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Author Topic: The whole model - this is it  (Read 51328 times)
Ben Lehman
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Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2003, 09:27:20 AM »

Quote from: Walt Freitag
That's why I thought it was important to verify with Ron that the model's series of linkages is not meant to imply any specific chronology or direction of causality.


BL>  Wow.  That is important.  Didn't notice that at first.  Might want to be made a bit more obvious.  (Of course, if it were up to me, all Theory terms defined around here would have a great big whopping list of "What this is NOT" appended onto them.)

Quote

Do I then see "multiple" Creative Agendas rather than "a" creative agenda in such cases? Not really. I see "a" complex shared Creative Agenda that has an internal structure that includes multiple individual Creative Agendas. I think the same can be said for play in which Techniques shift to support different Creative Agendas at different times. In that case there's "a" complex long-term Creative Agenda whose internal structure includes multiple temporary Creative Agendas.


BL>  Just wanted to say that I think that this sort of play is quite common (by which I mean it is most of the play that I have ever done), and would appreciate it very much if you could link me to your previous discussions of it, or even spin it off into a new thread.

yrs--
--Ben
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Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #61 on: November 19, 2003, 11:37:12 AM »

Hi Ben,

The most intensive discussion of these things took place about a year ago. A starting point is the thread Can a game designer work for all three? Its second post by Ron includes more links and references. A follow-up thread directly on topic is Same game, different players, different rules?. The "Narrativist GM/Sim players" possibility is discussed (but no consensus reached on whether that correctly describes any real phenomenon) in the thread Illusionism and GNS.

You might also want to do a search on "congruence." Even though congruence isn't really the same phenomenon, it does tend to get mentioned in discussions about play in which Creative Agenda varies between individuals.

I'll caution you that some of the discussion in these threads hasn't aged well IMHO. Key points of theory and terminology have changed, and most of the disucssion was based on hypothetical cases (could a game do X?). However, I think many of those hypotheticals were based on people's recollections of actual play in the messy world of "incoherent" systems and groups with mixed individual Creative Agendas. The stage might be better set now (or in the near future) for more productive examination of them.

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #62 on: November 22, 2003, 07:59:30 PM »

In some of my postings I have been struggling with how Exploration functions and recently how it is defined as the 2nd layer of the model.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
[Social Contract [Exploration]]… Exploration ("imagined stuff," "shared imagined space"), as previously defined in my essays, is an expression or application of that particular group's Social Contract.


Exploration as process (or the actual doing).

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Exploration is usually described as merely a list of Character, Setting, Situation, System, and Color. But it does have more internal/imaginary structure: Character + Setting make Situation, System permits Situation to "move," and Color affects all the others. This concept applies only to the imaginary causes among the elements, by the way; the actual effort, priority, or cause among these things, in social/creative terms, varies widely.


Exploration as definition (of the activity that will be engaged in).

Ok – what am I going on about?  Somewhere in the back of my mind I kept tripping over the idea that Exploration (the act of) was somehow suggested to be happening up here in the second level of the model.  This is patently not the case.  Exploration of the Elements (what I call the Narrative Process in Simulationism) takes place at the Ephemera Level of the model.  It is at the Ephemera Level of play that we step into the Shared Imagined Space.  Everything above Ephemera is Metagame; still part of the gaming experience, but not Exploration of the Shared Imagined Space.  Even character creation cannot take place until we get to the Techniques Level.

Assuming that I am on to something, let’s follow through with this thought process for a moment.  Later in The Whole Model – this is it essay Ron asserts the following in the Creative Agenda portion.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
On paper, I draw this terms as an arrow, labelled GNS or Creative Agenda. This arrow is very important - this "step" or "level" in my model shifts out of the abstract and solidly into this group, [playing this game,] this way, at this time. The model instantly ceases to be a broad overview or comparative panoply, and starts to be a diagnostic or description of a [real play-experience] among real people.

(emphasis mine)


What this above quote points to is that role-play doesn’t begin at least until we hit Creative Agenda.  (I believe role-play [which in not to imply that the act of Roleplay is the only enjoyable experience or reason to be at the table] begins and ends at Ephemera, everything else leads to and supports the Ephemera).  However, if roleplay is said to begin in the Creative Agenda level, then the Exploration level cannot be process oriented as the process begins after the Exploration Level.

