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Author Topic: zplay - liberating Sim and embarrassing Exploration!  (Read 11514 times)
Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2004, 02:24:36 PM »

I was going to quote and reply piecemeal, but I figured this might be better.

*****

On Integration

There two things I can think of that would prevent a Proposal from being Integrated.

1)  Rejection of the Proposal in totality.  If some element of the Proposal passes its own Validation (remember you can keep drilling down to get smaller CPVI phases), then that element is Integrated.  Though the action of hitting with the sword may fail Validation, and hence not be Integrated; sub-phases of the action, such as swinging the sword, did pass Validation and were Integrated.

Example of total rejection:
Player, "Poisonous monkeys fly from my butt and bite Evil Mage Guy until he's dead, dead and deader."
Everybody Else, "Umm... No."


2)  Failure to communicate the Proposal.  This is pretty straight forward.  If an element of a Proposal is not understood, it cannot be Validated and therefore cannot be Integrated.

Example of communication failure:
Player, "I get my gimple up on dah fizzle, 'cause I'm the shiz-nittly-iz-nit!"
Everybody Else, "What?  No!"


*****

Jay,

I don't think Chris is saying anything different than what I've said in the above section, he just appears to be working on a different scale than you're think of.

Let me know guys.

*****

On Validation

I consider Validation by silent consent to be low Points of Contact, but still Exploration.  In my opinion, the specific mechanism for Validation doesn't relate to whether or not a Proposal is Integrated - all that matters is that it was Validated.

The non-additive, silent consent we see in zilchplay I believe has more to do with whether the process is Inductive or Deductive.  Bear with me, I'm still grappling with Induction/Abductive (let me if I’ve got ‘em switched around).

If the process is solely Deductive (A leads to B, leads to C, leads to D), than nothing unexpected is being Proposed (to refer back to Walt's expected/unexpected distinction).  When the Proposals are expected we often see silent consent Validation.  

However, when the unexpected is Proposed we might often see thoughtful/mechanical Validation.  We can't measure the difference between silent consent that is not thoughtful, and silent consent that is (someone uses some criteria other than 'I don't see why not' to Validate).  That aside, an unexpected Proposal that is Integrated changes the landscape - it adds data to the SIS that can alter the Deductive process beyond A -> B -> C -> D.  If I've got my terms right, then unexpected Proposals can be considered Inductive, because new elements are being adding which may be used for further Deduction, Induction or Abduction.

So, I would alter the following statement:

Quote from: Chris
In short, Exploration is distinguished from Zplay based on whether successful Deduction leads to further Deduction.


to say:

'Creative Agenda is distinguished from Zplay based on whether successful Induction leads to further Deduction, Induction, or Abduction.'
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- Cruciel
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2004, 08:14:37 PM »

Quote from: Walt Freitag
Creative Agenda in the current model is emphatically not "what you are Exploring," as the model describes Exploring.

I've mulled over my point that CA is what you are exploring in light of the obviously correct statement that you are exploring the five elements.

Of course, what creative agenda tell us is why you are exploring these elements; that in turn tells us what you find relevant and interesting about them; and that in turn tells us what aspects of each element you are exploring.

There's a thread going on exploration of character at the moment. If you are exploring character from a gamist perspective, you are exploring how the strengths and weaknesses of the character combine to limit his ability and enable him to face the challenges raised in play. If you are exploring character from a narrativist perspective, you are exploring how the character's moral/ethical principles conflict with his desires and objectives, and which will give way to what. If you are exploring character from a simulationist perspective, you are exploring who this character is, what makes him tick, why he does what he does and what the limits are to what he will do.

So in that sense, the creative agendum is the definition of what aspects of the explored elements are being explored.  It is both a filter on what elements matter and an engine to push exploration forward. Without it, you're not exploring.

Quote from: Walt then
I don't really see the relevance of the preparation for play issue. I've never tried to argue (or even thought about) whether preparation for play in general, or any specific example of it, is or is not zilchplay.

The point of that example is that creative agendum is determined by "instances of play".

Character generation in Legends of Alyria isn't particularly about exploring the premise; it's about preparing to explore the premise. No real exploration of premise occurs until you begin to play.

