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Author Topic: What is the Dream?  (Read 28108 times)
John Kim
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« on: January 09, 2004, 07:27:32 PM »

OK, so Ian and Ron have suggested a separate thread to discuss the following point which I made in http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=9232">The Dream vs Story Now!:
Quote from: John Kim
As far as I can tell, this just goes back to what I said.  What you are saying is that Narrativism maintains the Dream just as well as Simulationism.  There are two possible conclusions here:

1) Simulationism is all about pursuing the Dream to the exclusion of other priorities.  However, it is futile extra effort.  It excludes Story Now in favor of the Dream, but the Dream is no more whole or complete than in the case of Narrativism.  In short, there is extra effort which excludes Story Now but there is no gain.  

2) Simulationism gains something other than the Dream.  So both Narrativism and Simulationism fully maintain the integrity of the Dream, but Simulationism gains a different quality.

OK, so Ron suggests that these two cannot be rigorously distinguished, but rather it is "a personal judgment that reflects one's aesthetic preferences".  I have trouble making a personal judgement between the two, I think because I don't have a strong concept of what "The Dream" is.  

Again, if I go back to rgfa discussion, I know what this represented.  This debate was over the debate between a system like, say, the HERO System (Simulationist) and a system like Theatrix (Dramatist).  The Sim systems gained qualities which were appreciated by Simulationists, but which never had an agreed-upon name other than "simulation".  Threefold Sim was defined negatively in terms of methods which it rejected rather than qualities which it strove for -- primarily because terms like "realism", "consistency", and "believability" were all equally claimed by Dramatism and Simulationism.  

The key point was over detail and patterns over time.  Both rejected the idea of having a single atomic event that broke realism or believability, but Simulationism called for further effort to record more detail and eliminate patterns of bias.

So does maintaining the Dream simply consist of avoiding events which are by themselves clearly in violation of character, background, or realism?  Or is it something further?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2004, 08:39:35 PM »

Hello,

That's an issue that remains open, John.

Paul Czege and I tend toward the view that cognitively (and perhaps emotionally), Simulationist play is best understood as a rejection and a diminution of aspects of Gamist and Narrativist play.

However, I also acknowledge (and respect) that procedurally, we are talking about a distinct set of behaviors, standards, and professed aesthetic concerns.

So is it a "thing" or the absence of a "thing"? Depends on what set of phenomena you're interested in talking about. Typically, I like to focus on the procedural/social side of things, as you know, so that's why I go with my "however" paragraph. In fact, that's why I have a section about that in the GNS essay and a whole essay devoted to Simulationist play. From that perspective, Simulationist play is indeed a "thing."

I also call attention to the possible cognitive/emotional side in the Gamism and (upcoming) Narrativist essays, which I think will be better articulated on my part when both those essays may be read side by side. In a nutshell, I am interested in the observation that dedicated (rather than supportive) Simulationist priorities apparently must be trained rather severely in newcomers to role-playing, whereas Narrativist and Gamist priorities seem to arrive full-blown.

Mike Holmes is currently the chief advocate of a position that Jared Sorensen described as "The Beeg Horseshoe Theory," so called because a horseshoe is more-or-less a circle with a piece missing. This is a little bit more like the cognitive/emotional interpretation - going so far as to say that the fully-Simulationist mode remains a hypothetical construct which no one actually achieves; that Gamist and Narrativist "drive" remain even when all of one's procedural behavior keeps trying to shut it down.

Mike suggests (and correct me if I'm wrong in this, Mike) that Gamism and Narrativism are at the ends of one axis, and that "plausibility" is an independent axis. When attention to the plausibility becomes so focused as to diminish and (attempt to) ignore the first axis, that's Simulationist play. Mike suggests, in accordance with the Beeg Horseshoe, that such attention is not ultimately satisfying, and that efforts to make that attention central are, essentially, an exercise in futility. But nevertheless the plausibility axis is a real thing and should always be considered a powerful tool for reinforcing priorities in play.

That's why Mike is fascinated by "hybrid" GNS modes: specifically S-under-G and S-under-N, and why he is also interested in congruent (not hybrid) G-N.