So what is the Exploration Level and what are we attempting at this point?  I have two ideas.  The first is that at the Exploration Level, after having agreed to participate in this activity called a Roleplaying Game, we are now going to define what a Roleplaying Game is.  Thus after agreeing to Roleplay we now define roleplay as some activity that concerns itself with items known as Character, Setting, Situation, Color, and a System.  Or…

The second is that we decide on this Level what we are going to play specifically.  What character I want to play, what Setting I want to play him in, what Situation and Color I wish to use and what tool (system) are we going to use to facilitate the Roleplay of Character, Situation, Setting, and Color.  For example I want to play a super hero (Character type), in New York present day (Setting), fighting bad guys (Situation & some Character) and he says, “Not today evil guy,” when he wins (color?) and I want to use D20 (system).

At this level we are choosing what to play, we are not yet playing.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Since Exploration necessarily includes System, that means, as soon as we start talking about Creative Agenda, "play has begun."


I disagree.  System is not equivalent to “roleplay”.  System (methodology/procedure) functions in a support role to the Narrative Process/roleplay.  I would say that the first 3 levels of the Model – Social Contract, Exploration, and Creative Agenda are all definitional/procedural, but not the (operational) act of roleplay at all.  In these levels we are all players trying to determine what it is exactly that we want or are tyring to do.  We have not entered the Imagined Space, donned our characters and started the act of Exploration.  We may have agreed to Explore and that we are going to use tools to aid, we have even agreed to what we are going to Explore and what tool sets to use, but the act of Exploration (The Narrative/Experiential Process) has not yet begun.  It is in these upper levels that we engage in the framing of our choice of activity (roleplaying) but we have not yet employed our choices (started to roleplay.)  The arrow from Creative Agenda that leads to Techniques IS the bridge from procedural to operational.  The bridge is not operational (not roleplay) in and of itself.

Gaming begins at Techniques and “Roleplay” begins at Ephemera.

Just a quick aside, but I think it is representational of some of the problems that currently exist in the definitions of the levels - the use of the word Character.  At the Exploration level do we mean Character as the player character/avatar/imagined person, I want to play a Klingon or an Elf, or do we mean Character as referring to personality traits, I want to play a courageous person?  If we mean exploring/developing/playing out of personality traits we are breathing all over Ephemera and the Shared Imagined Space.  If we mean avatar/person/being (thing) we are in the metagame level.

As a role in the gaming experience the 3 upper levels of the model, Social Contract, Exploration, Creative Agenda all function together as a frame work upon which we attempt to define our actual roleplaying efforts.  They steer, guide, and in times of confusion provide a reference point, but are basically inert.  In other words, once agreed upon, “They Are”.  They cannot be changed by one person overtly or covertly, but must be altered and agreed up by all or dysfunction will almost certainly occur.  Once this edifice is created then we can go into the dynamic realm of roleplay itself secure in our foundational assumptions.  While we make take our characters where we will in the Shared Imagined Space, we can rest comfortably in that the actual players’ motives are clear and understood thus leaving misunderstood motives either out of play, or a matter of the character itself and not the player.  If there is a misunderstanding we can reference back up from the Ephemera level towards SEC and use these levels as yardsticks by which to measure and decide if someone’s actions have truly been a violation, or was an act of the character being played.

Just some thoughts, but I think once the act of Roleplay is placed into its proper realm (Ephemera), then many issues of the model will right themselves.  Or maybe I’m a crack smokin’ lunatic!  At any rate I believe that Procedure leads to Operation.  SEC are procedural, and TE are Operational.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Ian Charvill
Member

Posts: 377


« Reply #63 on: November 23, 2003, 03:18:25 AM »

Silmenume,

I think part of it is that exploration does begin before we hit the level of ephemera (although I do think all five need to be in place before we are talking about role-playing proper).

For example, as a group we agree to play a game based in Tolkein's Middle Earth, but haven't decided to whether to use ICE's MERP, Decipher's LoTR RPG or a modified version of Heroquest.  From the second we agree about Tolkein, exploration in a concrete way has begun though.  We have agreed - social contract - to play a game in a particular background (exploration).  We haven't settled on what our creative agenda is, or what techniques and ephemera we'll try to use to satisfy it, but we have begun the act of group imaginative engagement.