Even more on point, character generation in Multiverser is not in any way related to any premise; it could be said to be extremely simulationist (what would you be, reduced to a game character?)--yet it can become the foundation for a solidly narrativist game almost immediately, if that's what drives the player. Thus the entire game can be narrativist, and if so, preparation for play becomes preparation for a narrativist game.

What we're calling Zilchplay seems at best to be players wandering around in search of a reason to play. If they never find the reason, they are still preparing to play--they haven't started playing yet. If they walk into a premise and they address it, play becomes narrativist, and we discover that they have all this time been preparing to play a narrativist game. If they walk into a challenge and step up to it, we discover that this has been preparation for gamist play. If they come on something interesting and work to learn more about it, we discover that they have been preparing fo gamist play.

Actual Play

We had a long-running OAD&D campaign going, and the socially challenged younger brother of one of our players came over to join the game. The rather large party was mostly staying at an inn in town (they invested money in the place to make it large enough to accommodate them all as the party grew). The new player created a magic-user and I walked him into the inn, where he sat down at the bar and ordered something to drink.

The player who ran the party leader had his character go over to the bar and sit down to chat with him. The character said little, but continued nursing his drink. The player tried to draw him into discussion, but nothing happened. The new guy ordered another drink. The rest of the players organized their characters and trooped off to continue exploration of the dungeon they had uncovered, and this player's character stayed at the bar drinking. He came back for several sessions, but all his character ever did was sit at the bar and drink.

Now, that might be Zilchplay; that, and walking back and forth across the street between the inn and the shop, or anything that is repetitive meaningless action which reveals nothing new at any time. But frankly, if all the characters had done that, we would not have had a game.

I'm trying to imagine this, really. I get ten guys to come sit in my living room/dining room, take on the rolls of medieval fantasy characters, and describe them ordering drinks and talking. They interact with each other. "So, Grog, how was your week?" "Oh, you know--same thing; I had to remind the grunts, 'Pillage, then burn, pillage, then burn' for I don't know how many times now, but they'll get it. You, Mandrake?" "Ah, I've been working on a new summoning spell, bigger and better beasties at my command. Should be interesting. I hear Sneaks was out your way."

This doesn't seem much like a game. If the characters never do anything--well, O.K., it could become a wonderful foundation for Castle Falkenstein, but in that case we still have exploration (with its attendant creative agendum) through the spinning of tales individually.

You can't really explore without having something you want to explore about the five elements. Setting: there's a brothel across the street. You want to explore it? What do you want to discover about it? You're on a spaceship. You want to explore it? What do you want to know about it? Why we're here? How powerful the ship is? How matter transmission impacts daily life in the future? If you don't want to know something about the elements, you won't explore them. If you do, that's your creative agendum.

Thus I say Zilchplay doesn't really exist; certainly not as a mode. It's supportive of whatever mode we want, but we're not really exploring until we want to know something, and once we want to know something we've got an agendum.

--M. J. Young
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clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2004, 09:37:27 PM »

Quote from: Jay
Since the LP validates any Proposal that makes it into the SIS, I think a better distinction whether a Proposal is zilchplay or not is whether or not there are any reasonable grounds for contest. If a Proposal cannot be reasonably contested it is because it has no perceived potential for requiring integration into the elements of Exploration.
Nicely put, Jay.  Total agreement.
Quote
It seems to me that this description of the Exploration process includes two “additive” acts in order to be successful. First, the Proposal must be validated, i.e., the Proposal successfully navigates the LP and makes it into the SIS. Second, the Proposal must also require integration in the elements of Exploration.
Here you lost me.  If the Proposal makes it into the SIS (Shared Imagined Space, right?), then what further integration could it require?  I think I’m reading you wrong, because this formulation seems to suggest a further stage of abstraction beyond the acceptance of SIS, in that everyone has to move to file each element of SIS in terms of its Exploration qualities.  

You go on to explain in terms of tacit Validation; to my mind, this is parallel to the expansion of Proposal to include a non-linguistic range, e.g. the totality of the Sign.  Similarly, the Sign’s Interpretation need not be overt, explicit, or even conscious.

