zero, and not simply as an artifact of being unable to measure.  Only observable behavior matters.


My realization:  I say Blah Blah, only observable behavior matters.  Ron says Blech Blech, only observable behavior matters.  Either way...only observable behavior matters and the whole debate become moot.
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Marco
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2003, 09:39:27 AM »

But the point doesn't become moot when you're trying to figure out what you like about a game or how to design a game that promotes your preferences.

That's the one real strength GNS has.

I'll go you one further: what does observing the behavior of someone else get you? What does it get you with GNS added?

Bill jumps up and down like a monkey when he beats a monster and sits quietly the rest of the time therefore he'll love T&T (when all he's played so far is D&D3rd?). No--it doesn't tell you that. It tells you he might not like Sorceror? You needed a theory for that?

Observing behaviors through GNS is, maybe--maybe useful to designers during playtest. But that's the most biased examination concievable.

So yes: who cares about intent when analyzing someone's behavior.

But: why analyze someone else's behavior with GNS anyway? What does it predictably tell you? It's a parlor game.

Therefore: the predictable value of GNS lies in analyzing your own play and design and preferences--and these are wedded to intent (and therefore, also, reliably accurate).

-Marco
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2003, 11:01:05 AM »

Quote from: Marco

But: why analyze someone else's behavior with GNS anyway?


Because it's not tea for one. Social, social, social.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

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contracycle
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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2003, 11:15:26 AM »

Quote from: Marco
But the point doesn't become moot when you're trying to figure out what you like about a game or how to design a game that promotes your preferences.


Fair point.  But that only goes to prove how difficult it is to analyse motive.  So I agree, I have or had some ambivalence about where I fell along the spectrum.  But this was not eased by the fact that without some sort of model to discuss, the conversation (between myself and others or myself alone) was heavily distorted by value loaded labels like realism and roll vs. role etc.  So to respond to your next point:

Quote

That's the one real strength GNS has.


I offer this, from the introduction to GNS and other Matters of Roleplaying Theory:

Quote
My goal in this writing is to provide vocabulary and perspective that enable people to articulate what they want and like out of the activity, and to understand what to look for both in other people and in game design to achieve their goals.


My emphasis.  I think the virtue in the proposed taxonmy is that is allows something to be discussed wit more rationality than value judgement.  The same applies to GDS, at least it is something to be looking for and discussing.  It allows me to frame questions better so as to elicit more useful information.

Quote

I'll go you one further: what does observing the behavior of someone else get you? What does it get you with GNS added?


My sense that a player I know tended toward Sim was reinforced by the fact that he mentioned to me that he liked the idea of the TROS wound system because, and I quote as best I can from memory "the system provides a strong image" as opposed the the rather vague and imprecise resolutions in other systems.  If I have a coherent theory of sim, I can generalise from others experience to what this player is likely to enjoy, and load my games with appropriate scenes and feedback.  Similarly, I can hopefully mine the principles of sim to choose systems that will tend not to disapoint this players interests.

I may not, of course, succeed.  But at least I ahve a framework to use to order my observations and use them in some sort of purposeful manner, rather than relying on dumb luck and the above mentioned value-laden dialogue.
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Marco
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« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2003, 11:22:41 AM »

Indeed: vocabulary and perspecitve.

For the theorist. Not for the non-theorist. GNS is designed to change a theorist's perspective--and to provide a vocab for discussing that. The reader is not expected to force the group to communicate in these terms (such an attempt reliably meets with failure).

If you are dealing with another theorist across the table, you need not infer motive--you can ask it.

And you may well discover your observation of behavior drove the wrong conclusions (as it certainly will some of the time).

Saying that intent doesn't figure into the *model* ignores a huge portion of its strength (analyzing your own intent). Saying it doesn't figure into analysis of someone else's behavior is, well, not saying a whole lot since when you do analyze someone else's behavoir with GNS you get, at most, a dim correlation (he likes Gamist play--He'll LOVE Nicotine Girls!)