Does that make sense?
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Ian Charvill
Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #64 on: November 23, 2003, 06:11:19 AM »

Silmenume,

I think that breaking down at which point does roleplaying actually occur is a slippery slope. Fact is, all of the levels of the model are going on all the time that a group roleplays. People don't get together and say:

Hey, let's do something.
OK let's get a social contract together
Good. Now what do we do with it?
We could watch the duckies.
We did that last week. How about we do some exploration?
Super! How about we use this creative agenda I have here...

The whole thing sort of comes together and gels into roleplaying rather than following any kind of process from Social Contract to Ephemera. Chances are better that a creative agenda is found first and the rest grows out of that in both directions on the model. Like this

[Social Contract[Exploration <~Creative Agenda~>Techniques]Ephemera]

(I don't know much about the structure of Venn diagrams, but screw Venn. He never bought me a beer)
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #65 on: November 23, 2003, 12:03:05 PM »

Hi Ian,

Let’s start with the second part of your post first –

Quote from: Ian Charvill
For example, as a group we agree to play a game based in Tolkein's Middle Earth, but haven't decided to whether to use ICE's MERP, Decipher's LoTR RPG or a modified version of Heroquest.


Both the decision to play a game based in Middle Earth and deciding whether to use ICE's MERP, Decipher's LoTR RPG or a modified version of Heroquest, are both decisions that belong in the Exploration Level of the Model.  Deciding to play in Middle Earth is, to me, filling in what I call the Narrative Elements of Exploration – Character, Setting, Situation, and Color.  Deciding which published game to use is choosing which System (of Techniques) that you wish to employ (on the Techniques Level of the Model) to aid in the Narrative Process (on the Ephemera Level of the Model) both of which take place on the Operational Levels of the Model.

Quote from: Ian Charvill
From the second we agree about Tolkein, exploration in a concrete way has begun though.  We have agreed - social contract - to play a game in a particular background (exploration).  We haven't settled on what our creative agenda is, or what techniques and ephemera we'll try to use to satisfy it, but we have begun the act of group imaginative engagement.

emphasis mine


The act of group imaginative engagement is the defining action of “roleplay”.  It is the point where we engage with (suspend our disbelief of) the Shared Imagined Space and start to view this pocket universe (SIS) from our character’s/avatar’s point of view.  This to me takes place only at the Ephemera Level of play.  Now we can bounce rapidly back and forth between the various Levels of the Model, so while we are in the Procedural phase of the night’s activities (the preamble to roleplay proper - SEC), it is entirely possible that we can pop down to Ephemera at any time and pop right back out.  Ideally I think it works best if once we are into the Operational portion of that session’s game we try to avoid going back up to the Procedural.  If that does happen I would suggest that we do so because something is starting to go terribly wrong or has gone terribly wrong and we are now tracing our way back to where the violation took place i.e., once we are “playing our character” (Ephemera Level – Operational Level), if someone has decided “mid-game” that they don’t want to play in Middle Earth, or that they don’t like the choice of system/techniques (Both decisions made on the Exploration Level - Procedural), and we now have to go back up to the Exploration Level (Procedural) to address the issue then something very bad (dysfunction) is happening to that evening’s gaming experience.  In other words the Framing of that evening’s activities is being challenged.

I think the problem lies partly with label we give to the second level of the model.  This is NOT an attempt to hammer Ron on his choice of labeling, but I think there is some confusion with the definition of the word “Exploration” as it is used in these forums, much like there is much confusion about the meaning of “system.”  Exploration is usually an action word; it is something we do (Operational).  We explore a person’s character, we explore a person’s motives, we explore the nature of love, etc.  But as the model stands we cannot engage in Exploration (as action/Operational) at the Exploration Level (as label/Procedural) yet because we are merely deciding what (a Procedural process) to do, not actually doing it (exploring as action/Operational).  At this point, the Exploration level, we are laying out the Narrative Framework that will be put into operation (the act of Exploring) later in the Ephemera Level.