As I say, I really think I’m getting you wrong here.
Quote
So where does CA fit into all this? CA can only be found by examining the Proposals, but only if the Proposals require integration. Even then it can be difficult in examining individual Proposals to find a goal or pattern of behavior. A moment diagnosed as zilchplay cannot determine whether a player had a Creative Agenda or not, it only says that a Creative Agenda cannot be determined from the evidence at hand. Zilchplay most assuredly is NOT a Creative Agenda. Whether or not play dominated by zilchplay moments reflects any sort of noncreative Agenda is up for debate. But this does raise some questions.
Now here, unless I really get you very wrong, Jay, I think we’re totally on the same page.  I was wondering if this was going to move toward defining Instance rather precisely, and it looks like it is.  You can’t determine CA by examining Proposal until you can also ascertain whether the Proposal required Integration, and since you can’t tell that until a further Proposal refers backward to said Integration you need a considerable span of data for this reason.  This is only a move, of course, but I think it’s a move toward defining Instance, something that has bugged me for a long time now.

Similarly, a moment diagnosed as zilchplay doesn’t determine whether the player had a CA because zilchplay operates at a smaller scale, i.e. the moment.

This is, in fact, where I think Walt and M.J. are at odds:
Looked at on the scale of Instance, zilchplay doesn’t exist because it’s meaningless in those terms.  With zilchplay moments, there’s nothing to evaluate in terms of CA, so there’s no Instance-level play, so null nothing nada.
Looked at on the scale of Moment, zilchplay most certainly exists, but on the other hand CA doesn’t.
Consequently I think that this increasing precision of scale will not only resolve two pals’ argument, but also help us define an essential term in GNS (i.e. Instance).
Quote from: Jay
Does roleplay require an agenda?
I would say, yes. If we are putting out the effort to do something we are always motivated by some sort of desire.
Again, this is true at the Instance level but not at what you nicely called the moment level.  I’m beginning to think that this division is stymying (is that a word?) the whole model in some respects.
Quote from: Jay
Must this agenda always be a Creative Agenda?
At the Instance level, yes, because only such agendas can be analyzed at Instance level.  At the moment level, no, because CA can’t be analyzed at that level.
Quote from: Jay
And to just make things interesting, are there only 3 Creative Agendas possible?
Uh oh.  Now the Hand Of Ron enters.... :-> No, seriously, I think this is a very good question, but unless and until someone finds another one in observation I’m not sure this is answerable.  And, as you say, a topic for another thread.  Interesting, though....
Quote
Quibbles on the usage of Simulation made twice in this thread.
I grant your quibble.  I need to think about the terminology a bit.  You read me right, so let’s let it go; I was being imprecise.

----
Quote from: Walt
Zplay is not non-exploration, it's exploration without Creative Agenda. Distinguishing Exploration from Zplay leads only to contradiction.
True.  But I think the contradiction comes at the precise point (yet to be debated really hard) between Instance and Moment.

I’m still thinking through your second turn of the semiotic crank.  Give me some time....

---------
Quote from: Jason
I don't think Chris is saying anything different than what I've said in the above section, he just appears to be working on a different scale than you're think of.
Bingo.
Quote from: Jason
If I've got my terms right, then unexpected Proposals can be considered Inductive, because new elements are being adding which may be used for further Deduction, Induction or Abduction.
I don’t think your terms are off, but you’re applying them a little farther (I think) than they really go.  These are processes of interpretation, not concepts that can be predicated of a sign; that is, a sign itself can’t be any of these.  So I’d rephrase thus:
    Proposals can be considered unexpected or interesting or additive because new elements are added that may be used for further Deduction, Induction or Abduction that was not previously possible.[/list:u]In other words, if you got as far as D in your list, then a new Proposal adds something that allows you to get to E, you’ve got addition; this procedure may be direct or indirect.

    Here’s Eco (and Peirce) on the subject:
Quote
Quote from: Peirce
Suppose I enter a room and there find a number of bags, containing different kinds of beans.  On the table there is a handful of white beans; and, after some searching, I find one of the bags contains white beans only.  I at once infer as a probability, or as a fair guess, that this handful was taken out of that bag....(2.623).
In the case of logical deduction there is [a] rule from which, given a case, I deduce a result: All the beans from this bag are white — These beans are from this bag — These beans are white.

In the case of induction, given a case and a result, I infer a rule: These beans are from this bag — These beans are white — All the beans from this bag are white (probably).

In the case of hypothesis of abduction there is the inference of a case from a rule and a result: All the beans from this bag are white — These beans are white — These beans are from this bag (probably).¹
So rather than parse this directly into the present terms, let me just point out an important difference between Induction and Abduction that I think is relevant (but I’m not sure exactly how).