Do Mike and I disagree on this issue? Not much at all. I'm mainly reluctant to say, "this is it!" because (a) it represents too much a shift toward emotional/cognitive variables rather than social/procedural ones, and (b) I'd like to learn more about people's alternative "structural" ideas about the modes at the Creative Agenda level before embracing one particular structure. So officially, I remain mildly neutral about that.

Best,
Ron
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2004, 11:00:58 PM »

My position is actually rather simple.  I can't think what this extra thing the Dream would gain is in option #2, so the choice seems pretty obviously #1.

As the Dream is adding nothing beyond Exploration, Sim isn't needed in the Creative Agenda later - it's just confusing clutter.  It's simpler to say that some people enjoy different levels of commitment to G/N or Exploration (as well as Social Contract, Techniques, or Ephemera).

I know Gordon's got a counter-point to this somewhere in his head.
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Ian Charvill
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2004, 06:14:51 AM »

It seems to me like people are ignoring the obvious:

Within gamism we diminish imaginative elements that do not contribute to the step-on-up.  So if it isn't a challenge or a means to overcome a challenge within the shares imagined space, it's colour and not particularly interesting colour at that.

Within narrativism we diminish imaginative elements that do not contribute to the address of premise. If it's not emotionally resonant with some ethical or moral question, and provide in some sense and means of resolving or expanding the premise, it's just colour and not particularly interesting colour at that.

Simulationism has more scope than that.  All imaginary elements can be granted weight regardless of whether they fulfil a metagame agenda.  We thus have freedom to create without boundries.  The "a world of endless possibilities where the only boundries are your own imagination" is coming out of this facet of simulationism.  Gamism and narrativism are boundries on the imaginative process.

To subvert Ron's jazz analogy - narrativism is jazz on a pre-exisiting theme - where the rule is 'everyone is playing variations on this melody'.  Simulationism offers something freer than that where themes can appear but disappear just as quickly, because the theme isn't the priority, invention or exploration is the point.  To chart new territories.

Which is why retconning is a feature of a lot of sim play.  Play charts out the territory in the freeform wandering wherever we want sense and then litarary form is given to it in retrospect.  Kind of like the difference between the travel and the travelogue.  Travel is experience and the travelogue shapes it.  Sim gaming is the experience and retconning shapes it.

Functional simulationism is not avoidance of premise/challenge it's freedom from premise/challenge.

It may be that simulationism is harder to do well than gamism or narrativism because of the lack of defining boundries.  So people fall back on spatchcocked groups, railroaded plots and cliche instead on inventions.  But when it comes together simulationism allows you to invent things beyond your preconceptions and boundries, things you would never have thought up sat in a room by yourself, and that have an intensity and freshness because of that.
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Ian Charvill
Mark Johnson
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2004, 02:17:35 PM »

Quote from: Ian Charvill
It seems to me like people are ignoring the obvious:

Within gamism we diminish imaginative elements that do not contribute to the step-on-up.  So if it isn't a challenge or a means to overcome a challenge within the shares imagined space, it's colour and not particularly interesting colour at that.

Within narrativism we diminish imaginative elements that do not contribute to the address of premise. If it's not emotionally resonant with some ethical or moral question, and provide in some sense and means of resolving or expanding the premise, it's just colour and not particularly interesting colour at that.

Simulationism has more scope than that.  All imaginary elements can be granted weight regardless of whether they fulfil a metagame agenda.  We thus have freedom to create without boundries.  The "a world of endless possibilities where the only boundries are your own imagination" is coming out of this facet of simulationism.  Gamism and narrativism are boundries on the imaginative process.


(Warning: I am writing this from the top of my head with my own definitions of the terms, they may or may not relect Ron's model of GNS.)

For Simulationism all imaginary elements can be granted weight; but since most individual instances of Simulationism tend to be weighted more toward more toward some elements of Character, Setting, Situation, System and Color than others.

I.E. Within simulationism we diminish imaginative elements that do not contribute to the exploration of whatever mix of character, setting, situation, system and color that the players have chosen to explore.  In my opinion, this is one reason why simulationism is so hard to pull off.