As a point of reference I come at the act of Exploration from the dramatic sense of the word.  It is a process where we learn about a character viscerally by putting the character to the test (facing conflicts) and seeing how they respond.  In this milieu, roleplaying, we are said to be Exploring our characters within the Shared Imagined Spaced, by being beset with conflicts and responding as we see/feel how our character would respond.  The responses the characters’ make reveal the character (as descriptor - the avatar’s personality – is he brave, cowardly, sure under pressure, treacherous, loyal or disloyal, etc.) of the player character (character as label – the avatar/the fictional person).

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
I think that breaking down at which point does roleplaying actually occur is a slippery slope. Fact is, all of the levels of the model are going on all the time that a group roleplays.


I agree with your example that players typically do not (almost never?) go about as deciding what they are going to do as formally as the process is laid out in the Model.  Like you said, all the levels of the model are going on all the time that a group roleplays.  (Actually I will challenge that later)  Your point seems to me that most players are not that formalistic about their roleplay.  However, just because the various topics such as Social Contract, Exploration, and Creative Agenda are not overtly discussed and labeled as such does not mean they are not in operation.  If I can surmise the generative motive behind this whole website, it is basically discovered that there is such a thing as Creative Agenda, that players were operating based upon that agenda, but they were unaware that they were and that there could be conflict based upon those various agendas.  I think that Creative Agenda, for those who aren’t aware of its existence (haven’t read these boards), is just an expression of desire based upon unexamined expectations.  This does not mean that Creative Agenda is not functioning in the gaming setting; we know that is not the case, but rather that in most cases Creative Agenda is simply not addressed.

So yes, procedurally, one may start the process of gaming from anywhere within the model, however that does not invalidate the model as a tool for understanding what IS going on at the table.  Just because one of the levels of the Model isn’t explicitly discussed does not mean its effects are not in operation.  Like you said, one could start at the Creative Agenda level, though I think most people start at the Exploration Level i.e., I want to play in Middle Earth, or I want to play to MERPS.

While I was making reference to certain events happening “only” at a certain level, I was doing so in a manner to illuminate how the events relate to each other within the model.  This is not meant to imply that we must employ the model rigorously from the outside in for a game function.  There may be games where none of the Procedural Level topics are really discussed in a meaningful manner and that is absolutely fine as long as the game is functional.  Don’t fix what ain’t broke.  The model only comes into discussion when things are going wrong (dysfunction), when we are trying to fix dysfunction, or when trying to avoid dysfunction in the first place.  If a group of players can just dive right in and have a great time, then they would never have to know that such a model exists.  It would not serve them.  The model describes, it does not proscribe.  So again when I am saying that certain things “can only happen when” I am speaking on a theoretical level or on a descriptive level and strictly in reference to the model; I am not saying the players can’t do certain things because they haven’t followed the arrow of the model or that they must follow the arrow from Social Contract down into Ephemera.  But the players may be doings things without being consciously aware that they are making certain assumptions, and these assumptions happen to function in the areas of the model as we have described.

For example, everything we do once we agree to play falls under the Social Contract.  Many issues get hammered out here whether or not the players are aware that they are negotiating and forging such an agreement.  What are we doing?  Where are we playing?  Who’s GMing?  Who’s bringing food?  Are we going to provide food and drinks for the GM?  Is the host of the game going to provide us with refreshments?  Who sits where at the table?  Is it important to us as a group to try and stay in character as much as possible (sometimes called Immersive – I know that is a loaded term, but I referencing common usage that players make), i.e., are we trying to keep metagame talk to a minimum?  How long are we going to play?  What game are we going to play?  What time do we start?  Can we make sure that player X takes a shower before he/she shows up?  Can we invite new player Y to the game?  Are we going to allow people to talk while a person is “on camera”?  Are we going to allow players to read at the table?  Is death permanent or more of an annoyance?  Are we going to allow people to take information gleaned from the Monster Manual into the game even if their character wouldn’t know that information?  All these and many questions like this are asked all the time, and are all part of the Social Contract, but most players are unaware that this process is vital to be nailed down, especially early on, and that it is called formally a Social Contract.  The need is vital, whether or not the players understand that is exactly what they are doing.  The model we use merely tells us why it happens, its importance, and where it fits in the scheme of things as we understand them based upon observation.

I hope that does clear up some issues, at least in regards to my postings.