Edited to add:
As for the TROS example: I agree that a stated preference is handy for deciding what the guy likes--but your description doesn't hinge on a description of 'Simulationism' but rather a specific instance.

It doesn't mean he'll like CoC's insanity system (a good solid description of how you go insane when you see a 'thu). It doesn't mean he'll like Mekton's life-path (a good solid character background). It doesn't mean he'll like RoleMaster (lookit those detailed critical hits!)

In short the "Sim" aspect of what he described is minute next to the hard-specifics (I like a combat system that gives me a good image). A game master *without* access to the theory will, I think make as many correct judgments based off that statement as one without it.

-Marco
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Valamir
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« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2003, 12:23:25 PM »

There is no crystal ball, GNS or otherwise that will tell you based on a set of inputs whether a player prefers die pools or percentile systems.
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Marco
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« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2003, 12:36:23 PM »

Precisely, which is why I think the analysis of other people's GNS mode is not *all that* valuable a part of the theory.

But analysis of one's own mode whether as a player or designer is very valuable.

And there you will use *intent*--NOT *observed behavior.*

-Marco
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Valamir
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« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2003, 01:02:45 PM »

Somewhere you're making a leap of logic that I'm not following.

I suspect the root of it is your approach to observed player behavior.

You are noting that an individual data point like "player jumps around cheering after a roll" doesn't tell you much.  That's a given.  Its been understood that way for years.  A search on "Instance of Play" will turn up many threads on the uselessness of individual data points to the process.  Whether one subscribes to the idea of atomic decision points being mapped out over the course of an instance of play or whether you believe that this is an ineffective approach and advocates a more organic definition of "instance of play" is largely itself moot.

Either way, we all know that there is neither a 1:1 correlation of individual player behaviors that = G N or S; nor is there a 1:1 correlation between G N or S and individual mechanics.  You seem to be seeking a way to tie individual player behaviors observed with X to specific other mechanics Y using "intent" as some kind of lens linking the two.

I can only shrug and say that if that's the case...I don't believe it will work.  Nor has the theory ever suggested it would work.  Nor has the theory ever had as a goal getting that to work...save perhaps as a handful of wishful thinking posts early on.

If that's not the case, I can only ask you to help clarify what it is you are hoping to be able to accomplish through developing the idea of "intent".  A specific example of a potential application would be most helpful.
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Marco
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« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2003, 01:12:42 PM »

Incredible. Forget about analysis. That's an aside.

Ralph: this whole thing started with whether or not there was "intent" in the GNS model. I'm not trying to map behaviors to anything--I don't believe it's reliable even with much observed behavior.

I am saying that when a person analyzes their own behavior they do it in terms of intent.

I'm saying that's the only 100% valid way to analyze a decision or preference in GNS terms (Did I do that to 'win,' did I do that because it makes a better story? Did I do that to learn someting?).

That's all about intent--not observed bheavior.

And that's where I see the real value of GNS (self-analysis, not analysis of anyone else).

Man. Could this be any less effecitve of a way to communicate?

Edit: you asked for an example.

I am getting ready to go on an adventure. My character purchases the battle axe because I believe for whatever reason that it's statistically superior and will make it easier for me to 'win.' I analyze that the character load-out scene was played in a Gamist fashion because my intent with each choice of gear was to maximize my efficency in step-on-up.



-Marco
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Valamir
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« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2003, 01:32:28 PM »

I'm hearing you Marco, believe me.  I've said it myself.  Even your example is something that I'd said in the past.

Do a search on "Instance of Play", "Atomic", and "Congruence".

We've had alot of discussions about this sort of thing.

Maybe I'm not seeing where you're going because I've already read those threads (and threw alot of electrons at them) and haven't made allowances for you starting from scratch.  i.e.  I can't tell if you've read those threads and are looking to build on them, or if you're retracing the same steps we trod before.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2003, 01:37:54 PM »

Quote from: Marco
I am getting ready to go on an adventure. My character purchases the battle axe because I believe for whatever reason that it's statistically superior and will make it easier for me to 'win.' I analyze that the character load-out scene was played in a Gamist fashion because my intent with each choice of gear was to maximize my efficency in step-on-up.