Example from a theoretical Vampire campaign:  All the players are engaged in simulationism, but with different approaches.  The GM is really into the setting and has studied in loving detail all the sourcebooks.  Two of the players are really into exploring their characters, one as "deep immersion" role player and another who simply writes long essays about character history and game jourals etc.  They both get bored with all the setting detail the GM is throwing at them when it has nothing to do with their characters. Meanwhile there is a player who just loves the color of the game and is peaved that the game is not as "gothic" as he wished.  One gal loves monkeying around with the system and wishes she could GM since the current GM just seems to like a travelogue rather than really figuring out all the cool things that could be done with the system (she is probably a closeted game designer too.)   And the last guy came up with a cool situation for his character that he wants to see played out, but the GM seems to be more interested in other things.

That Vampire campaign is probably screwed.

Individual simulationist facilitating game texts have different mix of emphases, GURPS is great for exploring system for example.  I think most "game system lite" texts are also really about exploring system, even though many include (sometimes multiple) diatribes about "getting the system out of the way so you can just roleplay."  Yes, I am looking at you The Window.

Anyway, to repeat myself, I do think that Simulationism does exist at the metagame level for players, this is probably the squared in what Ron calls exploration squared.  However, there are different types of exploration and these competing types of exploration can lead to disfunctional play as readily as GNS level issues.

Feel free to tear apart.
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2004, 02:24:40 PM »

Quote from: Ian Charvill
It seems to me like people are ignoring the obvious:

...

Within narrativism we diminish imaginative elements that do not contribute to the address of premise. If it's not emotionally resonant with some ethical or moral question, and provide in some sense and means of resolving or expanding the premise, it's just colour and not particularly interesting colour at that.


Possibly because it's not quite so obvious. I've been doing some digging, and it appears to me that narrativism is a bit more than simply addressing premise, much like how cooking is more than pan frying.
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greyorm
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2004, 02:47:58 PM »

Quote from: Ian Charvill
Simulationism has more scope than that.

I recall that theory being brought up before, and my rejecting it by stating that Simulationism was still limited in scope by its "broad" limits, and thus no more wide nor narrow than the other two.

Anyone recall that discussion? I can't seem to find it.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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pete_darby
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2004, 03:24:14 PM »

Well, for me the acid test tends to be along the lines of, given a choice, does the group want to find out more about the situation, or change it? Most of the time, G & N players want to change it, S players want to deepen it...

Horrendously over simplified, but there you go.

Mark, sure that campaign is screwed, but so is a Nar campaign where no-one can agree to co-operate on the method of address of permise (it ends up looking like really bad soap opera, bad brechtian drama or the issues of Chris Claremont X-Men all your cool friends mocked...), or Gam session where no-one knows whether your pitting yourself against the GM, the other players, the scenario designer, the games designer, or merely a cruel and malicious god for making you this way. Agreement on CA doesn't guarantee harmony, sadly.

Jack... wait for Ron's essay, but it really is that easy in essence. The problem is making sim/gam designed systems feed the ever hungry mouth that is story now...

As for limits of any agenda... I think we only perceive them as limited when we're getting a Jones for something that another CA supports. The play in each is infinitely variable, but not all encompassing (or else, there'd only be one CA...)
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Pete Darby
Jason Lee
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2004, 04:30:50 PM »

Quote from: Ian Charvill
Functional simulationism is not avoidance of premise/challenge it's freedom from premise/challenge.


As we established in the parent thread, adding theme to a pure dream game doesn't diminish the dream (excluding our maginal weird case).  So, should you choose to actually do anything with this freedom, then you're no longer in Sim turf (because maintaining the dream doesn't exclude G/N).  Once a conflict comes along (something requiring the player to decide how to proceed), the player has got to decide how he'll address the conflict.  'As the character would', with true integrity, will lead him down the path of Nar, as the character's beliefs begin to shape events.

Now, I guess this could still technically be Sim if the player didn't give two shits about the character's beliefs, how beliefs shaped events, how beliefs originate from a setting, and so on; if he was just going through the motions of Exploration without caring about any of it.  I guess he'd also have to not give two shits about anything challenge relate too.  I find that a pretty implausible style of play, though I could imagine it.
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John Kim
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2004, 10:01:49 PM »

Quote from: Ian Charvill
  To subvert Ron's jazz analogy - narrativism is jazz on a pre-exisiting theme - where the rule is 'everyone is playing variations on this melody'.  Simulationism offers something freer than that where themes can appear but disappear just as quickly, because the theme isn't the priority, invention or exploration is the point.  To chart new territories.