I do have a question though.  Why do you think it is a “slippery slope” to suggest that roleplay only functions at the Ephemera level?  To me, “slippery slope,” suggests a thought process that tends to be “relativistic” and to engage in such discussions ultimately leads to irresolvable, irreconcilable, or unprovable arguments.  I am not saying that my assertion about the level of roleplay is unassailable, I am sure it is open to debate, but I find it curious that you think that such a debate is so fraught with potential disaster.  Maybe this isn’t the forum to discuss that idea.  If you think it important perhaps a new thread could be started or you could email me directly.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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Posts: 16490


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« Reply #66 on: November 23, 2003, 12:46:32 PM »

Hello,

Maybe the point to clarify is that an "Ephemeral item" is automatically a piece of a Technique, and that a Technique is automatically an expression of Creative Agenda, and that a Creative Agenda is automatically performed as an expression of Exploration, and that Exploration is itself a subset of the interactions of a Social Contract.

In other words, pointing out that "[phrase during play]" is as a sentence in the Ephemera category, does not disqualify it from being a major identifiable component in, say, Social Contract.

On a much more minor point, your claim that "Let's play using game X" is Exploration greatly puzzles me. Maybe we are just visualizing different things. To me, that would be Betty, Joe, Bob, and Phil talking with one another and not playing at all - this is all prior to play. Maybe a few game-books are sitting on the table in front of all of them, or maybe Betty and Joe are on the train, and then Joe calls the other two later to see what they think.

They aren't actually playing yet - hence we are in Social Contract, but in a "sector" of that box which does not include Exploration (or hence any of its sub-components). We could point to a discussion about the game or its "management" between sessions and say the same thing.

Best,
Ron
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Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #67 on: November 23, 2003, 01:33:35 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
On a much more minor point, your claim that "Let's play using game X" is Exploration greatly puzzles me. Maybe we are just visualizing different things. To me, that would be Betty, Joe, Bob, and Phil talking with one another and not playing at all - this is all prior to play. Maybe a few game-books are sitting on the table in front of all of them, or maybe Betty and Joe are on the train, and then Joe calls the other two later to see what they think.

We'd had a similar discussion with the cooking analogy, I think.

To recap, I had noted that shopping at the grocery store is not actually cooking, but some disagreed.
(But then, if shopping is a part of cooking and not just a necessary step to do *before* you actually cook, then maybe playing a game of touch football in the yard is also a part of cooking since that's what you did to make you so hungry, right? Right? But I digress)
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Palaskar
Member

Posts: 168


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« Reply #68 on: November 23, 2003, 04:20:50 PM »

Okay, this is my rough take on the new theory:

Social Contract Level-- Social Roles

Host: The Host provides the place to game.
Caterer: The Caterer provides food and drink.
Player: The Player controls one or more Player Characters (PCs.)
Judge: The Judge decides on ambiguous outcomes
Guide: The Guide controls the enemy characters and decides on the Challenges.
Simulator: The Simulator provides verisimiltude.
Rules Strictness: Rules strictness determines how strictly the provided rules of the game are followed.

I include "rules strictness" because it is possible, theoretically anyway, to do away with some or all GM-like roles (Judge/Guide/Simulator) if your rules are strict enough.

I am also aware that the whole Player-Judge-Guide-Simulator thing overlaps into Creative Agenda, and especially in the case of Simulator, Technique. I do this for a reason. I figure the more things we solve "higher up" the less mess and confusion there is.

Social Contract [Exploration]

System (breaks down into)
    (Character Description)
    (Setting Description)
    (Resolution System)
Color

I omit Situation, becaus Resolution System+Setting produces Situation, therefore it seems redundant to me. I also lump Character, Setting, and System together because I think a good RPG (ie, one I would like) should have the same mechanics handle charcter description, setting description, and conflict resolution.

I put Color by itself simply because I don't know what to do with it on a mechanical level.

Social Contract [Exploration[Creative Agenda]]

I break the GNS approaches down by Social Contract role. IMO, it's simpler and easier this way, and only somewhat less precise.

Gamist: ((Judge+Guide)/Rules Strictness +Player)
Narrativist: (Guide/Rules Strictness +Player)
Simulationist: (Simulator/Rules Strictness +Player)

I omit the rest, as I simply don't have enough experience to come up with good general mechanics for Technique and Emphemera.