Abduction tends to seek confirmation.  That is, it wants to Deduce previously unknown data, then go and find that they are really there.  For example, Sherlock Holmes will look for data predicted by his Abducted imaginary story, such as broken branches where nobody was even looking at the bushes.  The more of these he finds as expected, the stronger the Abduction is.

Induction tends to seek dis-confirmation.  That is, it tends to assume that the Deductions are valid, then seek complication.  For example, the scientist who has found that indeed, gravity works as he Induced it would, goes and plays around with anything he can find that produces gravitic effects because he wants to find that his Induction, while valid, is actually too simple.  He’s looking for further Induction, in other words.  This is how science generally understands itself, as a matter of fact.

I guess I’d say that whether a proposal (sign) leads to Induction or Abduction depends a good deal on the system and the game.  If we’re trying to find out the ways in which the SIS is not actually the Western Saloon we expected, we’re looking for dis-confirmation, i.e. trying for Induction; you see this in games where part of the point is to find out (Induce) what’s really going on at a deep level, e.g. what the rules of magic are, etc.  If we’re trying to demonstrate to ourselves that we’ve got the SIS more or less right, that the Western Saloon is as expected, we’re looking for confirmation, i.e. Abduction; you see this in games where everyone wants to be pretty confident about the world in question so that they can do cool things with it.

Thus I suppose I’m moving toward saying that Induction seeks Vision and Abduction seeks confirmation of the current Baseline-Vision synthesis.  Something like that, anyway.

As far as I’m concerned, only Induction is really a CA, though both are Exploration if Abduction fails, but I do think this opens up possibilities for Jay’s other types of CA.  I’m not nearly confident enough about that to say for sure.

Incidentally, hey thanks, Jason, for shoving a semiotic model into this!  :)

Chris Lehrich

P.S. I'm rather disappointed to realize that this is not my 666th post; I wasted that thanking Walt and James for statistics help.  Bugger.

Notes
1. Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1979), 131; quoting Charles Saunders Peirce, Collected Papers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1931-58).
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Chris Lehrich
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2004, 08:56:27 PM »

Lots of ideas here.  I don’t know how to make a highly synthesized response so unfortunately I’ll respond to each separately.

Quote from: Walt Freitag
You've taken my statement about "exploring Exploration" completely out of context. I was attempting to refute, not propose, the idea that Creative Agenda is "something Explored."


My apologies Walt.  However I think I can see where we’re miscommunicating.  Allow me to requote the passage I was referring to and see if I can make amends.

Quote from: Walt Freitag
Sure, you can say, with some justification, that Gamist play is exploring Step On Up, and Narrativist play is exploring Premise or exploring Story Now. (And Sim play would be exploring Exploration.)


My quibble lay not in contending the idea of you assertions about Creative Agenda at all, but in the way you described Sim action (which really boiled down to a vocabulary usage issue.)  I’m ok with - “Gamist play is exploring Step On Up, and Narrativist play is exploring Premise or exploring Story Now.”  My quibble lied with “…Sim play would be exploring Exploration.”  As our discussions have been progressing, the usage of the word Exploration has moved towards that of the process described as a semotic process.  My assertion is that your statement would be clearer and better served if the object of Exploration were called something different – something like the elements of Exploration.  To whit –

And Sim play would be exploring the elements of Exploration.

This phrasing clearly prevents any sort of confusion on the usage of Exploration and also helps keep the definition of Sim clear of the old usages that directly equated Sim with Exploration.

I don’t know if this clears matters up.  It more clearly states where I am coming from.  Let me know if the explanation of my quibble still raises objections on your part.

Just a side note and I will bring it up later in depth – I think that an even clearer definition would be Sim play would be Exploring the narrative elements of Exploration.

Quote from: Walt Freitag
This is important because examining Zplay and Creative Agenda requires a second turn of your semiotic crank, if you will. A participant has an idea or concept of a change in the Shared Imagined Space. The player expresses that idea (Sign) through or during play. It's validated (Interpreted by means of system) and if valid, it gets integrated into the Shared Imagined Space, which is the Referent. Now, take that change in the Shared Imagined Space as being itself Sign. The Referent of that Sign is the present instantiation of the Creative Agenda: the Premise in Narrativism, the fitness being demonstrated in Gamism, the aesthetics of the imagined space in Simulationism. The Creative Agenda itself (assuming coherent play) is the mode of Interpetation of the Sign. If the change in the Shared Imagined Space is not Sign, then it's Zplay.