So the motive is to win? OK, now that we know that, what do we do with that info?

Quote
I analyze that the character load-out scene was played in a Gamist fashion because my intent with each choice of gear was to maximize my efficency in step-on-up.
I analyze your behavior of looking over the list and going "aha, that does the most damage" as Gamist. And it doesn't matter why. Because I know that's going to bug player B because he's dead set on people playing Sim. Or not. That's the analysis.

That's GNS. What are you going to do with your "intent" as you've discerned it. To say that there's some "intent to make a Gamist decision" behond each Gamist decision is both obvious and pointless in terms of the theory. Mr. Hols is distinctly talking about the reasons that people make the decisions that they do when he mentions intent. He's saying that GNS is invalid because we don't (and can't) say that gamist do what they do because they have an urge to win or any other single reason. The potential reasons are multitudinous. But it doesn't matter. Because GNS is a funnel. It's the choke point at which whatever your motive or intent is, the different sorts of decisions tend to become problematic with each other.

If you want to stop people from speeding, does it matter why each individual speeds? Or is it better just to put out a traffic cop to get them to stop? I mean, it's only the behavior that you want to change, not the motives.

Mike
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Marco
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« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2003, 01:40:11 PM »

Hmm ...

Okay, well do this for me:

Show me how you analyze your own GNS play instances *without* using intent (i.e. the knowledge of why you did what you did or what you were trying to do).

I'm not--not--not ... boy oh boy not--saying you can infer intent in someone else's actions.

And: I think the fact that you don't have clear intent with the case of other people's behavior makes any GNS-based attempt of analysis of their behavior not-very-useful.

-Marco
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Marco
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« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2003, 01:49:45 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Marco
I am getting ready to go on an adventure. My character purchases the battle axe because I believe for whatever reason that it's statistically superior and will make it easier for me to 'win.' I analyze that the character load-out scene was played in a Gamist fashion because my intent with each choice of gear was to maximize my efficency in step-on-up.


So the motive is to win? OK, now that we know that, what do we do with that info?

Quote
I analyze that the character load-out scene was played in a Gamist fashion because my intent with each choice of gear was to maximize my efficency in step-on-up.
I analyze your behavior of looking over the list and going "aha, that does the most damage" as Gamist. And it doesn't matter why. Because I know that's going to bug player B because he's dead set on people playing Sim. Or not. That's the analysis.

That's GNS. What are you going to do with your "intent" as you've discerned it. To say that there's some "intent to make a Gamist decision" behond each Gamist decision is both obvious and pointless in terms of the theory. Mr. Hols is distinctly talking about the reasons that people make the decisions that they do when he mentions intent. He's saying that GNS is invalid because we don't (and can't) say that gamist do what they do because they have an urge to win or any other single reason. The potential reasons are multitudinous. But it doesn't matter. Because GNS is a funnel. It's the choke point at which whatever your motive or intent is, the different sorts of decisions tend to become problematic with each other.

If you want to stop people from speeding, does it matter why each individual speeds? Or is it better just to put out a traffic cop to get them to stop? I mean, it's only the behavior that you want to change, not the motives.

Mike


Ah ha!
Confusion-source Alpha 2501 located: My two points were related to someone else's post saying "Intent is not part of GNS"--I was saying "hell it's not--the most valuable part of GNS is analyzing how one's own intent is helped or hurt by the game system."

Dig it? No "how is my very own observable play aided or discouraged by the game." The way the game acts on my intents.

I see the self-analysis of how actions during gaming relate to one's own preferences as the absolute core of GNS--the foundation of the theory.

Your extrapolation to Player B is telling: he has to impute an intent to my choice of weapon before he can get annoyed.

-Marco
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Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
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