An example of how I rearranged my house game system to the theory can be found here:

http://www.meant2be.150m.com/44/signature/sig_3_12.html

Thanks in advance for any comments, critiques, or insights.

Palaskar
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #69 on: December 12, 2003, 08:23:17 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Maybe the point to clarify is that an "Ephemeral item" is automatically a piece of a Technique, and that a Technique is automatically an expression of Creative Agenda, and that a Creative Agenda is automatically performed as an expression of Exploration, and that Exploration is itself a subset of the interactions of a Social Contract.

In other words, pointing out that "[phrase during play]" is as a sentence in the Ephemera category, does not disqualify it from being a major identifiable component in, say, Social Contract.


I fully understand and agree with all that you said above.  Any “category event” points to all other categories.  However, after much chanting in a dark room, I have discovered that that above quote does shed some light on my understanding of the nature of the model and why I am having some confusion regarding it.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
On a much more minor point, your claim that "Let's play using game X" is Exploration greatly puzzles me. Maybe we are just visualizing different things. To me, that would be Betty, Joe, Bob, and Phil talking with one another and not playing at all - this is all prior to play. Maybe a few game-books are sitting on the table in front of all of them, or maybe Betty and Joe are on the train, and then Joe calls the other two later to see what they think.

They aren't actually playing yet - hence we are in Social Contract, but in a "sector" of that box which does not include Exploration (or hence any of its sub-components). We could point to a discussion about the game or its "management" between sessions and say the same thing.


“Maybe we are just visualizing different things.”

I think we are.  I will state my thoughts not so much to try and convince anyone of my point of view, rather I lay them out mostly as a diagnostic to my view that may either lead someone to say something in a way that I hope will then understand leading to greater understand on my part, or possibly my thoughts may shed light on a real issue that needs to be explored.

My failing was that I mistook the model as a model of process.  In other words one starts (with desire) at one end, leading to the construction of the Social Contract and works their way down through all the layers down to Ephemera to get to an “actual instance of roleplay.”  One employs these various level to get something, e.g., this is how you make bread.  When I made my posts earlier indicating the idea the model is one of process; some eyebrows shot up and the confusion that resulted indicated that I did not share the same view of the model as others here have.  Oops.  Out in the cold again.  Alas….  One element that lead me astray is that the model appears to be organized into levels of diminishing units of time, from the ever presence of the Social Contract to the fleeting moments of the Ephemera.

From what I can gather that is not the way the model was intended to be or function as.  Fair enough.  So let me state now what I think the model is.  The model is not a procedural model, but a structural model.  For example the Creative Agenda level of the model does not describe how one should play, but rather it describes emergent behavior – a property.  I will argue by way of analogy – which I am aware is a very dangerous way to proceed, but it’s the best I can do a present.  I beg all of your patience, please.

From what I can see on these boards, distinctions are made about “real play” and non-play.  For example players could all be together, have their books out, be talking about play, but aren’t actually engaged in “real play”.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Let's play using game X…To me, that would be Betty, Joe, Bob, and Phil talking with one another and not playing at all - this is all prior to play. Maybe a few game-books are sitting on the table in front of all of them…


To me “Let's play using game X”, a statement process that indicates that the players are hammering out the/a Social Contract, but is not considered an act of “play” is very important.  There is no doubt that Social Contract is an integral part of roleplay, but as indicated above Social Contract alone does not constitute play.  More must be involved.  My statement that “statement X” indicates a “level” of the model where “roleplay really takes place” was rebuffed by a statement that any “roleplay” statement reflects all levels of the model.

This, there are times when you can have game elements present and not be playing, and that all elements are always present whenever there is play confused me until I had an epiphany.  (Kind of a circular statement, but what can I say?)

Think of an instance of play as a baryon (a proton or a neutron).  This instance of play is the creation of a fact via the Lumpley Principle.  (A statement, a Negotiation, and finally a Consensus is reached)  This particle of play/fact (baryon) is composed of 5 quarks.  These 5 quarks represent the ideas contained in each level of the model.  Like quarks, these 5 levels of the model cannot exist/function on their own.  They all have individual properties, they all interact with each other, and none can function without the others.  We can deduce their existence, their properties, and how they interact, but take one (or more) or leave but one (but not all) and you no longer have a baryon/instance of play.