Quote from: Silmenume
It seems to me that this description of the Exploration process includes two “additive” acts in order to be successful. First, the Proposal must be validated, i.e., the Proposal successfully navigates the LP and makes it into the SIS. Second, the Proposal must also require integration in the elements of Exploration. If the Proposal does not require integration, if it has added nothing to the elements of Exploration, then it could be called a zilchplay moment.


Walt, I think we’re talking about the same thing.  You’re description of the process is much cleaner and more direct than mine.  But basically its not enough to just put something into play (proposal), but it also has to have an “effect” that requires it to be integrated in the elements of Exploration.

DM:  Ok Bob, what about you?
Bob:  My sword is blue.
DM:  We know that.  Anything else?
Bob:  My sword is blue.
DM:  Ok.  Anything else?
Bob:  My sword is blue.

Every proposal/statement by Bob was successfully entered into the SIS, but other than the first proposal nothing new needs to be integrated in the elements of Exploration.  The first proposal could be said to be additive, but the last two are ostensibly zilchplay.  There were 3 statements that were validated/ratified into the SIS, but only one proposal/statement required integration into the elements of Exploration.  The first proposal addressed color, but by itself it is difficult to determine CA goal without further context.  For this example we will leave that be.  The other two proposals by Bob required no direct integration efforts.  Since nothing was added its impossible to determine what the player was up to, i.e., what his goal was, so it is impossible to diagnose CA.  These would appear to be zilchplay moments.  This is only an example, but it does demonstrate that just successfully adding to the SIS is not automatically the same as addressing a CA.  Something must be added to something else as well and I think this reflected in the “second turn of the semiotic crank.”

Quote from: M. J. Young
What we're calling Zilchplay seems at best to be players wandering around in search of a reason to play.

You’re mistaking a diagnosed zilchplay moment for an Agenda.  Zilchplay is the lack of an observable agenda.

To use your analogy - Zilchplay seems at best to be players wandering around in search of a goal of play, not a reason to play.  A grounp of kids could show up at a baseball diamond with balls, bats, and mitts and ready to have fun!  The problem is that the have not idea what they are supposed to be doing with these items.  The kids know why they are there – they are there to do something fun (reason).  They just don’t know what it is that they are supposed to be doing (goal – Creative Agenda).

There seems to be some idea floating around that the just because we are saying that zilchplay is identifiable and a useful concept that it is being promoted as an Agenda.  To me zilchplay is to roleplay what zero is to math.  It is a useful concept whose conception allows for much more freedom in discussing theories in the model.

Quote from: M. J. Young
…what creative agenda tell us is why you are exploring these elements…

I think the arrow of causality is backward here.  Let me demonstrate.  There is an implied feeling that a creative agenda is something a player overtly states and thus helps us make sense of his actions.  Instead we start off with the body of exploratory actions and in time we postulate that a certain creative agenda is in operation.  When a creative agenda is diagnosed the observer infers that the subject is acting in a certain fashion that is consistent with certain broad goals.  The CA cannot tell us anything.  We must observe actions and diagnose a CA behind such acts.  CA is a concept that is descriptive.  The best an observer can infer when a body of evidence has grown large enough that he feels that he can reasonably post that indeed a CA is in action is the general goals, not why a player is playing.  We can assume that a player who is playing with a demonstrated Sim Agenda does so because he enjoys adding to the Dream, but he could really be at the table to be near Mary.  He may be roleplaying Sim, and doing an excellent job of it, but not because he likes roleplaying Sim but because he wants to get laid.  Creative Agenda thus cannot tell us why an individual is exploring these elements – it only says that a lot of exploration actions by an individual seem to coincide with certain broad goals that are consistent with certain concepts that are contained within a theory that has labeled these things Creative Agenda.  The Creative Agenda theory makes broad assumptions about what people who favor this style of play may like, but it cannot tell us why an individual is exploring something specifically.  IOW we cannot use Creative Agenda to diagnose an individual's motives, rather we diagnose motives from the actions of an individual to determine Creative Agenda.  The big questions at the end of each of the three essays ask, “why are you exploring these elements?”

