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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 76 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Fengshui: Simulationist?  (Read 20205 times)
Valamir
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« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2001, 06:28:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-05-24 19:45, Mike Holmes wrote:
Wow, your really on a crusade...


I don't know about crusade, I'm not here to sack Jerusalem :smile:

But since I did just kind of pop into the Forge unannounced and jump in with both feet, I probably should take a minute to explain my motivations.

First:  I really love these models.  I've learned more about game design theory in the last year or so that I've been on GO and the Sorcerer forum in particular than in my previous 20 odd years of gaming.  I didn't even realise there were groups of people discussing this sort of thing as if it were some deep life philosophy.  I want to contribute to that process.

Second:  I'm an Investment Manager by trade.  We use lots of models.  One of the first things you learn if you want to be successful for more than one business cycle is that models are fundamentally flawed and incomplete.  If a thing could be known with certainty, we wouldn't need a model to describe it.  Models attempt to take a temendously complex situation and boil it down to a few key generalizations.  The purpose is not to provide right and wrong answers but to give insight and point to underlying themes and trends that hopefully can be utilized.  In my work utilized to make money.  Here, utilized to improve the quality of game design and the matching of players to appropriate games.
      Often times, however, in support of the merits of a particular model one gets too attached to it.  There is ALOT of time and effort that goes into coming up with economic models, I'm sure alot of time and effort has gone into these.  The danger is in losing sight of the fact that the one thing that can always be said about EVERY model ever created is that its imperfect.  If one follows economic news, cast your mind back a year or so to the plight of Long Term Capital Management.  An organization of Nobel prize winners who almost plunged the world into global depression because they believed their models to be flawless.
       I know Ron et.al. know all of this but sometimes I get concerned when I see these models being defended too vehemently that perhaps we're losing sight of the point to them, which as I see it (and I'm sure everyone here does too) is NOT to come up with the perfect way to categorize games and gamers but rather to to provide analytical tools for examining game designs.  Scarlet Jester is using his version of the model as the core of his design decisions when helping Seth develop Alyria.  If that effort is successful it will be vindication for the whole concept of these models and far more important than details.

Third:  Models are and should constantly be refined.  There will never be a time when the GNS or GEN or whatever models are complete and we can say "ok, work on that model is done now".  Doesn't work that way.  No model is ever complete unless it is so over generalized as to be useless.  When presented with a means of making the model a more powerful tool, that means should be fully explored and adopted if it proves to be more powerful, or incorporated if it offers some additional insight but not enough to replace an existing component, or scraped if its usefullness proves illusionary.  What bothers me here in recent threads is the idea that Simulationist should be kept because its what has been being used.  When creating a model it is inherently dangerous to inflate the value of a variable by considering inertia as a benefit.  Simulationist and Explorative should be examined on their own merits, side by side, with absolutely no predelection for Simulationist simply because its been whats been being used for awhile.

Fourth:  I was recently invited to join in some discussions with SJ on this issue.  The case that Explorative is a superior category to Simulationist is a compelling one, and one I've come to agree with.  At the very least it deserves very serious and detailed examination...not rather flippant dismissal as the "e-word".  What bothers me most is there seem to be an awful lot of people who admit to not being (or in some cases even knowing) simulationist players who nevertheless feel qualified enough to close the book on that category as if the current definition is the right one.  I submit that in debating the pros and cons of simulationist vs explorative one should actually consult people who are simulationist or explorative players as to what the terms mean to them, not simply rely on a core group of self professed narrativists to make the call.

Wow.  That was much more long winded than I originally intended.  Sorry about that.
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2001, 11:39:00 PM »

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Valamir
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« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2001, 05:10:00 AM »

Ahh, i apologize for my misconception.  I have perused the Turku's but was unfamiliar with the reference to Elajies as the "E-word".
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2001, 08:12:00 AM »

I agree with everything in your post and myself ranted recently that we should test the model constantly. As a statistician I compose and revise models every day trying to keep up with the real world.

But the problem is, as I've said before that I still remain unconvinced that in this case that the discussion of Explorative has done more than refine or better illuminate what Simulationism has always really meant. It strikes me that this is just a specific version of James' axes tilt theory happening in practice, at most.

Cut description - paste it after the word Simulationist. Problem solved. As I said, my main argument against it is that changing the model whenever we like a new word for an old thing is likely to cause confusion. I can see us explaining. "Well, Explorative means exactly what we formerly meant when we used the term Simulationist, but we changed it because people misunderstood when we called it Simulationist."

That won't help. At this point we would refer them to the definition. And at that point what does it matter which term we use? Hell, lets call it Ploort, because that has no baggage whatsoever and will only be used by people who really understand it. If that Finnish word were all inclusive of the style we could use that, as I have no idea what the literal translation of Elijiyat (or however the heck it's spelled) is.

As I've stated before, I don't see this as anything truely new. I have an open mind, however; so if you can convince me that this is a real change to the model...

Mike Holmes

[ This Message was edited by: Mike Holmes on 2001-05-25 12:17 ]
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Valamir
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« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2001, 08:53:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-05-25 12:12, Mike Holmes wrote:

Cut description - paste it after the word Simulationist. Problem solved. As I said, my main argument against it is that changing the model whenever we like a new word for an old thing is likely to cause confusion. I can see us explaining. "Well, Explorative means exactly what we formerly meant when we used the term Simulationist, but we changed it because people misunderstood when we called it Simulationist."

That won't help. At this point we would refer them to the definition. And at that point what does it matter which term we use?


I'm going to disagree with you on this for the following reason.  You are correct, some of the people who've grown used to refering to it as Simulation will be a little confused by the term change.  However, most of those people who are tuned into the model discussions would be easily made aware of it.

There are FAR more gamers who've never heard of the model than there are who have.  If we hope for this model to have a more widespread impact than a handful of philosophers hanging around a couple of internet sites that needs to be taken into account.

Which is more disruptive to widespread acceptance of the model...1) the few people who now know the term as Simulationist coming to grips with a new term.  or 2) EVERY single time we introduce a new "convert" we have to go through the same rigamorole of explaining what Simulation means to us, because it means something different to them.

If we aren't interested in the model being any thing more than a limited tool for a special few than obviously that doesn't matter, but then I'd have to question what the point is to begin with.

At any rate I do think the term Explorative is more than a simple change in lexicon.  It isn't a radical throw everything else out the window change, no.  But take a moment to look at what Jester's posted on GO about it.  I'm not sure how to put it in a pro or con list until you've seen it yourself.  What I do know is that I struggle to see how some games get called Simulations when they clearly don't seem to be simulating anything, while other games that seem to be simulating something get called something else.  I don't have that struggle with GEN.  It is much more obvious what the categories are and what their criteria is.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2001, 01:19:00 PM »

That may be the best argument I've seen yet: making the change as practical advertising. Explorative is sexier than Simulationist.

I'd buy that but I don't think Ron will. And it should go through the branding commitee a couple of more times to tweak it a little before we hit the street. But otherwise...

Hey, Ron, what was I supposed to be objecting to here?

Mike Holmes
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