In this sense the model describes the internal structure of an instance of play.  The game can then be said to be the creation of all these instances of play/facts/baryons.  At the end of the game one could hold up a bag (that is fabricated from the Shared Imagined Space - it is what holds all these facts together) that is filled with all the instances of play/facts/baryons.  By looking at the bag and all the “particles” of play within (reviewing the game and all the instances of play/facts) one can then discern emergent patterns contained within the play process.  By looking back at the game, by looking at the aggregate of all the play particles, one can then begin to see creative agenda at work.  Story can now be discerned.  Theme can be discerned if it is present.

However, if this Model is truly a structural model, then it cannot be procedural as well.  A structural model does not give precedence to any specific area of the model, nor does it say when something happens or should happen.  For example a structural model would not say “roleplay” begins here or this action leads to that action (Creative Agenda is where roleplay begins or that the Creative Agenda leads to Techniques).  It would tell what exists, what those things do, and how they relate to one another.  A structural model would not say how to do something; it merely illuminates parts within.

IF the model were procedural it MIGHT look something like this –

Creative Agenda (desire) -> Social Contract (procedure) -> Exploration (frame) -> Techniques (play) -> Ephemera (roleplay)

One starts with the desire to do something, follows the procedure, and ends up with a widget or instance of play.  This would be akin to having the instructions on how to build a bridge without having to know the physics behind it – how to design it.

IF the model were structural it MIGHT look something like this –

Social Contract <-> Exploration <-> Creative Agenda <-> Techniques <-> Ephemera
Or
Exploration <-> Techniques <-> Social Contract <-> Ephemera<-> Creative Agenda
Or
…any other combination because there is no arrow of precedence or procedure.  All elements interact, are related to/dependent upon one another, and all have to be present in order to play.  This version would be akin to understanding how to design a bridge or understanding what the various parts of a bridge do, but it does not tell you how to go about actually building it.  

The model cannot be both procedural and structural at the same time.  

At any rate this is how the model looks to me and why I was (and am) confused.  I am not saying that is the way the model was intended or this is the way the model should be viewed, but if I am in the wrong this should allow those who would wish to correct me to understand where I am coming from.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #70 on: December 13, 2003, 01:38:52 PM »

Hello,

The model is structural. Always was, always will be.

A procedural set of principles might well be addressed by talking about what sorts of (say) Techniques in combination might help with a given Creative Agenda being realized, all to be assessed in terms of social satisfaction during instances of play.

And look! A great deal of this website is dedicated to doing that very thing.

Best,
Ron
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #71 on: December 14, 2003, 06:44:14 PM »

As Ron said, the model is Structural.

That does not mean it can't have relationship that are linked in a specific and directional way. Most models of linguistics are structural (such as Chompski's), yet have such patterns. Mental process supports syntax, which provides the structure for vocabulary, which when combined by syntax produces meaning. All are necessary for communication to occur; but meaning syntax is dependent on mental process, and vocabulary is dependent on syntax and mental process, and meaning is dependent on vocabulary and syntax and mental process.

Thus Exploration is dependent on Social Contract, and Creative Agenda on Exploration and Social Contract, and Techniques on Creative Agenda and Exploration and Social Contract, and Ephemera on all of the above. Social Contract is not dependent on Exploration in the same sense (although it is in a different sense). Items in the inner boxes are there in a structured hierarchy.

Anyway, I don't feel like I've expressed this particularly clearly; it is a two-way relationship, but it is structured on this line, even though it is descriptive rather than prescriptive. The relationships up the line are different from those down the line, and those at the bottom only relate to those at the top through the intervening parts. The hierarchy is part of that which is observed and modeled.

Does that make sense?

--M. J. Young
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #72 on: December 15, 2003, 02:01:42 PM »

Hmmm. Syntax. Particular syntaxes can be ascribed to the arrows from one level to the next. For example:

"Let's play RPG X."

Is one Social syntax that helps form the nature of the Exploration to take place. And might also further to an extent work to dictate the Creative Agenda under that form of Exploration, etc. Right? Would this be a useful term to put in place here?

Mike
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