Quote from: cruciel
In my opinion, the specific mechanism for Validation doesn't relate to whether or not a Proposal is Integrated - all that matters is that it was Validated.


Actually that is the BEEEEEEEEEEEEEG question at hand!  Is it merely enough for a statement to be Validated – i.e,. get into the SIS or does the fact that a certain proposal does get to be Integrated, i.e., gets added to the elements of Exploration represent a qualifiable difference?

I say yes.  But that is what is being discussed.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2004, 10:47:26 PM »

Hey Chris,

Quote from: clehrich
Quote from: Jay
It seems to me that this description of the Exploration process includes two “additive” acts in order to be successful. First, the Proposal must be validated, i.e., the Proposal successfully navigates the LP and makes it into the SIS. Second, the Proposal must also require integration in the elements of Exploration.
Here you lost me.  If the Proposal makes it into the SIS (Shared Imagined Space, right?), then what further integration could it require?  I think I’m reading you wrong, because this formulation seems to suggest a further stage of abstraction beyond the acceptance of SIS, in that everyone has to move to file each element of SIS in terms of its Exploration qualities.


You read me correctly.

In my mind I think of the SIS as a kind of sandbox.  The elements of exploration are the “things” in the sand box.  The SIS is the place where these elements of Exploration are referenced and acted upon.  The Lumpley Principle merely says when and under what circumstances someone can play in the sandbox.  When we build new things in the sand box we have added to the elements of Exploration.  Its not enough that the “DM” puts things in the sandbox, we must be adding to the structures in the sandbox specifically.  If we just play with things that are already there or can be reasonably assumed to be there, that is zilchplay.  It is the act of us players building things in the sandbox, that is the act of roleplay - at least that is what is being proposed and which proposal that zilchplay makes possible. It’s not enough to be just playing with the sand or asking about the structures that are there.  Building structures and referencing structures that are there are both actions in the SIS, but only building is adding to what is there.

Creative Agenda would be to what end we are building things in the sandbox.

I don’t know if this analogy helps or hinders.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


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« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2004, 03:25:14 PM »

Quote from: Silmenume
Quote from: M. J. Young
…what creative agenda tell us is why you are exploring these elements…

I think the arrow of causality is backward here....we start off with the body of exploratory actions and in time we postulate that a certain creative agenda is in operation.  When a creative agenda is diagnosed the observer infers that the subject is acting in a certain fashion that is consistent with certain broad goals.  The CA cannot tell us anything.  We must observe actions and diagnose a CA behind such acts.  CA is a concept that is descriptive.

In the main, I don't think we are too far from each other; but I think you misunderstand me here.

We watch objects fall. We measure the rate at which they fall. We conclude from watching the objects fall that there is a force acting upon them, which we call the attraction of masses. Our experiments demonstrate that the actions of all objects are consistent with the belief that such a force exists. Now, when we ask why an object falls, we answer "because of a force that draws matter toward matter, called the attraction of masses." We have not ever actually proved that such a force exists directly; we have inferred its existence by the observation of the actions of objects.

So, too, with creative agenda, we observe the actions of players in great detail, and from these actions we infer the existence of a creative agendum. Just as the attraction of masses tells us why objects fall, so too the creative agendum tells us why players explore what they explore.
Quote from: Jay further
We can assume that a player who is playing with a demonstrated Sim Agenda does so because he enjoys adding to the Dream, but he could really be at the table to be near Mary.  He may be roleplaying Sim, and doing an excellent job of it, but not because he likes roleplaying Sim but because he wants to get laid.

O.K., this is where the problem of "intent" comes in, and why Ron doesn't like it. Coming from a legal background, I have a rather solid understanding of "double intent". Someone intended to do this because he intended to do that. Player intended to play simulationism well because he intended to impress Mary by doing so. Human motivations are complex, certainly; but the motivation that drives exploration still falls into one of these categories, even if the motivation for exploring at all falls outside them. Just because he wanted to impress Mary doesn't mean he didn't want to play simulationist; he's got one motivation (impressing Mary) which drives the other motivation (exploring the dream) which drives his play. The burglar intends to break into your house because he intends to steal your silver; the fact that he intends to steal your silver doesn't negate the fact that he intends to break into your house--it is the motivation behind the motivation. In fact, if he doesn't intend to break into your house or he doesn't intend to steal your silver, he's not guilty of burglary (which requires breaking and entering for the purpose of committing a felony).