Which is why retconning is a feature of a lot of sim play.  Play charts out the territory in the freeform wandering wherever we want sense and then litarary form is given to it in retrospect.  

You know, this is exactly what I think about rgfa Threefold Simulationism. For me, rgfa Sim means that I start the game out knowing a lot about the setting and the NPCs -- but I have very little idea what the story is going to be.  While I have very little (if any) retconning, I do find that the session summaries for my Vinland game are very important -- and the in-character blogs of the Buffy game I'm in serve a similar function.  I found an intriguing quote from Stephen King's book On Writing:
Quote
"When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story" he said.  "When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.

Gould said something else that was interesting on the day I turned in my first two pieces: write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.  Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out.  Once you know what the story is and get it right -- as right as you can, anyway -- it belongs to anyone who wants to read it.

This style (related to rgfa Simulationism) could perhaps be described as "Story Later" -- which is parallel to King's idea of writing first for oneself.  There may be elements of a story in Sim play -- i.e. there can be lots of interesting characters, action, moral choices, and so forth.  However, there is also a lot of stuff which turns out to not be a part of the story.  One can edit the session into something which seems like a finished story, but only in retrospect.  

Quote from: Ron Edwards
  I also call attention to the possible cognitive/emotional side in the Gamism and (upcoming) Narrativist essays, which I think will be better articulated on my part when both those essays may be read side by side. In a nutshell, I am interested in the observation that dedicated (rather than supportive) Simulationist priorities apparently must be trained rather severely in newcomers to role-playing, whereas Narrativist and Gamist priorities seem to arrive full-blown.  

That seems fairly straightforward to me, actually.  Narrativism seems to identify closely with writing of plays/novels/movies.  Gamism identifies with boardgames, card games, and so forth.  However, Simulationism is a mode relatively unique to RPGs.  

Quote from: cruciel
  As we established in the parent thread, adding theme to a pure dream game doesn't diminish the dream (excluding our maginal weird case).  So, should you choose to actually do anything with this freedom, then you're no longer in Sim turf (because maintaining the dream doesn't exclude G/N).  Once a conflict comes along (something requiring the player to decide how to proceed), the player has got to decide how he'll address the conflict.  'As the character would', with true integrity, will lead him down the path of Nar, as the character's beliefs begin to shape events.  

OK, you say that you can imagine it, but I have no mental picture then about what it would mean to be "Simulationist" from what you say.  What would play look like?
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2004, 11:20:25 PM »

Quote from: John Kim
Quote from: cruciel
As we established in the parent thread, adding theme to a pure dream game doesn't diminish the dream (excluding our marginal weird case).  So, should you choose to actually do anything with this freedom, then you're no longer in Sim turf (because maintaining the dream doesn't exclude G/N).  Once a conflict comes along (something requiring the player to decide how to proceed), the player has got to decide how he'll address the conflict.  'As the character would', with true integrity, will lead him down the path of Nar, as the character's beliefs begin to shape events.  

OK, you say that you can imagine it, but I have no mental picture then about what it would mean to be "Simulationist" from what you say.  What would play look like?


I'm going to quote M.J. Young for this one.  I'm not trying to take this out of context, or drag him into the discussion, he's just the person who sticks out in my mind as providing really good examples of Sim (making it easy to remember where an example was).  This is taken from the Beeg Horseshoe Theory Revisited.

Quote from: M.J. Young
We could debate for hours whether Gettysburg would have gone otherwise had commanders acted differently; but below that debate (which we could settle in quite gamist fashion by setting it up and playing it out) there's another issue: how much differently from the way they acted could they have acted, and still been true to who they were? We could play that wargame with all of us playing all sides, deciding together what each unit is most likely to do, given its nature, the character of its commander, the information they have available, and the changes we've made. We could really be playing it to find out how it would have come out with just this one change, with no gamist nor narrativist impulses involved. What would Pickett have done were it not for that order? What would Lee have done had he better intelligence on the Union artillery? We can play this just to see how it comes out, with no desires to influence that on the part of any player. You could play such a game all by yourself. Maybe I'm crazy; I sometimes play Bridge all by myself, because I'm curious about how the game works and don't have three other players. I'm playing to learn about the game. I could play to learn about Gettysburg or Normandy, with no desire to bring anything to this event other than what would actually have happened.