Thus creative agendum tells us why someone is exploring those elements, and what aspects of those elements he wishes to explore. It's just that it's reached from the other end--it is assumed that a player explores those aspects that he is motivated to explore, and therefore what he explores, and how, tells us why.

Prediction from that is not as accurate as prediction from attraction of masses, but that's because it's a much more complex process with a lot more variables. If I know someone's creative agendum is narrativism, I can predict with reasonable accuracy that he is going to address premise; without knowing a lot more about that person, I can't easily predict what he will say about the premise.

I don't think we're too far apart on this, and I hope this clarifies it.

--M. J. Young
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Walt Freitag
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2004, 08:01:16 AM »

Quote from: Jay
Walt, I think we’re talking about the same thing. You’re description of the process is much cleaner and more direct than mine. But basically its not enough to just put something into play (proposal), but it also has to have an “effect” that requires it to be integrated in the elements of Exploration.

DM: Ok Bob, what about you?
Bob: My sword is blue.
DM: We know that. Anything else?
Bob: My sword is blue.
DM: Ok. Anything else?
Bob: My sword is blue.

Every proposal/statement by Bob was successfully entered into the SIS, but other than the first proposal nothing new needs to be integrated in the elements of Exploration. The first proposal could be said to be additive, but the last two are ostensibly zilchplay. There were 3 statements that were validated/ratified into the SIS, but only one proposal/statement required integration into the elements of Exploration. The first proposal addressed color, but by itself it is difficult to determine CA goal without further context. For this example we will leave that be. The other two proposals by Bob required no direct integration efforts. Since nothing was added its impossible to determine what the player was up to, i.e., what his goal was, so it is impossible to diagnose CA. These would appear to be zilchplay moments. This is only an example, but it does demonstrate that just successfully adding to the SIS is not automatically the same as addressing a CA. Something must be added to something else as well and I think this reflected in the “second turn of the semiotic crank.”


You're pretty close, but I don't think I'm getting the main point across. I assume that with the "first turn of the crank" any change is fully integrated into the shared imagined space and the Elements of Exploration once verified/ratified. The "second turn" is what answers the question, regarding the change, "so what?" For the first turn, the player's utterance "My sword is blue" is the Sign; for the second, the now-established fact within the shared imagined space that Bob's character's sword is blue is the Sign. The Interpetation, Integration etc. of that Sign will often be a longer-term process carried out through sustained play.

Here's the "first turn of the crank:"

Bob: My sword is blue.
GM: OK.

Here's how the "second turn" might go:

Someone: So Bob's sword is blue. So what?
Bob: As you may or may not know, once a newly acquired weapon has been wielded by a PC for a full month, there's a one-time 2% chance of discovering it has a previously undetected magical quality. But that chance increases to 5% if the weapon has "unusual materials, construction, or appearance." By establishing now that the blade is blue, I'm planning ahead to increase my chance of getting a magical weapon for free.

or:

Someone: So Bob's sword is blue. So what?
Bob: If anyone asks my character about it in-character, I plan to explain that among the island people I came from, there are many legends about a cadre of ancient heroes called the Moristi, who wielded cold blue steel against the fire-demons that threatened to overwhelm the islands and turn the sea into steam. When my character found a blue-steel blade while pearl diving, embedded in coral but unrusted, he knew it was a sign that the fire-demons were returning and he was being called to live the life of a hero of legend. So, the blue blade is a reminder of my character's background and also a possible plot hook for a major adventure arc.

OR

(Ok, you get the idea, no need to do everyhing in threes all the time.)

Now, I'm not saying these dialogs ever actually take place in those terms. It's the player's or the GM's future actions that establish that kind of answers to the "so what?" And the question itself, "so what?," is rarely if ever (in functional play, at least) asked explicitly. Its continuous implicit asking is (or is not, as the case may be) part of the Social Contract -- or even beyond that, it's one important reason why a Social Contract might have been made in the first place. Me and you and a dog named Boo are sharing an Imagined Space; why? Perhaps because I trust that when you put something into it, you can make good on the "so what?" of our joint endeavor, and you trust me the same way.