The emphasis is mine, because I think it's the key statement - that scientific detachment from what happens in play.  As a theoretical play style (or a not so theoretical one in this case), I can imagine it.  It seems horribly marginal too me, but that's not necessarily a reason to discount it.  However, I see nothing added; I just see Exploration absent of any other goal.
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John Kim
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2004, 01:59:13 AM »

Quote from: cruciel
  This is taken from the Beeg Horseshoe Theory Revisited.
Quote from: M.J. Young
  We could debate for hours whether Gettysburg would have gone otherwise had commanders acted differently; but below that debate (which we could settle in quite gamist fashion by setting it up and playing it out) there's another issue: how much differently from the way they acted could they have acted, and still been true to who they were?
   ...    
We can play this just to see how it comes out, with no desires to influence that on the part of any player.  

The emphasis is mine, because I think it's the key statement - that scientific detachment from what happens in play.  As a theoretical play style (or a not so theoretical one in this case), I can imagine it.  It seems horribly marginal too me, but that's not necessarily a reason to discount it.  However, I see nothing added; I just see Exploration absent of any other goal.

Wow.  This sounds remarkably close to rgfa Simulationism, like my http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=5113">Water-Uphill World campaign.  I would agree that rgfa Simulationism is a marginal style that rarely appears in a pure form.  Still, to me it has been a huge eye-opener.  My non-pure-Sim campaigns are still heavily influenced by my Simulationist experiences.  

I guess my quibble would be with your phrase "scientific detachment", which implies a lack of emotion and/or interest.  I think anyone who has worked with scientists knows that they are often quite passionate about their work.  They fervently want to discover.  They are not simply puttering about with tests for the sake of puttering about.  There is scientific discipline to stick to certain methods, but there is no lack of emotion or interest.  

I would say the same thing about Simulationism.  With the Water-Uphill World campaign, we tossed four children into a bizarre fantasy world and looked at the results of what happened.  I was interested by it, but I didn't know what would happen and I very deliberately did not want to influence it by how I thought the plot should go.  It could have gone in many different directions.  In retrospect, I think the most interesting part was about how the kids grew up in the face of pressure -- particularly Noriko's accepting of responsibility.  But I think it would be fair to call this "Story-By-Accident" (as opposed to Ralph's "Story on Purpose") or "Story Later" (as opposed to Ron's "Story Now").  There were many things which did not have to do with this idea, because we didn't know that was important until after it happened.
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2004, 04:17:05 AM »

Quote from: John Kim
I guess my quibble would be with your phrase "scientific detachment", which implies a lack of emotion and/or interest.  I think anyone who has worked with scientists knows that they are often quite passionate about their work.  They fervently want to discover.  They are not simply puttering about with tests for the sake of puttering about.  There is scientific discipline to stick to certain methods, but there is no lack of emotion or interest.


I'm not gonna bother too much with whether or not 'scientific detachment' as a phrase misrepresents scientists, because it probably does.  I'll just go ahead and go with 'lack of emotion or interest'.  

Quote from: John Kim
I would say the same thing about Simulationism.  With the Water-Uphill World campaign, we tossed four children into a bizarre fantasy world and looked at the results of what happened.  I was interested by it, but I didn't know what would happen and I very deliberately did not want to influence it by how I thought the plot should go.  It could have gone in many different directions.  In retrospect, I think the most interesting part was about how the kids grew up in the face of pressure -- particularly Noriko's accepting of responsibility.  But I think it would be fair to call this "Story-By-Accident" (as opposed to Ralph's "Story on Purpose") or "Story Later" (as opposed to Ron's "Story Now").  There were many things which did not have to do with this idea, because we didn't know that was important until after it happened.


No desire to actively effect the plot, not realizing the importance of an event as it happens, or just seeing what happens all fall under the 'you can play Nar even if you don't mean to' clause.  

Obviously analyzing an instance of play based off a single sentence is certain to be flawed, but...  (the bolded portion)

The fact that a key interest was how a character grew up when pressured denotes addressing a theme - one of personal growth by facing adversity, a coming of age sort of theme. (Assuming this was at some level interesting while you were playing it.)  As I see it, Interest equals prioritize/address/author/whatever-you-wanna-call-it.
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John Kim
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2004, 10:25:38 AM »

Quote from: cruciel
 No desire to actively effect the plot, not realizing the importance of an event as it happens, or just seeing what happens all fall under the 'you can play Nar even if you don't mean to' clause.  