But that's not always the case. If the question "so what" is never asked (that is, there never is any expectation of an answer emerging eventually), or is asked but never answered, then it's zilchplay.

Bob: My sword is blue.
Someone: So what?
Bob: It just is. Piss off.

Does that mean Bob doesn't have an answer like the previous examples? Or that he has one in mind but doesn't want to reveal it? Or that he has no specific answer in mind right now, but intends to invent one down the road? There's no way to tell at the moment, but future play will make it clear.

Bob: My sword is blue.
Someone: So what?
Bob: No reason, that was the result when I rolled "unusual weapon appearance" on the character quirks table, and then a 37 on the unusual weapon appearance subtable.

Bob: My sword is blue.
Someone: So what?
Bob: The GM told me that there should be "something unusual" about my character. That's what I came up with.

Bob: My sword is blue.
Someone: No it's not. It's just an ordinary sword.
Bob: I can say it's blue if I want to.
Someone: OK, it's a completely ordinary blue sword. Sheesh. You going to open that door or what?

These are all likely zilchplay. In all cases the "first turn of the crank" is successful (though with resistance, in the last example). The blueness of Bob's sword is fully established as a new fact in the shared imagined space. What's missing is any relevant answer to "so what"?

If Creative Agenda is the way the implicit "so what?" questions are answered in play, then we might expect that incoherence is when not all participants are satisfied with the answers.

Player: What was a pit doing there?
GM: It's presence challenged you to exhibit caution and alertness, and bypassing it or dealing with its effects tested your resourcefulness and efficiency.
Player: No, I mean, who would have put a pit there and why? It's on the main passageway between the sanctuary and the dormitories. How could the temple have functioned if the cult members were falling into pits every time they went to worship?
GM: Wiseass.

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2004, 03:23:03 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young
Thus creative agendum tells us why someone is exploring those elements, and what aspects of those elements he wishes to explore. It's just that it's reached from the other end--it is assumed that a player explores those aspects that he is motivated to explore, and therefore what he explores, and how, tells us why.


I buy your explanation.  It’s just that the “tells us why” sounds suspiciously like predicting motivation or intent.  That’s what sent the worry hackles all a scurry!  But I do believe that I am with you.

I guess what you’re saying is from a game point of view.  Kinda like describing why a player (the pitcher specifically) is doing something on the mound (pitching) during a game as opposed to explaining why the pitcher is playing baseball in the first place.

By the way, this is my take on what I think you’re saying.  I do not mean this to be an authoritative representation of your thoughts.  Let me know if I am close!

Walt, I am going to have to reread the proposed semiotic model and do some navel gazing before I can respond effectively.  The problem is that I see both processes, your and mine, and I can’t figure out which is more representative, though I am leaning strongly towards yours.

It has been over 24 hours since I started this reply and I have lost nearly all train of thought on this.  I apologize that I have nothing more to offer right now.  Everyone has worked very hard trying to come to terms with the ideas that have been proposed in here and I have just totally brain f*rted.  Complete mental derailment.  I feel as if I have failed to hold up my end of the bargain.  Alas……

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2004, 06:05:00 AM »

Hello,

I propose that we give this thread a noble burial and take some time to mull over its contents, then start discussion about these issues in new threads.

Jay, slow is better.

Best,
Ron
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2004, 09:25:18 PM »

If I may just respond to one minor point that seems to have been asked particularly of me and really (I think) doesn't warrant its own thread:
Quote from: Silmenume
I guess what you’re saying is from a game point of view.  Kinda like describing why a player (the pitcher specifically) is doing something on the mound (pitching) during a game as opposed to explaining why the pitcher is playing baseball in the first place.

By the way, this is my take on what I think you’re saying.  I do not mean this to be an authoritative representation of your thoughts.  Let me know if I am close!

That is exactly correct, and a very good example. I could quibble that the pitcher's choice of what to do is in most cases tactics, but not in all cases. The designated adult pitcher in a very little league game has an entirely different approach to play (give them something they can hit) than one in the World Series (give them something they can't hit). It's that level of thinking. Sure, the latter is there because they're paying him a slew of money and the former because he wants to help the kids, but it is that which the player wants to achieve in game that is defined by creative agendum.

--M. J. Young
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2004, 06:28:39 AM »

Good point about the baseball.

Time to close the thread now, for sure.

Best,
Ron
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