Obviously analyzing an instance of play based off a single sentence is certain to be flawed, but...  (the bolded portion)

The fact that a key interest was how a character grew up when pressured denotes addressing a theme - one of personal growth by facing adversity, a coming of age sort of theme. (Assuming this was at some level interesting while you were playing it.)  As I see it, Interest equals prioritize/address/author/whatever-you-wanna-call-it.  

What you say suggests that rgfa Simulationism and GNS Narrativism are actually compatible.   rgfa Sim is deliberate following of internal cause, and when things of interest to the players occur in the results those are considered the theme which was addressed (i.e. GNS Nar).  However, I think Ron would quite disagree, in particular based on discussion in my http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=9104">Simulationism Revisited thread.  In other words, just being interested in an instance of play doesn't make it a theme in Story Now.
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Jason Lee
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2004, 12:42:32 PM »

Quote from: John Kim
What you say suggests that rgfa Simulationism and GNS Narrativism are actually compatible.   rgfa Sim is deliberate following of internal cause, and when things of interest to the players occur in the results those are considered the theme which was addressed (i.e. GNS Nar).  However, I think Ron would quite disagree, in particular based on discussion in my http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=9104">Simulationism Revisited thread.  In other words, just being interested in an instance of play doesn't make it a theme in Story Now.


If rgfa Sim is compatible with Nar, I wouldn't know.  Maybe it is?  If so, and you see GNS Sim as identical, that would cause some logic problems wouldn't it?

Not just interest in the instance of play, interest in what pushes the characters (players) through conflicts.  Be it interest in the challenge of the events, or interest in how the character approaches the conflict from his established character concept.

Starting to lose cohesion here and talk about the specific meaning of 'interest', or worse yet the timing of when the word is used - getting all tied up in the 'unintentionally addressing theme' business.  Which is really all my point about interest is saying.  

To go back to 'What is the Dream?', here are my list of "facts":

1) Theme does not damage the dream, in fact the dream supports theme.
As established in the parent thread.

2) GNS looks at an instance of play.
Isn't anything to argue here.

3) Creative agendae are exclusive priorities.
GNS priorities are each exclusive, because they can conflict.  Again, not much to argue - this is how GNS works.

4) Hybrid Sim play exists.
This is supported by #3, and seems to be in direct conflict with #1.  If adding theme to a dream intensive game does not damage the dream, then the play would then be simply Nar, not a hybrid right?  This is also in conflict with #2, if you're looking at the dominant pattern over time, can you have two dominant patterns?  Especially considering a Sim priority does not diminish a Nar priority.

5) Sim's metagame agenda is verisimilitude.
This is in conflict with #1.  Verisimilitude is just as valid an agenda in Nar (this goes back to your original post), so you can hardly claim verisimilitude as an exclusive agenda.

6) Sim exists as a creative agenda.
This is in conflict with #5.  As agenda are exclusive, this leaves Sim without a metagame agenda it can call its own, and hence nothing to define it.  This is supported by #3, and the conclusion in #4.

Also:

7) Causality can create Nar play.
The unintentional thing we keep getting hung up on - supported by #1 which states that you needn't prioritize theme over the dream for the dream to hold.  #5 is also in conflict with this, but as this seems to be a sticky spot I'm simply making a note about it.  This isn't necessary to the point.

This is, as you see, simply an expansion of your original post.  A list of "facts" that all seem to conflict each other.  If you ignore the connection between #4 and #6, ignore #7, and say that #1 isn't true, everything else holds.  It's fine to ignore #7 because if you declare #1 untrue, then #7 has nothing to stand on anymore (which opens up a big can of worms about intentional addressment, but not the point).

However, all we had for #1 being untrue was a marginal case.  If #1 is only untrue in marginal cases, then Sim exists only as a marginal case.

These are the things I personally cannot reconcile in my head with the current model.  I'm hoping the Nar essay has some answers.  Solutions that make Sim something other than G/N seem to solve the inconsistencies, like the Beeg Horseshoe and similar.
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